Ecuador HighLights 10 days
Discover the magic of Ecuador by traveling by train and trekking through the Avenue of Volcanoes, high in the Andes mountains, cruising the tropical Amazon rivers and exploring the cultural towns of indigenous Otavalo, Quito, Baños and Cuenca. On your journey learn all about the different local tribes and their cultures. The Ecuador Highlights trip is the perfect combination of cultural experiences, wildlife spotting, adventure activities and natural wonders that make Ecuador one of the most highly diverse countries on the planet.
- Visit a native local family in the middle of the Amazon jungle and look for the smallest monkey in the world (Pygmy Marmoset
- Breathtaking zig-zag train ride through the rocky slopes of the Andes and the switchbacks of the Devil's Nose
OTAVALO INDIGENOUS MARKET
THE SWING TO THE END OF THE WORLD
SOAKING IN VOLCANIC HOT SPRINGS OF PAPALLACTA
BAÑOS OUTDOOR TOWN
HUMMINGBIRDS SANCTUARY IN THE CLOUD FOREST
CULTURAL ENCOUNTERS WITH LOCAL TRIBES
AMAZON HIKING IN PRISTINE RAIN FOREST
PARROTS CLAY LICK
AMAZOONICO RESCUE CENTER
TUBING ALONG ARAJUNO RIVER
DEVILS´NOSE TRAIN RIDE
INGAPIRCA INCA SITE
CUENCA UNESCO CITY
PANAMA HAT FACTORY
Day 1: Quito
Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. ADVENTURE JOURNEYS can help you to organize a day trip (please request in advance). In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel’s lobby for a welcome briefing at 18:00 hours. At this time we will discuss the details and questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an acclimation and information day.
Accommodation:Dann Carlton Hotel or similar visit website
Day 2: Otavalo Market
Once in Otavalo, you will have plenty of time to stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, filled with the Otavalo Indigenous people wearing the traditional blue ponchos, white trousers and long braided hair. Learn all about their daily activities, typical food and native language. Explore their famous handicraft market, with its wonderful textiles, alpaca throws and rugs, knitted clothing native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and more at bargain prices.
In the afternoon, we will drive to Cotacachi to have lunch and witness the impressive leather goods of the town and enjoy the beauty of this small village. There will be some free time for you to explore the shops or simply relax while sipping on one of the best coffees in Ecuador in the main plaza.
Finally we will go to Peguche, a small village known for its waterfalls and wind instruments production
Accommodation: Hacienda Pinsaqui or similar visit website
Day 3: Papallacta - Hot Springs
Accommodation: Papallacta Spa Resort visit website
Day 4: Hummingbirds Sanctuary
Our first stop will be the Guango reserve, where we will have the unique opportunity to see many different species of hummingbirds in the wild. These small creatures are famous for their incredible ability to flap their wings rapidly, as well as for their bright colors.
Later, we also stop at the "Guacamayos-Macaw Lookout," located between Antisana and Sumaco National Reserves (low elevation cloud forest), to observe the magic blanket of clouds that covers the Amazon rain forest, until we finally arrive at the Arajuno River, where a motor canoe will take us 20 minutes up the river to the Itamandi Eco-Lodge.
Accommodation: Itamandi Amazon Eco-Lodge visit website
Day 5: Amazon Canoe Ride and Wildlife
Today we will also have the chance to learn how to make our own chocolate from the raw fruit.
Accommodation: Itamandi Amazon Eco-Lodge visit website
Day 6: Parrots Clay Lick and the Road of Waterfalls
In the late afternoon we will arrive to Baños, located right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. It has some eruptions every few months which delights visitors with lava and steam displays that can be viewed from a number of safe view points in the region. Here in Baños you can also visit a spa or another place to enjoy the hot springs of the area.
Accommodation: La Floresta or similar visit website
Day 7: Chimborazo Volcano
Accommodation: Chimborazo Lodge or similar visit website
Day 8: Devil's Nose Train - Inca Ruins - Cuenca
Accommodation: Hotel Carvallo
Day 9: Cuenca UNESCO City
Accommodation: Dann Carlton or similar visit website
Day 10: Quito - Departure
- Transportation:Airfare Cuenca-Quito one way, airport transfers (national flights), private and comfortable land transportation, train, motorized canoe
- Accommodation based on double occupancy:First Class hotel in Quito, colonial hacienda in Otavalo, 5-star Spa Resort Papallacta, Itamandi Eco-lodge in the Amazon, 3 or 4 star hotel in Baños, 5-star Andean lodge in Chimborazo, 3 or 4 star hotel in Cuenca
- Activities:Indigenous Market, volcanic hot springs, encounter with indigenous people, road of the waterfalls, hiking up the glacier of Chimborazo, trekking, bird watching in the Amazon, canoeing and wildlife observation in the rainforest, Amazoonico Animal Rescue Center, chocolate making with indigenous people, train to Devil's Nose, cultural visit of Cuenca.
