- Relax in Baños' volcanic hot springs
- Follow the Río Pastaza along the Avenue of Waterfalls
- Visit the famous "Swing at the End of the World"
- Discover the waterways and wildlife of Misahuallí by canoe
|Arrive in Quito
|Transfer to Baños & El Pailón del Diablo Waterfall
|Visit the Baños Hot Springs & the Swing at the End of the World
|Transfer to Archidona & Huasquila Lodge
|Enjoy a Misahuallí River Excursion by Canoe
|Soak in the Papallacta Hot Springs, Transfer to Quito
|TelefériQo Cable Car, Depart Quito
Day 1: Arrive in Quito
Welcome to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Upon arrival, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your accommodation in the city center. Situated between mountain peaks, Quito stands at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After settling into your hotel, the rest of the day is yours to start discovering this vibrant city.
Take a historic tour to see the Palacio de Carondelet, the headquarters of Ecuador's government in Independence Square, the Archbishop's Palace, the Municipal Palace, and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Later, check out the Italian Renaissance-style Catholic church La Iglesia de El Sagrario and the intricately decorated Baroque-style church La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús. The excursion also stops at the sprawling Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, a complex built over 150 years that houses 13 cloisters and over 3,500 pieces of colonial art.
Alternatively, you can opt for a tour that will take you to Panecillo Hill, a 656-foot (200 m) summit that overlooks the city. From the top of the hill, you can see all the way from Quito's historic center to the mountains in the distance and spot the sparkle of city lights as evening falls.
Day 2: Transfer to Baños & El Pailón del Diablo Waterfall
After tucking into a hearty breakfast, you'll join your driver and guide this morning to embark on an exciting road trip. Drive south to Baños along the Avenue of Waterfalls, following the Río Pastaza on a scenic valley route. Along the way, you'll stop at interesting landmarks, learn about the surrounding landscapes, and have plenty of time to stretch your legs. Grab a bite to eat in a recommended local spot, and remember to take plenty of photos along the way.
Later, you'll pass by several waterfalls to reach the small village of Río Verde, where you will stop to see the famous El Pailón del Diablo ("Devil's Waterfall''). In the afternoon, you can get settled into your hotel and use your free time to visit the relaxing thermal pools of Baños or opt for rafting or ziplining for more of an adrenaline rush.
Day 3: Visit the Baños Hot Springs & the Swing at the End of the World
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Once you've enjoyed a soak in the hot springs, you'll visit the famous "Swing at the End of the World," a scenic tree swing hanging over a steep slope. It sits 8,530 feet (2,600 m) above sea level and makes for a brilliant photo opportunity. You can observe the epic Tungurahua volcano from the swing, which translates directly as "throat of fire."
Day 4: Transfer to Archidona & Huasquila Lodge
Head northeast today as your driver takes you toward Archidona, a small colonial town in the Napo province founded in 1560. After a stop for some sightseeing, you'll get back on the road and continue to your final destination of the day—Huasquila Lodge. Along the journey, you'll pass waterfalls and incredible landscapes as you follow the Río Pastaza through the valley.
Huasquila Lodge sits within the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, next to the Sumaco National Park, and has plenty of wildlife for you to keep an eye out for, from colorful birdlife to armadillos and even monkeys. The afternoon will be yours to relax, unwind, and soak up your exciting rainforest surroundings.
Day 5: Enjoy a Misahuallí River Excursion by Canoe
Set out from the lodge this morning and embark on a full day of exploring Misahuallí by canoe. Misahuallí is a small former port town that sits right on the edge of the Amazon rainforest between the Río Napo and Río Misahuallí rivers. After your canoe trip, you can take a walk to an ancient ceibo, a gigantic tree highly regarded in Ecuadorian heritage.
You can also visit the AmaZOOnico Rescue Center to meet more of the rainforest's animal residents, or take a thrill-seeking tubing trip down the river. After visiting the Caiman Lagoon and eating a boxed lunch, the river transport will take you back to the port. You'll conclude the day with dinner at the lodge.
Day 6: Soak in the Papallacta Hot Springs, Transfer to Quito
Wake to the sounds of the rainforest and savor a final morning in this secluded paradise. On the way back to Quito, you'll stop at the Papallacta hot springs to refresh and relax in volcanic waters. Situated at 12,100 feet (3,700 m) in an evergreen páramo (Andean high grasslands) landscape, this area is renowned for its healing waters, and if the weather is clear you'll spot the giant Volcán Artisana looming above.
Spend some time at the Termas de Papallacta Resort and Spa, which offers nine warm and three cold pools at various temperatures and an on-site spa with multiple health and beauty treatments, including hydromassage, a Turkish steam bath, and a mud wrap. It's also a great spot to have lunch with local dishes such as fresh-grilled trout. When the time comes, you'll get back on the road and continue to Quito, where your final evening in Ecuador is at your leisure.
Day 7: TelefériQo Cable Car, Depart Quito
Depending on your departure time today, you can make the most of one last activity and take a morning ride on the city's iconic TelefériQo cable car. It will whiz you up 13,123 feet (4,000 m) to the eastern side of Volcán Pichincha and offers spectacular views over the city and the surrounding mountains. Take a short walk to take pictures from different viewpoints and enjoy a memorable final look at Quito.
It's then time to say goodbye to Ecuador and continue to your next adventure. A representative will pick you up at your accommodation and take you to the airport in Quito for your flight. Safe travels!