Snow-capped Peaks and Jungle Adventures
12 day holidays in Ecuador for £2195pp
It's got a nice ring to it, hasn't it? Andes to Amazon conjures up snow-capped mountain peaks, clear glacial lakes and verdant, teeming rainforest and we're pleased to say that's exactly what these holidays in Ecuador deliver. In just under two weeks you can visit these two wildly different environments and get a real idea of what makes Ecuador such a special country.
These holidays in Ecuador begin with some time in the mountain capital of Quito, with its elegant colonial architecture, before heading into the Andes to the traditional market at Otavalo. From here we'll travel into the stunning Cotopaxi National Park to see some of the amazing sights here before we fly down into the rainforest for some real jungle adventures...
- Day One: Arrival in Quito
- Day Two: City tour of Quito
- Day Three: Otavalo Market
- Day Four: Whitewater rafting
- Day Five: Free day in Quito
- Day Six: Cotopaxi National Park
- Day Seven: Lake Quilotoa
- Day Eight: Into the Jungle
- Day Nine: Yasuni Lodge
- Day Ten: Yasuni National Park
- Day Eleven: Back to Quito
- Day Twelve: Overnight flight back to the UK
Day One – Begin your Holidays in Ecuador
You will arrive in Quito today as your holidays in Ecuador 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 in Quito
This morning we’ve left you some free time to relax after your journey, then after lunch we will pick you up after lunch 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. (Breakfast included)
Day Three - Otavalo Market
It will be an early start today, as we head out of Quito into the mountains to the north for a slice of the Real Ecuador! We'll be heading to the bustling local market at Otavalo - a typical mountain town that just happens to be home to the largest indigenous market in Ecuador! You can check out the beautiful local textiles, haggle over some excellent leather goods, or just sit back with an Ecuadorean coffee and take it all in! After a full day here, we will return to Quito in the evening, passing back through some beautiful Andean scenery along the way. (B)
Day Four - Rafting on the River Toachi
This great rafting trip takes you down through the cloud forest on the western slopes of the Andes towards our start point on the Rio Toachi. This river offers delightful contrasts between the slow sections as we drift through tropical rainforest, and the fast-flowing mountain sections which give us all the thrills and spills we like. (B/L)
Day Five - Free time in Quito
We have left today free for you to relax and enjoy the lovely city of Quito. There’s so much to see and do here, from great museums to top shopping, and one of the best ways to get a birds-eye view of it all is to take the ‘Teleferiqo’ cable-car up to the top of the Pichincha mountain! (B)
- If you'd prefer something more adventurous on your holidays in Ecuador, how about a day's downhill mountain-biking?
- Or if you'd like some quality relaxation, a trip to one of the superb spa hotels with private hot springs just outside Quito
Day Six – Cotopaxi National Park
The snow-capped mountain of Cotopaxi is one of the enduring symbols of Ecuador, and no holidays in Ecuador are complete without a trip to see it. Today we will take you on a full-day tour through the beautiful Cotopaxi National Park, including the lovely Lake Limpiopungo and the mountain refuge on the slopes of Cotopaxi itself, giving you the chance for some breathtaking photos, as well as the chance to see some of the park’s fantastic wildlife, such as the giant Andean Condors. We will stay tonight in a traditional Andean hacienda, giving you the chance to enjoy some history along with the fantastic scenery. (B/L/D)
- Our standard hacienda for tonight is the lovely 300-year-old Hacienda La Cienega, but we work with several different haciendas in Cotopaxi, so just let us know if you'd like to see some other options.
Day Seven - Lake Quilotoa
Today we will head out of the Cotopaxi National Park to Lake Quilotoa. This giant crater lake is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and as you climb up to the lip of the (extinct!) volcano, you look down through the mists into a bluey-green lake that seems utterly surreal. You can then head down to the lake and take out a rowing-boat or canoe, before coming back up by horse to your waiting driver. After lunch, we'll head back up through the ‘Valley of the Volcanoes’ to Quito. (B/L)
Day Eight - Into the Jungle
This morning we will pick you up and take you to the airport for a flight across the Andes and down into the Amazon basin. We will land in the jungle town of Coca and we will head from the airport to the River Napo, where we will board our motorized covered canoes to begin our journey downriver. Along the way we will be able to see the ever-changing jungle landscape, as well as birds like kingfishers, herons, hawks, large- and yellow-billed terns, and hopefully even the famous “umbrella” bird. We will enjoy a packed lunch on the way, and will soon cross into the huge Yasuni National Park – one of the largest protected areas of Amazonian rainforest in the whole of South America – and a short while after that, we’ll arrive at the lovely Yasuni Kichwa Eco-Lodge. You will be taken to your comfortable cabin and offered a refreshing drink before we leave you with some free time to settle in, perhaps to explore the marked trails from the lodge, or to wander down to the riverbank to enjoy your first spectacular Amazon sunset... (B/L/D)
Day Nine - Yasuni Lodge
After an early breakfast this morning we will board our canoes and head deeper into the National Park to visit a fantastic parrot clay lick. As many as eleven different species of parrots (but particularly Mealy, Orange-winged and blue-headed parrots) gather at this lick every morning to take in minerals from the clay to supplement their diet. It’s a riotous, squawky, brightly-coloured affair and from our special hide, you will have the chance to get some amazing views and brilliant photos. After this we will visit the Kuri Muyu centre, which is run by the women of the indigenous Kichwa community. Here you will have a chance to become familiar with their culture, crafts and traditions, and see how they live together with the forest as they always have. After returning to the lodge for lunch, we will take a walk through the surrounding rainforest to reach our special 35-metre-high observation tower. From this view high in the canopy, we will hope to see howler and squirrel monkeys, toucans, parrots and sloths as well as a huge variety of other birds. (B/L/D)
- The Yasuni Lodge is one of our favourites for jungle holidays in Ecuador, but we work with many other lodges as well, so if you'd like to see some options then just ask.
- Or if you'd like a slightly different experience, why not ask about our Amazon river cruises instead?
Day Ten - Yasuni National Park
We will spend some time this morning with more members of the Kichwa community, giving us the chance to learn more about their worldview, and particularly about the different ways they use forest products for medicinal purposes. We will then take another walk through the primary rainforest to see more of the wildlife which thrives here in the unspoilt Yasuni Reserve. We will end the morning back at the lodge for lunch, and then after some time to relax, in the late afternoon we will walk down to the Añangu creek to see a different environment of wetlands and seasonally-flooded forest. Here we will hope to see giant river otters and sloths, as well as monkeys in the tree canopy above. As dusk falls, we will board a small canoe and head downriver to give us a chance to meet some of the nocturnal denizens of the Amazon, such as the 4m-long Black Caimans which live on the shores of Lake Añangu, and the chance to see the stars as they only appear here in the jungle. After this night-time excursion we will head back to the lodge for a late dinner. (B/L/D)
Day Eleven - Back to Quito
After our final jungle breakfast this morning, we will pick you up and take you back downriver to Coca for the flight back up to Quito. On arrival, we’ll take you back to your hotel so you can get ready to head out and enjoy all the fruits of civilization on your last night here in Ecuador. (B)
Day Twelve – Last Day of your Holidays in Ecuador
Sadly, today will be the last day of your holidays in Ecuador. Depending on your international flights, you may have some time to explore a little more of Quito, or you may be leaving straight after breakfast, but whatever you’re your flight, we will be there to pick you up and take you to the airport in plenty of time to check in for your flight back to the UK. (B)
The standard price for our "Andes to Amazon" holidays in Ecuador is £2195 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 Amazon and the Cotopaxi National Park, 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 2020.
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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