Ecuador Highlands

Explore Ecuador's culinary traditions in this journey to Quito and the highlands.

Country Information

Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

Ecuador Highlands Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

(Interest Type(s))

Romantic Getaways


Sustainable Travel


Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

6 Days

Tour Highlights

Starting at: $6,350
  • Join renowned chef, Esteban Tapia, who is part of the Slow Food Movement, as he explores the colorful food, fruit and vegetable market of Sangolqui
  • Savor a private chocolate tasting with the chocolatier Jeffrey Stern, a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school in Gaithersburg, MD, who shares with you the history of Ecuadorian cacao
  • Travel into the highlands to visit the Indian market of Otavalo, one of the oldest and most famous markets in the Andes
  • Savor a stay at a 16th-century hacienda and working farm in the spectacular Andean mountains at an elevation of 2,800 meters/9,600 feet
  • Enjoy a range of options including hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding as well as excursions to an embroidery workshop, the condor-raising project a dairy and cheese factory and the site of 130 Caranqui mounds constructed around 1200 A.D.

Day 1: Quito, Ecuador
Welcome to Ecuador.  You are greeted are the airport and transferred to the hacienda on the outskirts of the city.  The remainder of the day is at leisure.  Enjoy dinner tonight in the hacienda’s dining room, hosted by the owners, the Count and the Countess Jijon y Caamaño.  Chillo Jijon Mansion – Double Standard (D)

Day 2:  Quito
This morning, the hacienda’s renowned chef, Esteban Tapia, who specializes in organic foods and is part of the Slow Food Movement, accompanies you on a visit to the colorful food, fruit and vegetable market of Sangolqui.  During the visit, you will learn about the local products and how to prepare them. After the visit, continue on to hacienda la Alegria, where you will enjoy a cooking lesson in the organic garden of the hacienda hosted by the chef.  During the lesson, Esteban will introduce you to the history of the Ecuadorian cuisine and will share with you secrets to preparing some of the most traditional Ecuadorian dishes.  He pairs the dishes with the finest Chilean wines that you will enjoy with the lunch you and chef have prepared.  In the afternoon, you can enjoy a short ride around the estate before heading back to Chillo Jijon.  Dinner at the hacienda.  Chillo Jijon Mansion – Double Standard (B,L,D)

Day 3: Quito
The day starts with a special treat… a private visit to one of the most important artisan chocolate businesses in the city. Here, the renowned chocolatier Jeffrey Stern, a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school in Gaithersburg, MD, shares with you a detailed explanation about the Ecuadorian cacao, detailing the different cacao growers and brands as well as the types of cacao. You will also learn more about local cooperatives and about certifications such as the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance. During this visit, you will savor a delightful chocolate tasting of some of the finest chocolates coming from the best local producers.  Following the tasting session, you will take a tour with Jeffrey to one of the most important chocolate factories in the area, where you will be able to see the how the process of creating these amazing chocolates.  Then, return to Chillo Jijon for lunch.  This afternoon, you are at leisure to relax or enjoy a walk in the hacienda’s park.  This evening, you will be met at the hacienda for a drive to Quito in a deluxe classic car to enjoy a visit in the old city with its artistically illuminated historical buildings. Then, continue on to La Compañia de Jesús Church, the most beautiful church in the city and one of the best examples of Baroque style in South America. Enjoy a private tour of this fantastic church to learn about and admire its treasured art masterpieces.  You will relish a gourmet dinner at the chef’s table of the Alma Restaurant, one of the finest in the city.  Return to Chillo Jijon after dinner.  Chillo Jijon Mansion – Double Standard (B,L,D)

Day 4: Quito / Otavalo / Zuleta
Set out early this morning from Quito to the Northern Andes, passing through beautiful valleys and fields, and next to Cayambe Volcano (5,790 m/18,997 ft).  Then continue on to the Indian market of Otavalo. This ancient market is thousands of years old and famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles and tapestries.  Visit the handicraft market and then the food market, where you learn more about how the to prepare some of the most traditional dishes.  Lunch will be served at a local hacienda.  This afternoon, you travel to the hacienda Zuleta. Dating from the late 16th century, the hacienda lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range and is a colonial working farm of 2,000 hectares/4,000 acres that for more than a century has belonged to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador. Before the hacienda, the region’s original inhabitants were the peace-loving Caranquis, an agrarian-based culture that thrived with the rich in volcanic soils. They were there from about 800 A.D. until the arrival of the Incas in the late 1470’s.  Within the grounds 130 Caranqui Mounds, which were constructed around 1200 A.D.  These earth mounds were necessary to protect buildings such as huts, sheds and temples from the humidity of the ground. The hacienda’s 14 beautifully decorated bedrooms each feature their own fireplace. The cuisine is prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the hacienda. This evening, you have dinner at the hacienda.  Zuleta is known for serving some of the best regional cuisine in the Ecuadorian Andes. Hacienda Zuleta - Double Deluxe (B,L,D)

Day 5: Zuleta
Today you have many options to enjoy a full day at the hacienda Zuleta and the surrounding areas. Among the activities available are hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and excursions to the embroidery workshop, the condor-raising project, the dairy and cheese factory, and the organic garden.  The hacienda has about 100 horses, some pure Andalusians and some polo horses, and a mix of Andalusian, quarter horse and thoroughbred making for a unique horseback riding experience. Hacienda Zuleta – Double Deluxe  (B,L,D)

Day 6: Zuleta / Depart
Set out from the hacienda to the flower plantations in the Cayambe area, and visit one of the most important rose farms in the highlands to learn more about the growth and export procedures of the Ecuadorian roses. Lunch will be served at Hacienda La Compañia, one of the oldest haciendas in the area and still a private property. In the afternoon, you transfer directly to the airport to board your onward international flight. (B,L)

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  From $6350

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