Andes experience

Let us introduce you to the Andes Experience. As you know SOLEQ stands for sustainability. Therefore, look at the pillars of sustainable tourism. For instance, the environmentally friendly practices reduce, reuse and recycle. Further there is the need to protect the cultural and natural heritage. In fact, it concludes restoring historic buildings and saving endangered races. Also it is needed to provide social and economic benefits for local communities. Like supporting fair wages. As an ecological-concerned company, we tried to combine those pillars for offering an sustainable itinerary for the Andes Experience. You will stay in restored hotels or with local families. Besides that, you will get the chance to enjoy the eco-friendliest activities. Furthermore, you are going to travel with the “Tren de la Libertad” and visit the Otavalo market. Moreover, you will be fascinated by the diversity in the cloud forest and by the Amazon Rainforest.

Tour factors:

Difficulty 35%
Family friendly 85%
Adventure 45%
Comfort 80%

ITINERARY:

Flight during the Andes Experience

After your arrival you will be transferred to your accommodation. So the Andes Experience can begin. Your hotel will be the Patio Andaluz. This place is close to the famous Plaza de San Francisco. Further it is a colonial-style house from the late 16th century. More importantly it is certified for its excellent work in sustainability by Rainforest Alliance.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar)

Activities during the Andes ExperienceYou 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. Also it 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.

In the afternoon you visit the social project we support here in Quito. The Refuge of dreams is a day shelter for children from very difficult family situations. At the Refuge of dreams they find a loving environment. The staff really cares about them.There they get support for  their development. Visit the Refuge of dreams, play with the children, teach them a craft or learn from them. It is a truly wonderful place.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Hotel Patio Andaluz (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast

Today’s destination is Mindo, in the Ecuadorian cloud forest. Cloud forest is a special form of the rainforest. Also it has an altitude between 2,950 and 8,200 feet. Besides that you will find a huge diversity of wildlife. The Andes Experience Tour offers you a great chance to discover the great variety of fauna and flora. See the many different plants, birds and other things of interest. Also there are waterfalls, and a variety of hummingbirds to find.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience Sachatamia Lodge (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast

Spend another day in Mindo. Visit for example a small, local chocolate factory that shows how chocolate is made during their chocolate tour. A guide will walk you through each step. Beginning with the cacao bean and its origins in South America. All the way to the modern-day artisans make chocolate. Or visit the butterfly farm. Where you will be dazzled by the variety of colors and shapes. Further you have the opportunity to see all 4 stages of the butterfly life cycle.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience Sachatamia Lodge (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast

After breakfast, you leave Mindo and travel to Otavalo. This town is famous for its enormous local 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. From fine woven goods like blankets and hammocks to handmade jewelry. Also there are instruments, leather goods and many other things to find.

In the afternoon you travel to an local community. From there your host family welcomes you to your guest room (private bathroom, hot water). Also they will invite you to participate in their daily activities. Due to the Andes Experience Tour you will learn about their organic gardens and how they use the different crops. Enjoy dinner with them and exchange stories.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Stay overnight in a family house (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

In Otavalo or Ibarra (depending on the day of the week) you will board the  Liberty Train. During the journey you pass several tunnels and bridges. Therefore you can enjoy the impressive landscape along the way. Note the change from Andean highlands to the subtropical lowland of Salinas. Once you arrive in Salinas, there will be a presentation of traditional dances. Later on you will do a short walk around town and a visit to the Salt Museum.

You spend the night on a historic hacienda between Otavalo and Ibarra.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Stay overnight in a family house (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

In the morning, you travel to Papallacta, famous for its hot springs. This is a beautiful place high in the Ecuadorian Paramo. There you can enjoy a bath in a very peaceful environment. Also you will find a beautiful surroundings The thermal water has volcanic origin. With that goes a temperature between 96 and 104ºF. Its medicinal properties have been certified by the Ecuadorian medical association.

Besides the thermal baths Papallacta offers more opportunities to enjoy the beautiful landscape. You can follow a path along the river Loreto-Papallacta. In around one hour you can explore the primary forest. There you will find a a variety of orchids and waterfalls. Besides that there are birds of the high paramo. The carunculated caracara, peregrine falcon, hummingbirds and sometimes even the majestic Andean condor.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Termas de Papallacta (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast

Today you leave the highlands and travel to the beginning of the Amazon basin. We start our trip to Itamandi EcoLodge. At the Arajuno Bridge, we will take a motorized canoe going upstream for 20 minutes. So we can begin our great experience in the tropical forest. On this ride you can appreciate the magic and beauty of the Amazon rainforest. While driving along a zigzag river that flows in the jungle like a giant snake. This relates to the vein system of the Pacha Mama (mother Earth).
Once we arrive at the dock area of Itamandi EcoLodge, the resident manager will greet you with a delicious welcome drink. From there we will continue to relax in the bar area. A snack and a short briefing will be held with general information about the lodge and activities. This will be provided by one of our naturalist guides.

