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Andes to Amazon

from $3,099.00

The best of mainland Ecuador: wildlife, jungles, volcanoes and the coast

  • Reviews 8 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 16
All about the Andes to Amazon.

Stunning Andean scenery, colonial architecture, fascinating Indian markets and verdant cloud forests are just the start. Follow the Avenue of the Volcanoes with great views of snowcapped volcanoes such as Cayambe and Chimborazo, before boarding the ‘Devil’s Nose’ train to switchback down the western Andean slopes. In the Amazon Rainforest we discover the jungle and its incredible biodiversity, before ending at the Pacific coast to discover the mangroves by boat and visit a cacao plantation.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners
* All accommodation (see below)
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport arrival transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Visit colonial Quito, the Otavalo Indian market and Cuenca’s UNESCO Heritage Reserve
  • Overnight in the peaceful Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Two nights to soak up the sounds of the Amazon Rainforest
  • Ride the famous ‘Devil’s Nose’ train
  • Visit the ruins of Ingapirca and Cajas National Park
  • Take a mangrove boat trip by the Pacific Coast and visit a Cacao plantation
  • 11 nights comfortable hotels, haciendas and lodge and 2 nights standard lodge
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Several areas visited are at high altitude
  • Travel by minibus, train and boat
  • Napo Wildlife Centre extension available
  1. Day 1 Start Quito.

    The group flight usually arrives into Quito this evening and clients will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients can make use of our free airport transfer to the start hotel today – please read the joining information for more details.*Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)***

  2. Day 2 Quito city tour; Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.

    This morning’s short walking tour of Quito is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers. The heart of old Quito is a colonial masterpiece and the capital is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in South America, as well as being a UNESCO site. Leaving Quito behind we drive towards the North-Western slopes of the Andes where Bellavista Cloud Forest is located. Situated at the top of the Tandayapa Valley, Bellavista is a private reserve bursting with orchids, bromeliads, toucans, tanagers and hummingbirds. The area is a paradise for naturalists with a vast network of hiking trails.*Accommodation: Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve & Lodge (or similar)***

  3. Day 3 Spot birds in Bellavista; to hacienda.

    An early start this morning to appreciate the diversity of Bellavista and spot some of its many bird species. The reserve has previously won awards for its high bird count – there are 20 different species of Hummingbird to look for! Following this morning’s excursion we drive towards Northern Ecuador and the beautiful hacienda that will be our home for the next few nights.*Accommodation: Hosteria Pantavi (or similar)***

  4. Day 4 San Clemente Indigenous Community.

    After breakfast we travel towards the foothills of the Imbabura Volcano where the indigenous community of San Clemente is located at 2900m. The community consists of a number of local indigenous families whose main livelihood comes from farming and agriculture. We have a guided tour by one of the families, who will introduce us to a number of native and medicinal plants, explain traditional embroidery techniques, tell us about their culture and show us the day to day activities that take place within the community. A traditional lunch will be prepared using locally grown produce. This afternoon we drive back to our hacienda with the rest of the afternoon free to relax in the beautiful gardens of Pantavi.*Accommodation: Hosteria Pantavi (or similar)*

  5. Day 5 Walk at Cuicocha Crater Lake; visit Indian Otavalo.

    Drive to Cuicocha Crater Lake at approximately 3000m. This beautiful caldera (volcanic crater) is about 2 miles/3km wide and was formed over 3000 years ago by a massive volcanic eruption. We start a scenic walk along one section of the lake (up to 3 hours duration) to take in the impressive scenery, before continuing our journey to Otavalo. Otavalo is situated in a valley at 2250m, the town is well known for its bustling Indian Market. There are many of stalls and locals wear traditional colourful clothes – a fantastic introduction to Andean life and a good place to pick up some souvenirs. We have some time to soak up the atmosphere before continuing our journey. Overnight in a 400 year-old colonial hacienda.*Accommodation: Hacienda SuMerced (or similar)*

  6. Day 6 Visit Papallacta Hot Springs; to Amazon Rainforest. 

    A short journey driving over the dramatic (and breathless at 4069m!) Papallacta Pass. Located east of Quito, the Papallacta Hot Springs are regarded as the nicest of all Ecuador. We have some time to bathe in both hot and cold pools as the snow-capped Antisana Volcano (5758m) looms over the horizon.  We continue our journey, driving around the flanks of the Antisana Volcano before the descent into the Amazon Basin to our rainforest lodge. After a short briefing we take a night walk to discover our new surroundings – there are fantastic night time sounds to listen out for, a wonderful experience amidst the humidity of the rainforest. *Accommodation: Liana Lodge (or similar)*

