Ecuador and Galapagos Multisport Quest - 10 days
Be part of this adventure ride that includes rafting, biking, kayaking and trekking. Certified naturalist and adventure guides will lead your journey with high quality adventure gear.
DAY 1: HIKE AND MOUNTAIN BIKE AT COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
We begin our journey driving south from Quito through the famed “Avenue of the Volcanoes.” If the skies are clear, we will be able to see the peaks of several volcanoes from the road.
Once we arrive in Cotopaxi National Park, we start out with a short hike around Limpiopungo Glacier Lake. This mountain lake is home
to a wealth of highland waterfowl, and we observe the local gulls, ducks, and falcons while learning about the park’s highland paramo ecosystem. We then begin an amazing ride through the park. Our path will take us from the base of Volcan Rumiñahi, where Limpiopungo is located, across the high plain and around to the south side of Cotopaxi, then on to the Pucara Inca ruins.
The ride is mostly downhill with some flats and a few short, easy climbs. As we ride across the high plain paramo, we keep an eye out for native highland wildlife and take in incredible views of Cotopaxi’s massive, glaciated cone looming above us. Our ride ends at the Pucara Inca ruins near the park’s south entrance. Here we explore the ruins and learn more about the western hemisphere’s most powerful ancient civilization and their history in Ecuador. We sit down to a scenic and delicious picnic lunch next to the volcano before continue to the hacienda were we spend the night. After stopping for lunch we will head towards the hacienda where we will spend the night. (L, D)
DAY 2: HORSEBACK RIDING AT TILIPULO HACIENDA & EXPLORE ANDEAN FOREST
After breakfast, we drive to the ancient farmlands of Hacienda Tilipulo, located in an inter-Andean valley surrounded by interesting native vegetation and astounding views of the nearby volcanoes. After a safety briefing will be given before our departure towards the western cordillera bound to the highlands of Atapulo where we will be able to observe small farmlands called chacras, adobe houses, livestock such as llamas,
sheep and others. The indigenous way of life, the occasional view of volcanoes Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Illiniza, Chimborazo and Altar will accompany us throughout this journey in the spectacular trails that go over hills, ravines and dirt roads.
We continue our journey driving through the Avenue of the Volcanoes up to the Leito Valley. We enjoy spectacular views of the Tungurahua Volcano and the Patate River. In the afternoon we ride our bike along Patate River gorge where we can see the beautiful landscapes that we have in this area through beautiful small towns. After a nice bike ride we reach a cozy Andean Hacienda to relax and dinner (B, L, D)
DAY 3: BIKING TO THE AMAZON & VISIT THE FAMOUS WATERFALL ROUTE
In the morning, we drive to the edge of Llanganates National Park, gaining altitude until we reach an area with one of the best views of the – often fuming – Tungurahua Volcano. Here, we set up our mountain bikes for a scenic ride through highland paramo, which gradually melds into mountain cloud forest, and then lowland rainforest. We pass through a dry basaltic gorge that is a great spot to look for wild orchids. We continue our ride along the Pastaza River Gorge, one of the principal waterways that feed into the Amazon Basin. This is an especially scenic route, with high rock walls giving way to deep cloud forest canyons. We
stop to admire some of the spectacular waterfalls in the area, such as Pailón Del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) and Manto de la Novia (Bride’s Veil).
Switching from 2 wheels to 4, we drive until we reach Puyo, an
Amazon frontier town where we learn about the manufacture of products made from Balsa wood, bamboo, ceramics, and other local materials. We enjoy lunch in Puyo before setting out along the Amazon highway to reach our Jungle Lodge. Once we settle into our lodge, if time aloud we will visit a Kichwa indigenous community. Here, we learn about their way of life, culture, traditions, and customs of the Amazon. At the end of the day, we settle into our jungle lodge ready for a peaceful evening surrounded by rainforest sounds. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: JUNGLE RAFTING ON THE JATUNYACU RIVER
After enjoying breakfast in our lodge, we drive to Llanganates National Park, which extends from the high Andes down into the Amazon basin and is part of an area declared a Biosphere Zone by the United Nations. The water that collects in this area forms the Jatunyacu River, which is considered Ecuador’s best one-day river run. We begin the day with a walk in the jungle to reach naturally-formed swimming pools.
Upon our return and after a safety briefing, our whitewater rafting adventure begins. A trip down the Jatunyacu River offers spectacular jungle scenery, crystal-clear water, and glimpses into indigenous communities that live along the shores in small bamboo and wood houses. The Jatunyacu is also famed for its big waves, fun holes, and high volume of water (Class III - III+). We’ll spend the rest of the day navigating the Jatunyacu, whose waters carry us through breathtaking landscapes with abundant bird life.
In the afternoon, we drive back up into the Andes, climbing from 1,500 to 10,000 feet (500 to 3,000 meters) in altitude and passing through a national park and nature reserve until we reach the Papallacta Hot springs Resort & Spa. In the evening, we relax in the therapeutic alkaline-rich natural thermal waters of Papallacta while nestled in fantastic cloud forest scenery. Spa services such as massages, aromatherapy, and other optional treatments can also be arranged in advance. Lodgings at Papallacta Resort (B, L, D)
DAY 5: QUITSATO MONUMENT, OTAVALO INDIGENOUS MARKET, PEGUCHE, RETURN QUITO
In the early morning, we leave from Papallacta and head to the Middle of the World monument shaped as a star of eight points, representing pre-colonial and Incan indigenous beliefs that 0º latitude was the center of time and measurement. Here we learn about Ecuador’s geographic position and how its location on the equator influences its many cultures, climates, and biological diversity.
