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?
Accommodation: San Francisco Hotel or similar , Quito
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. You can arrive at any time today, but no activities are planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel on time, 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Quito is located above 2800 metres/9200 feet, where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip: some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition(s) with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
On arrival in Quito: while our local representatives and hotel staff are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.geckosadventures.com/sites/default/files/geckos_altitude-sickness.pdf
Is arriving earlier, do take time to explore Quito. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, this charming colonial centre offers a wealth of things to see and you could lose yourself for hours meandering through the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and exploring the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco. The city is filled with Baroque art and architecture, as exemplified by magnificent churches, monasteries and public buildings. If your feel like exploring further afield, you might like to head for 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. The 30 metre high statue of La Virgen de Quito sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city. Incredible vistas can also be enjoyed from La Cima de la Libertad, the site of Ecuadorian independence from Spain. The Monastery of San Diego is home to the only version of 'The Last Supper' painting where Christ and company are feasting on cuy (roast guinea pig). Visit ‘La Mitad del Mundo’ (The Middle of the World), which was built on what was claimed in 1736 to be the line of the equator.Also visit the the smaller monument nearby called Museo Solar Inti Nan - supposedly where the equator actually runs through since re-measurements were made.Enjoy a free evening and perhaps grab some dinner from a local restaurant.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Accommodation: Amazon Jungle Lodge
We leave Quito early in the morning and travel by local bus to Misahualli (approx. 6 hours) From here we travel by boat to our local community (approx 10 minutes).
After breakfast on Day 3, we travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of our hike. The hike is relatively easy and takes approximately 3-4 hours (depending on the group’s pace). During the hike we visit a protected private reserve with sections of secondary and primary forest. Stay alert and try to spot the immense variety of insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Your local guide will help understand the importance of the jungle to the local community.
Accommodation in the community is very basic and it consists of a bed and bed linen. Bathroom facilities are shared.
Keep an eye out for sloths, monkeys, jaguars, toucans, armadillos and caimans. That's when you're not busy checking under your bed for anacondas!
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Santa Clara or similar, Banos
Travel back to Tena by local bus (approx 20 mins).
From Tena we travel to Banos by local bus (approx 5 hrs). Half way through the journey we stop in Puyo for a quick toilet stop and 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.
Located on the northern foothills of the active Tungurahua volcano, Banos is a sanctuary of peace and tranquility during the week, broken only by the occasional performance of a traditional Andean band, English language movie at the Hood Cinema, or drinks with friends at a local bar. On the weekends and during holidays however, Banos explodes with carnival-like festivities. You will have two full free days here to take advantage of the optional activities - horse riding, mountain biking, hiking or even rafting. Perhaps rise early to watch the sun rise over the mountains from Banos' famous hot springs. You can also visit the cathedral and local artisan markets.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts
Accommodation: San Francisco Hotel or similar , Quito
We travel back to Quito for the night before taking a day trip to the famous Otavalo Market.
Otavalo and its famous market are located approx. 2.5 hours north of Quito (by local bus). This is one of the most important Indean markets in Ecuador. Villagers from the surrounding countryside descend on the town once a week to sell everything from handmade goods to livestock, fruit and vegetables. This is a great place to pick up some souvenirs, practise your bargaining, and the photo opportunities are endless.
The trip ends on Day 8 and there are no activities planned for this day.
Quito city tour including One museum, Compania Church & Panecillo - Jungle excursions during your Amazon stay - Short hike to 'El Pailon del Diablo" (waterfall) - Entry to Cotopaxi National Park - Entry to Cuicocha Lake in Otavalo - Transport, accommodation and meals as listed.
International flights, departure and airport taxes, visas, other meals, optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Public Holiday Inconveniences
Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, most museums also tend to be closed on Mondays.
Our sister company Intrepid Travel: The operator for this Geckos trip is our experienced sister company Intrepid Travel. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Geckos booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Local contact number: Peak Ecuador After Hours Emergency: 09 94014877 calling from inside Ecuador or +593 9 94014877 calling from outside Ecuador
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
5 January 2015