Choose two of the following excursions to plan your day:
City Tour of Colonial Quito
Meet up with your guide for a private tour of Quito’s colonial center, commonly referred to as “old town.” Visit the striking La Compañia church, with an ornate baroque facade built entirely out of volcanic stone. Equally impressive is the Church of San Francisco, Quito’s largest colonial structure. Its adjacent museum houses much of the church’s original artwork, some of which dates back to the early 1600s. See the Virgin of Quito (El Panecillo), an enormous statue of an elegant winged woman who watches over the city from an impressive vantage point atop a 650-foot peak. The site offers sweeping 360-degree views of Quito and the surrounding valley below.
Yanacocha Nature Walk
Join your guide for a memorable morning of birding in the Yanacocha Reserve, in the high-altitude, elfin Polylepis forest on the western slope of Pinchincha Volcano. The reserve was established in 2001, with involvement from the local community, to protect some of Ecuador’s aviary treasures. You can find the critically endangered, endemic black-breasted puffleg (the iconic bird of Quito) and large Andean hummingbirds including the Great Sapphirewing and the Sword-billed Hummingbird. The reserve has stunning views of the volcanic summit and is also home to wildlife like the puma and spectacled bear.
Travel to zero degrees latitude for a visit to the Mitad del Mundo equatorial monument. Stand with one foot in each hemisphere and enjoy a series of interactive experiments demonstrating the gravitational forces surrounding the site. Later this afternoon return to your Quito hotel and enjoy an evening on your own.
A traditional Andean lunch, entrance fees, private Andean Discovery guide and transportation are included.