Ecuador holidays, Andes to Amazon

“A fifteen day journey through mainland Ecuador, from cloud forest to rainforest, hacienda to hot springs. Fully guided travelling in a small group. ”


Quito| Andes Mountains | Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve | San Clemente indigenous community | Cuicocha Crater Lake | Cotacachi village | Otavalo | Canoe in Amazonian Basin | Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron) waterfall | Banos | Tungurahua volcano | Chimborazo National Park | Devil’s Nose train journey | Ingapirca Inca fortress | Cuenca | Cajas National Park | Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve

Description of Ecuador holidays, Andes to Amazon

This two week Ecuador holiday travelling through both the Andes and Amazon takes in some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes, towns and rural communities. Starting with the colonial elegance of Quito, located between volcanic peaks, we then head up into the clouds, literally, to Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, where we spend a night adjusting to this country’s elevated and exquisite terrain.

The dramatic landscapes just never stop coming in Ecuador, not only by following its ‘spine’, the Avenue of Volcanoes, such as Cotopaxi or the stunning Cuicocha Crater Lake but also by exploring the Andes in many different ways. Andean highlights include taking the world famous 'Devil's Nose' train through them, visiting the Inca Fortress at Ingapirca and visiting the peaks and pristine perfection that is Cajas National Park.

And because Ecuador is so beautifully biodiverse, we also enjoy some Amazon rainforest treats on this holiday, including a night time hike, a canoe trip and a visit to the Amazoonico Animal Rescue Centre where, after seeing some superb wildlife in the forest itself, we can get a bit more up close to rescued tapir, pecari and primates.

There is much more wildlife to be seen along our journey, such as in Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve where we take a boat trip through mangrove forest, habitat for an eclectic range of wildlife from aquatic birds to armadillos. We also spend time in Chimborazo National Park where we will hopefully glimpse vicuñas, a relative of the llama that are scattered across this wild, lunar like landscape, in the shadow of the Chimborazo volcano that dominates the park.

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02 Apr 2021
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend 11 nights in hotels and haciendas (Spanish colonial estate houses) and 2 nights in a jungle lodge. All accommodation is locally owned and staffed, which is of great advantage to surrounding communities in providing alternative employment opportunities- especially in more off-the-beaten-track areas. This also ensures that income earned is re-invested back into the area. Where meals are provided, locally sourced ingredients are used as much as possible. For lunch and dinner, the tour leader will recommend various options in convenient locations, usually booking restaurants and eating with the group.

We visit the Amazoonico Rescue Centre for animals in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The centre is dedicated to providing a safe and natural environment for animals that have been illegally captured or injured. As a result of the cruelty they have experienced, some animals suffer behavioural and physical effects which disallow them to live safely in the wild, whilst others are able to re-enter their original habitat. Here our entrance fees and purchasing of souvenirs go towards this valiant effort to stop animal poaching and trafficking. When we enter Chimborazo National Park and Cajas National Park, we also pay entrance fees which are contributed towards conservation efforts in these areas. Regardless of where we are, we use a ‘leave no trace’ policy.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

The Impacts of this Trip

Local Craft and Culture:
There is an included excursion to visit the Otavalo market. The market is always busy and is one of the most well known in the region. We become accustomed with the pristine, traditional costumes of the indigenous people from surrounding villages; women wear embroidered blouses and long wool skirts whilst the men wear felt hats, navy blue ponchos and calf-length trousers. There are plenty of souvenirs to buy such as Panama hats, exquisite weaving and jewellery. Another cultural highlight is visiting San Clemente- a small agricultural community consisting of a number of local families. We take a guided tour here and are introduced to native plants, taught traditional embroidery techniques and are taken through some day to day activities. The visit includes homemade lunch, prepared using produce grown in the village.

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that local guides are being employed and that in exchange for their expertise they are paid and treated fairly. This way the local area benefits as income stays in the area and goes directly back into community businesses. These tours have been verified by the Rainforest Alliance, which means they have been vetted for ecological, social and economic benefits to the community. The leaders will give a briefing on responsible tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local people from your visit. Our chefs, sous chefs, camp staff, mule drivers and other transporters are also all locally hired.

Our local operators support conservation and social projects such as the Verde Milenio Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation in Ecuador. Verde Milenio run environmental education and research projects which contribute towards reforestation, classification of flora and fauna, veterinary control and rescue of native animals. They also donate regularly to a school in Tumbabiro village and help local Afro-Ecuadorian communities like La Victoria by supporting the pottery works which are the basis for their economy.


1 Reviews of Ecuador holidays, Andes to Amazon

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 23 Sep 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Hiking the Amazon rain and dry forests.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Read-up on the ecosystems, ethnography, archaeology, and history of Ecuador

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. I appreciated the sensitivity for indigenous people and their involvement in the tour. Also, our small tour group had a negligible impact on the environment. Our group was already conservation aware.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


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