Quito My Heart
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?
Day 1 - QuitoBienvenidos! Welcome to 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.San Francisco Hotel or similar
Day 2-3 - Amazon Jungle
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!Amazon Jungle LodgeBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 4-5 - 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.Hotel Villa Santa Clara or similarBreakfast
Day 6-8 - Otavalo - 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.San Francisco Hotel or similarBreakfast
What to Know
- 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 below
- 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.
This tour passes through volcanic areas. In the instance, a volcano becomes potentially dangerous and authorities declare nearby towns unsafe for travel, the itinerary will be re-routed. Where possible, Gecko’s will provide advance notice of such changes. At short notice, when this is not possible, your tour leader will provide up to date information on behalf of Gecko’s.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Quito My Heart
Emyo - Australia, 14 Apr, 2013
Wonderful trip. We sank deep into Amazonian mud and scaled dizzying heights of Cotopaxi volcano. A magical encounter with an orphaned baby woolly monkey at Yacuma Lodge.
Quito My Heart
Viktor/Anna - United States, 3 Jan, 2013
Very interesting, and with a lot of varieties trip. So much and so reach experience in only 7 days!