Best of Tena

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Tena
On the western edge of the Amazon, the forest-backed town of Tena has long been a magnet for adventure-minded travelers. Rushing rivers nearby set the stage for some of Ecuador’s best white-water rafting. Tena also makes a suitable base for trips into the rainforest, with jungle lodges and abundant wildlife watching. Tena is a five-hour drive from Quito, making it a good choice if you’re looking to visit the Amazon without having to fly in or take an overnight bus trip. 

As the nation’s unofficial whitewater capital, Tena has loads of options for rafting trips. You can take fun, family-style floats with gentle currents or tackle class III and class IV rapids along both the Río Napo and the Río Misahuallí. For a taste of the Amazon, naturalist guides lead excursions into the isolated Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park, where wildlife-filled tropical rainforest flourishes on the slopes of the Sumaco volcano. Closer to Tena, you can visit Kichwa communities and learn about their traditions and beliefs. At Tsatsayaku you can see a women’s cooperative of cacao producers who are helping to revitalize the community.
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Head into the Ecuadorian Amazon near Tena for wildlife-spotting and rainforest adventures
Map of Family Fun in Ecuador: Quito, Baños & Tena - 7 Days
Family Fun in Ecuador: Quito, Baños & Tena - 7 Days

You can pack a lot of adventure into a week in Ecuador, and this family-friendly itinerary does just that as it takes you from high-altitude Quito to the Amazon rainforest. Active kids and parents will love hiking the Andean highlands in Cotopaxi National Park, chasing waterfalls around Baños, riding a boat to your remote ecolodge in the Amazon, meeting the local wildlife at a jungle sanctuary, and much more.

Relax on the beaches of the Galápagos Islands
Map of Wild Ecuador: Quito, the Amazon & Galápagos Islands - 9 Days
Wild Ecuador: Quito, the Amazon & Galápagos Islands - 9 Days

Discover a range of Ecuadorian destinations on this exciting nine-day adventure. You'll start with sightseeing and a cooking class in Quito, then venture into an Amazonian forest reserve to spot wildlife and learn about Indigenous traditions. Catch a flight to the Galápagos Islands, where you'll spend several days sailing, hiking, observing rare birds, cycling, and snorkeling. The journey ends when you return to the mainland.

Take in views of Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano from the hiking trail
Map of Culture & Outdoor Adventure in Ecuador - 8 Days
Culture & Outdoor Adventure in Ecuador - 8 Days

Explore Ecuador's cultural highlights and outdoor landscapes on this action-packed eight-day itinerary. Begin in Quito with a city tour and a cooking class, then bargain for traditional crafts in the famed Otavalo Market. Discover the Amazonian rainforest, including an Indigenous community, when you arrive at a jungle lodge by boat. Finish with a hike near Baños and a quick visit to Cotopaxi National Park.

Soar over mountainsides on the "swing at the edge of the Earth" in Baños
Map of Ecuadorian Highlands & Amazon Rainforest Adventure - 12 Days
Ecuadorian Highlands & Amazon Rainforest Adventure - 12 Days

Discover the secrets of the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest on this 12-day adventure in Ecuador. Combining organized tours with independent exploration, halfway through the trip, you'll join a small group on a three-night rainforest escape to Itamandi Ecolodge. After jungle hikes, canoe rides, and Indigenous community visits, you'll walk among active volcanoes in the Andes, looking out for condors, wild horses, and alpacas at high-altitude lakes.

Río Napo in Ecuador
Map of Best of the Ecuadorian Amazon: 7 Days
Best of the Ecuadorian Amazon: 7 Days

Leave the cold climes of Quito and descend to the sinuous rivers and sticky jungle of the Ecuadorian Amazon, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth. On this 7-day itinerary, you will wildlife-spot along mighty waterways, climb into rainforest canopies, brave some of South America’s best white-water rapids and bathe in beautiful thermal pools. If you are set on exploring the Amazon, Ecuador is one of the best places to do it.

Exploring scenic terrain with the family in the Galapagos Islands
Ecuador Family Trip: Quito, the Amazon & Galapagos Islands - 11 Days

From the colorful wildlife of the Amazon rainforest to the underwater playground of the Galapagos, this family-friendly journey around Ecuador offers adventure and education for all ages. Start in Quito, where you'll take a hands-on cooking class and set foot on both halves of the equator at Mitad del Mundo. Then delve into the Amazon rainforest, spotting exotic insects on a nighttime jungle tour and canoeing to a parrot habitat — bring your binoculars for the best views! Finish the itinerary in the Galapagos Islands with several days of wildlife viewing, snorkeling, and so much more. Keep your eyes open for giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies!

Dancers in Ecuadorian traditional dress
Map of Mainland Ecuador for Families: Andes to the Amazon - 14 Days
Mainland Ecuador for Families: Andes to the Amazon - 14 Days

Compact but diverse, Ecuador is a perfect destination for an epic two-week family vacation. This fun-filled itinerary begins and ends in Quito, with adventures in the Andean highlands and the Amazon rainforest in between. Along the way, you'll keep the kids busy as you horseback ride at a hacienda in Cotopaxi National Park, brave suspension bridges over the waterfalls of Baños, spot monkeys and capybaras at your jungle ecolodge, and barter with the locals at the colorful markets of Otavalo.

