The Adventure Tour Ecuador really is an adventure! Hike the Condor Trek high in the Ecuadorian Andes, visit a remote Amazon tribe deep in the jungle (on foot!) and have amazing experiences in this diverse country!
Highlights: Authentic rain forest experiences, trekking in the Andean paramo
Number of days: 15 or more
Regions: Amazon, Andes
Interests: Climbing, Hiking & Trekking, Indigenous Culture, Nature & Wildlife
Total CO2 emission, in lb (per day for cruises): 786
Click on the icons to see details about each visited place.
Day 1: Arrival in Quito
Upon your arrival in Quito, your English-speaking guide will meet you at the airport. They will take you to your hotel in Quito’s beautiful historic center.
Day 2: City Tour
Start the day’s activities with a visit to Quito’s colonial city center. It is Latin America’s biggest and best conserved historic center and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. On a walk around the old town, your guide will show you some of the most beautiful buildings and churches, before taking you up the “Panecillo”, a hill south of Quito’s center, which offers an amazing view of the city.
In the afternoon you have some free time. Visit the “Middle of the World”, close to Quito (approx. 45 minutes). It is at the place where in the 18th century a group of French scientists determined the Equator to cross – they missed the actual GPS-determined Equator by only about 200 yards. In the site’s small village there’s the Equator monument as well as different exhibitions and documentation centers. The museum Inti Ñan – at the site of the actual Equator – offers funny interactive experiments which demonstrate the Equator’s effects.
For the night, you return to Quito.
Day 3: Otavalo
You leave Quito early in the morning. Visit first Otavalo, famous for its enormous indigenous market. It is held every day on the Poncho Square; on Saturdays it extends and covers nearly a third of the whole town. You can find many different handicrafts produced in the surrounding villages: fine woven goods like blankets, hammocks, and tablecloths, jewelry made of silver or the tagua nut (also called vegetable ivory), musical instruments, leather goods, and many other things.
In the afternoon you explore the Cotacachi Cayapas Nature Reserve. Visit the Cuicocha Lake, which is inside the crater of the Cotacachi Volcano, at an altitude of 10,040 ft. It is called “Lake of the Gods” by the local indigenous people. On a walk along the lake you can enjoy the region’s biodiversity, the view of the lake with its two small islands, and the landscape with the volcanoes Cotacachi, Imbabura, and Cayambe. You spend the night in a lodge surrounded by a beautiful cloudforest, close to Papallacta, east of Quito.
Day 4: Beginning of the Condortrek
In the morning your guide takes you to El Tambo, a little village close to Papallacta at an altitude of 11,200 ft, where the horses that will carry the gear wait for your arrival. After loading the horses the journey begins. On this day you will mainly hike on muddy paths and cross little streams, so you will need rubber boots.
The first camping site will be at the shore of a small lake, “Laguna del Volcán.” The hiking time is about 6 hours depending on the weather and the hikers’ physical condition.
Day 5: Condortrek
After breakfast the ascent to the second camping site, at the foot of the Antisana at 13,500 ft., begins. The first two hours lead through muddy terrain and small forests to the Paramo, where there are no more trees, only the typical Paramo vegetation. From here on the ground is much drier. After hiking for about four more hours, you will have a wonderful view of the Antisana’s glacier. You go on past the Santa Lucía Lake and reach the second camp site, in a valley which is crossed by a small stream.
Day 6: Condortrek
Early in the morning you will leave the camp at the foot of Antisana and walk towards the glacier. The inclination is moderate. While you hike up you can enjoy the beauty of the Ecuadorian Paramo. Look out for condors, caracaras and the Andean fox. Then you leave the Paramo and continue the ascent through the moraine of the old glacier, with a wonderful view of the Antisana’s south and central peak, and far away the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and Cayambe. Today’s camping is at the foot of the Sincholagua. Hiking time is approximately 7-8 hours.
Day 7: Condortrek
Today you start your hike early in the morning again. The hike leads you through different regions of the high Paramo, passing cows, rabbits, deers and different species of birds. From the pass at 14,800 ft. you can see the valley of Limpiopungo and the majestic Cotopaxi. From here you follow a long descent.
You will spend the night at the camp by the Río Pita.
Day 8: Condortrek
From the camp you will go by car to the end of the road and walk to the refuge (approx. 1 hour). From there you hike to the glacier at 16,000 ft. After enjoying the view you will go back to the parking lot and continue the journey to Baños, a small town which is known for its thermal springs – whose water allegedly has magical powers (the town’s full name: Baños de Agua Santa – Baths of Holy Water). It sits at the foot of yet another volcano, the Tungurahua, whose eruption you can sometimes admire on a clear day – a unique natural spectacle, of course observed from a safe distance. You will spend the night in Baños.
Day 9: Baños
In Baños you have many possibilities for exciting adventures in the town and its surroundings, while enjoying the nice climate. A must-do is the visit of one of Ecuador’s highest waterfalls, the Pailón de Diablo. Other options include hiking, horse riding in the hilly surroundings, mountain biking along the waterfall route, rafting and different adrenaline sports like “Puenting” (bungee jumping from a bridge).
