Ecuador tours, Andes and the Amazon

Description of Ecuador tours, Andes and the Amazon

This is an excellent holiday which introduces you to the culture of the Ecuadorian Andes around Quito and Otavalo, includes two nights to enjoy the nature and wildlife of the cloudforest, then takes you into the Amazon.

After a day to see Quito, you leave the city and head north with your private driver/guide, you will begin to see the splendour of the Andean scenery, and also the charming small villages on the way to Otavalo, such as Calderon. Staying at a small, welcoming guest house outside Otavalo, you can enjoy walks in this gorgeous area of the Andes, and of course leave time to explore the famous Otavalo market.

During your two night stay in the cloudforest you can take guided walks, and/or use a map to enjoy the nature trails by yourself. You then have a day to explore Cotopaxi National park before we whisk you away to the rainforest.

Yachana Lodge is different and really offers you a unique Amazon jungle experience. If you are wanting a rainforest trip where the only or prime focus is seeing lots of wildlife and forest mammals, we'd have to say that this is not the jungle trip for you. However, if you're looking for a taste of the Amazon rainforest in all its glory, including the interaction of local people and the forest, then this IS for you.

This does not mean that we won't go looking for the wildlife. Of course we will. But the essence of this Amazon trip is learning to experience and appreciate the rainforest in diverse and fun ways, whether that is on a hike through the jungle or swimming in the river, learning how to make a basket out of leaves or even learning how to cook a traditional jungle dish.

Featured activities:
- City tour of Quito
- Explore the sights and villages around Otavalo
- Enjoy the famous Andean market of Otavalo
- Spectacular cloud forest scenery and birding at Bellavista
- Cotopaxi National Park

An award-winning eco-lodge on Rio Napo for some of the following...
- Visit a traditional healer for a cleansing ceremony
- Guided rainforest hikes to discover native plants and wildlife
- Night hike to see the nocturnal life of the forest
- Swim in the river, take dugout canoe rides, relax in your hammock
- Make a pottery bowl or weave a basket with the help of the local women
- Tour the organic farm, the health clinic and the school
- Try your hand at panning for gold (really!)
- A jungle cooking lesson! Best time to go This trip can be arranged at any time to suit you. It is best to begin day one on a Wednesday so that you are at Otavalo market on Saturday, the main market day. Yachana's rainy season is July/August. The driest season for the Andean regions is from about late May to early October.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Arrive in Quito. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your guest house. Free afternoon to recover from the flight and get used to the altitude.
Day 2:Quito city tour. This morning you join a shared Quito city tour, which will include taking you to the old town, to see the cathedral, and up to El Panecillo look-out point. Your afternoon is free so you can explore other sights you're interested in, perhaps a museum, or just enjoy the shops. B
Day 3:Otavalo. Your private driver/guide will pick you up from your hotel after breakfast. It is about a 2 hour drive direct to Otavalo. You can choose how to spend your time today and your guide will help you decide by suggesting different sights and activities you can do today. You could take the journey more slowly and include small villages such as Calderon where they make dough crafts, or you could go straight up to Otavalo and enjoy exploring the Andean villages in the this area, or even go for walks in the mountains here. Your day, your choice! Your guest house tonight is outside of Otavalo, and is a lovely small Andean guest house. B,D
Day 4:Otavalo, free day. Today is a free day to enjoy the surroundings, and you'll probably not want to miss the famous Otavalo market. It is on each day, but the main market day is a Saturday. On this day there is also a livestock market and all the local traders sell fruits, vegetables and other produce, as well as there being the craft market. B,D
Day 5:Quito, PM. Your driver will collect you and take you back to Quito in the afternoon, so you have another morning to enjoy mountain walks or and local sights. B
Day 6-7:Cloudforest lodge. Your shared transfer to your cloudforest lodge leaves Quito at 0830 and arrives about 2 hours later. Your stay at the lodge includes daily guided walks through the forest with emphasis on birds, botany or natural history. There are many types of hummingbird here, and lots of nature trails, waterfalls. It is a beautiful natural sanctuary, and the lodge is rustic but comfortable. FB
Day 8:Quito. You will be transferred back to Quito today (shared). Rest of the day free. B
Day 9:Cotopaxi National Park. Today you can enjoy a shared day trip to Cotopaxi National Park. B,L
Day 10:Rio Napo. This morning you will be taken to the airport for your 30 minute flight to Coca. From here there is a 2½ hour boat ride along the Rio Napo to Yachana Lodge. FB.
Day 11-13:Activities at Yachana Lodge. Your time at Yachana Lodge will be spent enjoying a whole range of rainforest activities. The types of activities on offer include: visiting a traditional healer for a cleansing ceremony; guided rainforest hikes to discover native plants and wildlife; birdwatching; visiting the Protected Forest; night hikes to see the nocturnal life of the forest; swimming in the river; taking dugout canoe rides; relaxing in your hammock; making a pottery bowl; weaving a basket; visiting the butterfly house; touring the organic farm, the health clinic and the school; trying your hand at panning for gold; taking jungle cooking lesson. FB.
Day 14:Depart. Boat and flight back to Quito, where this trip ends. (Please ask for any extra services you require depending on what else you'd like to do, or when your flight home departs).B.
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner, FB=Full Board

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This set itinerary trip can be taken any time between Apr and Dec. Departures are available between Jan - Mar on request
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ecuador tours, Andes and the Amazon

Environment

The cloudforest lodge is a member of the Network of Private Protected Forests of Ecuador and works actively with local conservation organisations, working to preserve the cloudforest of northwestern Ecuador.

Carbon Offsetting: The tour operator is a multi-award winning responsible travel company, and for each person travelling with them they plant 10 indigenous trees in a degraded area of northern Tanzania.

Community

Otavalo guest house: The guest house near Otavalo is locally-owned and run, and is a member of their local community network. For meals they use mostly organic produce from local gardens. They are proud to promote the local craftspeople and artisans of their area, and they try to encourage understanding and respect for the indigenous Andean communities.

Yachana Lodge has rightly won accolades from lots of prestigious associations and conservation organizations, including 2008 winner of the National Geographic & Ashoka Changemakers award; Smart Voyager certification (2007) for “protection of the environment, social mission, treatment of its employees and working with established procedures in management, safety and service”; the Tourism for Tomorrow Award (2006) for best ecotourism project investing in people, and the Skal Ecotourism Award (2007) for best tourism project working in education. The list goes on …

The profits from Yachana Lodge and Yachana Gourmet (fair trade rainforest chocolate products) go to the Yachana Foundation which is involved in geotourism, education (they run a rainforest high school teaching tourism, sustainable agriculture, forest and wildlife management and environmentally sustainable micro-enterprises), agriculture, health (a medical centre), income generation and technical assistance. This is a lodge which really works – for the visitor, for the local people and for the flora and fauna of the region.

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