HIGHLAND AND AMAZONIAN CACAO ROUTE
7 DAY / 6 NIGHT PROGRAM

DAY 1: TRANSFER IN QUITO – WELCOME DINNER (D)

You will be picked up at the Mariscal Sucre international airport terminal and transferred to your chosen hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, your guide will brief you on the following day’s activities. Tonight you will enjoy a traditional meal as your welcome dinner. Accommodation at your selected hotel.

DAY 2: QUITO CITY TOUR & PACARI CHOCOLATE TASTING (B, L)

The tour begins with a great view of the Orellana path and Guapulo Sanctuary (XVII Century). Afterwards, walk in the old city stating in the oldest street of the city, La Ronda that used to be the home of musicians, poets and politics back in time. Here we will encounter with the traditions of the city first by stopping in the gastronomic capsule, to have an explanation of the different local spices that are used for the typical Ecuadorian gastronomy (Tasting costs and tips are not included). Continuing we will visit the house of handicrafts made of metal and wood most of them designed for the traditional churches and made by hand for furniture decoration. We will make a stop also in the ice cream house to try all the different Ecuadorian flavors put together to create an authentic experience. An explanation of chocolate will be made in the chocolate house where you will receive information of the Ecuadorian chocolate and then see how it is produced. After we are done with la Ronda we will proceed with to the Independence Square, surrounded by important historical buildings. Visit the Cathedral (XVI Century), the Presidential Palace, El Sagrario Church (XVII Century), and La Compañia de Jesus (XVII Century), one of the most beautiful baroque churches in South America, not to be missed are the Church of San Francisco and Monastery, built a few months after the arrival of the Spaniards (XVI Century). After Lunch we will visit Pacari, one of the most important chocolate companies of the country where you will have a chocolate tasting. Here you can learn all about the necessary process to make a great chocolate.

You will know why Ecuador is the best country in the world to grow fine cacao and the cacao history in the world. The Pacari Chocolate tasting, where you can learn all about the necessary process to make a great chocolate. You will know why Ecuador is the best country in the world to grow fine cacao and the cacao history in the world. Activities will include a guided journey by story and video through the history of Ecuadorian cacao and a tasting of the award-winning Pacari chocolate. The presentation also focuses on the agricultural side of chocolate cultivation and production and the communities that work with Pacari to bring the product to market. Return to hotel Overnight in Quito.

DAY 3: PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS – CHOCOLATE THERAPY (B, L)

Ecuador has more than 20 active volcanoes in its very small territory. Even though volcanoes are destructive forces of nature, they also create fertile and rich soils for agriculture and certain benefits such as hot springs, containing high concentrations of sulphur.

We will get to a unique location known as Papallacta where water is the primary element of this region, thermal hot springs seem to come out endlessly, this place is located up in the clouds, the very same Andean volcanoes heat them internally. The vegetation, cloud forest and the most beautiful páramo surrounded by crystalline Rivers offer a moderate hike or time to indulge yourself at the pools as long as you wish. Lunch is included. Afternoon drive to Quito across the surrounding valleys, with impressive bird’s eye views of the Andean range.

The Termas de Papallacta Resort and Spa offers fantastic skin treatments using chocolate; this will give you an insight into the medicinal uses of this sweet treat. Overnight at the Resort.

DAY 4: ARCHIDONA –SANTA RITA COMMUNITY – TENA – CHOCOLATE INFUSED CUISINE (B, L, D)

We depart Papallacta, and the Andean paramo, on the main road east, climbing up to the pass at over 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) in the high Andes before beginning the descent into the ‘green mansions’ of the Amazon Rainforest. Our first stop for a snack is the charming Guango Lodge, a haven for 15 species of hummingbird and many more beautiful creatures. Continuing southeast, we arrive at the small town of Archidona and the Santa Rita community, home of the Pacari Agro Tourism Project. We spend a pleasant and relaxing day with the community, learning how they harvest the fruit, produce the cacao and all the technical processes. As we explore the farms on foot, we come across petroglyphs, ancestral traces of the native cultures that inhabited this region for thousands of years, known as the Sacred Valley of the Anaconda. After our hike, we are treated to lunch, served a regional specialty of river fish wrapped in a bijao palm leaf baked in a fire. This dish is accompanied by a tea made with the guayusa plant, a source of energy and good for hydrating. After lunch, we take part in making chocolate paste, adding various local ingredients. Everyone gets to take some chocolate home with them, as well as drinking hot chocolate with the cacao harvested earlier in the day! After this activity, we will head to Tena, and the lovely Paraiso de las Orquideas Inn. Here we will enjoy some local cuisine infused with chocolate, giving you an extraordinary culinary experience. Overnight at the Inn.

DAY 5: GARENO COMMUNITY – WAO CHOCOLATE PRODUCTION – BAÑOS (B, L)

We will start the day by visiting the Gareno Waorani Community, they are the makers of the WAO chocolate brand. The cacao production program is led by local Waorani women and helps various communities in the area. We will tour their cacao fields and observe how they harvest, separate and dry the seeds.

We will then head through Puyo, towards Baños. A beautiful small town surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, and possesses some of Ecuador’s most famous waterfalls. Once in town, we will head to the Samari Spa & Resort, which will help you relax with its chocolate oriented therapies. Overnight at the Resort.

DAY 6: BAÑOS – SALINAS DE GUARANDA – SALENERITO CHOCOLATE FACTORY – COTOPAXI (B, L)

In the morning after after breakfast we will head to Guaranada to a town called Salinas, this is a famous little town in the Ecuadorian Andes that is about two and an half hours by bus from Riobamba. What make the town so popular amongst both Ecuadorian and foreign tourists alike is its cheese and chocolate factories that is the one that we will visit. The story relates that A Swiss man called Father Antonio Polo used his knowledge in how to produce Swiss Chocolate and Cheese to set up a cooperative run by the people of Salinas that has literary pulled the entire community out of poverty.

The delicious swiss Chocolate they make in Salinas melts in your mouth and include the famous Blue Bird “Pajaro Azul” Chocolate named after the local moonshine alcohol and my favorite hot chocolate laced with chile powder.
We will visit the chocolate factory and we will learn about how this community daily works producing chocolate to export to Europe.

After our day in Salinas, we will venture back toward the Panamerica Highway and onward to the Cotopaxi National Park area. Accommodation at a local Hacienda.

DAY 7: ORECAO CACAO PRODUCTION – COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK – QUITO (B, L)

We will head to the Orecao cacao production hacienda to observe how they cultívate and process the cacao sedes. Orecao and its founder are well-known around the country for promoting cacao production in small communities and teaching the correct techniques for producing this national treasure.

After our visit to the Orecao production field, we will head towards the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. We drive on a third class road through a pine forest to Limpiopungo, a glacial Andean lake located at 3,800 m, along the slopes of the magnificent Cotopaxi volcano. If weather conditions allow, we will drive further to the parking lot located at 4,500 meters in order to hike up to the shelter at 4,800 meters. Afternoon drive back to Quito.

INCLUDED

    • Private transfers
    • Accommodation in selected hotel
    • Meals mentioned in the program (B: Breakfast, BL: Boxlunch, L: Lunch, D: Dinner)
    • Excursions mentioned in the program
    • Private guidance during the mentioned excursions (English/ Spanish)
    • Local guides in community tours
    • Entrance Fees to specified areas
    • Community donations

NOT INCLUDED

    • Drinks and meals not mentioned in the program
    • Tips
    • Personal expenses
    • Optional excursions or tours
Andes, Highlands, in the provinces of the mountains the average temperature is 12 and 20 ºC. so the weather is cool.

Regular plan

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