Challenge yourself and join this magical adventure to the Ecuadorian mainlands; the largest biodiversity on earth and the richest geography are located here along the equator. Bike down the slopes of Tungurahua, an active volcano; explore the colorful Andean fields on horseback; discover hidden treasures by climbing up waterfalls in the Amazon rain forest; fight large waves by rafting on the Jatunyacu River; trek to the rim of Cuicocha Crater Lake; soak in Papallactas’ volcanic waters. Experience fantastic cultural encounters with two local indigenous communities – learning about their customs, food, knowledge and life-style in the Andes and Amazon regions.
- Duration: 8 days
- Arrival: Daily
- Departure: Daily
- Destinations: Quito, Otavalo, Amazon, Baeza
|Day 1||Arrival in Quito||—||Quito|
|Day 3||Biking in Llanganates National Park||(B)||Otavalo|
|Day 4||Waterfalls and Canyoning in the Amazon||(B) (L)||Amazon Lodge|
|Day 5||River Rafting / Volcano Hot Springs||(B) (L) (D)||Baeza|
|Day 6||Hiking the cloud Forest||(B) (L)||Otavalo|
|Day 7||Trekking the Loop||(B)||Quito|
Day 01: Arrival in Quito
Welcome to Quito! The biggest, and most-preserved colonial city of the America’s that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. ThIS city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. Depending on arrival time, you may spend your day exploring the town of Quito and the surrounding area. If you desire, our team can help organize a day trip for you. In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel for a welcome briefing where there will be plenty of time to discuss the details of your trip and answer any questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an informational and acclimation day.
Day 02: Trekking Adventure
After breakfast, we leave Quito driving southwards alongside the beautiful “Avenue of Volcanoes”, while also enjoying the colorful Andean fields. On our way, we will reach a height of 12,000 feet. Upon arrival to the Cotopaxi National Park, we will go hiking around Limpiopungo Lagoon, located at the foot of the Ruminñahui volcano, from which we will have the best views of the Cotopaxi Volcano, the most active volcano in the world. In the afternoon, we continue our drive towards the Llanganates National Park, which is known as the sacred mountain, until we reach the town of Baños, located at the entrance of the Amazon. Here we can enjoy the night life by drinking cocktails and dancing salsa.
Day 03: Biking in the Llanganates National Park
In the morning we will mountain bike from the Llanganates National Park down to the Pastaza River Canyon, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the cloud forest. The road takes us through a variety of Andean farms and through the beautiful canyons that host many waterfalls. While descending into the jungle, we will have a breath-taking view of Baños, very well known for its spectacular location right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, active since 1999, which is the main attraction of this region. In the afternoon we will have some time to explore the town and then we will enjoy the night life.
Day 04: Road of Waterfalls and Canyoning in the Amazon
This morning we will hit the road, exploring all of the waterfalls. The first stop will be at the Bride’s Veil Waterfall, where we will take the Tarabita (cable car) to get across the Pastaza River. Then we will hike down to the Pailon del Diablo Waterfall, the second highest in Ecuador. Later, we will go deeper into the jungle inside the Llanganates National Park. The name “llanganates” comes from “beautiful mountain” in the local native language. 600 years ago, the Incas hid their golden treasure here. Although explorers spent many years searching for this treasure, some of it has disappeared in the hick pristine jungle. During a 3-hour hike through the tropical jungle, we will climb along several white-water waterfalls. This is a humid and warm area will make our experience a bit more challenging, so get ready to wear your rubber boots and enjoy the magnificence of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Our local, native guide, will tell us more about the incredible nature and wildlife that we will see. We will spend the night at the local, basic, Jungle Lodge.
Day 05: Jatunyacu River Rafting and Volcanic Hot Springs
We greet the day by preparing our gear to paddle the wild waves of the Jatunyacu River, located one hour away from the entrance of the Llanganates National Park. This river will inspire you and reveal the magic of the Amazon rainforest. After a very important safety briefing from our rafting guides, we will start our class III rafting expedition down the Jatunyacu River, well known for its clean water and awesome rapids. We will have lots of fun playing games and also exploring one of the canyons. At the end of the journey, we will a stop for a picnic prepared by our guides. We conclude our day with a drive back up to the Andes, stopping to visit the paradise of hummingbirds in Guango Reserve and finally continuing up to the volcanic hot springs resort, where we will spend the night.
Day 06: Hiking the Cloud Forest, Hummingbirds Paradise & Otavalo Market
After a 2-hour bird-watching tour through the cloud forest, we will travel across the Andes to visit Otavalo and its amazing indigenous handcraft market. Here, we will have a stop for some shopping and exploring the market. Later in the afternoon, we’ll be taken to the slopes of the Imbabura Volcano to enjoy a nice cultural encounter with the local people and learn the traditional way of living while sharing daily activities with the families. In the evening we will take part of an organic cooking lesson using the local products. Our accommodations for the night will be a home-stay with different local families of the San Clemente community.
Day 07: Trekking the Loop of Cuicocha Crater Lake
Today our adventure will be a 5-hour hike around the Cuicocha Lagoon, or otherwise known as crater lake, with breathtaking views of the active volcano and of the amazing valleys located in Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserve. On this trek, we will reach an altitude of 11880 ft and hike 9 miles around the crater. At the end of our hike, we will take a boat ride to the center of the crater to observe the activity of this volcano, watching bubbles coming up from the center of the crater. Once here, you will be able to jump in and go for a refreshing swim in the volcanic waters. In the afternoon we will drive back to Quito.
Day 08: Departure & End of Services
International departures, and end of services. Take with you memories and photos, and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador as soon as possible to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a “buen viaje”!
- Transportation: Private and comfortable land transportation
- Accommodation based on double occupancy: First class hotel in Quito, 4-star hotel in Baños, home stay in the jungle, 5-star spa resort in Papallacta, home-stay in San Clemente
- Meals: 6 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
- Activities: 2 hours horseback riding on the slopes of the central Andes, 3 hours biking in the Llanganates national park, 4 hours white-water rafting on Jatunyacu River in the Amazon rainforest, 2 hours canyoning at Pimpilala waterfalls, bird-watching and hiking exploration in the cloud forest, soaking in Papallacta hot springs, 5 hours trekking around the loop of Cuicocha active volcano, share time with local indigenous people, salsa lesson, organic cooking lessons with local people in the Andes
- Gear: trekking sticks, high-quality MTB (disc brakes, front suspension), helmets, gloves, rubber boots, ropes, 7-people- rafts, life jackets, paddles
- Trip Leader: Certified expert, English-speaking adventure trip leader and local guides
- Your own room supplies
- Airport transpiration (international flights)
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
- Meals not described in the itinerary – estimated budget $120 USD