We designed this itinerary to help you get up close to the natural beauty of Ecuador in a range of exciting and eco-friendly ways. From mountain biking down a volcano and taking a motorised canoe into the Amazon, to jungle hikes and white water rafting down 2 thrilling rivers, we think this trip is perfect for adventurous souls. You'll meet indigenous communities and encounter lots of wildlife but we haven't forgotten time to relax either, with 2 stops at volcanically-heated thermal baths for some well-deserved pampering.
Day 1: On arrival you will be met by our local guide, who will help you acclimatise to Ecuador and make sure the trip runs smoothly. We will take you to your hotel and, depending on your time of arrival, you can spend a few hours exploring Quito and its amazing old town before bedding down for the night.
Day 2: Today is your first taste of adventure and in true Ecuadorian style it begins on the slopes of the giant Cotopaxi volcano. Descend by mountain bike from the roadhead at 4800m through fields of volcanoes, lava and Inca ruins to a height of 3700m. After a refreshing lunch you will ride from Lake Limpiopungo along dirt roads and single tracks through the pine forest that covers the slopes of Cotopaxi. Once down, we will drive you on to the town of Baños. (B/L)
Day 3: To work up an appetite for breakfast, we suggest a dip in the local thermal baths, for which Baños is famous. The day then begins with a bike ride to the Amazonian frontier town of Puyo, taking you down from the Andes into the warm and humid Amazon basin. You can choose to do 20km of this route or the full 55km, but either way it is all down hill with spectacular views! After lunch in Puyo you will carry on by car, driving through Quichua villages and tropical rainforest to a beautiful lodge overlooking the majestic Napo River. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Today is an opportunity to experience life under the vast green canopy. After a filling breakfast, you will join other guests from the lodge and cruise by motorised canoe down a myriad of channels until you reach the Arajuno River. Here you'll be able to visit the animal rescue centre AmaZOOnico and see a great variety of animals including toucans, parrots, monkeys, jaguars and capybaras.
After lunch, cool off with a refreshing swim in the river before visiting one of the many indigenous communities that live along the Napo River. These villages have developed their own brand of tourism which offers you an insight to their daily lives by demonstrating modern and traditional activities like gold panning, pottery making, making the traditional drink 'chicha' from yuca and blowpipe hunting. Afterwards, head back to the lodge for a rest before dinner. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Today it's time to get on with the adventure and drive up into the hills for a rafting trip on the Upper Napo river, also known as Jatunyacu, which means 'big water'. And BIG is probably the best word to describe this river - big waves and lots of fun! Jatunyacu is crystal clear as it flows from the Llanganates National Park, an extremely rugged and uninhabited mountain range believed by some to be the hiding place of Inca gold. (B/L/D)
Day 6: After a hearty breakfast, take a refreshing swim in the nearby waterfall Cascada de Latas. After you have dried off, a short 10 minute canoe ride takes you to a hiking trail through the forest, with the chance to see the luxuriant plants and shy animals of the Sumaco Biosphere reserve. After a delicious lunch back at the lodge you will then be driven to the Quijos valley where hot showers and a home-style meal await you. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Refreshed by a good night’s sleep, today you will experience the thrill of the Quijos river, fast becoming one of the best-known rivers for white water rafting in Latin America. Pull on your wetsuit for a day of rafting through exciting rapids past some of Ecuador’s most beautiful scenery.
After successfully running the rapids, you'll be taken up the 'Valley of the Waterfalls' to the Termas de Papallacta Spa for a well-earned soak in the volcanically-heated mineral waters. The best thing is that you will spend the night here, so there's plenty of time to enjoy a massage or two. (B/L/D)
Day 8: How best to relax is the biggest question for this morning. Sleep in late? Soak in the thermal baths and get pampered in the spa? Stroll along the river path? Then, after a delicious lunch, it's time to head back to Quito and a last night get-together. (B/L)
Day 9: Fly home or continue on to explore the Galapagos Islands. Tough decision!
Prices from: £1795 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!