Soar over mountainsides in Ecuador's "Adventure Capital" of Baños
Map of Mainland Ecuador for Families: Andes to the Amazon - 10 Days
Mainland Ecuador for Families: Andes to the Amazon - 10 Days

Active families can experience the best of Ecuador's great outdoors on this 10-day itinerary that takes you from the Andes to the Amazon. Start in Quito with a walking tour and family cooking class, then set off into Cotopaxi National Park, where the kids will channel their inner adventurer with horseback riding and high ropes courses at a local hacienda. See dramatic waterfalls and the world's most famous treehouse in Baños, venture deep into the Amazon for two nights at an incredible ecolodge, and wrap things up with a dip in the natural hot springs of Papallacta.

El Cajas National Park
Map of The Ecuadorian Andes to the Amazon - 15 Days
The Ecuadorian Andes to the Amazon - 15 Days

See Ecuador off the beaten path on this 15-day trip that takes you from the towering Andes to the edge of the Amazon. Visit the major sites of Quito as you discover its local cuisine, then hike and horseback ride through Cotopaxi National Park. Explore waterfalls near Baños before reaching Tena, where you'll float along the river through the Amazon rainforests. Discover the Andean hill towns of Cuenca, Gualaceo, and Chordeleg, and witness the ruins of Ingapirca and El Cajas National Park

Marvel at Chimborazo volcano from Riobamba
Map of Ecuador Cities, Mountains & Jungle - 9 Days
Ecuador Cities, Mountains & Jungle - 9 Days

Discover Ecuador's fascinating culture and magnificent wilderness on this nine-day journey that starts in Quito and ends in Guayaquil. Between exploring the monuments and marketplaces of two major cities, you'll go hiking and bird-watching in the Yacuma Natural Reserve, see Inca ruins at Ingapirca, visit waterfalls and volcanoes near Baños, see how the Panama hat is made in colonial Cuenca, and so much more.

Explore the Amazon
Map of Ecuador's Volcanoes, Amazon Rainforest & Galápagos Islands - 13 Days
Ecuador's Volcanoes, Amazon Rainforest & Galápagos Islands - 13 Days

This exciting 13-day adventure covers an impressive range of cultural and natural highlights in Ecuador. Starting in Quito, the UNESCO-listed capital, you'll visit Indigenous markets and volcanoes before paddling into the Amazon to stay two nights at an ecolodge. The trip finishes with several days of island-hopping in the Galápagos to observe its unique inhabitants—like giant tortoises and white-tipped sharks—sprinkled with some quality beach time.

Go for a swing at the "end of the world" in Baños
Map of Active Family Adventure in Ecuador: Andes, Amazon & Cloud Forest - 14 Days
Active Family Adventure in Ecuador: Andes, Amazon & Cloud Forest - 14 Days

The small South American country of Ecuador is rich in wildlife, biodiversity, and natural beauty. Active kids, whatever their ages, will love this two-week tour of the country, which takes you from the high-altitude capital of Quito to the Andean plains, the jungles of the Amazon, and the cloud forests of Mindo. Horseback ride across the highlands, take night and daytime tours of the rainforest, admire dramatic waterfalls, zipline through a cloud forest, and much more.

Baby Alpaca
Map of Multi Country South America Adventure: Ecuador & Peru - 14 Days
Multi Country South America Adventure: Ecuador & Peru - 14 Days

Experience the best of Ecuador's mainland and Peru's highlights on this two-week trip. Start in Quito to tour the UNESCO-designated city center, then head to the Amazon for cultural experiences with the Kichwa indigenous community, wildlife viewing, and a peaceful rainforest atmosphere. Return to Quito by way of Cotopaxi National Park, home to the eponymous volcano. Then, catch a flight to Lima—the urban hub of Peru. End the trip with a visit to Cusco's pre-Inca ruins and a tour of the Sacred Valley and imperial Machu Picchu residence.

Hoatzin in Yasuni National Park
Map of Nature & Culture in Ecuador: Quito and the Amazon Rainforest - 7 Days
Nature & Culture in Ecuador: Quito and the Amazon Rainforest - 7 Days

If you want to visit Ecuador but can't decide between city or rainforest life, this itinerary has the best of both worlds. Start in Quito to see colonial churches and visit the equatorial line, then head to the Amazon rainforest. Spend three days in Yasuni National Park relaxing at an ecolodge, panning for gold in a stream, and learning to make chocolate the authentic way. 

Other popular travel destinations in Ecuador
Quito · Baños · Cotopaxi · Otavalo · Guayaquil · Cuenca · The Amazon · Riobamba · Papallacta · Yasuni National Park · Archidona · Quilotoa · Mindo · Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve · Isinliví · Cacha · Lago Agrio