- Take a stroll through Quito's historic UNESCO-listed city center
- Go whitewater rafting through the jungles around Archidona
- Cross the magical Laguna de Yambo by kayak
- Hike the slopes of the world's highest active volcano in Cotopaxi National Park
- Sleep under the stars at a series of incredible glamping sites
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito||Quito|
|Day 2||Quito City Tour, Visit the "Middle of the World"||Quito|
|Day 3||Transfer to Archidona, Gateway to the Amazon||Archidona|
|Day 4||Full-Day Rafting Adventure||Archidona|
|Day 5||Transfer South Through the Amazon Foothills to Macas||Macas|
|Day 6||Day Trip into Sangay National Park||Macas|
|Day 7||Transfer to Ambato, Kayaking on Laguna de Yambo||Ambato|
|Day 8||Explore Cotopaxi National Park||Quito|
|Day 9||Depart Quito|
Day 1: Arrive in Quito
Welcome to Quito, the capital of Ecuador! Upon arrival at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), your driver will meet you for the transfer to your nearby glamping accommodations. Set on a lush hillside overlooking the Guambi River, a selection of open-air cabins welcome you with incredible views and a laid-back vibe.
Day 2: Quito City Tour, Visit the "Middle of the World"Explore Quito's historic center today with a guided city tour. This UNESCO World Heritage Site stands at 9,350 feet (2,850 m) and welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas situated between mountain peaks. Stroll through the characterful, narrow streets and visit some of the city's most important churches, such as the Baroque La Compañía with its incredible gold-covered interior, and the neo-Gothic La Basílica. Take a walk down La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in the city, then head to Panecillo Hill for incredible 360° views.
Stand in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres simultaneously this afternoon, with a visit to the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo or the "Middle of the World." A French expedition determined the equator line here in 1736—unfortunately, that was way before an accurate GPS was invented. While the actual equator is located around 656 feet (200 m) north of that line, the enormous monument had already been built, and it remains a popular tourist attraction. Next door, you'll also find the Intiñan Museum, an interesting and interactive site where you can participate in funny experiments at zero latitude and learn about ancient Ecuadorian culture.
Day 3: Transfer to Archidona, Gateway to the AmazonToday starts with a scenic drive from the Andes to the Amazon. This journey takes you through beautiful landscapes dotted with volcanoes into a mega-diverse ecosystem with unique flora and fauna. Once you arrive at your rainforest eco-lodge accommodations in Archidona, get settled in and enjoy a traditional lunch made from fresh local ingredients.
Afterward, you can rest in the lodge and enjoy the tranquility or discover more of the lush green surroundings by following two excellent trails within the lodge grounds. Walk barefoot and connect with the jungle, relax in the natural streams, or take a refreshing swim in the Misahuallí River.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Full-Day Rafting AdventureToday will be one of the most adventurous of your trip as you embark on a full day of river rafting through Class III rapids. Paddle through the lush, green rainforest, spot rare and wonderful wildlife, and immerse yourself in the stunning scenery. When you're ready for a break, a delicious lunchbox will be served picnic-style at the river's edge. Along the way, the professional and internationally certified guides will make you laugh and enjoy the adrenaline-filled experience while you feel safe and at ease.
Return to the lodge in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day relaxing and soaking up the beauty of your surroundings.
Day 5: Transfer South Through the Amazon Foothills to MacasContinue south today, traveling through spectacular scenery where the Andean foothills meet the Amazon's dense rainforests. Today's destination is the small town of Macas, known locally as the "Emerald of the East," where you'll feel at one with nature at an incredible glamping site tucked into the verdant jungle. En route, you can stop at different panoramic viewpoints to take in the beautiful rainforest scenery or even take a dip in an infinity pool overlooking the Amazon basin.
Day 6: Day Trip to Sangay National ParkThis morning, you'll head into the beautiful Sangay National Park, passing several indigenous Shuar communities. Upon arrival, visit a small lagoon off the Sardinas River and take a walk through the primary forest. You'll learn about the local flora and fauna and spot the area's diverse endemic wildlife. Stop for a traditional lunch and some jugo de caña (sugar cane juice), a local delicacy. To top off this adventurous day, visit a nearby waterfall and cool off in its natural swimming pool before returning to Macas for the afternoon.
Day 7: Macas to Ambato, Kayaking on Laguna de YamboLeave the Amazon behind today and head north into the country's highlands. Enjoy the scenic, shifting landscapes along the drive before reaching the small city of Ambato, located in the heart of central Ecuador. Continue to your accommodation for the night—a selection of cozy cabins and yurts set on the shores of the magical Laguna de Yambo.
After settling in, experience the stunning highland scenery from another vantage point today with a kayaking excursion on Laguna de Yambo. This secluded and peaceful spot is a real off-the-beaten-path gem, with emerald waters that reflect the surrounding hills and sky.
Day 8: Explore Cotopaxi National ParkToday's adventure takes you into the breathtaking wilds of Cotopaxi National Park. One of the highest active volcanoes on earth, Cotopaxi towers over the surrounding landscapes, and the panoramic views of its cone-shaped peak and the surrounding volcanoes are incredible. The park is also home to diverse wildlife, including wild horses. You might even spot a rare Andean condor with a bit of luck.
During a walk around the nearby Limpiopungo Lagoon, your guide will point out the park's incredible array of high-altitude flora and fauna. If you are up for it, you can extend the adventure with a trek up to the Jose Rivas Refuge at 15,748 feet (4,800 m) or continue even further to the glacier's base! Alternatively, you can opt for a two-hour horseback ride through the park. In the afternoon, you'll get back on the road and return to Quito for the evening.
Day 9: Depart QuitoEnjoy a final leisurely morning in Ecuador. When the time comes, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to Quito's airport to catch your onward connection. Safe travels!
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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Ecuador? Check out these other Ecuador itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.