Days
8
Price from
$636AUD

A lil’ loop in a lil’ land. Start off with a dawdle around Quito, then zip out to the jungle for some Amazon action. Get your adrenaline kicks in Banos – or just plonk yourself in a hot spring. Suss out the goodies for sale at the Otavalo market.

Named as one of Lonely Planet's Top 10 Countries 2013, Ecuador is apparently the place to be. Well aren't you a trendsetter?


Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Quito, Ecuador
Country
Ecuador
Code
GSEC
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(2 reviews)
Ages
Min 18 , Max 39
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • UNESCO is a pretty good judge of character, right? With its colonial architecture, plazas, churches and colourful local life, there's a reason they've listed Quito's Old Town as a World Heritage site

  • Leave the bright lights and party bars of the city behind and work on your jungle boogie for two nights in a far-flung part of the Amazon Rainforest

  • Play guide-and-seek in the Amazon Jungle. Your local guide will hack away the vines and drop breadcrumbs of knowledge for you to follow along the way

  • There's nothing like munching on a red tomato from an Ecuadorian market, eh? Saunter (yes, saunter) around the Otavalo Markets and find yourself smack bang in the middle of Souvenir City, population: you

Is this trip right for you?

  • During your stay in the community lodge in the Amazon Jungle, accommodation is multi-share and quite basic (bed and linen are provided). You’ll possibly be sharing your living quarters with mixed genders and the bathroom facilities are also shared.

  • Temperatures in the Amazon can fluctuate. It can get really hot, humid and sticky during the day and cold at night. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle the heat during the day, and remember to bring some insect repellent. Base layers are ideal for keeping warm at night.

  • There will be a moderate hike during the trip, which usually takes between 4-5 hours. Although it’s not too strenuous, the terrain can be unpredictable and good quality hiking boots are recommended. There will also be a couple of stops on your journey for water and food breaks.

  • The itinerary isn’t packed full activities so there’s quite a bit of free time in certain places. This is a great chance to take part in optional activities. Please note that any optional activities that you decide to do will come at your own expense.

Itinerary

Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception.

Quito is located 2,800 metres above sea level, where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender or fitness. Please refer to the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes for important information about altitude sickness before and during your trip.

 

If you arrive in Quito early, there are plenty of sights to see. The Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco are great places to start. If you feel like exploring further afield, you might like to head to one of the many viewpoints over the city. El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf) offers sensational views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes. Your evening is free to do as you wish.

 

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel in time for the welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • San Francisco Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Basilica del Voto Nacional - USD2
  • Compania de Jesus - USD4
  • La Ronda - Free
  • Equator Monument Entrance fee - USD3
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Ballet Folklorico Ecuatoriano de Jacchigua - USD40
  • Antisana Trek Full day from Quito - USD120
  • Quito City Tour by Night (Optional) - USD35
  • The Equator Line - USD45
  • Whitewater rafting - USD120
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Culinary Experience Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Included Activities
  • Leader led walking tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Quito early in the morning and travel by local bus to Misahualli, which usually takes around six hours. From here, jump in a boat and float down river for ten minutes to a local community, which will be your base in the jungle. Your accommodation for tonight is in a remote community lodge amid the tropical rainforest. It's very basic and consists of a bed and bed linen (some people prefer to use their own sleeping bag). Bathroom facilities are shared. Use the rest of your day settling into the lodge while getting to know the immediate area and your fellow travellers. In the evening, sit down for dinner with the rest of the group.
Accommodation
  • Shiripuno Community stay or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Activity
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After breakfast, travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of today’s hike. The trek is relatively easy and takes around 3-4 hours, depending on the group’s pace. Although quite flat, the terrain can be fairly unpredictable so it’s important to bring comfortable, waterproof hiking boots. During the hike, visit a protected private reserve with sections of secondary and primary forest. Try to spot the variety of insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Your local guide will help you to understand the importance of the jungle to the local community, while keeping an eye out for native wildlife such as sloths, monkeys, jaguars, and caiman. Head back to the lodge in the early evening, where you’ll be able to relax for the rest of the night.
Accommodation
  • Shiripuno Community stay or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Leave the community behind in the morning, and take the 20-minute journey to Tena by local bus. From Tena get another local bus to Banos, which should take around five hours. Half way through the journey, stop in Puyo for a quick toilet break and use the opportunity to grab some snacks. Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, Banos has become a mecca for international travellers seeking year-round temperate weather, a small-town atmosphere and a base for exploring the great Ecuadorian outdoors. If you have time perhaps head to Las Piscinas de la Virgen, the hot springs of Banos. This is the ideal way to relax after your bus journey.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Santa Clara or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Baños bike rental per day - USD6
  • Steam Baths - USD8
  • Entrance fee Pailon del Diablo waterfall - USD2
  • Tree House - USD1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day to explore. Located on the northern foothills of the active Tungurahua volcano, Banos is a quiet city with plenty of things to do. If you’re an early bird, catch the sunrise over the mountains before breakfast. If you want to explore the city, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Agua Santa (a basilica dedicated to the Virgin of the Holy Water) is a great place to start. From here, perhaps comb the artisan markets for handicrafts such as leather goods, jewellery and carvings. If you’re in Banos on the weekend or during the holidays, the city has an amazing carnival-like atmosphere in the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Villa Santa Clara or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head back to Quito today, which should take around three hours. On arrival, the rest of your day is free. For a bit more culture, venture to the Iglesia de La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) for a look at the extravagant Spanish colonial architecture. City bike tours operate in Quito (at your own expense), and are the ideal way to see multiple sights in a short space of time.
Accommodation
  • San Francisco Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Culinary Experience Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Included Activities
  • Otavalo Market day trip
  • Village Tour Otavalo
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, head north out of Quito by local bus to the famous Otavalo Market (approximately 2-3 hours). This day trip will give you ample amounts of time to peruse Ecuador’s most important Indian markets. Villagers from the surrounding countryside descend on the town once a week to sell everything from handmade goods to livestock, fruit and vegetables. Pick up some souvenirs, practice your bargaining skills and take plenty of colourful photos. Head back to Quito in the late afternoon and, if you like, to an optional final dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • San Francisco Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Ecuador Highlights adventure finishes this morning. Flights can be booked out of Quito at anytime today, as there are no more activities planned.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Bus, Canoe, Minibus, On foot

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Lodge (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Leader led walking tour
  • Activity
  • Otavalo Market day trip
  • Village Tour Otavalo

Reviews

Our Ecuador Highlights trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Ecuador Highlights, January 2016

Nicole Hale

Ecuador Highlights, January 2016

Nicholas Maione

Dates & availability

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Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.