10 Nov Ecuador – Adventure and Cultural Immersion in the Andes and Amazon. 8 Days, 7 Nights.
April 1 – 8, 2016. Cost $1,195 per person.
Ecuador is a traveler’s paradise that offers beautiful and peaceful Pacific Ocean beaches, Andes grandeur, and Amazon mystique all in one compact package. The country is home to some of the highest biodiversity on earth, an intriguing history, and wonderful cultural diversity. Pockets of indigenous communities cling to the old ways of harmony with the earth, and traditional dress and customs. Immersion in the nature of Ecuador guarantees to renew, recharge, and transform!
Join Venture Outside for a host of invigorating and healing activities off-the-beaten path in Ecuador. Celebrate with music and traditional meals on a pilgrimage to a remote high Andean plain (pampas) with an indigenous tribe and take part in an Andean Despacho to pay homage to the Apus of the mountains. Learn how to weave with an internationally-recognized master weaver in the small indigenous Village of Salasaka. Soak in a natural volcanic springs. Mountain bike down the inactive volcano Chimbarazo, starting at the glacier snowpack. Hike to and swim in remote waterfalls. Ride a cayuca canoe on an Amazonian river to a roadless indigenous community and hike between settlements, experiencing jungle life to its fullest, right down to the menu of boiled plantains and river fish. Experience healing ceremonies with Amazonian shamans.
Led by a combination of indigenous guides and experienced Ecuadorean adventure guides, your experience will set the stage for incredible personal exploration and life-changing transformation.
We offer several options to extend our 8-day tour to a two week trip, including:
Optional extra day trek from Lagunas de Atillo to Lagunas de Ozogoche (Sangay National Park) – 1 day, or 2 days and 1 night. This is a challenging hike in a remote park, with amazing views, and a visit to a local community.
The Coast of Ecuador – 3 days, 2 nights. Based in Puerto Lopez, this trip is focused on the beautiful and pristine beaches of Machalilla National Park. It offers rugged hiking along the coast, a walk through a local indigenous community and a dip in their volcanic hot spring. The trip also includes an excursion to Isla de la Plata, an island off the coast that hosts many of the same species of wildlife found in the Galapagos.
Galapagos Adventure Extension – 6 Days, 6 Nights. The Galapagos Islands are incredible, and are simply a must-see travel destination for anyone who loves nature. Most people who visit the Galapagos will do so from a berth on a cruise ship, where they will eat too much, be herded like sheep, and still have the trip of a lifetime. This kind of boat trip unfortunately leaves much on the table.
As an alternative to the canned boat tour, let Venture Outside lead you on a customized adventure that’s heavy on nature immersion (it’s the Galapagos!), just right on physical activity, and “exploratory” with the culture. Our trip is based out of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island in the central part of the Galapagos archipelago.
- Trips to several different islands, each with a unique ecology and wildlife community
- A one-day visit and stay on an organic farming operation in the midst of a community of land tortoises
- A mix of physical activities including hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling, and swimming
- Yoga on the beach
- Interpretive nature walks to learn about traditional uses of plants
Detailed Itinerary for Ecuador Andes and Amazon Immersion
Day 1: Quito to Papallacta
After a greeting in Cusco, we’ll travel by private bus to Papillacta, an area known for its volcanic thermal waters from the Antisana Volcano. We’ll enjoy a hike in the nearby Cayambe-Coca National Park with its great variety of plants, from the Highlands (Páramo) to the Rainforest. In the afternoon and evening, we’ll relax with a long soak in the hot springs.
Day 2: Papallacta to Canoa, Amazon
We’ll start the day with some optional sunrise birding, and then have another dip in the hot springs We’ll leave mid-morning on a drive to Lago Agrio, then travel to Cuyabeno lodge in Canoa – an amazing drive down from Andes to Jungle. We’ll stop along the way for great viewpoints and short hikes, including some waterfalls.
Day 3 – Amazon
A full day in the Amazon to bird, hike, paddle in native water craft, learn about medicinal plants, and participate in cultural activities.
Day 4 – Amazon
We’ll enjoy a second day in the Amazon, and really settle in to the jungle pace of life.
Day 5 Canoa to Salasaca
This morning we’ll awake to a hearty jungle breakfast, and begin the journey back to Quito via a 45-minute flight from Lago Agrio. We’ll then travel by bus to the indigenous Village of Salasaca, in the Andes to begin our visit with the Master Weaver of Salasaca, Alonso Pilla, and his family.
Day 6 – Salasaca
Today we’ll immerse ourselves in the culture and nature of the high Andes. We’ll embark on a hike on a nearby mountain, learning about medicinal plants along the way, and take in great views of the Tungurahua Volcano, which has been in an active eruption phase for the last several years. Along the way, we’ll participate in a traditional Despacho offering to the mountains, and celebrate with a traditional style meal on the mountain. Back in Salasaca, we’ll be treated to a demonstration of traditional weaving and wander through the village.
Day 7 – Chimbarazo
Early on this day, we’ll travel by van high on the slopes of the 20,500-foot Chimborazo volcano. The peak of this volcano has been documented as the point on earth that is closest to the sun, due to the shape of the earth. Being aware of the elevation, we’ll do short hikes to the glacier that covers the area of the peak. We’ll then hop onto mountain bikes for a long ride down the volcano, stopping at various elevations to soak up the different life zones we’ll pass though.
We’ll end the bike trip at a community in the foothills of the mountain and recover with a dip in volcanic hot springs, with amazing views of the mountains.
Afterwards we’ll relax in the comfort of the Isabella Mansion in the Town of Riobamba
Day 8 – Quito
After our celebratory breakfast at the hotel, we’ll transfer via bus to Quito, and have free time to explore the city before our return flight.
Guides – All of our guides are native or transplanted Ecuadoreans. All trips will be led by at least one guide who is fluent in English.
Level of Difficulty and Activity Level – The level of difficulty for this tour can be modified based on physical abilities of individuals and groups, but the general activity level is moderate to high. Most excursions involve climbing slopes or steps and hiking, some of which will be at elevations above 10,000 feet and others of which will be in the heat and humidity of the Amazon.
Accommodations and Meals – This trip includes a range of accommodation levels ranging from bare-bones hostels, to luxury hotel. The menu on Venture Outside trips is always decidedly local in flavor, so expect plenty of amazing dishes of potatoes, beans, humitas, lomo saltado, mote, and for the adventurous, sample the cuy.
Weather – The trip includes activities from tropical Amazon forest up to an elevation high on the Chimbarazo volcano, above 15,000 feet. No matter the time of year, weather will be diverse and changeable, so appropriate gear is important for this trip. Upon registration, we’ll provide a detailed recommended packing list.
Travel Coordination – Our Ecuador tour begins and ends in Quito, which is readily accessible to international flights. Those continuing on with extensions also end in Quito. Venture Outside can assist you with your travel arrangements.
The cost for this trip is $1,295, including lodging, all meals, and all activities. Please contact us for discounts for couples and groups.
A non-refundable deposit of one-half of the trip total is due one month before the scheduled trip, with the balance due the week before.
April 1 – 8, 2016
If you are interested in this tour, but unable to attend these dates, please let us know of your interest by completing the form below, and we’ll contact you directly with information on future scheduled tours.
Custom Tours: In addition to the scheduled tour, VO will schedule custom private Ecuador tours for groups of 4 to 15. Pricing will depend on the size of the group and custom specifications for lodging and meals.
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