Ecuador tours, Andes and the Amazon

“An active fortnight in Ecuador, exploring the landscapes, wildlife and villages of the Andes and the Amazon, with characterful accommodation throughout.”

Highlights

Quito city tour | Otavalo trek | Otavalo food and craft markets | Peguche waterfall trail | trek to Hacienda Zuleta | cookery class | cloudforest hike | chocolate tour | Cock-of-the-rock lek | butterfly farm | Mindo river | birdwatching | Cotopaxi National Park | Amazon rainforest | walking and kayaking | observation tower | Sani village visit | see parrots and parakeets at a claylick

Description of Ecuador tours, Andes and the Amazon

If you really want to get under the skin of Ecuador, it's stunning diverse scenery, the wildlife, the people, the food and crafts, the mountains, cloudforest and rainforest, then this Ecuador tour, Andes and the Amazon holiday is a superb choice. But you're not just a spectator on this trip, you're actually getting out there and feeling it and doing it!

Trek around the Otavalo region, seeing waterfalls, crater lakes, weaving villages and remote farms. Trek to a historic hacienda and take a cooking lesson. Hike in the cloudforest, then enjoy a chocolate tour. Visit a Cock-of-the-Rock lek in the cloudforest to see where these stunning birds perform their courtship ritual. Visit a hummingbird garden. Hike, horse ride or mountain bike at Cotopaxi. Hike and kayak in the Amazon rainforest. Enjoy lunch with the Sani tribe. See the Amazon from the heights of a 36m observation tower and spend time in a hide watching the claylick in the rainforest. All this and more, and some truly gorgeous and characterful places to stay, too.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Ecuador tours, Andes and the Amazon

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

At the company location in the UK there are fifteen staff members. Of these, four work from home (no commuting), one who cycles twenty miles a day to & from work, and another cycles ten miles a day (in summer). The new office that was recently built is very energy efficient. It is well-insulated, the roof is shaded by trees which helps with the building not overheating during the summer months and therefore air-conditioning is not a daily requirement, and it has lots of natural light to reduce electric light usage whenever possible.

The company is located on a former farm and the directors grow fruit and vegetables which are shared with the team (apples, pears, blackcurrants, broad beans, lettuce, mint, courgettes, squashes etc!), so we keep our own footprint low. In addition, there are other members of staff that have home grown products that are available to their team members. As a company, we look to buy energy-efficient computers, and believe in recycling, so the latest computers bought have been both energy efficient and re-conditioned.

As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the company’s foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earth’s environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We don’t just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the company’s 21st birthday in 2019.

As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. Whereas it is not always possible for them, due to their locations in remote areas, the company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.

Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.

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.

Chilcabamba Ecolodge is Ecuadorian owned and run, and in a sensitive remote area near Cotopaxi. The owners are committed to the protection of their area and are careful in all aspects of resource management, pollution etc.

For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.

Community

Casa Mojanda: The inn 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.

Sacha Ji: Offers organically grown local produce wherever possible as part of their wellbeing focus and to back local community producers.

Sani Lodge in the Amazon is owned and run by the local community. The lodge protects 90,000 acres of rainforest. As the native owners of this land, the Quichua are committed to preserving the habitat and the wildlife.

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