Ecuador Highlands & Amazon - 7 Days
- Bike down Cotopaxi, one of the world's highest active volcanoes
- Relax in hot springs at Papallacta, a resort in the Andean highlands
- Go biking, rafting, horse riding, or canyoning in the adventure town of Baños
- Climb up a waterfall, an exhilarating activity known as reverse canyoning
- Spot llamas and alpacas as you hike in the Santa Lucia Highlands Plateau
- Visit an Indigenous community and learn how they maintain their traditions
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Explore an Ecuadorian Ranch||Quito|
|Day 2||Transfer to Baños via Cotopaxi National Park, Cycle Cotopaxi||Baños|
|Day 3||Free time in Baños||Baños|
|Day 4||Amazon Jungle Excursion, Hike to a Local Community||Local Lodge|
|Day 5||Jungle Hike, Reverse Canyoning & Soak in Hot Springs||Papallacta|
|Day 6||Hike Santa Lucia Highlands, short drive back to Quito||Quito|
|Day 7||Depart Quito|
Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Explore an Ecuadorian Ranch
Your trip begins in Ecuador's capital city, Quito. Your trip leader will meet you at the airport or your accommodation in the morning. This afternoon you'll head to Cotopaxi, one of Ecuador's most spectacular mountains in the Valley of the Volcanoes. Here you'll make yourself at home at Hacienda La Alegria, a typical, family-run Ecuadorian ranch, and meet your hosts, locals Gabriel and Patty. Try your hand at milking the cows, wander around and check out the amazing scenery, or just relax inside this beautiful home and enjoy Patty's incredible cooking!
Day 2: Transfer to Baños via Cotopaxi National Park, Cycle Cotopaxi
Today is definitely a highlight of your Ecuador adventure as you head into Cotopaxi National Park. The centerpiece of the park is the perfect cone-like, snow-capped peak of Cotopaxi (elevation: 19,347 ft / 5,897 m). Here you'll begin your cycling adventure down one of the world's highest active volcanoes!
Ride downhill at your own pace through the lunar landscape and beautiful lakes that encircle Cotopaxi, ending your ride at 10,000 feet (3,048 m). The scenery is stunning. If you're game, hike up to the snowline of this majestic volcano for some of the best views in Ecuador. Later, you'll drive through the "Valley of the Volcanoes" to Baños—a beautiful mountain village in the Rio Pastaza Valley.
Day 3: Free Time in Baños
Baños, nestled between the Rio Pastaza canyon and Tungurahua volcano, is a playground for adventure activities. There are many optional activities here, including canyoning, biking, rafting, horse riding, and even salsa dancing lessons!
The magnificent, subtropical cloud forest environment of Baños offers incredible hikes, and the town itself is charming. There are hot springs, great cafés, a beautiful town square, and rows of little stores along the sidewalk where the locals weave melocha (toffee).
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Amazon Jungle Excursion, Hike to a Local Community
Today you'll head east out of Baños, down the Rio Pastaza basin. The high cloud forest gives way to lush rainforest, sweeping all the way down the canyon walls into the river below as you descend into Ecuador’s Amazon jungle lowlands. You'll get straight into the action when you arrive at your rainforest lodge, with a hike to a community of Indigenous people living in the rainforest.
You'll take a dugout canoe across the Napo River, then hike for two hours into the jungle to the village. This is a real highlight of the trip—you'll learn how these small Indigenous communities maintain their traditional ways of life and get some sense of the important role the rainforest plays in their lives.
This afternoon you're back into the action with a hike into the pristine virgin jungle, and you'll venture deep into an elaborate canyon system. These canyons become a series of caves and limestone cliffs. With bats as spectators, you'll hike through the canyons back to your Lodge.
Day 5: Jungle Hike, Reverse Canyoning & Soak in Hot Springs
Using 4WD trucks, you'll travel deeper into the rainforest, where you'll take a short hike along a jungle trail to your first waterfall climb. The climb up these waterfalls is a lot of fun, even for absolute beginners at the art of reverse canyoning—which is typically everyone! Once you climb above the waterfalls, you'll traverse a rainforest ridge to a rustic Lodge, where you'll have lunch.
If there's time later, you'll hike to a beautiful lagoon for a swim before you head back to the highlands to Papallacta. Here you'll soak in soothing hot springs that sit right outside your room and take in the cloud forest and mountain views before dinner.
Day 6: Hike Santa Lucia Highlands, short drive back to Quito
This morning you'll hike up into the Santa Lucia Highlands Plateau on the northwestern side of Antisana Volcano (elevation: 13,800 ft / 4,206 m). It's a heart-pumping hike to reach the plateau, passing llamas and alpacas on the trail, but the views of the Antisana, several other snow-capped peaks, and the surrounding rugged páramo area are magnificent.
You'll also get amazing views of the massive Antisana Glacier that drops down the side of the volcano. Keep an eye out for condors, too, as they're often seen in the area. Later you'll take a short drive back to Quito, where you'll have the afternoon free to explore the city. You'll meet with your guide again this evening for your final dinner in Ecuador.
Day 7: Depart Quito
Today is the last day of your Ecuador adventure. You'll return home relaxed and refreshed from all the great activities, fine food, and friendly people you've met while traveling in Ecuador!
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