Day 10: Jungle Adventure
From Baños you will travel down to the Amazon region. After about 4 hours you will reach San Pedro Sumino, on the shore of the Napo River. Here you get in a canoe and travel for about 30 minutes, until you reach the lodge, which lies at the shore of the small river Chontayacu, in a private 660 acres rainforest reserve. You will be welcomed with a typical regional drink, the Guayusa tea and get settled in your cabaña, which is built in the traditional style. In the afternoon you will get an introduction to the Kichwa culture. Try your luck at shooting a blow gun and learn how the natural poison curare is used for hunting. Afterwards the guide will explain important elements of the Kichwa culture on the basis of a model of a typical house with different objects that show the daily life in the jungle. After dinner you can go for a night walk, observing insects and other nocturnal jungle animals while listening to the sounds of the rain forest.
Day 11: Hike to Wentaro
After an early breakfast, you will travel by canoe for about 1.5 hours downstream on the Napo River to get to the village of Comuna de los Ríos. Here you will get on a truck which brings you in 30 minutes to the small village of Selva Amazonica where you will meet your guide and porters. You begin your hike through the primary forest and reach the Waorani camp in Huantaro territory after a 6–7 hour hike.
The way through the primary forest is full of adventures; you cross small streams and rivers, hilly terrain and see countless plants and trees, some of them over 600 years old. With a bit of luck and depending on the weather you will maybe see some wildlife like capybaras, armadillos, different species of monkeys, and colorful tropical birds. On the way you will have a picnic lunch.
In the afternoon you reach the camp where the Waoranis will give you a warm welcome with their traditional drink, the Chicha (based on Yuca/Maniok and plantain), and traditional dances.
After dinner you will have time to relax by the campfire before you go to sleep in your comfortable tent.
Day 12: Jungle
In the early morning you go into the primary forest, accompanied by your Waorani guide, to see the natural salt lick, where you can watch the fascinating spectacle of different species of birds. The number of birds depends on the season and weather. The best time for bird watching is between July and September. You will have breakfast at the camp, before another hike leads you to a lagoon where you can observe turtles. From the shore of the Shiripuno River you will travel in a traditional canoe to a place where you can see many hoatzins. The hoatzin is the strangest bird of the Amazon region. It has a punk hairstyle and a blue face. He also smells pretty bad which is why he’s also called stink bird. He only eats plants and is pretty heavy, which is why he cannot fly very well.
In the afternoon, after lunch at the camp, you learn more about the fascinating life of the Waoranis in the jungle. Learn how to light a fire and the traditional way to hunt with a blow gun.
Day 13: Waterfall
In the morning you hike to a very special place, the sacred Waorani waterfall, a wonderful place where the tribe celebrates the ceremonies and rituals and where the shaman gets in contact with the spirits. Here you can take a refreshing bath to wash away the bad energies – as it is the tradition. Afterwards you will hike about 2 hours through the rainforest to look for animals and birds. If you are lucky you can see different species of monkeys, capybaras and maybe even an anaconda or other wild animals.
The afternoon is all about culture and the way of life in the jungle. The Waoranis show you the traditional way of making pottery and invite you for dinner. At the farewell meeting, which is called Kacharina in the language of the Waoranis and means “share all your feelings and experiences”, you can share your impressions and listen to the chief’s stories.
Day 14: Return hike
After breakfast you say goodbye to your hosts and begin the hike back through the rainforest. After 6 to 7 hours you will reach the village Selva Amazonica, where a truck will be waiting for you to take you back to the Napo River’s shore in San Pedro, where the canoe is waiting for you to bring you back to the lodge. After dinner you are invited to a farewell drink with the Kichwas of the village Chontayacu.
Day 15: Papallacta
On your last day you leave the Amazon region and travel back to the highlands. Papallacta is famous for its hot springs which will be a wonderful treat for you at the end of this adventurous tour. Spend the night in the beautiful resort and spa.
Day 16: Airport
As your adventure has come to an end, your guide will take you to the airport, which is only about 45 minutes from Papallacta. Continue your journey on the famous Galapagos Islands or fly back home.
Price per person: US$ 3,375
(based on 2 people traveling)
- 15 nights accommodation in double rooms in mid-range hotels and double tents, with breakfast
- Condor Trek includes full board, kitchen and restroom tent, cook and porters with horses
- professional English-speaking guide (mountain guide during the Condor Trek)
- private transportation
- full board and activities with a local guide in the jungle, with English-speaking companion
- international and domestic flights
- meals not specified
- entrance fees to museums, churches, etc.
- personal expenses
- optional excursions and activities
- personal travel insurance
A mix between welcoming hotels and hosterias as well as some nights in a tent are your accommodation during this tour:
Quito: Hotel Plaza Sucre
Guango: Guango Lodge
Condor Trek: tent
Baños: Hotel La Floresta
Jungle: Camp in tents on a covered platform
Papallacta: Termas Papallacta
Wondering what to pack? Check out our packing list. It includes a section on what to bring for a trekking tour.
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