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.”


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.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:ARRIVE QUITO. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the old town. Free afternoon to recover from the flight and get used to the altitude.
Day 2:QUITO CITY TOUR. This morning you are taken on a Quito city tour, which will include sights in the old town, the cathedral, palaces, museums and the main square. Your afternoon is free so you can explore other sights you're interested in, perhaps a museum, or just enjoy the shops. (Breakfast)
Day 3:TO OTAVALO - TREK. Your private driver/guide will pick you up from your hotel after breakfast and your have a gorgeous 4-5 hour trek in the countryside near Otavalo today. We drive you north to Yanahurco Hill for the start of the scenic hike down to a huge crater lake. Your drive will be waiting for you by the lakeshore. You will then be transferred to a country inn called Casa Mojanda in the highlands near Otavalo town. It's in a beautiful spot, it's comfortable and the food is fabulous. (Full board)
Day 4:OTAVALO - MARKET AND TREK. This morning we'll start with a visit to the food market in Otavalo, moving on afterwards to the craft market. You'll then be driven to the start of the nearby Peguche waterfall trail. Your hike continues to Agato where you meet a weaving family, and through a rural region where farmers tend their quinoa and other crops. Tonight you stay at an amazing mountain sanctuary and wellness retreat, Sacha Ji. (Full board)
Day 5:TREK TO HISTORIC HACIENDA. COOKING CLASS, THEN DRIVE TO CLOUDFOREST. This morning you trek for some 4-5 hours from your lodge to Hacienda Zuleta, dating back to the 17th century. Here you have a cooking class, then a tasty 3-course lunch, before we drive you the roughly 4 hours to El Monte Lodge in the cloudforest. (Full board)
Day 6:CLOUDFOREST AND CHOCOLATE. This morning you can hike in the cloudforest to Cordillera San Lorenzo. This is an area rich in plant life and birdlife, including hummingbirds, and orchids. After lunch back at the lodge we'll take you to Mindo village for a chocolate tour. It's fascinating to see the stages of producing chocolate, and yes, you can taste. (Full board)
Day 7:CLOUDFOREST FLORA AND FAUNA: With an early start this morning we'll hopefully get to see the cock-of-the-rock lek where these stunning red/orange birds perform their courtship rituals. We can also visit a nearby butterfly farm. After lunch at the lodge a gentle walk by the Mindo River and in the forest will allow for some birdwatching and learning about traditional plant uses. (Full board)
Day 8:FROM MIDDLE OF THE WORLD VIA HUMMINGBIRDS TO COTOPAXI: On your last morning at Mindo you can take an early morning nature walk before breakfast. We will then drive you to a cloudforest refuge known as a hummingbird paradise. 40 species love this garden. After then visiting the Mitad del Mundo monument and touring the tribal museum here too, we'll drive you on to the lodge near the dramatic Cotopaxi Volcano. (Full board)
Day 9:COTOPAXI - HIKES, SCENERY AND WILDLIFE. This morning we'll take you into Cotopaxi National Park where there are options for horse riding and mountain biking (extra cost) as well as hiking. You can walk on the shores of Limpiopungo Lake and hopefully see condors and other wildlife. After lunch you head for the Pita River a glacial river from Cotopaxi meltwater. the hike today is about 4-5 hours and you will see waterfalls and forests. Chilcambamba Ecolodge awaits you at the end of the trek with warm drinks, a tasty meal and cosy beds. (Full board)
Day 10TO THE AMAZON. After driving back to Quito (about 2 hours) you will to Coca (35 mins) and then take a motorised canoe trip (2.5 hrs) to your Amazon rainforest lodge, Sani Lodge, owned and run by the local community. An introductory walk, and dinner, will be followed by a paddle out onto the lake to search for nocturnal wildlife. (Full board)
Day 11:AMAZON HIKING AND KAYAKING. A lengthy rainforest walk with a guide will give you an insight into the plants and wildlife, and people of the forest. A picnic lunch is followed by a kayak adventure on the waterways. (Full board)
Day 12:AMAZON TOWER AND SANI VILLAGE. We will get back in the kayaks this morning to paddle to the 36m high observation tower looking over the forest canopy. A great chance to see birds, monkeys, and maybe even sloths. Descending back to the forest floor, a member of the local Sani community will lead you to their village where you'll enjoy lunch and a chat to find out more about the Sani culture. Hike back to the lodge in time for dinner. (Full board)
Day 13:YASUNI BIOSPHERE RESERVE. From Sani Lodge you have a morning visit to Yasuni including seeing the amazing claylick from a hide. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets are often found here. Back at Sani, after lunch you have a free afternoon. Explore some more, kayak onto the lake, or just lie in your hammock and listen to the forest. (Full board)
Day 14:BACK TO QUITO. Today is your return journey to Quito. You're back in the old town. A day of shopping perhaps, and a lovely meal in a good restaurant. (Breakfast)
Day 15:HOME. After breakfast we transfer you to the airport for your flight home. The end of a perfect adventure.

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

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ecuador tours, Andes and the Amazon


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.

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


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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