This active Ecuador trip combines the Andean highlands and cloudforest with the Amazon rainforest.
From Quito you will visit the Pasochoa Forest Reserve for the day in the Andean Highlands. The forest is home to over 100 species of birds, a wide range of highland trees, Andean Alders, Polilepís and Quishuars, Andean laurel, orchids, bromeliads, lichens, ferns and other plants that contribute to the forest’s attractions. There are several trails to choose from easy half-hour to 2-hour hikes.
Then you're off to the lowland rainforest. Explore the rivers and jungles while based at an all-inclusive lodge located on the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon River. Guided excursions include river trips, jungle hikes, wildlife spotting and birdwatching.
From the rainforest you will venture up to the cloudforest. In Banos you will stay at a spa hotel and choose from a menu of daily adventures such as river rafting, mountain biking, zipline canopy tour, waterfall hikes, Rio Pastaza Gorge. Or, opt to walk around town on your own, relax in hot springs or enjoy spa treatments at the hotel.
Upon your arrival into Ecuador you will be met by your private guide and driven to your Quito hotel. Welcome to the world's highest capital city at 9,350 feet above sea level, known for its historic architecture and surrounded by epic volcano peaks.
Overnight at the Vieja Cuba, daily breakfast included - 2 nights.
Located in the new part of Qutio, the comfortable Vieja Cuba Hotel offers 26 rooms and suites, each with private bathroom, cable TV, wireless internet and safety deposit box. The hotel has 2 restaurants: Fruta Fresca is a coffee-bar open 24-hours-a-day serving breakfast, international dishes, sandwiches, natural juices, shakes, teas, coffees, cocktails and alcoholic drinks; Orisha is a cozy restaurant serving mouthwatering Mediterranean dishes.
You will be met at your hotel this morning and depart by car to the southeast of Quito crossing “Los Chillos Valley” to the Pasochoa Forest Reserve, one of Ecuador’s 42 protected areas. It is an undisturbed humid Andean Highland forest where over 100 species of birds have been found. The forest contains a wide range of highland trees, Andean Alders, Polilepís and Quishuars, Andean laurel, orchids, bromeliads, lichens, ferns and other plants that contribute to the forest’s attractions. There are several trails to choose from: easy half-hour to 2-hour hikes.
Transfer to the airport for the 30-minute flight over the Andes to the bustling oil town of Coca, located in the Amazon basin.
After lunch at the Sacha Lodge main house you will transfer via motorized boat for the 2-hour ride downriver to Sacha Lodge.
A 30-minute hike through the rainforest leads you to Lake Pilchicocha. Here, you are met by local indians who paddle you across the lake to to Sacha Lodge. Optional afternoon activities include: a refreshing swim, birdwatching from the mini tower, a guided visit to the butterfly house.
After dinner, accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest to view the hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night. Or maybe a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.
All meals and daily guided excursions are included. These tours, led by knowledgeable and bilingual guides, will give you the best chance of seeing the diverse wildlife in inhabits the region such as 11 species of monkeys, a colorful variety of birds such as toucans and parrots, giant otters, and larger mammals such as jaguars, pumas, tapirs, giant anteaters, and giant armadillos. Visit Parrot Clay Licks, take moonlit jungle hikes and early morning boat rides that will give you a truly unique experience in the Amazon.
Begin morning activity between 6:00 and 7:00am. Begin walking on the Liana Chica trail and arrive at the canopy walk for spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly colored birds. Designed to be a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk, it is one of only a few in the world. Located within Sacha’s private reserve, 2 miles from the shores of the Rio Napo and 1 mile from the lodge, the bird walk gives guests the opportunity to get an up close and personal view of the rainforest canopy. Two of the three towers have observation decks every 12 meters making towers accessible for everyone. The canopy walkway is at 36 meters high and 275 meters long, giving guests a “birds eye view” of all the wonders and beauty the tropical rainforest has to offer. The canopy walk is designed as a sturdy walkway enabling guests to casually move along while enjoying the spectacular views. After the canopy walk, walk the Liana Grande trail through terra firma and igapo forest habitats where native guides will explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been being used in their culture for hundreds of years. Liana Grande will turn into the Higueron trail, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge Kapok and Fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head.
