WHY THIS TRIP
The Due South journey is an ideal complement to any Galapagos or Rainforest tour that explores the unique volcanic spine of the Ecuadorian Andes. As you travel crosscountry, the ecosystem changes dramatically from snow-capped peaks to sweeping grasslands to humid cloudforests. You will be visiting rural villages, strolling through local markets, and learning about sustainable community projects. This sightseeing tour stretches from one colonial city, Quito, down to the charming city of Cuenca, stopping all along the way to appreciate the immense diversity present in one tiny country.
“Due South” offers a quality cultural experience for curious travelers who want to see more than just the Galapagos. Journey along scenic back roads into the heart and hidden corners of rural Ecuador. By following the Cordillera of the Andes from north to south along Ecuador’s rugged central highlands, you will see vibrant and varied local communities who call the mountains home. On this tour, you will take in breathtaking views; visit local villages; explore archaeological ruins; experience gorgeous national parks; travel portions of the legendary Inca Road; and overnight at remote lodges and haciendas.
Your bilingual guide will accompany you as you drive the famous pan-American highway and little-used dirt roads getting further from the urban noise of Quito. Each day is a mix of cultural tours and sightseeing in natural areas. Stopping in Cotopaxi, you’ll marvel at the bright snow-capped cone rising from the middle of rolling, empty grasslands. In Baños, you will walk to the base of the Devil’s Cauldron waterfall spillng out of the dense surrounding cloudforest. And before reaching Cuenca, you’ll explore the mysterious Inca ruins of Ingapirca.
The diverse traditions of the local communities are also a big highlight for any traveler to Ecuador. On this trip, you don’t mearly visit a well-known market and travel back to Quito after a few hours. You’ll be visiting small villages in far flung locations, maintaining their centuries-old customs and producing high-quality handicrafts. We make a stop at a community-run education foundation to learn more about life in this rural area and the challenges they face. We end the tour in the colonial city of Cuenca, known for it’s well-preserved historic architechture, many universities, and lovely cobblestone streets.