Monday, February 3rd, 2014
After a flight from Manta to Quito, Ecuador's vibrant capital, you will drive to the Old Town. This part of Quito has been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, primarily because it features Latin America's best-preserved and least-altered historic district, which was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city.
As you walk along the charming cobblestone streets of Old Town, you will notice the architectural influence of the Spanish in the lively plazas and red-tiled roof buildings. One of the highlights is the extraordinarily ornate La Compañia de Jesus church. Although the Jesuits began its construction in 1605, the church wasn't completed for another 160 years. More than 1,000 pounds of gold were used throughout the extravagant interior alone, and it's an amazing sight.
Lunch will be enjoyed at Pim's Itchimbía, a hilltop restaurant which boasts one of the most spectacular views in Quito. After lunch you will check-in at the Swissotel complete with a Welcome Cocktail and a live professional group performing some of Ecuador's most important dances. Upon completion of the performance and check-in, you will have a few hours at leisure so you can relax and adjust to the altitude. You might take advantage of the hotel's amenities such as the spa and swimming pool, or explore the surrounding Floresta neighborhood.
In the evening, you will enjoy a traditional Ecuadorian dinner at La Choza Restaurant . In a colorful and cozy environment decorated with indigenous art from around the country, you can sample typical Ecuadorian dishes from different regions, in a rich menu that brings together indigenous flavors and international expertise.
Afterwards, you will return to the hotel for the night.
Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Following breakfast, you will drive to the nearby Middle of the World, a complex of museums and shops that lies on the equator. The name Ecuador is derived from this equatorial line around the earth's circumference, which a French scientific expedition determined in the 18th century.
While here, you will also visit the Inti Ñan Museum, a center for promoting the culture of Ecuador, often through life-size dioramas. The museum contains the world's only solar clock with two faces on the equator, an agricultural calendar, and a stone index that shows the four seasons, as well as the solstices and equinoxes.
After the enlightening experience at the Middle of the World, you will transfer to the Quito airport for your flight to Guayaquil, where you will rejoin the ship. A box lunch is included.
Overland Program Step by Step:
Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The flights and timings indicated are approximate, and are given here for reference purposes and are subject to change.
7:15am After arriving in Manta, transfer to the airport - suggest flying with carry-on only
7:30am Arrival at the airport and check-in for your flight
8:30am Fly to Quito (airline and flight number TBA and subject to change)
9:15am Arrival to Quito Airport
9:30am Drive from the airport to the Old Town
11:00am Walking tour of the Old Town
1:00pm Drive to Itchimbia Viewpoint
1:15pm Lunch at Pim's Itchimbia Restaurant
2:30pm Photo opportunity
2:45pm Transfer to the Swissotel
3:15pm Check-in and Welcome Cocktail
3:45pm Afternoon at leisure
7:00pm Drive to La Choza Restaurant
8:45pm Drive to the hotel
Overnight at Swissotel or similar hotel
7:45am Wake-up call
8:15am Buffet breakfast in one of the hotel's private rooms
9:00am Drive to the Middle of the World
9:45am Visit the Inti Ñan Museum
11:45am Drive to the Quito airport
1:20pm Arrive at the airport and check-in
2:20pm Fly to Guayaquil (airline and flight number TBA and subject to change)
3:10pm Arrive at Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport and transfer to the ship
4:00pm Arrival at the ship
January is normally cool and rainy in the highlands and Guayaquil.
What to Bring:
Comfortable walking shoes, rain gear, sunscreen and sunglasses.
Currency: U.S. dollars are accepted.
Electricity: 110V. There are adaptors at the Swissotel. Plug configuration is the same as in the United States
Luggage: Up to 20 pounds per person maximum
Documents and visa Requirements: Passport with at least 6 months validity.
Swissotel or similar hotel - standard room
If a similar hotel is required due to unforeseen circumstances, it will be of equal ratings and standards.
" 1 night accommodation in Quito
" All entrance fees
" Gratuities for luggage, porterage and restaurants
" Lunch at the Swissotel
" 2 non-alcoholic drinks with lunch
" Dinner at Pim's Itchimbía
" Meals as specified
" Bottled water and snacks on coaches
" Airfare - economy class
" Alcoholic drinks
" Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
" Any other meals or drinks not listed above
" Gratuities to drivers and guides
Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces which may include: inclines, cobblestones, sand, and gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Guests who utilize a wheelchair and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather appropriate clothing; hats; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are generally recommended.