During this tour you will get very close to the untouched nature of Ecuador. You discover the impressive cloud forest northwest of Quito where you can do birdwatching and observe the huge biodiversity. Ecuador’s Amazon region offers an amazing variety of wildlife and plants.
Number of days: 15 or more
Regions: Amazon, Andes
Interests: Birdwatching, Hiking & Trekking, Nature & Wildlife
Total CO2 emission, in lb (per day for cruises): 870
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. We recommend going up the hill “Panecillo” from where you have an amazing view over the city. In the afternoon you visit the botanical garden at the Carolina Park. This park gives you an overview of the different ecosystems in Ecuador’s different geographic regions. It also contains an ethno-botanical and an orchid garden.
Day 3-4: Cloud Forest, Santa Lucia
During the next days you will discover the cloud forest northwest of Quito in a community-run tourism project. You can choose between different activities like early morning visits to the clay lick of Andean birds, long or short hikes, walks to waterfalls, night walks to see some nocturnal animals and raptors. The private nature reserve also forms part of the spectacled bear’s habitat, and the newly discovered mammal olinguito.
Day 5-6: Cloud Forest, Mindo
While the Santa Lucia nature reserve lies higher up in the mountains, Mindo lays lower, thus offering different species of birds and plants as well as a warmer climate. You can hike in the area, visit a butterfly farm, learn about chocolate making, and enjoy the tranquility of the small village.
Day 7: Otavalo
Today you visit Otavalo and the surrounding area. Otavalo is 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.
Close to Otavalo is the beautiful Crater Lake Cuicocha inside the crater of the Cotacachi Volcano, at an altitude of 10,040 feet. It is called “Lake of the Gods” by the local indigenous people. On a walk along the lake’s shore 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.
Day 8-10: The North
Ecuador’s North is still largely undiscovered by tourists, although there are many beautiful places to visit, especially for travelers interested in nature. The El Angel Nature Reserve contains the last remaining part of the thousand-year old forest of Polylepis Incana and the paramo andino with frailejones. In the Polylepis- or Quinua-forest you can find bromelains, orchids, hummingbirds and mountain toucans. In the paramo of El Angel you can find the meditating monks, the frailejones gigantes, which can get 13 ft tall. These endemic plants dominate the meager landscape. There are many lagoons like the Laguna del Voladero in this area. With a bit of luck you can see a corsa fox, puma, Andean bear or condor.
Also worth a visit are the thermal baths of Chachimbiro, the salt town of Salinas, which you can reach by train from Ibarra, and the subtropical Chota Valley, home to a large population of Afro-Ecuadorians.
Day 11-13: Amazon – Cuyabeno
The last part of your tour leads you to Ecuador’s Amazon region. Discover the amazing variety of wildlife and plants in the Cuayabeno Nature Reserve. On guided hikes you get a deeper impression of the rainforest’s complex ecosystem. See exotic trees and plants like orchids, bromeliads, gardenias and several species of birds ranging from hoatzins, macaws, and toucans to cormorants, tanagers, and king-fishers. The area is also abundance in reptile life such as yellow-spotted Amazon turtles, caimans, anacondas, and many other different snake species. With a little bit of patience, you may also be able to glimpse the uniquely evolved pink river dolphins.
Day 14-15: Return Flight
From Cuyabeno you fly back to Quito, where you will spend one more night in a hotel close to the airport, before flying back home or on to Galapagos on your last day.
Price per person: US$ 2,290.00
(based on 2 people traveling)
- 14 nights in double rooms in comfortable mid-range hotels, with breakfast
- professional English-speaking guide
- private transportation
- full board and excursions with local guide at Santa Lucia
- flight to Lago Agrio
- full board and shared excursions with local guide in the jungle
- international flights
- meals not specified
- entrance fees to museums, churches, etc.
- optional excursions and activities
- personal travel insurance
The accommodations of historical hotels in Quito as well as eco-friendly Lodges in a natural setting.
Day 1 – Quito – Plaza Sucre
Day 2 – Quito – Plaza Sucre
Day 3 – Santa Lucia Lodge
Day 4 – Santa Lucia Lodge
Day 5 – Mindo – Mariposas de Mindo
Day 6 – Mindo – Mariposas de Mindo
Day 7 – Otavalo – Las Palmeras
Day 8 – Norte – Pantavi
Day 9 – Norte – Pantavi
Day 10 – Norte-UIO – Mirolindo Hotel
Day 11 – Selva – Siona Lodge
Day 12 – Selva – Siona Lodge
Day 13 – Selva – Siona Lodge
Day 14 – Quito – Mirolindo Hotel
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