After lunch, you may choose to take a leisurely hike along the Rio Napo, or choose a little more challenging hike on the Leoncillo trail to try and spot the elusive dusky titi monkey. Either way the trails will lead you back to the main boardwalk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge.
Leaving the lodge after breakfast, you begin your hike on the Lagartococha trail. This trail offers you the chance to learn more about the native people and their relationship with the forest. Learn about the trees where native people believe the spirits of their ancestors live, and the mysterious “dwende” or devil-man of the forest. After arriving at Lake Lagartococha, take a tranquil canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is the home of anacondas, caimans, and capybaras. After the canoe ride, a walk on the other side of Largatococha may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees. Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the lake, or a nice relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony.
After lunch, your native guide will teach you how to fish for the infamous razor-toothed piranha. Keep in mind that piranhas will never attack a person and swimming at the same time is perfectly safe and fun!
Around 3:30pm you will begin what many think is the best trail at Sacha - a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest. Here you have a good chance of being surrounded by troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter as well as the incredibly well camouflaged three-toed sloth! After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha´s 135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close up views of vibrantly colored birds through Sacha´s powerful scopes, and watch the sun set with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano, and possibly a view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes! Leaving the tower just before or after sunset will give you an experience not soon forgotten. A canoe ride back through the flooded forest at night will be an awe-inspiring experience. Listen to the symphony of frogs and insects as you navigate through the narrow flooded forest trail, keeping your eyes open for caimans. Watch the several species of bats flying over your heads and listen to the many species of nocturnal birds making their eerie nighttime calls. Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at lake Pilchicocha and the welcoming lights of Sacha Lodge.
After breakfast you will return to Coca for your flight back to Quito. You will be met upon arrival by your private driver who will drive you to Baños, considered by many to be the adventure capital of South America. You will be dropped off at your spa resort, nestled in the valley of volcanoes.
Overnight at the Samari Spa Resort, daily breakfast included - 3 nights. Resort facilities and services include restaurant and tavern, room service, Spa. The hotels offers 37 rooms each featuring beds with double goose down duvet covers, television, wireless internet, mini-bar, in-room safe. The spa features a heated indoor pool, sauna, Turkish bath, hydro-massage, polar bath. Spa services include: body & facial treatments, aromatherapy, chromotherapy, massage.
Today you will visit the Avenue of the Waterfalls and ride the traditional cable car across the Pastaza River for a stunning view of your surroundings.. You will visit eight waterfalls and have the opportunity to hike in the areas near the falls, for a full day of adventure.
You will transfer to the rafting company’s office where you will receive all necessary equipment: wetsuits, rain jacket, flotation device, helmet, water shoes. Then, depart for a 40-minute drive to the Pastaza River where your guide will give you an orientation and a short practice run before proceeding downriver. The descent lasts approximately 2 hours with Class II, III and IV (depending on the experience level of all paddlers). At the takeout lunch will be served before the return drive to Baños.
No previous experience required.
This morning you will depart Baños and drive through the small towns, lovely landscapes and terraced countryside of the Avenue of Volcanoes to Quito. En route you will visit Cotopaxi National Park, home to the "highest active snowcapped volcano on earth", (19,314 ft.) located 37 miles south of Quito. You will explore the Andean paramo at over 11,00 feet, the Limpiopungo lagoon at the foot of two volcanoes (Cotopaxi and Rumiñahui) and you may have the opportunity to spot highland birds including, if you are lucky, the Andean Condor. Weather permitting, you may hike up to the snowline at over 14,000 ft.
You will also make a visit to a local Indian market before making your way to Quito.
Overnight Vieja Cuba, breakfast included.
Transfer to the airport for your international departure, or a trip extension to the Galapagos.
|Price from||$5,320.00 per person, based on double occupancy|
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