Ecuador: Amazon, Hot Springs & Volcanoes

National Geographic Journeys, Quito to Quito

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Get in touch with the power of the planet on this nine-day adventure packed with many of Ecuador’s natural wonders. Hike through the greener-than-green Amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide at your side, slip into the celebrated (and restorative) hot springs of Papallacta, enjoy lunch with the residents of an Andean community, and spend a night at a historic hacienda. Let this force of nature blow you away.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Otavalo Weaving Lesson, Otavalo Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Amazon Home Experience, Tena Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park, Baños Your Wellness Moment: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit, Papallacta
  • Arrival transfer
  • Overnight in an historic hacienda
  • Explore the Otavalo handicraft market
  • Cloud forest reserve visit
  • Two nights at an Amazon lodge with jungle excursions
  • Excursion to Cotopaxi National Park
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Visit the otavalo weaving studio and get a lesson from miguel andrango
  • Explore villages and learn about traditional handicrafts and folk art from locals
  • Traverse the amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide
  • Learn about the relationship between cultures and the plants around them at the omaere ethnobotanical park
  • Be surrounded by towering volcanoes

Itinerary

Day 1 Quito Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included. Additional Notes: Booking pre- or post-trip accommodation is highly recommended to fully experience the city and take advantage of the optional activities available. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 2 Quito/Otavalo (1B, 1L) Spend a night in the Otavalo area and visit its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables. One of the most obvious signs of the Otavaleños’ cultural integrity is their traditional dress. This is not just worn for the tourists at the Saturday market, but is worn throughout their daily life. Otavalo is famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday animal market. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products were transported from the eastern lowlands and traded for highland goods. Today's market has two different functions: the local market for buying and selling animals, food, and other essentials, and the crafts market for the tourists and other interested people. Included Activities: Peguche Community Visit Otavalo Handicrafts Market Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Otavalo/Papallacta (1B) Visit the home and studio of Don Miguel to learn how the Indigenous people of the Otavalo region have used the backstrap loom to create their woven goods. Continue to the Papallacta Hot Springs Resort for a dip in hot springs, optional spa treatments, and hiking excursions. There is plenty of time to soak, relax, and enjoy the mountain views. Included Activities: Otavalo Weaving Lesson Papallacta Hot Springs Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 4 Papallacta/Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) The lodge is located along the bank of the Arajuno River approx. 40min. from Tena. We stay in comfortable cabañas next to the river, which have private bathroom with hot water in the rainfall-shower, electricity and a balcony. From your balcony, you can relax in a hammock or deck chair and observe hummingbirds, shore river birds and butterflies. In the evening, listen to the night music of the multitude of frogs and other nocturnal creatures. The Lodge also has an open-air lounge with pool and full service bar, all connected by a raised and roofed boardwalk to guests rooms. The lodge is dedicated to protecting the pristine jungle environment and has a dedicated recycling program, energy conservation program and offer biodegradable amenities including shampoo and shower gel in the bathrooms. Included Activities: Guango Cloud Forest Excursion Amazon Night Walk Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 5 Tena (1B, 1L, 1D) Depart early by canoe to visit a parrot clay lick (Saladero). With our naturalist guide, view parrots and parakeets who gather to eat the mineral-rich clay which helps them digest fruit and seeds. Return to the lodge for breakfast then continue on to visit AmaZOOnico, an animal rescue centre that rehabilitates, reintroduces, and cares for animals who are victims of illegal trafficking. Later, enjoy a unique cultural experience at a local family’s home. Meet the family to learn about their traditions and what daily life is like in the Amazon. Included Activities: Parrot Clay Lick Excursion AmaZOOnico Animal Rescue Centre Visit Amazon Home Experience
Day 6 Tena/Baños (1B) Baños is one of the most popular spots in the country. Many Ecuadorian families vacation here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Baños means “baths” and this is precisely what the town is famous for. Some are thermal springs from the base of Tungurahua Volcano, which means “little hell” in Quichua. Other baths have melt water running into them from Tungurahua's glaciated flanks. Locals swear that the baths are good for your health; it’s definitely worth rising early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains from a hot spring vantage point. Included Activities: Visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)
Day 7 Baños (1B) The town is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits. Activities include horseback riding, canyoneering, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rafting on the River Patate.
Day 8 Baños/Quito (1B) Drive back to Quito along the scenic Avenue of Volcanoes with a visit to Cotopaxi National Park en route. Enjoy stunning views of the perfectly shaped volcano (it's one of the highest active volcanoes in the world). Included Activities: Cotopaxi National Park Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00-9.00 hours)
Day 9 Quito (1B) Depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day
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