Ecuador on a shoestring
2018 TRIP ITINERARY CHANGE – From January next year, the trip code and itinerary of this trip will change. Please see Ecuador to Peru Adventure (GGBE) on our website Get an insight into the wonderful South American country of Ecuador on this week-long journey. Discover the culture and charisma of the famed Otavalo Markets, explore the incredible Amazon while guests of a local family, relax in the laidback town of Banos and soak in the charm of Quito, one of South America's most beguiling capitals.
Your tour to Ecuador includes:
- Quito's World Heritage-listed Old Town is best explored on foot. Wander through its streets and plazas to discover old churches, colonial architecture and vendors selling local delicacies
- A walk through the Amazon Jungle with an expert guide reveals valuable extraordinary wildlife and insights into the area's importance to the local community
- Staying within a remote rainforest community in the Amazon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is truly off the beaten track
- Enjoy plenty of free time in the chilled out town of Banos, which is set into the foot of an active volcano. Hike to nearby waterfalls, get active with a range of optional adventure activities or soak up the mineral goodness of the town's thermal springs
- Spend a full day browsing the hand-woven textiles and fresh produce of the colourful Otavalo Markets
- Breakfasts Included: 7
- Lunches Included: 2
- Dinners Included: 2
- Hotel (5 nts),Jungle Lodge (2 nts)
- Local Bus,Private Vehicle,Taxi,Canoe
- Age: min 15
- Group Size: 1 - 16
- Leader led walking tour
- Amazon Jungle - Activities
- Otavalo Market day trip
- Village Tour Otavalo
Day 1 Quito
Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
After this important meeting, join your leader on a walking tour of the historic centre of Quito. Stroll through Plaza Grande (main square) and by the Archbishop's Palace. From here, walk about 800 metres uphill to reach the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Time permitting, you may wish to spend more time exploring this church and its views from the top towers. Finally, walk to La Ronda Street and pass by La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) and San Francisco churches. At the end of the walk, your leader will recommend a local restaurant on La Ronda Street for an optional group dinner.
Quito is located 2,800 metres above sea level, where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender or fitness. Please refer to the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes for important information about altitude sickness before and during your trip.
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Day 2 Shiripuno Lodge (Amazon Jungle)
Today will be an early start, as the group will be on the move by 7 am. Catch a local bus from Quito Central Station to Tena, which will take around five hours. There’s no toilet on-board, but the bus will stop for one toilet break during the journey. From Tena, travel by private vehicle to Misahualli and then by boat to your lodge for the next two nights - arriving by approximately 1.30 pm just in time for lunch.
In the afternoon, your local hosts will introduce you to the local community and take you on a walk around the farm. Use this opportunity to try some fresh fruit and, if you’re feeling brave, tree worms. Finish the afternoon making chocolate dessert from scratch. With the help of the host, you’ll roast, grind and conch chocolate beans into your own chocolate sauce.
Notes: Accommodation at the lodge is basic and it consists of a bed and linen. Bathroom facilities are shared and showers are refreshingly cold.
Day 3 Shiripuno Lodge (Amazon Jungle)
In the morning after breakfast, travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The trek is relatively easy and, depending on the group’s pace, should take around three to four hours. During the hike, visit a protected private reserve in the secondary rainforest. This is also a great opportunity to spot insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Throughout the walk, you’ll come to understand the importance of the jungle to the local community as your guide provides in-depth knowledge and history. After the walk we'll eat a packed lunch on the banks of the Arajuno River. Next you’ll have the opportunity to go tubing down the River. The water currents are not particularly strong however it’s part of our safety policy for all passengers to wear a life jacket if you wish to take part in this activity. The activity will last approximately 1 hour, we will then get back on board the Canoe and travel back to the Amazon lodge (approximately 1.5 hrs ) Once we get back to the lodge we have time to shower and freshen up for dinner. After dinner we’ll head out on a night jungle walk!
Day 4 Banos
Breakfast will be served at around 7 am today in the lodge. Afterwards, travel back to Tena the same way you arrived and then catch a local bus to Banos (approximately three hours). You should arrive into the city of Banos around midday, with the rest of the day free to do as you wish. Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, perhaps use your free time soaking in the city's natural baths or go for a hike to the powerful falls of Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron).
Day 5 Banos
Today, you'll have a full day to explore Banos and take advantage of some of the optional activities. Perhaps rise early to watch the sunrise over the mountains near to the hot springs. After breakfast, venture to Nuestra Senora del Agua Santa (Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water) and see the intricate murals that depict numerous stories about the virgin. If you have time, stroll around the local artisan markets to pick up a memento of the city. If your trip falls on the weekend or during the holidays, be prepared for carnival-like festivities that take place all over Banos.
Day 6 Quito
Use your last morning in Banos to see anything you think you may have missed. In the afternoon venture back to Quito by local bus, which usually takes around five hours. You should expect to arrive at the hotel around 6 pm, with your evening then free. Freshen up and possibly head out for dinner in the city. Ceviche is the speciality in most seafood restaurants or you could even try the Ecuadorian street food star of roasted guinea pig.
Day 7 Visit to Otavalo / Quito
Early this morning, head north out of Quito by local bus to the famous Otavalo Market (approximately 2-3 hours). This day trip will give you ample amounts of time to peruse Ecuador’s most important Indian markets. Villagers from the surrounding countryside descend on the town once a week to sell everything from handmade goods to livestock, fruit and vegetables. Pick up some souvenirs, practice your bargaining skills (halve the price then work your way up) and take plenty of colourful photos (ask for permission when necessary). Head back to Quito in the late afternoon for one last night in town. Perhaps venture out for a final dinner with the group and share your stories of the trip.
Day 8 Quito
Your 'Ecuador on a shoestring' adventure finishes this morning. Flights can be booked out of Quito at anytime today, as there are no more activities planned.
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