Lunch on route and then we spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the towns of Otavalo and Peguche, where Ecuador’s indigenous culture and heritage is visible in their famous markets full of colorful textiles, traditional handicrafts, and more. We spend time one-on-one with local weavers who share the secrets of their craft that have been passed down for generations. After our visit to Imbabura province we return to our hotel in Quito in the late afternoon to prepare for our Galapagos Adventure. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: GALAPAGOS TRANSFER & HIKE ON SAN CRISTOBAL’S ISLAND
We embark on a morning flight from Quito to San Cristobal Island. Once we arrive we are briefed on the details of our trip as we have lunch at a local restaurant.
Our adventure begins with a hike to the San Cristobal Interpretation Center, where we learn about the volcanic formation of the Galapagos archipelago and the unique evolution of life on the islands. We continue our hike towards Frigate Hill along trails of lava rock featuring splendid views of the coastline and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, while we explore dry forest and observe cacti, acacia, Palo Santo, Galapagos cotton, and other endemic vegetation. This is also a good time to enjoy our first encounters with local wildlife, since Frigate Hill is often visited by Galapagos species such as the magnificent and great frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, gulls, herons, and numerous other land birds, including Darwin finches, warblers, and mockingbirds. On our way back we may stop for a refreshing swim at Carola Beach. In the evening, we explore town and dine at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)
DAY 7: SEA KAYAK & SNORKEL ON THE NORTHERN COAST
The northern coast of San Cristobal Island is protected from the currents and offers the best sea kayaking in the archipelago. We set out in our expedition kayaks paddling north along the coast, exploring bays and coves filled with wildlife. We visit Darwin Bay, site where the HMS Beagle landed when Charles Darwin first arrived to Galapagos.
Along the route we find colonies of sea lions, marine turtles, rays, blue-footed boobies, and frigate birds along the cliffs. We may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo. The visiting site depends on the week day and the National Park regulations. In the afternoon, we return to port for dinner and our last evening in our San Cristobal hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 8: MOUNTAIN BIKE & KAYAK ON ISABELA ISLAND
In the morning, we take a small aircraft inter-island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest Island in the archipelago, formed by 6 shield volcanoes - Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf. All of these volcanoes except one remain active, making this island one of the most volcanically active places on earth.
When we arrive we set up our mountain bikes to explore the beautiful coastline for its scenery and wildlife treasures. We begin with a visit to El Muro de las Lágrimas which means Wall of Tears, a historic site that dates back between 1946 and 1959 when Isabela Island was used as a penal colony. The wall was built with lava blocks and had no other purpose than of keeping prisoners busy from the madness of isolation. We continue riding along the coast as we explore expansive white sand beaches, mangroves and brackish lagoons. This area is filled with birdlife such as American oyster catchers, herons, flamingos, finches and many shore birds, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas.
In the afternoon we take our ocean kayaks and paddle out to Tintoreras, a set of small Islets within Isabela bay. The Islets are filled with wildlife and are home to the Galapagos Penguin, the only penguin that lives in equatorial region. We will also see sharks, marine turtles, sea lions and much more wildlife as we explore its many small coves and beaches. We receive the sunset in Isabela’s white sand beaches and spend the evening in this tranquil port town. (B, L, D)
DAY 9: VOLCANO DISCOVERY HIKE IN THE ISABELA HIGHLANDS
From Puerto Villamil, we drive up to the highlands to where the road ends. Here we prepare our day backs and walk into an amazing geological world. We walk on dirt trails until we arrive to the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano. Sierra Negra is an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005. We explore along the rim of the huge 6x5 mile-wide (9x8 kilometer) lava-filled crater. We may also get views of the Perry Isthmus and the other Isabela volcanoes.
We continue our hike all the way to Volcano Chico, an area of puffing fumaroles and extraordinary lava formations. These are dramatic geological examples of the forces that created the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon we return to Puerto Villamil for our last afternoon in the Isabela beaches. (B, L, D)
DAY 10: ISABELA – BALTRA AND RETURN TO QUITO
In the morning we embark in a small aircraft flight from Isabela to Baltra Island (or boat ride to Puerto Ayora and then to Baltra) and continue with a flight back to the continent. (B)
This ultimate wildlife and adventure tour explores the very best of the Andes, Amazon, and Galapagos! Discover astonishing diversity of flora and fauna, landscapes and Andean towns. Experience the thrill of nature cycling down the highest active volcano on the planet, raft the warm waters of a lush jungle river, sea kayak and snorkel with sea turtles, sea lions, and Galapagos sharks.
2019 Rates per person:
with 2 people = US$5218
with 3 people = US$4112
with 4 people = US$3463
with 5+ people = US$3150
Single supplement = US$602
Note: Special rates per person based on double occupancy. Air tickets and park entrance fees not included. Restrictions may apply.
Accommodations in Andean haciendas, hotels or lodges; all meals (B-breakfast, L-lunch, and D-dinner) as indicated; all adventure and protective equipment including Deore mountain bikes, expedition kayaks, rafting equipment, gloves, helmets, water bottles, and dry bags; professional English-speaking guide; professional Galapagos naturalist guide; land, sea, and inter-island air and boat transportation.
Airfare to/from Galapagos; Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee; TCT Migration Control Card; hotel & restaurant beverages, guide tips or other gratuities and personal expenses.