We are particularly proud to introduce You this trip. Me (Renato) and my partner and friend Pierre have been working on it for more than one year, visiting many destinations in the Esmeraldas Province, and finally…here we are.
Why proud? You could ask. Simple. First of all it is very beautiful, amusing and varied. Then because allows to visit various natural environments. Paramo on Andes, the Cloud Forest at Pachijal and surroundings, the Pacific Ocean at Rio Verde with its large and lonely beaches (the mass tourism hasn’t reached this place so far). The Santiago river and the Rainforest at Playa de Oro. And again the Andes and the magic of Laguna de Cuicocha.
Many natural environments and many cultures. From Mindo where Los Yumbos lived to Playa de Oro and its afro-ecuatorian culture. And then Cuicocha and Otavalo and the Andean Culture.. And finally the Colonial Center in Quito, declared a Cultural Humanity’s Hermitage by Unesco..
And what about Conservation efforts at Pachijal and Playa de Oro? And there the incoming from visits go directly to the Community that asking nothing but continuing to stay where they have always been, protecting a Community Rain Forest of about 10,000 ha. A great opportunity to visit a wonderful place contributing with Your own visit to preserve it as it is.
Anyway it is an adventure trip. Good for people not used in adventure but even for those that being used would like to be a bit…comfortable.
One last consideration about the formula. We have thought that also the one travelling alone could join the group, whose minimum number is two
The Program: could vary according to weather conditions.
Day 1: In Quito. From the airport we transfer to Santa Barbara Hotel, to rest after the flight and acclimatize a bit, because Quito is more than 2800 meters above sea level.
Day 2: From Quito to Mindo along the Ecoroute el Paseo del Quinde. We leave Quito early in the morning, accompanied by a Naturalist Guide, and after several kilometers we turn off the new Road to Mindo until reaching the Ecoroute el Paseo del Quinde, the old road once connected the Coast of Ecuador with Quito. We then descend (we are more than 3000 meters above sea level) along this road to view the diversity of nature and scenery, starting from Paramo, down to the Cloud Forest (about 1600 meters above sea level), passing thru different ecosystems. The significance of the ecological transformations at the different elevations are well explained by our Guide. In the afternoon, we arrive at Pachijal Reserve, where we will be based for accommodations next four nights.
Day 3: A day in the Cloudforest. In the morning, we walk well-cut trails in the Forest, observing, listening, taking photos, relaxing, sitting, eating and drinking. The afternoon is left open for self discovery in the reserve. If you are so inclined, you can further explore the Forest with one of our horses.
Day 4: A cultural day. In the morning we visit the Ceremonial Site of Tulipe, located less than 10kms from our Lodge. The site is managed by the community. A local guide will help us learn about Los Yumbos, the people who lived here before the arrival of the Spaniards and then disappeared. We will then visit the village of Las Tola where shops are filled with traditional handcrafts made with natural material, like seeds. In the afternoon, we visit the Village of Mindo and it’s Mariposario (Garden of Butterflies). And then an Italian Restaurant and - music and - whatever else.
Day 5: Bird watching day. In the morning and in the afternoon, when the birds like to go out hunting and feeding, our licensed birding guide will escort us with our binoculars to discover the extraordinary world of the Mindo birds and the reason why this place is world renowned.
Day 6: From the Cloud Forest to Pacific Ocean. After breakfast and with no hurry, we will start our trip to the Ocean of Rio Verde. We will reach the Resort Breeze of Ocean on early afternoon and will spend the rest of afternoon enjoying the beach, looking at fishermen’s work and the flight of pelicans and, why not?, bathing in the pool. At dinner shrimps, lobsters, encocado…
Day 7: From the Ocean to Santiago river and Playa de Oro. After breakfast we will travel to Selva Alegra where we board on the boat that leads us, in a couple of hours of sailing in a primary scenery, to the afro-Community of Playa de Oro, where we will lodge the next three nights.
Day 8: Immersed in the Rain Forest of Playa de Oro. In the morning we will walk along the trails in the Forest to reach the falls and enjoy a regenerating bath. In the afternoon relaxing, swimming in the river, pan for gold or other activities.
Day 9:…And its Culture. In the morning we will sail the river up to the Cathedral, a strange and mysterious rock. In the afternoon we will visit the village and at night…marimba music.
Day 10: From the Rain Forest to Andes. In the morning, after breakfast and greetings, we will sail again the Santiago river down to Selva Alegra, where our van will be waiting for us to follow us to the Laguna of Cuicocha. During the second day of Inti Raymi (or Sun Festival) every summer solstice, indigenous shaman use Cuicocha as a bath of ritual cleansing and purification. Here we will lodge at Los Pinos, a small hotel close to the Laguna. In the afternoon or tomorrow morning, depending on arrival time and our tiredness, we have a ride on the Laguna with a boat.
Day 11: Back to Quito. But on the way we will visit Otavalo’s market, the largest indigenous market in South America. In the afternoon we will be at Santa Barbara again. At night the City Tour.
Day 12: Leaving. To the airport or to Your next destination if starting a new trip. But won’t ever forget the one just terminated.
Price per person USD 1600
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