This week's smart deal comes from the tour provider Friendly Planet (tel. 800/555-5765; www.friendlyplanet.com), which is offering a trip to Ecuador for eight days from $1,299, based on departures from Miami. The price is valid for trips booked by December 16 and represents a savings of up to $800 per couple.
Called "Exotic Ecuador", the trip includes Quito, Otavalo, Baños, Cotopaxi and the Amazon rainforest. The lowest advertised price represents six departure dates February-May 2010; there is one trip with space available this year on December 3, priced from $1,349. It covers airfare, fuel surcharges, ground transportation and transfers, 19 meals, the services of an English-speaking tour guide, and sightseeing fees. You'll arrive in Quito and have time to take a tour of the city, which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and a volcano, Mt. Pichincha. The colonial Old Town features architecture dating to the 1500s and beautiful old churches. Other highlights give travelers a glimpse at an indigenous population, the Otalveño Indians, along with several other towns known for various types of traditional handicrafts. And then, of course, there's a trip to the mighty Amazon.
There are, however, a couple of caveats. Because of the exceedingly high altitudes you'll experience during this trip, the company recommends that you should be in good physical condition to really take advantage of the trip. Unusually, other departures are not available, so you'll need to book a connecting flight separately if you aren't close to Miami.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers in our Ecuador Forum today.