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Experience the natural wonders and culture of the Andes Mountains and Amazon Jungles of Ecuador. This active multisport journey explores the best of more than 5 different ecosystems. Mountain bike through cloud forests, navigate the rivers of the rainforest, sooth in natural hot springs, learn from ancient cultures and much more. Top-notch guides accompany you on an unforgettable journey whitewater rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, and trekking through one of the world’s most diverse countries. This tour is an ideal extention for a holiday in the Galapagos Islands.
Activities: Mountain Biking, Whitewater Rafting, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Indigenous Community Encounters, Wildlife Seeking

  • Day 1

    Cloud forest zipline & Cotopaxi horseback riding
    Our adventure starts heading south from Quito through the famed Avenue of the Volcanoes. Our first stop is a private cloud forest reserve, where we get our first taste of adrenaline. After a short hike through the cloud forest, we reach the edge of a large canyon. Here we begin a spectacular zipline tour. A total of seven lines take us across the canyon and back to the starting point. Back on the road, we continue on to Hacienda El Porvenir, a 3,000-hectare hacienda that has been in the same family for seven generations and was the first in Ecuador to raise fighting bulls. The owners and ranchers are proud of their Chagra (Andean cowboy) heritage, which we will get to know and experience during our visit.
    We are welcomed with a gourmet lunch featuring locally grown products and traditional recipes. After lunch, we gear up Chagra style, donning ponchos, chaps, and cowboy hats to explore the expansive grounds of the hacienda on horseback. As we ride, our Chagra guide shares his knowledge of local wildlife and the high-altitude crops that the hacienda produces, including potatoes, lima beans, and quinoa. We also stop to admire the fierce fighting bulls and enjoy a backdrop of rolling volcanic highlands. We spend our evening relaxing at the hacienda by a roaring fire. (L, D)
  • Day 2

    Mountain bike Cotopaxi & explore Baños
    This morning we head toward the base of the imposing, glaciated Volcan Cotopaxi. We stop on the high plain to enjoy a quick nature walk, where we observe typical highland vegetation and learn about the high-altitude paramo ecosystem, all while enjoying the view of Cotopaxi looming above. We then drive up to the refuge parking lot at 4,600 meters, where we hop on our bikes and blast back down to the high plain over 1,000 meters below. We then enjoy a flatter section of riding through beautiful highland landscapes.
    We dismount at Limpiopungo Glacier Lake and stop to observe the multitude of bird life in the lake. We continue our journey south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes until we reach the town of Baños, where we enjoy a deluxe lunch in Luna Runtun. As we drive, we enjoy spectacular views of Volcan Tungurahua and the Pastaza River Gorge. After lunch, we stop to explore colorful Baños, a beautiful little town surrounded by subtropical cloud forest. In the late afternoon, we reach Hacienda Leito, where we dine and relax for the evening. (B, L, D)
  • Day 3

    Bike into the Amazon & visit Shiripuno community
    Today we drive to the edge of Llanganates National Park, gaining altitude until we reach an area with one of the best views of Tungurahua. Here we begin a scenic ride through highland paramo, which gradually melds into mountain cloud forest, then lowland rainforest as we descend. We also pass through a dry basalt gorge that is known for its abundance of wild orchids. As the canyon widens and deepens, we eventually join the Pastaza River Gorge, carved by one of the principal tributaries of the Amazon.
    The deep gorge is covered in subtropical cloud forest and steep rocky cliffs. The area is famous for its many waterfalls, and we stop to admire two of the most spectacular: Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) and Manto de la Novia (Bride’s Veil). Switching from 2 wheels to 4, we drive on to Puyo, an Amazon frontier town known as “Gateway to the Amazon”. We enjoy lunch in Puyo and learn more about the area before setting out along the Amazon highway to reach our jungle lodge.
    Once we settle in, we embark on a visit to a nearby Shiripuno Kichwa indigenous community, where we learn about the Kichwa culture and their relationship with the jungle. We can also participate in community activities, including the creation of ceramics, preparation of chicha (yuca beer), visits to ancient petroglyph sites, and cleansing rituals with a local shaman. At the end of the day, we settle into our riverfront cabanas for a peaceful evening among the jungle sounds. (B, L, D)
  • Day 4

    Jungle rafting & Papallacta hot springs
    After a jungle breakfast in our lodge, we drive to Llanganates National Park, a remote area which extends from the high Andes down into the Amazon basin. The water that collects in this area forms the Jatunyacu River, which is considered one of Ecuador’s best one-day river runs. After arriving near the put-in, we head out on a short jungle hike toward a group of natural swimming pools. Swimming, sliding, and jumping around these amazing rock formations helps us get comfortable in the river before rafting. We then return to the put-in, where our guide gives us a short instruction and safety briefing. Now it’s time for our whitewater adventure to begin!
    The Jatunyacu is a perfect first run. At Class III to III+, it is intense enough to challenge novice rafters, but still accessible. The Jatunyacu is famous for big waves and high water volume, as well as spectacular jungle scenery, with glimpses of indigenous homes built of bamboo along the banks. After an adrenaline-filled river run, we drive back up into the Andes, climbing from 1,500 to 10,000 feet (500 to 3,000 meters) as we head toward the Termas de PapallactaResort & Spa. We spend the evening relaxing in the therapeutic, alkaline-rich natural hot springs of Papallacta,nestled in fantastic cloud forest scenery. Our resort pumps this steaming volcanic water into luxurious facilities, and also offers top-notch spa services, including massages, aromatherapy, and facials. (B, L, D)
  • Day 5

    Continental divide hike & Otavalo market
    In the morning, we drive into the highlands until we reach the continental divide, where we will spend the first part of the day exploring a unique highland ecosystem. We begin with a visit to the local interpretation center, and after learning more about the local natural history, we set out on a guided nature hike through a private cloud forest and paramo reserve. As we hike, we seek out birds, highland plants, and other wildlife unique to this ecosystem. After our hike, we drive to an indigenous equatorial monument shaped as a star of eight points, representing pre-Incan beliefs that latitude zero was the center of time and measurement.
    Here our guide teaches us interesting facts about Ecuador’s geographic position and how its location on the equator influences its cultures, climates, and biological diversity. After a break for lunch on the banks of Lago San Pablo, we spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the towns of Otavalo and Peguche, where Ecuador’s indigenous heritage is visible in famous markets full of colorful textiles and other traditional handicrafts. In addition to shopping and bargaining in the markets, we meet with local weavers who share the technique and history of their craft, and visit the Andean Music Museum. We dine and spend the night at a nearby colonial hacienda. (B, L, D)
  • Day 6

    Hike Cuicocha crater lake
    After breakfast, we drive up to Cuicocha, a crater lake located around 10,000 feet above sea level within Cayapas-Cotacachi national park. Cuicochoa is a flooded secondary caldera of Volcan Cotacachi, and its name translates as “Lake of the Guinea Pigs,” named for the shape of its two central islands. Cuicocha’s ecosystem is a combination of paramo and cloud forest, and we will find many unique plant species in this rare combination of two ecosystems. We hike around the shore of the lake, admiring the lava dome islands in the center and keeping an eye out for birds, plants, and other interesting wildlife. If we’re lucky, we might catch a glimpse of the rare Andean Condor. We also enjoy beautiful views of the volcanoes Cotacachi, Mojanda, and Imbabura. We enjoy a picnic lunch on the bank before departing for Quito in the afternoon. Back in Quito, we have the evening free to explore the beautiful colonial city center and night life of Ecuador’s capital city. (B, L)

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Itinerary Overview

Day 1 Cloud forest zipline & Cotopaxi horseback riding Day 2 Mountain bike Cotopaxi & explore Baños Day 3 Bike into the Amazon & visit Shiripuno community Day 4 Jungle rafting & Papallacta hot springs Day 5 Continental divide hike & Otavalo market Day 6 Hike Cuicocha crater lake

Price Includes

  • Meals
  • Transfers
  • Airport Taxes
  • Guided tours

Based On

Minimum 2 passengers (or single supplement will apply) departing Quito.

Guide price per person: £895 / excl. sports

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