6:30pm Night walk (optional) A flashlight and camera are the most important tools on this night excursion. It allows guests to hear the nocturnal sounds and to look for  some animals. Like the fishing bats, owls, a variety of insects, tarantulas, toads, frogs and possibly snakes. If the sky is clear, we might have the chance to do some stargazing.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Itamandi Ecolodge (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

5:45am – 6:00am (if the climate permits it) Parrot Clay Lick

For bird lovers we take a canoe ride for 15 minutes upstream early in the morning to visit a parrot clay lick (Saladero). We appreciate a unique site where parrots and parakeets gather. In order to obtain the minerals that will help them to digest. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets will approach the treetops. Later they will come down to the clay bank to eat this soil rich in minerals. It is essential to have binoculars to enjoy it.

After an exotic breakfast we head out for a hike through the primary and secondary Rainforest. Our expert naturalists will teach you about the ecology and flora and fauna of the Rainforest along the trail. You will observe a great variety of insects. Such as  a diversity of birds flying around us. If you are lucky you will find reptiles or monkeys. This activity takes about 2 ½ -3hours.

Back at Itamandi EcoLodge for Lunch and a siesta.

In the afternoon it is time to enjoy a cultural activity. An Amazonian Kichwa community will receive us and we learn about their way of life and the interaction they have with the forest. This encounter is going to show you that part of the Amazonia that you do not find on the maps: the Amazon people.
Part of our visit to the community involves the demonstration of the famous “Chicha”, a fermented yucca drink that has become part of their festivals and daily use. We will take part in the preparation of this beverage and also try some of the local cuisine.

We finish the visit with a traditional dance performed by the kids in this community and you also have some time to buy some handicrafts, made by the indigenous. This little business is to support the indigenous people in their daily life.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Itamandi Ecolodge (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

After a delicious breakfast buffet, we will take 40 min canoe ride downriver. To visit the Isla Anaconda. We can observe the prehistoric bird Hoatzin, and different races of monkeys. We will also visit a family in one of the local communities. There we will learn about their farming habits. Also about the medicinal plants and their traditional way of hunting. They will teach you about blowguns and handmade traps.  If this isn’t an Andes Experience?
Afterwards we will go to AmaZOOnico. This place is not a zoo but a rescue center for animals of the Amazon. We can observe a wide variety of animals there. Monkeys, macaws, ocelots, capybara, toucans also parrots and many more animals in their natural habitat at close range.

Return to Itamandi EcoLodge to enjoy the facilities of the hotel.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Itamandi Ecolodge (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

After breakfast you leave the Amazon and travel back towards Quito. Pass through Misahualli, a small town that is famous for the group of Capuchin monkeys that live on the main square. Back in Quito you spend the night close to the airport, in a beautiful hacienda set in ample gardens. The Andes Experience ends here. Hope you enjoyed!

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Hotel Quito Polo Club (or similar)

 Meals included: Breakfast

Transfer to the Airport - the Andes Experience endsIn time for your flight, we will take you to the airport.

Meals included: Breakfast

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

  • Nine (9) nights in Superior hotels in double room, breakfast included
  • Two (2) nights in family house in private room, breakfast and dinner included
  • Three (3) nights in Amazon Ecolodge in double room, full board included
  • Private transportation and professional, English-speaking guide
  • Activities and Excursions with local guide in Amazon Lodge
  • Entrance fees to museums, churches and sights in Quito
  • Train ticket for "Tren de la Libertad"
  • 24-hour local, emergency support number

starting from

$ 2560,- p.p.

in US DOLLAR

*Please contact us for special offers and child discounts. Prices are subject to change.

*Price based on double occupancy.

Consider as you reserve:

My own room:

Single supplement fee: USD $,-p.p.

Not Included:

> International airfare to and from destination
> Community Support USD $5,- p.p.
> Meals not described
> Alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
> Cost of medical immunizations as needed
> Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
> Cost of optional activities
> Excess baggage charges; airport taxes (if any);
> Optional gratuities to your guides
> Items of personal nature

Travel Insurance:

To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Travel insurance is intended to cover medical expenses, trip interruption and cancellation, theft and other losses incurred while traveling domestically or internationally.

Visa and Entry Requirements

Ecuador requires a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements.