Premium Andes and Amazon Multisport Tour
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: PARAMO HIKE, QUITSATO MONUMENT, & OTAVALO INDIGENOUS MARKET
In the early morning, we visit the highland interpretation center and go for a guided nature hike in a private cloud forest and paramo reserve, where we seek out birds, highland plants, and other Andean wildlife species.
Afterwards, we drive to a 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, and visit a local Andean Music Workshop to hear the traditional instrumental and vocal sounds of the Andes. The evening is spent at a traditional colonial hacienda. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: HIKING AROUND CUICOCHA CRATER LAKE
After breakfast, we drive up to Cuicocha Crater Lake, located 10,000 feet (3,068 meters) above sea level within the Cayapas-Cotacachi National Park. Cuicochoa Lake is the freshwater-filled caldera of a dormant volcano, located at the foot of a volcano of the same name, and surrounded by stunning cloud forest scenery. We hike around the shore of the Crater Lake, admiring the lava dome islands in the center and keeping an eye out for birds and other interesting wildlife. We enjoy a picnic lunch on the lake before departing for Quito in the afternoon. Upon our return, we have the evening free to explore the landmarks and night life of Ecuador’s capital city. (B, BL)
2020 Price per person in US$: $2280 each for 2, $1790 each for 3, $1682 each for 4, $1525 for 5. Single supp. = $322
NOT INCLUDED: National Park entrance fees; hotel & restaurant beverages, tips, or gratuities; guide tips; and personal expenses.
TRAVEL TIME: 1 to 5 hours per day
SEASON: all year
ALTITUDE: 1,500 to 15,500 feet (500 to 4,800 meters)
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE – ANDES: Day 46 - 75ºF/8 - 24ºC, Night 41 - 53ºF/5 - 12ºC
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE – CLOUDFOREST: Day 60 - 86ºF/16 - 30ºC, night 60 - 68ºF/16 - 20ºC
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE – AMAZON: Day 68 - 95ºF / 20-35ºC, Night 64 - 71ºF / 18 - 22ºC
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO PACK: Sun block, bathing suit, and insect repellent.