- Meals: 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
- Gear: hiking sticks, life jackets
- Trip Leader:Certified AJ expert English-speaking adventure Trip Leader and local guides
- My Own Room supplement $350
- International flights
- Airport transfer (international flights)
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
- Meals not described in the itinerary - estimated budget USD $180 USD
- Travel insurance,
- Airline tickets,
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money),
- Pocket knife,
- Fleece top,
- 4 shirts/t-shirts,
- 1 pair of short,
- 2 pairs of long trousers,
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants,
- Sport sandals,
- Toiletries (biodegradable),
- Watch or alarm clock,
- Quick dry clothing,
- Rain coat,
- Rain pants,
- Waterproof binoculars,
- Bug spray,
- Sun cream,
- Sun Hat,
- Waterproof camera if possible,
- Swimming suit,
- Waterproof back pack,
- Water bottle,
- Tennis shoes,
- Hiking shoes,
- Money belt,
- First-aid kit(should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
- Dry bag for all your belongings
It is our intention to adhere to the itinerary described; however, due to our travel style, on occasions it may be necessary or desirable to make small changes. Weather conditions and unpredictable local circumstances may lead us to make alterations to the route and/or travel times. Hotels and flight schedules might change according to availability. Any mention to specific wildlife in the itinerary or trip details is not a guarantee that it will be seen during the trip.
From 2 to 3 hours driving average from place to place.
All-year (best from May to October)
Pichincha, Imbabura, Napo, Pastaza, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Cañar and Azuay.
All Inter-Andean Valleys and Andes ranges, Amazon Rainforest upper part, cloud forest and canyons.
From 500 to 5000m (1600 to 16500 ft).
Day 15-34ºC / 59-93ºF - Night 12-17ºC / 53-62ºF
Easy. This program will run from the high Andean Mountains to the tropical Amazonian rain forest, which involves the hiking in flat areas of the Amazon, a hike down the Pastaza canon to the Pailon Del Diablo waterfall for 1 km. Optional hike up to Chimborazo Volcano Base Camp 5000m.
Life jackets, hiking sticks.
Guides are certified as Wilderness First Aid Responders. We carry a complete first aid kit.
All prices are based on double-occupancy. If you are traveling solo, you will be matched with another participant of your same sex. If you prefer to have a single room, please contact AJ prior to your departure to arrange your accommodation at an extra cost.
Traveling with Adventure Journeys you will have the possibility to experience and taste local food and snacks. Your guide will help you identify typical food and suggest the best places to enjoy it. Some meals are not included in order to give you some flexibility about where, what and with whom to eat. You have the option to share these meals with the group, however there is no obligation to do this. If you have any allergies or food restrictions, please inform AJ prior to your departure.
Vegetarians, Vegans and Gluten Free people are very welcome in our trip, our guides are always ready to coordinate with chefs and restaurants for substitute meals for them, as Ecuador is very well known for its great diversity of gastronomy.
YOUR TRIP LEADERS AND GUIDES
All AJ guides and trip leaders are highly experienced, licensed from the Tourism University to operate in Ecuador and certified as Wilderness Adventure First Aid respondents. They all have approved several extra training courses for kayaking, rafting, biking and horse riding, besides this they all are Ecuadorian and have a fantastic personality. We always carry a complete first aid kit in our trips.
In some locations and for some activities, local guides join the trip leaders to provide an added service and make sure we practice sustainable tourism involving local indigenous people in our operation.
In the Galapagos Islands, minimum 4 participants for the AJ trip leader service are required.
SUSTAINABLE ECO AND CULTURAL TOURISM
Clients receive interpretation and education about the ecology and conservation of the Andes, Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands, and learn about the factors that threaten it. We aim to promote long-term conservation of both local people cultural identity and the environment. We transport out and recycle all non-organic garbage and we prefer to work with local suppliers. Your visit will encourage the local communities to support responsible eco-tourism as a sustainable alternative for their living.
Please inform AJ of any existing medical conditions (i.e. pregnancy, diabetes, etc). Yellow fever, Hepatitis B vaccination and Malaria Medication are mandatory for this trip. We strongly recommend to ensure that routine immunizations such as tetanus and diphtheria are up to date and to consider Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations. Please ask your doctor for advice.