Discover the true Ecuador experience by traveling through the Avenue of Volcanoes in the high Andes Mountains towards the best tropical Amazon destinations, and by exploring the outdoor town of Baños, the UNESCO-classified city of Cuenca as well as the local indigenous market of Otavalo. During your journey, you will learn about all the different local tribes and their cultures. The True Ecuador Experience trip is the perfect combination of cultural experiences, wildlife spotting, adventurous activities, and natural wonders that make Ecuador one of the most mega-diverse countries on Earth. This is an example itinerary that can be 100% customized to your needs and preferences. This package is perfect for family travel! It is also possible to extend your trip with an amazing cruise or tour to Galapagos. Discover the beauty of Ecuador!
10 Days True Ecuador Experience
DAY 1: QUITO
We have nothing planned for your arrival day. You will be picked up at the airport by one of our trip leaders and on the way to the hotel, there will be plenty of time to discuss details and answer any questions about the adventure. Depending on when your flight arrives, you can spend your time relaxing or exploring Quito.
Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Ecuador’s capital. It’s considered the cultural capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. Because of its strategic location in the middle of the Andes, you can organize fantastic day trips such as: Quito City tour, including trip to the Equator Line, Mindo Cloud Forest, Cotopaxi National Park, Quilotoa Crater Lake, Otavalo Indian market, Papallacta hot springs, Pululahua inhabitant crater, and more.
Ecuatraveling offers many options for all types of travelers during their stay in Quito and has incorporated outdoor activities into each experience, such as Cotopaxi biking, Pululahua crater horse riding, Mindo canopy zip lining and tubing, Papallacta trekking, Hatu Yacu river rafting, etc.
Please take a look at the menu of adventures we have to offer and contact us if you are interested in further exploration in and around Quito.
DAY 2: MINDO CLOUD FOREST
Explore the diverse natural landscapes of Ecuador on a private tour to the Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve from Quito. See gorgeous waterfalls and rushing rivers amid the tropical rainforest, and catch sight of unique species of butterflies, insects and birds. During your hike, customized to your comfort level, your expert guide will inform you about the flora and fauna – from the mossy forest floor to the canopy. This is the perfect activity for family or friends to learn about Ecuador’s authenticity. This trip is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and bird-lovers!
DAY 3: OTAVALO INDIAN MARKET
We will begin our day heading up to the northern Ecuadorian Andes. On our way, we will stop at the viewpoint located at the entrance of Imbabura province, where we will get a breathtaking view of the Imbabura volcano as well as the sparkling Lake San Pablo. After a 15-minute drive, we will arrive at Otavalo, where we will have the opportunity to spend time with local people from the surrounding Andean villages. You will see them wearing their traditional dresses and hear them speak in their native languages. The Otavalo market is considered one of the largest indigenous markets in South America. Here, you will be able to bargain for local crafts authentic to the area. Popular market items include sweaters, blankets, alpaca products, hammocks and jewelry.
DAY 4: PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS
We will drive up to 4,000 m (13,123 ft) through the western range of the Andes on a road passing by 2 national reserves (Antisana and Cayambe Coca). Both are located in the high altitude Paramo and known for its short vegetation and for being the home of some incredible animals such as the spectacle bear, deer, cougar, Andean condor and the caracara. After enjoying the great views this landscape offers, we will arrive at the Papallacta Hot Springs. Here, we will relax and enjoy soaking in the volcanic pools surrounded by mountains with colorful flowers and birdlife.
DAY 5: SELINA AMAZON ECO LODGE
Early in the morning, we will descend curvy roads towards the Amazon Basin. You will be able to observe how the landscape and vegetation changes drastically as we descend from an altitude of 3,000 m (9,843 ft) to 500 m (1,640 ft). Our first stop will be at Guango Lodge, where we will observe different species of hummingbirds in their natural habitat. These small and colorful creatures are famous for their incredible capacity to flap their wings rapidly as well as for their bright colors. After driving for an hour, we will stop at the Macaw Look-Out from where we will appreciate the tropical rain forest named The Amazon. The name comes from the warrior women who fought the Spanish conquerors during their expedition to this unknown place.
Once we arrive at the Selina Eco Lodge, we will have the opportunity to explore the majestic Amazon jungle. To do so, we will go on night hikes, visit parrots clay licks, and learn more at the Amazon animal rescue centers.
DAY 6: SELINA AMAZON ECO LODGE
In the morning, we will take a motorized canoe down the largest river in Ecuador, Napo River, to experience the feeling of navigating on one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. Arrived at the Amazonico Rescue Animal Center, we will have the opportunity to see many different species of Monkeys, Capybaras, Caimans, Ocelots, Toucans, Parrots, and other animals that live in this area. After approximately an hour, we will get back on the boat in order to go to the Ahuano village with the purpose of appreciating the skills of the indigenous women manufacturing handmade pottery (ceramics). This is the main handicraft and source of income of this area. We will enjoy our lunch by the riverside right before we canoe up-stream for an exciting hour of pristine forest on our way back to Selina Eco Lodge. Here, we will spend the afternoon relaxing in the Amazon and enjoying the facilities of this pristine lodge.
There is an optional night hike in the jungle after dinner.
DAY 7: ROUTE OF THE WATERFALLS TO BAÑOS
On day 7, we will go further south to Puyo, where we will have a quick look at the Balsa Carving workshop. Later, we will stop at Rio Verde, located in one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Sangay National Park. Here, we will hike down to the second-highest waterfall in Ecuador, the Pailon del Diablo. After a quick drive, we will get to another incredible waterfall called The Bride’s Mantle and take a cable car suspended above the Pastaza River. In the late afternoon, we will enjoy the hot springs in the town of Baños, located right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999.
DAY 8: HIGHEST VOLCANO IN ECUADOR AND VICUÑAS
We depart early in the morning since, today, we have to go all the way up to the Chimborazo Volcano located 6,310 m (20,700 ft) above sea level. It is the highest volcano in Ecuador and the farthest point from the center of the Earth in the world. We will hike until we get to 5,000 m (16,404 ft), where the glacier starts. This reserve is very well known for the wild vicuñas and alpacas that live there.
DAY 9: INGAPIRCA RUINS
This morning, we will drive towards Cuenca. On the way, we will visit the most important Archeological Cañari-Inca Complex of Ecuador: Ingapirca, which means Wall of the Inca. The complex has patios, terraces, temples, and a «castle». We will be able to visit the Site Museum, admire the stone fortress that has several thresholds, and observe the stone walls perfectly arranged on top of each other without having any type of mortar in between.
DAY 10: CUENCA CITY TOUR
In the morning, we will enjoy a city tour visiting the most important buildings and remarkable places in Cuenca, such as Calderon Square, the New Cathedral, El Barranco, and El Turi. In the afternoon, we will visit the famous factory where those hats from Panama are actually made! We will see the whole Panama hat-making process and have the opportunity to buy them at their original factory.
Flight back to Quito.
Min 2 people
End of Services
Hiking, trekking, bird watching, canoeing, chocolate making
Visiting the major attractions of Ecuador in the "Andes" and the "Amazon jungle"
Accommodation: 2 nights in First Class hotel in "Quito", 2 nights in Colonial Haciendas, 1 night in "Papallacta Spa Resort", 2 nights in "Selina Amazon Eco-lodge", 1 night in Tourist Class hotel in "Baños", 1 night in Tourist Class hotel in "Cuenca"
Transportation: private and comfortable 4WD or van, train, motorized canoe
Meals: 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Private certified national guide and local guides
What's Not Included
Tips for guides