  7. Day 7 Rainforest exploration; AmaZoonico Animal Rescue Centre.

    Discover the Amazonian basin on foot. The incredible biodiversity of the rainforest environment will be explained by our indigenous guide, who will show us the most interesting and medicinal plants. There is a good chance of seeing kingfisher, parrot, oropendula and other bird species. Squirrel and Capuchin monkeys can be seen in this area, although other larger mammals are considerably more shy and harder to spot. The insect life is also fascinating, with beautiful butterflies flashing by and Army ants and Leaf-cutters on patrol. Visit the AmaZoonico Animal Rescue Centre where we can see some of the forest’s larger inhabitants such as tapir, capibara, pecari and various species of monkey.*Accommodation: Liana Lodge (or similar)***

  8. Day 8 To Banos; visit Devil's Couldron waterfall.

    Begin the wonderfully scenic drive west along the ’Road of the Waterfalls’ with spectacular views of the upper Amazon Basin and the Andes towering above. The climb back to the highlands is mesmerising as we watch the ecology change and the many waterfalls cascade from the high peaks into the lush valley of the Pastaza River. There are good photo opportunities along the way, including a visit at the Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) waterfall. We pass through Banos, a picturesque hot spring and pilgrim town adjacent to the 5000m high volcano of Tungurahua. There is some time to explore Banos before we drive to our hacienda in Patate.  *Accommodation: Hacienda Leito (or similar)***

  9. Day 9 Walk in Chimborazo N.P.; to Riobamba.

    Drive to the region of Chimborazo for a short walk (around one hour) in Chimborazo National Park, located at approx. 4600m. Due to the equatorial bulge the summit of Chimborazo is the furthest place from the centre of the earth! In the national park there are good possibilities to observe vicuñas, a relative of the llama. This afternoon our journey continues towards Riobamba where we stay overnight.*Accommodation: Hacienda Abraspungo (or similar)***

  10. Day 10 'Devil's Nose' train ride; to Ingapirca and Cuenca.

    Today involves a colourful train ride across the Andes through the steep and famous ’Nariz del Diablo’ or ’Devil’s Nose’ – one of the most difficult railways to have been constructed. If the weather is clear, we can see volcanoes as we chug slowly down a steep series of switchbacks with impressive drops. Afterwards visit the incredible Inca architecture at Ingapirca, the largest Inca ruins in Ecuador. The Inca Empire stretched along the Andes north through Ecuador into Colombia and south through Peru and deep into Chile. Ingapirca has fine examples of their famed brickwork as well as a solar observatory. We descend from the highlands to colonial Cuenca where we stay for the next two nights.*Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucia, Hotel Victoria, Hotel Carvallo (or similar)***

  11. Day 11 Half day city tour of Cuenca.

    Like Quito’s old centre, Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a charming place to explore. A guided tour this morning takes in the remarkably intact old town, where many artisans have taken up residence amidst the narrow colonial streets and famous landmarks. The afternoon is free to discover the town at your own leisure.*Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucia, Hotel Victoria, Hotel Carvallo (or similar)*

  12. Day 12 Walk in Cajas N.P.; to Los Chorreras.

    A short drive this morning brings us to Cajas National Park, otherwise known as the ’Gateway to the Snowy Mountains’ in local Quichua. This is a stunning area of lofty peaks, lagoons, lakes and rivers amidst pristine paramo vegetation. During a walk of around 2 hours we may encounter some of the 125 bird species recorded here, such as Yellow-billed pintails, Ecuadorean hillstar or Violet-throated metaltail. With good weather we are rewarded with stunning views of this well preserved national park during our walk. We stay in a hotel close to Cajas National Park for our last night in the Andean Highlands before we descend towards the coast. *Accommodation: Hosteria Dos Chorreras (or similar)***

  13. Day 13 Mangrove boat trip; visit cacao plantation.

    Today we descend towards the Pacific and visit the Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve where we take a boat excursion through the incredible mangrove forest. This important eco-system has both Red and Black mangrove species and provides opportunities for seeing a number of aquatic birds and other wildlife along the many small river inlets. In the afternoon we visit a cacao plantation to learn about the production of one of Ecuador’s biggest exports. After this we travel to Guayaquil, the main port town in Ecuador, for our final evening together.*Accommodation: Grand Hotel Guayaquil (or similar)*

  14. Day 14 Depart Guayaquil.

    The trip comes to an end today after breakfast and it’s time to bid Ecuador and the rest of the group goodbye. Free transfers to Guayaquil airport are available to all clients today. Those on group flights will fly this evening and arrive in the UK the following day.

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Where you stay

Hotels, Haciendas & Lodges

11 nights comfortable hotels, haciendas and lodges, and 2 nights standard lodge, all en suite.

