Ecuador is world-famous for its high quality chocolate, one of the many tastes which guests on a new tour to the equator-straddling nation can experience.
Ecuador grows and makes 70% of the world’s fine cacao, Arriba, which is used in chocolate products worldwide. With Ecuadorian free-trade chocolate now sold in Australian supermarkets and other outlets, Australians can get a taste of Ecuador while at home. However, a true experience of the small South American nation – complete with the opportunity to taste local chocolate – is available on a new seven-day tour of the Ecuadorian Andes, offered by Australian agency and South American specialists, Forward Travel.
The 2016 itinerary will take guests along the ‘Volcano Avenue’ from Quito to Cuenca in the highlands of Ecuador, staying in first class haciendas (estates) along the way. Guests can immerse themselves in local communities, take in the spectacular scenery and take part in activities such as horse riding, cheese making, hiking and cycling. Bookings made before October 15, 2015, will attract an extra nights’ accommodation and breakfast in historic Cuenca.
The journey will begin in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, with its well-preserved colonial town centre, vibrant markets and historic churches, before guests journey to the ‘Middle of the World’, an attraction where they can place a foot in each hemisphere across the line of the equator. The journey will continue to Cuicocha, a 3km-wide crater-lake, and Hacienda Cusin, a 17th-century estate with impressive gardens where guests will spend a night. Horse riding, mountain biking and hiking will on offer the following day, before travellers transfer to Hacienda “El Porvenir”, an authentic working farm surrounded by four volcanoes. The journey will continue through pine forests to a glacial Andean lake situated along the slopes of the Cotopaxi volcano, which at 5897m is the world’s highest active volcano.
Guests will ride the famous Devil’s Nose train, which traces the most treacherous piece of railway in the world through a series of mountain-side zigzags. The final night will be spent in Cuenca, a world heritage city complete with cobbled streets, cathedrals, monasteries, museums and an impressive city hall.
The tour costs from A$2490, twin-share and includes transportation, bilingual guide, museum entrance fees, excursions, 12 meals and six nights’ accommodation. An extra, seventh night and breakfast in Cuenca will be added for bookings made before October 15, 2015, so that guests can stay another day. The tour is available on any dates throughout 2016 and a single supplement is available from A$650.
For more information about the tour, contact Forward Travel on 1300 738 168, email or visit www.forwardtravel.com.au
For information on Ecuador visit the consumer site –www.ecuador.travel
Travel trade site: www.trade.allyouneedisecuador.travel