Chocolate Tasting Holidays in Ecuador

Ruta del Cacao

Ecuador: One Chocolate at a Time

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Exploring Ecuador's Chocolate

7 days on a chocolate tour of Ecuador for £1200pp

Ecuador produces some of the finest chocolate in the world, so we've planned a tour of Ecuador to let you experience the journey from bean to bar for yourself - with a few tasting opportunities along the way, of course!

Outline Itinerary

  • Day One: Arrival in Quito
  • Day Two: City tour and Chocolate Tasting Session
  • Day Three: Visit to Artesanal Workshop
  • Day Four: Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge
  • Day Five: Travel to Guayas
  • Day Six: Tour of Cacao Plantation
  • Day Seven: Overnight flight back to the UK

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Detailed Itinerary

Day One – Begin your Ecuador Holiday

You will arrive in Quito today as your Ecuador holidays begin. We’ll be there to pick you up and take you to your hotel, which is in the heart of the capital. You will probably want some time to rest and get used to the altitude so we have left the rest of the day free for you to relax. Your hotel is close to dozens of restaurants and cafes, as well as all the other facilities you'd expect from a capital city, so if you're feeling up to it then why not head on out and explore one of South America’s most beautiful capitals.

Day Two - City Tour and Chocolate Tasting

After breakfast we will pick you up and take you for a tour of Quito. We’ll focus on the beautiful colonial Old Town, with its winding cobbled streets and grand plazas. The area is a designated World Heritage Site, and it’s home to some of South America’s finest colonial architecture, including the stunning Cathedral and several other churches, all overlooked from the nearby Panecillo hill by the winged statue of the Virgin of Quito. This afternoon we’ll get out first taste of Ecuador’s famous cacao, sampling a selection of Pacari chocolates and learning what it takes to produce one of the countries favourite bars. (Breakfast included)

Day Three - Into the Cloud Forest

You will see a different aspect of Ecuador today, as we pick you after breakfast this morning for the drive down the western slopes of the Andes, towards the town of Mindo. This area is known throughout Ecuador as “Mindo Lindo” (Beautiful Mindo) for the stunning scenery you will see along the way. We will visit a small, family-run chocolate factory, where the whole process, from bean to bar, is done by hand. After sampling a brownie or a cup of hot cocoa, we will continue on to the Bellavista cloud forest reserve so you can settle in and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. In the afternoon we will take a guided hike out into the cloud forest to appreciate the huge variety of bird and plant-life we can find here. We will then return to the lodge to relax before dinner and a short briefing on tomorrow’s activities. (B/D)

Day Four - Cloud Forest Lodge

After breakfast this morning we will rise early to head out and see some more of the reserve’s amazing wildlife – toucans, parrots, quetzals, flying squirrels and agoutis can all be seen in the area and we’ll hope to see as many as possible. We will then head back to the lodge for lunch and then in the afternoon we recommend a longer hike down into the valley of the reserve, where you will be able to see a different selection of wildlife. (B/L/D)

Day Five – On to Guayas

Before breakfast this morning, we will head out into the reserve on a bird-watching expedition. After returning to the lodge for breakfast, we will go for a longer walk up into the hills around the lodge, ending our trail at one of the reserve’s beautiful waterfalls. After a final lunch back at the lodge, we will head back to the airport in Quito for the short flight south to Guayaquil. We will pick you up at the airport and head out of the city to the cacao plantations, where you will be spending the next couple of days at the Hacienda el Castillo farm. (B/L/D)

Day Six - Hacienda El Castillo

After breakfast this morning we will explore the hacienda and its surrounding 300 hectares of farmland. We will visit the cacao orchards where the fruits grow before being seeded for chocolate, before sampling some, of course! After a traditional lunch there is the opportunity to relax or further explore on horseback. (B/L/D)

Day Seven - International Flight Home

Sadly, today is your last day here in Ecuador, so we will return to the airport in Guayaquil after breakfast for your flight back to Quito. You will arrive in plenty of time to catch your international flight home. (B)

Options for our Ecuador Holidays

Amazon rainforest

Amazon Rainforest – 4 days from £750pp

Ecuador boasts some of the best-preserved stretches of the whole Amazon rainforest, and it’s easy to add some time in the jungle on to any of our Ecuador holidays. We work with a range of the best jungle lodges in Ecuador so you can pick the one that’s right for you: some are best for wildlife, some for contact with indigenous cultures, while some offer unique attractions such as canopy walkways, so you can walk through the treetops for a unique birds-eye view of this amazing environment.

Salinas Beach in Ecuador

Beach Break – 5 days from £550pp

Ecuador’s beautiful Pacific coast enjoys year-round Equatorial sunshine, so if you’d like to finish off your Ecuador holiday with some quality relaxation time, then a 5-day break at one of Ecuador’s loveliest beach hotels could be perfect. The trip begins with the flight south from Quito, giving you three full days on the beach, before we pick you up at the end of Day Five and take you back down the coast to the city of Guayaquil to board your international flight home.

Trains in Ecuador

Tren Crucero – 4 days from £950pp

This superb 4-day train journey allows you to experience the whole of Ecuador’s newly-restored railway network, with a journey all the way from Quito in the north, through the Cotopaxi National Park and down the infamous “Devil’s Nose” switchback through to Guayaquil on the Pacific Coast. Vintage steam locomotives will take you through two of the sections, with fabulously comfortable coaches and overnight accommodation in boutique haciendas along the way. There’s simply no better way to experience Ecuador than this.

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What's Included?

Our standard price for this chocolate tasting holiday in Ecuador is £1200 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels and lodge.

That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides and entrance fees, plus all your meals in the Cloud Forest and Guayas, and breakfast every day.

We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2017.

International flights

So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.

We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.

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