Accommodation on this holiday is a real highlight as we stay in a mix of country haciendas (Spanish colonial estate houses), hotels and lodges. The haciendas offer a real retreat with welcoming staff and beautiful surroundings, whether surrounded by gardens or nestled in the mountains. Staying in the jungle is likely to be a memorable experience, our thatched bungalows nestled in the forest and only reachable by boat. Optional single supplement available, see dates and prices.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners are included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style with toast, cereal, eggs, fruits and tea/coffee all available.

For lunch and dinner, the tour leader will recommend various options in convenient locations, usually booking restaurants and eating with the group. Vegetarians can be catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

This trip has been graded 2: Leisurely/Moderate

It will appeal to those interested in the astonishing variety of mainland Ecuador – Spanish and Inca history, Paramo highland, mangrove systems, rainforest, cloud forest and volcanoes. It is a busy trip, taking in a huge amount of scenery, flora, fauna and history in two weeks. Many of the areas visited on the trip are at high altitude and some short walks (normally one to three hours) are planned. A reasonable level of fitness is required for this trip.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Excellent trip with great variety

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Chimborazo national park.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully.

Reviewed On 07/10/2019
5/5

You’ve got to see Ecuador

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the Devils Nose railway but many, many other moments came a close second.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Ivan Tarapuez is a typical example of an Exodus guide; simply excellent. His knowledge, friendliness and dry sense of humour made him special. A credit to his industry and country.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pick up the phone and book the trip.

Reviewed On 07/10/2019
5/5

Fantastic and Stunning!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the desolate, windy expanse of the foot of Chimborazo had a beauty of it's own and, the sight of the volcano peak, with it's glaciers and blanket of cloud streaming from it's summit is a view I will remember forever. The experience was made more memorable when picking up a lump of basalt rock that, despite the cooling wind, was quite warm from the equatorial sun's rays.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Ivan, our leader was clearly passionate about his Country and quite knowledgeable indeed on all aspects of the trip encounters. Always ready to share this knowledge, he was also quite willing to share photographs he had taken as well as help us to home in on wildlife so we could likewise capture the moment. He made every effort to include all the group and on the occasions where we had "free time" was always keen to show us more of the sights, which is how some of us found ourselves in a Medical museum in Cuenca poring over antiquated dental chairs, ophthalmic equipment and Iron Lungs!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take layers. The climate is such that whilst overall warm, layers help control the changes bought on by wind or the ever changing clouds that block then release the strong sun. We found simple cagoules with layers beneath plenty sufficient for the rain we encountered (which was minimal, it being the end of the dry season). As for mosquitos, we both dressed appropriately long trousers/sleeves when required, combined with liberal doses of Deet, Avon 'Skin so Soft' and mosquito coils at night whilst in the rain forest. Did it all work? - absolutely, I was not bitten at all, whilst Karen received a small bite when we decamped the coach unexpectedly to see a troop of Howler monkeys!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Muck in! Work as a Team with your fellow travellers and you will get more out of it. If you get a chance to try something out, go for it - that is how I found myself ploughing a furrow with an ancient plough pulled by two oxen! Embrace the local food, it is unbelievably tasty. I found green bananas quite pleasing whilst Karen took a shine to the local sugar can juice spiced with alcohol brewed from that very plant!

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

The Pluses and Minuses

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sachatamia Lodge for birds and I mean lots of different types and numbers. Chachimbiro Hots Springs, excellent We got onaly a 10 minutes and a 30 minute boat ride in the Amazon River Basin. Cajabama Indian Market, great local color of locals selling and buying fruit, vegetables, plants. Hiking in Cajas National Park for animals viewing and great scenery Churute Eloological Reserve for mangrove swamp boat ride to see many birds and bird species.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabian is an outstanding tour guide. Exodus should be happy to have him
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go only in Andes dry season, July-September
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus needs to add more boat time on the Amazon Basin rivers. 10 minutes and 30 minutes are about 3 hours too little.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Andes to Amazon

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Amazon Jungle
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Great
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cloud Forest only really for bird watchers.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Trip to Cotopaxi would be more widely appreciated than Bellavista (I think)

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
September 4, 2020
Available
$3,099.00
N/A
October 23, 2020
Available
$3,099.00
N/A
November 6, 2020
Available
$3,099.00
N/A
December 22, 2020
Available
$3,099.00
N/A
September 18, 2020
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$3,099.00
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February 12, 2021
Available
$3,379.00
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March 5, 2021
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$3,379.00
N/A
April 2, 2021
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$3,379.00
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July 30, 2021
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$3,379.00
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September 3, 2021
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$3,379.00
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September 17, 2021
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$3,379.00
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October 22, 2021
Available
$3,379.00
N/A
November 5, 2021
Available
$3,379.00
N/A
December 17, 2021
Available
$3,379.00
N/A