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. Firstly, the environmentally friendly practices reduce, reuse and recycle. Furthermore, 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. 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. As such, 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 with very difficult family situations. At the Refuge of Dreams they find a loving environment. The staff really cares about them and 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. It typically has an altitude between 900 and 2500 meters. Because of these unique characteristics, you will find a huge diversity of wildlife here. 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. Moreover, there are waterfalls, and a variety of hummingbirds to be spotted.

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 how modern-day artisans make chocolate. Or visit the butterfly farm and be dazzled by their variety of colors and shapes. Furthermore, here 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. In addition, there are instruments, leather goods and many other things to find.

In the afternoon you travel to an local community. There your host family welcomes you to your guest room (private bathroom, hot water). They will invite you to participate in their daily activities. As part of 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. Enjoy the impressive landscape along the way, as it changes 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 take a short walk around town and pay a visit to the Salt Museum.

You spend the night in 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 with absolutely beautiful surroundings. The thermal water is of volcanic origin. Therefore, the water has temperatures between 35ºC (96ºF) and 40ºC (104ºF). Moreover, it has medicinal proporties that have been certified by the Ecuadorian medical association.

Besides the thermal baths, Papallacta offers other opportunities to enjoy the beautiful landscape. For example, you can follow a path along the river Loreto-Papallacta. In about one hour you can explore the primary forest. There you’ll find a variety of orchids and waterfalls. Moreover, there are various birds typical of the high paramo. Look out for the carunculated caracara, peregrine falcon and hummingbirds. Maybe you will even see 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 begins our great experience in the tropical forest. The zigzag river flows through the jungle like a giant snake. Along the way you can appreciate the magic and beauty of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The river connects 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 and have a snack. A short briefing will inform you about the lodge and activities. This will be provided by one of our naturalist guides.

At 6:30 pm there is a night walk planned (optional). 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. A flashlight and camera are the most important tools on this night excursion.

Accommodation during the Andes Experience  Itamandi Ecolodge (or similar)

  Meals included: Breakfast | Dinner

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

A perfect activity for real bird lovers: we take a 15-minute canoe ride upstream early in the morning to visit a parrot clay lick (Saladero). At this unique site parrots and parakeets gather to obtain the minerals that will help them to digest. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets will approach the treetops. Later they come down to the clay bank to eat the soil that is rich in minerals. For the best experience, binoculars are essential.

After an exotic breakfast we head out for a hike through the primary and secondary Rainforest. Along the trail, our expert naturalists will teach you about the ecology and flora and fauna of the Rainforest. You will observe a great variety of insects and a diversity of birds flying around us. If you are lucky, you will find reptiles or monkeys. This activity takes about 2½ – 3 hours.

Back at Itamandi EcoLodge you can enjoy lunch and a siesta.

In the afternoon it is time for 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 will 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. It has become an important part of life in the Amazon, where they use it in everyday life as well as during festivities. We will take part in the preparation of this beverage and also try some of the local cuisine.

The visit ends with a traditional dance performed by the kids of the community. You will also have some time to buy handicrafts, made by the indigenous. This way you can 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 make a 40 min canoe trip downriver, to visit the Isla Anaconda. Here 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 can learn about their farming habits and medicinal plants. Moreover, they can teach us about their traditional way of hunting, with 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, 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.

ALTERNATIVE tOURS

  • 6 days adventure tour
  • a luxury tour that offers a unique way to experience the ecuadorian highlights 
  • starting from 3280 $ p.p

Travel Ecuador in style! During this Ecuador luxury tour you certainly get to know the country’s most beautiful places. The tour offers a great combination of city sightseeing and natural beauty. You will visit the domestic markets and explore Quito’s historic center. Moreover, you will enjoy the activities in the unique cloud forest. Most notably, each hotel of your trip is special. From an historic hacienda to the unique Mashpi Lodge in the cloud forest.

The Ecuador luxury tour combines perfectly with one of our Galapagos Luxury cruises.

Interested? Read more about the Ecuador Luxury Tour.

  • 4 days adventure tour
  • a unique train ride throughout Ecuador and the beautiful Andes
  • starting from 1400 $ p.p

Why not try a different way to explore the beautiful country of Ecuador? On a four-day tour with the unique Tren Crucero you can travel from Quito in the highlands to Guayaquil on the coast. You cross the amazing Avenue of the Volcanoes and can meet Andean and coastal indigenous communities. The tour is about 280 miles long and takes you from an altitude of about 2900 m (9,500 ft) to sea level. The Tren Crucero offers a unique luxury experience. During the day you travel in the wonderfully restored train, and the nights you spend in different hotels and haciendas.

It’s also possible to travel the other way, from Guayaquil to Quito, on the Tren Crucero.

Interested? Read more about the Tren Crucero.

  • 14 days adventure tour
  • a unique way to travel around Ecuador
  • starting from 1385 $ p.p

To see and experience the numerous facets of Ecuador at your own pace can be a true gift! A journey through Ecuador with a rental car allows you to stop in the small villages, at stunning waterfalls and great view points along your path. The journey leads you through the Andes, past vast landscapes, historical ruins, hot springs and the Amazon with stays in old towns, which are protected by UNESCO. Explore the diversity of Ecuador comfortably in a rental car!

Interested? Read more about: explore Ecuador with rental Car.

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.