Challenge yourself and join this magical adventure in the Ecuadorian mainland, where the largest biodiversity on earth and the richest geography are located along the Equator line. Bike down the slopes of the eastern Andean Mountain Range with great views of Tungurahua active volcano, explore the colorful Andean fields, discover the hidden treasures by climbing up waterfalls in the Amazon rainforest, fight large waves by rafting on the Jatunyacu River, trek to the rim of Cuicocha Crater Lake and soak in Papallacta’s volcanic waters. Experience a fantastic cultural encounter with an indigenous family in the Amazon, learning about their customs, food, knowledge and life-style.
"Unique Experiences" - Prepare chocolate the ancestral way with a native Kichwa family in the Amazon Rainforest. - Stay with a Local Family
Certified expert English-speaking Adventure
Use of bicycle
Rubber boots, ropes, harnesses and helmets
Aire and NRS 7-people- rafts, NRS life jackets, NRS paddles, splash jackets
Travel Insurance (mandatory)
Departure & Return
Hotel Swissôtel Quito, Av 12 de Octubre 1820 y, Luis Cordero, Quito 170525, Ecuador
Traveler pickup is offered
Returns to original departure point
What To Expect
ARRIVAL IN QUITO CITY
Quito Old Town
Meet your AJ trip leader and group at 6:00pm.
Welcome to Quito! The largest, best-preserved colonial city of America - declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and is located on the equator in a valley at the foothills of the Pichincha volcano. 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.
After breakfast, we leave Quito driving southwards along the gorgeous Avenue of Volcanoes, getting the chance to see the colorful Andean fields. On our way, we will reach 12,000 feet. (3657 meters). After arriving at the Cotopaxi National Park, we will go hiking around Limpiopungo lagoon of the foot hills of the Rumiñahui volcano. From here, we have the best views of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world.
In the afternoon we continue our drive towards the Llanganates National Park, known as the sacred mountain, until we reach the town of Baños, located at the entrance of the Amazon. Here we can enjoy the best night life by drinking cocktails and dancing salsa.
Trekking Activity Level - Moderate, this adventure is at high elevation, make sure you drink a lot of water or coca tea (in case of altitude sickness). The trail is on dirt surrounded by bushes and grass.
Trekking Time: 3 hours Trekking Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km) Elevation Gain: 1200 feet (366 meters) Minimum Elevation: 12700 feet (3870 meters) Maximum Elevation: 13850 feet (4222 meters)
NOTE - In case the weather and physical conditions are good you may trek to the Basecamp and the maximum elevation would be 16000 feet. (488 meters)
What to wear today: Pants, t-shirt, fleece, hiking shoes, gloves, hat, buff, bring rain jacket and pants, water bottle, sun cream, binoculars.
This morning we cross country mountain bike from the Llanganates National Park down to the Pastaza River Canyon, enjoying the beauty of the special cloud rain forest climate. The road brings us through some Andean farms and a great canyon with many waterfalls. While descending into the jungle, we will have a breath-taking view of Baños, a town well known for its spectacular location right at the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. The volcano is the main attraction of this region. In the afternoon we will have some time to explore the town and also go to The Swing of the End of the World, where the winner of the 2014 National Geographic photo contest took his photo.
Biking Activity Level - Moderate, mostly downhill, the first 45 minutes up hill and then afterwards just down. You will be riding on cobblestone and dirt roads for the first two hours, and 1 hour on asphalt.
Biking Time: 3 hours Biking Distance: 20 miles (32.18 km) Elevation Gain: 500 feet (152 meters) Minimum Elevation while Biking: 5500 feet (1676 meters) Maximum Elevation while Biking: 10450 feet (3185 meters) NOTE - In case you want to avoid the uphill, there will always be the support of our transportation, and our driver will be happy to give you a ride till you decide to join the biking group.
What to wear today: Shorts, t-shirt, fleece, tennis shoes, buff, bring rain jacket and pants, water bottle, sun cream, mosquito repellent.
THE ROUTE OF WATERFALLS AND CANYONING IN THE AMAZON
Ruta de las cascadas
This morning we will hit the road 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. Here, 600 years ago, the Incas hid their golden treasures. Many explorers have spent years looking for these treasures, some have even disappeared with no luck in this dense pristine jungle. During a hike through the tropical rain forest, we will climb through several waterfall canyons. Our local native guide will teach about the incredible flora and fauna that thrive in this unequaled habitat. We will spend the night at the Local Basic Jungle Lodge run by a kichwa indigenous family.
Canyoning Activity Level - Moderate, the jungle exploration will be done while hiking on the canyon that has been formed by the waterfalls and the Pimpilala river, so you will be hiking on irregular terrain and water surrounded by rain forest. The weather can be hot and humid which would make this a very refreshing activity. The highest waterfall to climb is 16 feet (4.87 meters) and the rest are smaller, we will use helmets, ropes and bring optional harnesses for people that want to use them.
Canyoning Time: 3 hours Canyoning Distance: 2 miles (3.22 km) Elevation Gain: 500 feet (152.4 meters) Minimum Elevation while Canyoning: 2000 feet (609.6 meters) Maximum Elevation while Canyoning: 2500 feet (762 meters) What to wear today: Shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, water sandals, rain jacket, water bottle, sun cream, mosquito repellent.
NOTE - This is a very basic accommodation, you will have your own room but will have to share the bathroom. The rooms are very clean and all the beds have mosquito nets. There is no electricity in the room but there is a social area where you can have access to power to charge your batteries.
We greet the day by preparing our gear to paddle the wild waves of the Jatunyacu River, located just a 5 minute drive from the homestead. The beauty of this river will inspire you and reveal the magic of the Amazon rain forest. 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 clear waters and awesome rapids. We will have a lot of fun playing some games and also exploring one of the canyons. The end of the journey offers us 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 at the Guango Reserve. Finally, we will continue up to Papallacta, where we will stay the night and recharge in the volcanic hot springs high in the midst of the cool Andes.
Rafting Activity Level - Moderate, this is considered a class III river for white water rafting. There are some awesome waves and also plenty of flat water to go swimming. The river is surrounded by amazing views of the Amazon landscape.
Rafting Time: 4 hours, depending on the level of the water, it can be less time. Rafting Distance: 18 miles (28.96 km)
What to wear today: Shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, water sandals, water bottle, sun cream, mosquito repellent.
HIKING THE CLOUD FOREST & OTAVALO INDIGUENOUS MARKET
In the morning we will do a hiking exploration in the nearby Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve, there is beautiful flora that included colorful orchids, and while walking slowly and quiet you may see some beautiful birds too, later we will travel across the Andes to stop by the Equator line and have an explanation about this great attraction and for standing on both hemispheres at the same time, your guide will suggest a place to eat before going to Otavalo Indigueous Market and spend some time shopping and learning about this ancient culture that is still alive here.
In the late afternoon we’ll be transferred to the hacienda and enjoy a welcome cocktail as well as a delicious dinner.
Hiking Activity Level.- Easy, this adventure will be on a very nice trail along the river and that is surrounded by a Cloud Forest, in the early morning will be possible to have great views of the snowed capped Antisana Volcano, the trail can be a bit muddy so make sure you wear your hiking shoes.
Hiking Time.- 2 hours Hiking Distance.- 3 miles (4.82 km) Elevation Gain.- 150 feet (45.72 meters) Minimum Elevation while hiking.- 10400 feet (3169.92 meters) Maximum Elevation.- 1550 feet (472.4 meters)
NOTE.- This morning if you do not want to go hiking, you can book a spa treatment and pay directly to the Hotel, make sure you organize this the night before just by calling from your own room to the Spa. What to wear today.- Pants, t-shirt, fleece, hiking shoes, gloves, hat, buff, bring rain jacket and pants, water bottle, sun cream, binoculars.
Today after a very healthy breakfast we have a very short drive to the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve, the main attraction here is the Cuicocha Crater Lake. Our adventure will take us on a trek around this still active volcano, your guide will present many beautiful flowers to you along the trail. 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, witness bubbles coming up from the center of the caldera. In the afternoon we will drive back to Quito to take part of the farewell dinner with the guides and members of the group.
Trekking Activity Level - Moderate, the trekking trail is on dirt, sand and gravel, located in the Paramo Ecosystem at high elevation. Trekking Time: 5 hours Trekking Distance: 7.5 miles (12.07 km) Elevation Gain: 2500 feet (762 meters) Minimum Elevation while trekking: 10000 feet (3048 meters Maximum Elevation while trekking: 11470 feet (3496 meters)
International departures, end of services. Take with you memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!
Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
Not wheelchair accessible
IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIPS
Ecuador is a wonderful, colorful and friendly country to visit. It is, however, a very different culture. So to ensure that you are fully prepared for the trip and enjoy your stay here we provide the following travel tips:
GENERAL (TRAVEL IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY)
Ecuador is a developing country and many regions still live in poverty. Although the tourism infrastructure is reasonably good and improving each year it can still be difficult at times to travel.
You will often be needing a little patience as things tend to run on “latino time” – buses often depart late, people often arrive late to meetings, and things generally happen more slowly and with less urgency than in other countries.
The best way to deal with these differences is to look on the bright side and take each challenge as part of your travel experience. Relax and enjoy these sides to Latin culture.
ETIQUETTE & BEHAVIOR
Ecuador is one of South America´s most hospitable nations. Even in the overburdened metropolis of Quito, people are happy to give directions, chat, and ask a question. You´ll often hear “De donde vienes?” (“Where are you from?”). Ecuadorians are extremely knowledgeable and proud of the history of their country.
In the cities women who know each other often greet each other with a single kiss on the cheek, while men shake hands.
SHOPPING & BARGAINING
Ecuador has many colorful markets – both for handicrafts and local products. Before buying you should always bargain in price as this is the custom and the locals often try to charge extra to the tourists. There is no general guideline as to how much you should pay for any individual item – you should decide how much you are willing to pay, start your offers lower than that amount and compromise little by little trying to get the seller’s price down to your ideal price. Bargaining is fun, and a great chance to improve your Spanish while interacting with the locals!
When in regular shops/malls you should pay the quoted price as it is considered rude to bargain.
CAMERAS & PHOTOGRAPHY
Ecuador, with its majestic landscapes and varied cityscapes, is the dream of every photographer. However, you should respect the locals and follow these simple rules when photographing them:
Always ask permission before taking someone´s picture. People in remote villages often don’t like being photographed.
It is recommended to Tip our Drivers and Guides as this is not included in the price of the trip, for drivers we recommend $ 8USD per person per day and for the guides $ 10USD per person per day.
Tipping is also standard practice in most cafes and restaurants – 10% is normal.
Soroche (altitude sickness) affects some visitors in the Ecuadorian Andes. Headache, dizziness, and shortness of breath are common.
To avoid such effects it is recommended to take it easy on your first day, drink plenty of water or coca tea, and eat chocolate. Always inform your guide or hotel staff if you feel any symptoms and they will help you out.
FOOD & DRINK
Another health risk in Ecuador is traveler´s diarrhea caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. It is therefore very important to watch what you eat - do not eat anything from street vendors, avoid ice unless you are sure it is made from purified water, avoid uncooked or under-cooked food and unpasteurized milk, drink only bottled water, even when brushing your teeth. In the case of illness always inform your guide or hotel staff who will help you deal with it and ensure that you drink enough water to maintain hydration.
Hygiene standards are generally lower than those you are used to in North America or Europe. One very important difference is that the sewage system cannot cope with toilet paper being flushed into the toilet. There is usually a basket next to the toilet which should be used to deposit used toilet paper, and although unhygienic this method is more pleasant than the toilet overflow that will occur if paper is flushed!
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Safety and security is an important issue as pick-pocketing and robbery of tourists can and does occur. It is important not to be paranoid when travelling as most Ecuadorians you meet will be very honest and friendly people, but there are some basic precautions that you should take: Unless necessary never carry anything valuable with you (i.e. expensive watches / jewelry) or large amounts of money.
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.
Andes Mountain Range and Amazon Tropical Rain Forest in Ecuador
Quito: 2.810 m (9.186 ft.
Baños: 1.820 m (5.971 ft.
Tena: 510 m (1.673 ft.
Papallacta: 3.300 m (10.827 ft.
Otavalo: 2.550 m (8.366 ft.
Day 15-34ºC / 59-93ºF - Night 12-17ºC / 53-62ºF.
Easy to Moderate.- Even though we are including many outdoor activities such as: Trekking, Cross Country and Mountain Biking, Canyoning and Rafting, we consider this expedition as a soft adventure, so children and adults can do it with no problem and for people that want to take a break or just avoid any of this adventures can always hang out with the driver doing something else, for people that may want to do a bit more challenging our guides will be happy to coordinate something to help them.
NOTE.- For specific details of activities please view the Full Itinerary.
Our Company is always making sure in having the best outdoor gear possible, and we are very proud to work with the best brands, like Trek bikes, Aire and NRS for white water, Black diamond for trekking and Eureka for Camping.
All prices are based on double-occupancy. If you are travelling 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, it is very important to notice that the hotels listed on the Itinerary description may change according to availability so we do not guarantee you stay there, but we will make sure you will stay in a similar one of the same category.
Travelling 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 fantastic meals for them, as Ecuador is very well known for its great diversity of gastronomy.
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 responders, they all have approved several extra training courses for kayaking, rafting, biking and horse riding, besides this they all are Ecuadorian and have an amazing personality.
In some location 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.
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.
This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travelers
All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties. Learn more about cancellations.
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