Amazon, Hot Springs and Volcanoes
Day 1 Quito
Arrive in Quito at any time, and transfer to the hotel. There are no planned activities, so check in and enjoy the city. A group leader will hold a briefing at the hotel to review the various aspects of the tour. If you are not able to attend this welcome meeting, our representative will leave all important information at your hotel’s reception, indicating what time to be ready on Day 2 of our trip. If there is any confusion on arrival, please do not hesitate to call the contact number listed in the trip details. Hotel Hilton Colon (or similar)
Day 2 Otavalo (1B,1L)
Drive to the highlands with a stop at the community of San Clemente. interact with locals in this traditional Andean community and enjoy an included lunch. Continue to Otavalo and visit the famous handicraft market and watch local artisans at work and enjoy some shopping. Stay tonight at a historic, highlands hacienda. Hotel Pinsaqui (or similar)
Spend 1 night in the Otavalo area and visit its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits and vegetables.
There are three main market plazas in town, with the overflow spilling out onto the streets linking them. The Plaza de Ponchos is where we will find most handicraft items. We will find colorful wollen goods such as ponchos, gloves, hats, blankets, scarves and sweaters, as well as fine tapestries and a variety of embroidered blouses and shirts, shawls, string bags and rope sandals. This market gets underway at dawn and continues until early afternoon. Remember, bargaining is expected for every purchase! A good negotiator should be able to get at least 20% off the starting price. The food market sells produce and household goods for the locals, and there is an animal market beginning in the predawn hours on the outskirts of town. Although these are not designed for visitors, they are cultural experiences to see and are definitely worth a visit.
Day 3 Papallacta Hot springs (1B)
Continue by private transportation to the Papallacta Hot Springs resort for onsite hot springs, optional spa treatments and hiking excursions. Plenty of time to soak, relax and enjoy the mountain views. Overnight at Hotel Termas Papallacta (or similar)
The village of Papallacta sits 60 km (37 miles) southeast of Quito, over the Andes and on the outer rim of the Amazon Basin. This small village, surrounded by cloud forest on the road between the highlands and the Oriente, has arguably the best thermal springs in all of Ecuador. It is the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening soaking in the mineral hot springs, while enjoying the great natural beauty of the area with views towards the snow-capped Antisana Volcano.
Day 4 Banos (B)
Take one last dip in the hot springs before continuing along the 'Avenue of Volcanoes' to Baños where there are numerous optional activities such as hiking, horseback riding, hot springs and mountain biking. Along the way visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park and discover ethnobotany – the study of the relationship between cultures and the plants around them. Hotel Sangay (or similar)
Baños is one of the most popular and important tourist spots in the country and you will find many Ecuadorian families vacationing here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Surprisingly, it is pleasant and unspoiled. Baños means 'baths' and that is precisely what the town is famous for. Some are thermal springs from the base of Tungurahua Volcano, which means 'little hell' in Quichua. Other baths have melt water running into them from Tungurahua's glaciated flanks. Locals swear that the baths are good for your health; it’s definitely worth rising early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains from a hot spring vantage point. The town is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits, including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing and rafting in the surrounding mountains and on the River Patate.
Day 5 Banos (B)
Days 6-7 Amazon Lodge (2B,1L,2D)
Private transportation from Baños to Coca to travel two and a half hours into the rainforest by motorized canoe to the luxurious La Selva lodge. Explore the Amazon jungle with a local guide, activities can include jungle walks, canopy tower, wildlife viewing, canoeing and photography. In the evenings enjoy dinner and a drink by candlelight, listening to the sounds of the jungle, before retiring to stylish cabanas..
At the end of the motorized canoe ride, you will be dropped off at La Selva's main dock. After using the facilities and putting mosquito repellent on, a short 15 minute jungle walk will lead you to a creek where a small canoe will be taken to enjoy an unforgettable 20 minutes paddle canoe ride across “Garzacocha” (the heron´s lagoon) in order to reach the lodge area.
Do not forget that the only thing you must take care of is your carry-on and camera equipment. Your other luggage will be transported by our lodge´s staff.
Approximately 15 minutes later, the resident manager will greet you with a delicious welcome cocktail. From there you will continue on to relax in the bar area with a fresh tropical fruit snack and a short briefing with general information about the lodge and activities, provided by one of our bilingual naturalist guides.
La Selva has been in successful operation for about sixteen years. One of the first Amazon rainforest lodges in Ecuador, the award winning La Selva was completely remodeled and reopened in July of 2012, and has become the premier eco lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The cabanas are inspired by native bamboo design: authentic, airy and comfortable with unexpected amenities including private bathrooms, hot showers, electricity, ceiling fans, and are immaculately cleaned daily.
The cozy private bungalows are made entirely of secondary growth rainforest materials and designed to blend with the surroundings. Each one has a private bathroom, a hammock and mosquito netting for each bed (although you will be surprised at what little need you will have for this item due to the lack of insects).
There are 12 thatched cabanas of varying sleeping configurations and several public gathering spots, including the spacious dining room with a rooftop lookout point, an open-air combined bar and a lounge with a wrap-around view of the lake.
In an effort to conserve the authentic Amazon experience and for ecological reasons, please note that there is no air conditioning in the rooms at La Selva. However, for your convenience and comfort there are fans for use 24 hours a day, and after a short period you will be surprised at how quickly your body will adapt to the change of climate. The open design of the rooms allows you to listen and enjoy the sounds of the jungle, while maintaining an genuine jungle experience in maximum comfort.
See the canopy of the rainforest from a tower, 43m in height (141 ft), and choose from dozens of walks of varying lengths and difficulty; several routes can only be accessed by canoe. Choose from a variety of activities: wake up early for some bird watching or stay up late and go out on a boat to view caimans by flashlight. Learn about the environment and wildlife from your naturalist guide, who accompanies you to ensure you get the most out of your excursions. The opportunities for birding, botany, hiking, herpetology, canoeing, photography, entomology, fishing, relaxing and swimming at La Selva Lodge are boundless. You decide which paths to explore and which adventure to experience, according to your own ability and interests.
Consider the variety of mammals living in Ecuador's Amazon: armadillos, honey bears, sloth, 60 varieties of bats, tapirs, peccaries, jaguar, monkeys, manatees and much more. Birds are the richest group of Amazon vertebrates, at approximately 1000 species. Visitors will see hummingbirds, toucans, macaws and tanagers on land, and darters, herons and gulls on water. If fortunate, you may catch a glimpse of the prehistoric looking Hoatzin, with its brightly coloured feathers and sharp talons.
Over 500 species of trees per acre have been recorded in the jungles of the upper Amazon. If this doesn’t seem particularly astonishing, consider that this is ten times greater than either Europe or North America, and you will begin to appreciate the significance of the conservation of this area and others like it.
Day 8 Quito (1B)
Travel by boat back to Coca and catch our flight Quito. Enjoy some shopping before returning to Quito for our final evening.
Day 9 Quito (1B)
Depart at any time.
2017 Dates and Rates per person, double occupancy:
$1749 - June 2, July 28, Aug. 25, Sept .22, Nov. 17, Dec. 15
If you want to have your own room, supplement is US$599
What's Included: Arrival transfer. Visit the community of San Clemente and enjoy a local lunch. Overnight in an historic hacienda. Explore the Otavalo handicraft market. Relax at Papallacta hot springs. Two nights at an Amazon lodge with jungle walks and canoe excursions. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Group Size : Max 16, Avg 10.
Meals Included: 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners.
Meals - Eating is a big part of traveling. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Meal Budget - Allow USD200-275 for meals not included.
Transport - Private van, boat, flight, walking.
Local Flights - For the local flight, each passenger is allowed luggage up to 20 kilos (44 pounds) for checked luggage, as well as a carry-on item such as a backpack.
Single Travellers - We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Accommodation - Comfort hotels (4 nts), historic hacienda (1 nts), luxury jungle lodge (2 nts), hot springs resort (1 nt).
On this Ecuador trip we use various different types of accommodations that are unique to the various environments experienced on this trip. From an historic hacienda in the highlands to a hot springs resort at Papallacta, these are wonderful places to stay.
Optional Activities if you have extra time
Quito City Tour
This tour of Quito is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, and historical architecture of Quito. Learn about colonial art, culture, legends, and traditions.
Quito was designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage Site. The trip takes about 3.5 hours including the visit to the lookout point of El Panecillo where you will find one of the best views of Quito.
Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the churches and Panecillo are not included in the price and are approx $ 9 USD p/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD - Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD
City Tour + Equator Line
(Combination of City tour and Middle of the World Tour)
After the scenic city tour of Quito (described above) we go to the Equator line museum . Here we visit the Inti Ñan local museum where you can see different experiments to prove that you are at the Centre of the Earth. On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line.
This trip takes about 5 hours in total and includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
- Entrances fees for City Tour : $ 6 USD (Churches)
- Equator line fees : $ 6 USD (Museums)
- Price for 1 person : $ 60 USD - Price for 2+ persons : $45 USD
The Middle of the world
Driving 25 Kms. (16 miles) north of Quito, marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º. Here you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. We will visit the Inti ñan site museum (pathway of the sun) which show the diversity of Ecuador's native groups .
On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line.
Later we head up to Pululahua crater view point , which is one of the two inhabited volcanic caldera in the world. Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the Museums are not included in the price and are approx $9 USD p/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD - Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD
Mindo Cloud Forest – Full Day
Drive northwest for about 2 hours, enjoy the dramatic change of vegetation as we go down the andes to the cloudforest. Mindo is a tiny town set amidst some of the most beautiful and peaceful countryside in the entire country. It is a centre for both nature and adventure activities.
Go walking through the cloud forest and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the different waterfalls, take time to ride up the cable car with amazing views.
Time for lunch in a local restaurant (not included) and visit a butterfly farm where you will be able to see an array of colorful humming birds for which Mindo is renowned.
In the afternoon there is also the option of an organic chocolate tour which includes a demonstration of the chocolate-making process and of course tasting too!
This trip takes about 9 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
Allow : $10 USD for lunch and $ 20 USD for entrance fees.
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD - Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
A spectacular 2-hour drive in private transport takes us to Cotopaxi Volcano National Park , the highest active volcano in the world (5897 m) . We visit a museum in the park and hike around a lagoon at the bottom of the volcano to learn about the flora and fauna found at this altitude. We then continue by car up the volcano to the parking lot, at over 4500m. Then we walk approximately 1.5hrs to the refuge at 4800m, and after a short break, continue to the glacier (if the weather holds out). We head back to the Pan-American highway to have lunch somewhere near Latacunga, or buy a box lunch on the way to have more time in the park. Return to Quito in the afternoon.
This trip takes about 8 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes guide/driver in english and private transportation )
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD - Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
- Does not include Cotopaxi Park Entrance fee $40 USD per group ( Park fee cost can be split between travellers)
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your trip leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.