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Andes to Amazon

from $3,379.00

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

  • Reviews 25 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 25/06/2020
4/5

ANDES TO AMAZON June 2011

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing 4 volcanoes at once. Also the Cajas National Park was simply amazing for its scenery and vegetation. And I loved seeing the scarlet macaws.  
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Javier was superb. He was very knowledgeable and great fun to be with. We even enjoyed his jokes! He was always looking for ways to improve our experience. His command of English was very good and he gave us a real insight into Ecuadorian life. A wonderful guide. 
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you take a headlight for the jungle (there is no electricity in the chalets). Also take thick socks - we wore gumboots/wellingtons twice for muddy walks and thick socks made them much more comfortable. Also, make sure you take your hiking boots or good walking shoes/trainers - we did more walking than expected - all optional - I thought the walking greatly added to the experience. 
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful trip - don't hesitate!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

A wonderful experience we shall always remember

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably staying in the jungle lodge, surrounded by monkeys in the day, going out on the night walk and at night listening to the sounds of the jungle in our candle lit room.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabian is an excellent organiser, is very knowledgable about all sorts of things and kept us entertained with his stories. I appreciated his concern for our welfare and safety which was one thing that worried me slightly before we went but we had no problems at all whilst we were there.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a woolly hat, gloves and maybe a scarf. It was very cold walking at high altitude (which we did twice) for a couple of hours each time. If that was on the list of equipment I missed it. Don't rely on the temperature charts for Quito or Guayaquil and think that the whole country is the like either of these places. It can be quite chilly at 4800 metres on Chimborazo. We managed to buy hats and gloves locally but you might want to take your own.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

ANDES TO AMAZON

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many... After a 2 hour hike in the jungle we came to a clearing that overlooked the rainforest from a high view point - that was brilliant!Visiting the equator line and standing in two hemispheres at once was a priceless bucket list moment!Walking in the flanks of Chimborazo at over 4000m was a fantastic first time - lunar-like landscape - wonderful!As the clouds disappeared as a big reveal to show us the crater lake - it was a great 'WOW' moment.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    He was lovely, very knowledgeable about his country and very kind.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a small rucksack for the jungle, as you won't be able to take your main luggage with you on the boat to the rainforest lodge.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The accommodation on this trip is brilliant, especially the haciendas!  I'd never experienced such lovely accommodation on any of my trips so I thoroughly recommend this trip not only based on your adventure but the quality of the accommodation and staff.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Small country packs a punch!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a volcano explode at night (from a safe distance)! The trip to meet a family high in the Andes, hear about their way of life and enjoy a delicious meal they cooked for us. The diversity of the country from scenery to people. The most amazing clouds!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Fabian was simply the best I have ever been with, he clearly loved his job and his country and that reflected in the way he ran the trip. Fabian worked hard to make sure everything went smoothly and to ensure the safety of the group, he took the time to find out what everyone wanted from the trip and was very inclusive catering to all levels of fitness and competence. Fabian put up with some merciless teasing which he took in good humour. Praise also to Mauricio our fearless driver who safely delivered us to all our destinations without mishap and some of the roads were pretty scary!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't bother with a mosquito net for the rainforest as the rooms are fumigated before arrival and there is nowhere to hang one anyway. Be open in your outlook and enjoy the diversity of this wonderful country.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip could have been a bit longer to give more time in Quito as half a day was not enough, also that would allow some more free time for individual exploring as the only time we had was in Cuenca, more free time would have given guests, leader and driver a chance to refresh themselves.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Land of Vast Contrasts

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up Chimborazo - an almost lunar landscape crowned by the snow capped peak. Buffeted by the wind, passing by huge rocks thrown from the volcano, time to reflect on all the experiences so far.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabian's knowledge of the land, people, history and wildlife is very good as is his ability to communicate interesting and important facts. His dry sense of humour kept the mood light-hearted. He's very well organised but also flexible and finds opportunities to do additional activities. He takes time to understand what the group is interested in and is very keen to make sure you get the most from your holiday pictures! Always tell him if there's something you can see from the bus that you want to stop and photograph, or if there's something specific you want to buy and he'll do his best to accommodate.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A mosquito net wasn't needed in the Jungle Lodge as they don't suffer from mossies there, and the huts don't have hanging points for that reason. Insect repellent still needed for other types of fly though. Take a head torch for the night walk to keep hands free for taking photos. To reiterate other reviews, take one or two rucksacks to decant a couple of days' worth of stuff into as cases aren't taken to the Jungle Lodge. Hat and gloves advisable for the high altitude walk at Chimborazo. Careful with light coloured swimwear when you go to the thermal spring baths - the water's coloured with natural minerals which can stain. Try and use some of the language, especially for ordering meals as it makes life easier and quicker and is part of the whole experience.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fabulous trip.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
April 2, 2021
Available
$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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October 22, 2021
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November 5, 2021
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December 17, 2021
Available
$3,379.00
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