Ecuador with a rental car

15 days - from € 2,700 per person

self-drive - Andes - active

  • Discover the highlights of Ecuador with your own rental car
  • Stay in rural haciendas
  • Drive along the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”
  • Cycle by mountain bike past waterfalls and hot springs
  • Admire the enormous blue domes of the cathedral in Cuenca

Travel itinerary

Day 1: Amsterdam – Quito

On this day you will board your intercontinental flight from Amsterdam to the Ecuadorian capital Quito. Upon arrival, our local staff will welcome you and take you to your accommodation. You will stay in the charming hotel Casona de la Ronda, located within walking distance of the historic center of Quito. An ideal location, on the only cobbled street, from where you can explore the city of Quito.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casona de la Ronda | bed & breakfast

Day 2: Quito

Today you have time to explore Quito by yourself. This attractive city, situated at about 2800 meters altitude in the Andes Valley, has a rich past and a beautiful colonial centre. From almost every spot in the city you have a view of one of the many volcanoes that surround the city. The old colonial part of the city centre (Centro Histórico) has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The colorful, picturesque streets, the busy squares and the authentic local atmosphere are what makes this part of the city worth a visit. In the morning, we highly recommend you to ride the telefériQo (cable car) to get off at an altitude of 4,000 metres with a view of the entire city.  In the new part of the city centre there are nice shops and markets to find. In the old town you will find the beautiful squares Plaza de la Independencia and Plaza San Fransisco. Within walking distance of the Centro Historico, you will find the Basílica del Voto Nacional, where you can climb the 115-metre-high towers. From here, you will have a spectacular view over the city.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casona de la Ronda | bed & breakfast

Day 3: Quito – Otavalo

(approx. 100 km | 2 hour drive)
In the morning you will be picked up at your hotel and together with an English speaking driver-guide you will be taken to the car rental company. Here you will pick up your rental car and once in possession of your rental car you will drive on your own to your accommodation in Otavalo, located north of Quito. Along the way you can visit the monument "Mitad del Mundo", where you pass the equator. You drive through a hilly area and once you have left the city behind you, getting closer to Oatavalo, you will also see some farmlands. The predominantly Indian population of Otavalo is dressed in artfully woven costumes, which you will also find at the market. The women wear richly embroidered blouses and gold-colored necklaces, the men are dressed in white clothes with blue ponchos. Some of the men have now switched to western jeans, but they have remained faithful to the traditional hairstyle: a long black tail or braid under a black hat. Thanks to their commercial spirit and willingness to travel, the Otalaveños are Ecuador's most prosperous group of Indians. The music groups that play 'Andean music' in the streets of European cities almost all come from Otavalo.
Overnight stay: Hacienda Pinsaqui | bed & breakfast

Day 4: Otavalo 

This day is scheduled off. The Otalaveños are also famous for their weaving art. At Plaza de Ponchos, the central market square, you can buy woven carpets, hammocks, sweaters and of course ponchos. Throughout the city, the extensive, famous market is held on Saturdays. A nice place to buy souvenirs for your home. Don't forget to take a look at the cattle market in the early morning. In the area of Otavalo you can go horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and rafting. Just outside Otavalo you can visit the Cuicocha crater lake. It was created when the top of the mountain collapsed during a violent eruption (about 3,000 years ago). When you walk on the edge of the lake, you will be surrounded by the peaks of the Imbabura and the Cotacachi volcano. The waterfall of Peguche is also perfect for walking or cycling. Other possible excursions include visits to the surrounding villages of Cuicocha, Cotocachi and San Antonio de Ibarra. These villages are known for their excellent textile, leather and wood carving. 
Overnight stay: Hacienda Pinsaqui | bed & breakfast

Day 5: Otavalo – Cotopaxi 

(approx. 200 km | 3.5 hour drive)
After breakfast you drive on to your next destination, Cotopaxi. You will drive over the avenue of volcanoes. Along the way you can make some interesting stops, such as the town of Latacunga, located on the Panamericana road. At first glance this does not seem like a special city, but behind the grey blocks of volcanic stone there is a picturesque center with cobbled stones streets. The name Latacunga in the indigenous language means 'the country of my choice'. On Saturdays there is a large market in the Plaza de San Sebastian. You can also visit the Zumbahua market, which is also held on Saturdays. Here you can taste the rural atmosphere amidst the indigenous people. The market of Zumbahua is one of the most colorful in the country and is not yet visited by large crowds of tourists. 
Overnight stay: Hacienda Hato Verde | half board (breakfast and dinner)

Day 6 and 7: Cotopaxi 

Those are free days, so you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings of where you are staying. A visit to the Cotopaxi National Park with its 5897-meter-high volcano is for many a highlight of their visit to Ecuador. In Quechua the word Cotopaxi means 'Neck of the Moon'. In this nature park you will enjoy the paramo landscape and you will have the chance to see various animals, such as the llama, fox, falcon, deer and with some luck a condor! At a 1.5 hour drive from the Cotopaxi National Park you will find Lake Quilotoa. This is a crater lake bordered by a volcanic mountain. The lake is almost circular and has a bright blue-green colour. Quilotoa is located at an altitude of over 3,500 metres. This particular area has special characteristics that can only be found here. Desert, bizarre mountain landscapes and small colourful villages complete this beautiful landscape. These small Andean villages are surrounded by Andean forest and Paramo.
Overnight stay: Hacienda Hato Verde | half board (breakfast and dinner)

