9AM Leisure breakfast at Cultura Manor’s garden terrace, overland drive through scenic routes going north towards the line that runs straight through the Equator: latitude 0 (Equator Line) to obtain the traditional photo at “Mitad del Mundo” monument with one feet on each hemisphere. From there we will continue to the interactive Inti Nan Solar Museum where you will part take in a tour about the various cultures living in Ecuador and to participate in several experiments that you can only perform while being right on the Equator. Overland drive back to Cultura Manor, gourmet light lunch. In the afternoon exploration walk in the historical center of Quito, declared The First UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, with special access to the Metropolitan Cathedral domes through a secret passage in the walls, visiting the golden platter Compañía de Jesus Church and San Francisco Convent; the traditional Panecillo hill, site with the world's largest aluminum statue and great views of Quito. We will stop at "LA RONDA" street with its typical colonial cobblestone visiting several craftsmen and workshops, and an evening drink at a Café Terrace with 360° view imbedded on the roofs Colonial Center.
After breakfast in The Manor around 8 AM we will embark on a beautiful journey experiencing 4 different ecosystems driving North across the volcanoes avenue. It is time to visit the colorful, world-renowned indigenous market at Otavalo, where all kinds of marvelous handicrafts are on offer.
The Equatorial line crosses the glacier of the magnificent Cayambe volcano the highest worldwide point on the Equatorial line and the only place in the world where you can see snow and glaciers exactly on the Equator!
Upon arrival in Otavalo you will have different options on what to do and see
- Visit the Equator Line in Cayambe.
- The Otavalo Artisan Market is the largest indigenous market in South America and you will be able to find a great selection of hand-made goods ranging from tapestry to clothing and decorations for your home. A perfect place for souvenir shopping.
- Another option is to visit a Kichwa tapestry weaving workshop.
- Most of the Otavalo musicians have travelled all over the world, playing on the streets of cities far away from their homes, the local musicians with their famous Andes pan flute can give you a demonstration on how the flutes are made.
- The crater lake of Cuicocha is also known as the guinea Pig Lake due to its form. You will enjoy a short walk to learn more about indigenous religion and culture while observing its unique flora and breathtaking scenery.
Just an hour and a half from Quito you will find one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Andes Mountains The Antisana, volcano and reserve, where you will be able to see the majestic condor flying with a high Andes snow-capped volcano as background!
On the way we will be looking at native and endemic flora and fauna in the most biodiverse reserve of the upper Andes ecosystem, stopping for lunch at site and heading back by car to Quito in the afternoon.