Day 1: Hiking Bellavista Cloud Forest. Our trip begins in Quito where we'll meet before heading north for a couple of hours to the Bellavista Cloud Forest. We'll spend the day hiking trails formed on the steeply forested slopes of this gorgeous area to look and listen for native birds. Bellavista is a real treat, whether you want to get your heart pumping on the hills or would rather stop and absorb the symphony of sounds in the misty forest. Our lodge tonight looks over the entire area, and the view is so beautiful you won't want to close your eyes!
Accommodation: Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 2: Peguche Waterfall and San Pablo Lake. Today we head north-east to Otavalo, a lovely town surrounded by lush green hills and volcanoes. After lunch, we'll hike to La Cascada de Peguche, a beautiful waterfall in the hills surrounding Otavalo. If you'd prefer not to hike today you could spend the afternoon at the Otavalo street market instead - one of the most famous markets in South America. Accommodation: Otavalo lodgings. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Hiking Cuicocha Lake and life on the Ranch. This morning we'll hike around Cuicocha Lake, an extinct volcanic crater lake known as "The Lake of the Gods". This beautifully colored lake lies at the foot of the immense Cotacachi volcano, with views that will take your breath away! In the afternoon we'll head for Cotopaxi, one of Ecuador’s most spectacular mountains, in the heart of the Valley of the Volcanoes. Here we'll make ourselves at home at Hacienda La Alegria - a typical Ecuadorian Ranch. 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! Accommodation: Hacienda La Alegria. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Cycling Descent of the Cotopaxi Volcano. This morning we head into Cotopaxi National Park. The centerpiece of the park is the perfect cone like, snow-capped shape of Cotopaxi (19,347 feet). Here we begin our cycling adventure on the world's highest active volcano! You'll ride downhill at your own pace through the lunar landscape and beautiful lakes that girdle Cotopaxi, ending your ride at 10,000 feet. The scenery is simply magical. If you're game we'll hike up to the snowline of this majestic volcano for some of the best views in Ecuador". Later we'll drive to Banos a beautiful mountain town in the Rio Pastaza Valley. Accommodation: Hotel El Marquez Posada, Banos. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Free day in Banos. Banos, nestled as it is between the Río Pastaza canyon and Tungurahua volcano, is a playground for adventure activities. There are lots of optional activities here including canyoning, biking, horse riding, and even Salsa dancing lessons! The magnificent, subtropical cloud forest environment of Banos makes for some incredible hikes too, and the town itself is charming. There are hot springs, great cafes, a beautiful town square and lines of little stores where the locals weave melocha (toffee) on the sidewalk. Accommodation: Hotel El Marquez Posada, Banos. Included: (B).
Day 6: Cycling down the Rio Pastaza Valley. Today we head east to the town of Tena. We'll leave Banos on our bikes, riding down the Rio Pastaza Valley. This is some of the most unforgettable cycling you'll ever do. We'll be descending the temperate cloud forest and heading into the Amazon rainforest as we pedal down this amazing river canyon. The high cloud forest gives way to lush rainforest as it sweeps all the way down the canyon walls into the river below. Along the way, we'll stop for a cable car ride over the canyon with great views of the Pailon del Diablo waterfall. Accommodation: Shangri La Jungle Lodge, Upper Río Napo. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Jungle Hiking and Reverse Canyoning. This morning we'll be using 4x4 trucks to head deeper into the rainforest to the Amorangachi Jungle Lodge. After checking in, we'll take a short hike along a jungle trail to our first waterfall climb. The climb up these waterfalls is a whole lot of fun, even for absolute beginners at the art of reverse canyoning - which is typically everyone! Once we climb above the waterfalls, we traverse a rainforest ridge to our lodge where we'll have lunch. Later we'll hike to a beautiful lagoon for a swim before returning to our lodge for the evening. Accommodation: Shangri La Jungle Lodge, Upper Río Napo. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Hiking, Caving & River Tubing on the Upper Rio Napo. This morning it's back in the 4x4 truck for a 30 minute drive to 'Shangri La' - our next lodge, which overlooks the Upper Napo River. It's an incredibly relaxing place, with priceless views. We'll launch straight into the action with a hike into pristine virgin jungle, and venture deep down into an elaborate canyon system. These canyons become a series of caves and limestone cliffs. With bats as spectators, we'll hike through this canyon system back to Shangri La Lodge. After lunch and an afternoon relaxing in our hammocks, we'll head out on to the Upper Napo for some river-tubing. This involves floating down the river on inflated truck tyre tubes - all you have to do is kick back and enjoy the ride. Using our arms and feet as paddles, we'll float 8 miles downriver to the take-out point, which is just a short ride back to the lodge. Accommodation: Shangri La Jungle Lodge. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Hike to local Amazon community. Today we visit a community of indigenous people living in the rainforest. We take a dugout canoe across the Napo River, then hike 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. After this unique visit, we'll return to Tena. Accommodation: Hotel Travelers Lodging, Tena. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Rafting the Rio Napo. We have another exciting day today, rafting the Río Napo. We leave Tena for a short drive into the jungle to the put-in, where you'll get a familiarization and safety briefing. Then we're off! We'll be descending Grade III and IV rapids, interspersed with calm stretches to catch our breath and take in the scenery. In between paddling the rapids, sit back and take in the magnificent rainforest environment - it's hard to beat. Accommodation: Hotel Travelers Lodging, Tena. Included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Return to Quito and departure. Today is the last day of your 11-day trip around Ecuador with our company. We'll get back to Quito by lunchtime and if you have time to spare, we're happy to help with some ideas for what you can do here. If you have a flight this evening, we'll make sure to get you back to the airport on time and you'll return relaxed and refreshed from all the great activities, fine food and friendly people you will have met while traveling with us in Ecuador. Included: (B).
- Accommodation: The Tucan is an active adventure trip that takes us to some wild and remote areas of Ecuador. We've chosen accommodations for their comfort, cleanliness and charm - not the number of channels available on the television! Although even the remote jungle lodges have private rooms with mosquito nets, a hammock outside and great views!
- Fitness: You must have a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy yourself. You don't have to be young and extremely fit (although if you are, you won't be bored) but you should be in the habit of doing at least some exercise. Age and experience is not important. We've designed our trips to be as challenging as you want them to be. It's all about having fun!
- Experience: You don't need to have any outdoor experience to do one of our trips. We offer trips that enable you to make the most of South America's awesome outdoor environment, culture and history. Our staff is highly trained and very experienced outdoor guides and we'll look after you very well! You don't have to carry a pack, be experienced in rafting, or be used to hiking at altitude. You don't need to be a serious cyclist to enjoy our rides either. We have so many options that you don't have to ride at all, if you'd rather hike, shop or laze around!
All you need is to be energetic and in reasonable shape - and we guarantee you'll have a wonderful time. On the other hand, if you like a challenge we will certainly give you one! There are some awesome long hikes and bike rides in the Banos area and in the Amazon jungle. We can offer activities to suit people who only do a little exercise and those who have a very high level of fitness. We manage the level of commitment to suit your experience, and we have an impeccable safety record.
- Flexibility: Ecuador is in a developing part of the world, and we can't tell you that everything runs like clock work in South America. What we can tell you is that we are experienced adventure travel leaders, and we know how to keep things operating as smoothly as possible, even when conditions are challenging. That's why we are here! If you bring flexibility and a sense of humor you'll find your trip goes even smoother!
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South America Ecuador Nature & Wildlife Ecotourism Multi-activity