Day 8: Cotopaxi – Baños 

(approx. 100 km | 2 hour drive)
You drive on to Baños today. Baños (Spanish for bath) owes its name to the many hot springs that can be found in the area. The town is also called the entrance to the Amazon and is surrounded by beautiful green natural landscapes.
Overnight stay: Hacienda Manteles | bed & breakfast

Day 9: Baños

In the Baños area you can find a lot of nature. This day you can visit the various waterfalls in the area. From Baños, you can rent mountain bikes or drive the Ruta de las Cascadas (Waterfalls Route) by rental car. On the way you will find no less than seven waterfalls, the highlight being the Pailón del Diablo. Baños is a small town that is widely known in Ecuador for its miracles. The side corridor of the cathedral is full of crutches of cured patients. The sick are said to have been cured by the water that comes from the thermal springs. A visit to the Casa del Arbol is highly recommended. Two swings are attached to this tree house, where you can swing above the clouds and enjoy a breath-taking view. Located just behind Banos you can find the Sangay National Park. Its volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Overnight stay: Hacienda Manteles | bed & breakfast

Day 10: Baños – Riobamba

(approx. 80 km | 2 hour drive)
Today you will drive to Riobamba. Near Riobamba you can find the Chimborazo, with 6310 meters, the highest mountain of Ecuador, which you can visit this day. For the real mountaineers it is possible to climb it. In the surroundings of Riobamba you can make a beautiful horseback ride along the paramo landscape or go mountain biking. 
Overnight stay: Hacienda Abraspungo | half board (breakfast & dinner)

Day 11: Riobamba – Cuenca 

(approx. 90 km | 2 hour drive)
Today you will first drive to the train station of Alausi where you will board the so-called Devil's nose train. This route is the most spectacular part of the original route from Quito to Guayaquil. The Devil's nose is the last point of the journey and is known for the difference in altitude that the train crosses. In fact, the descent is so steep that conventional hairpin bends no longer suffice. To be able to descend anyway, the train zigzags successively forwards and backwards between switches. At the time, the route shortened this journey between Guayaquil and Quito from two weeks to two days. The commercial usefulness of the route has gone by since the construction of several highways, therefore the route had fallen into disrepair. Because of tourism, parts of the track have been restored. On your return to Alausi you can drive on to Cuenca. On your way you can visit Ingapirca, one of the few Inca ruins in Ecuador. 
Overnight stay: Hotel Santa Lucía | bed & breakfast

Day 12: Cuenca

Enjoy your day off in Cuenca and discover the city by yourself. The Inca city 'Tomebamba' used to be located, where the city of Cuenca is now. When the Spaniards colonized this region in 1547, the old Inca city was completely destroyed. Only a few wall from the Inca time remained, those can be found on the banks of the river with the same name. The city owes its cultural aura to its historic center with its narrow picturesque alleys, many churches and stately colonial buildings. Furthermore, the city has beautiful squares and several museums. The 52 churches in the historic center of the city are impressive. Be sure to visit the hat factory of 'Homero Ortega', where the best Panama hats in the world are made. Among others Al Capone had his hats made here. In the factory it becomes clear how the hats are made and how much time this can take. Some hats are being worked on for more than six months.
Overnight stay: Hotel Santa Lucía | bed & breakfast

Day 13: Cuenca – El Cajas – Guayaquil 

(approx. 200 km | 4 hour drive)
Today you will drive the last part in your rental car to Guayaquil. On the way it is highly recommended to visit the national park El Cajas, a beautiful mountainous nature reserve. The altitude in this area varies between 3000 and 4500 meters and consists of mountains and a large number of glacial lakes. Here you can make beautiful walks. Then you drive further towards the coast to Guayaquil. It is a beautiful route where you drive from the Andes to the coast, you leave the mountainous landscape and arrive in the coastal area of Ecuador, passing many banana plantations, sugar cane and cocoa plantations along the way. You drop off your rental car at the airport and you will be taken to your hotel. 
Overnight stay: Hotel Oro Verde Guayaquil | bed & breakfast

Day 14: Guayaquil – Amsterdam

In the afternoon you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to Guayaquil airport where you will board your intercontinental night flight to Amsterdam.

Day 15: Amsterdam

You arrive in Amsterdam today.



From € 2,700 per person

  • Based on 2 persons traveling together
  • Depending on time of booking, availability of accommodations and the period of travel


  • 13 hotel overnights, meals as stated
  • 11 days rental car (cat.: Suzuki Grand Vitara or similar alternative) incl. basic insurance, with pick-up in Quito and drop-off in Guayaquil
  • all transfers and excursions as stated
  • our backup 24/7; locally and in the Netherlands
  • extensive travel documents package with small attention

Not included:

  • international flights, if you wish, we reserve these for you
  • early check-in / late check-out, based on availability, this is sometimes provided by the hotel. If you want to be sure that you have this, ask us about the additional cost.
  • (Dutch) public contribution Calamity fund; € 2.50,- per booking
  • SGR contribution of € 5,- per person per booking
  • travel and cancellation insurance

Request travel proposal

Would you like to make this tour too? We can of course arrange the above trip for you, but we are also happy to put together a programme based on your wishes and ideas. Feel free to contact us. Call us on +31 73 610 62 04, send an e-mail to or ask us to plan your trip. We are happy to help. 

Request travel proposal

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