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Andean – Jungle Adventure

This is a real explorer’s trip with a balanced combination of activities to really highlight some of the amazing adventures that Ecuador has to offer. You travel in a roundtrip from Quito through the famous “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, down the Andes into the rainforest and then back up the Cordillera into the northern Andes of Ecuador and finally back to Quito, exploring the impressive nature and fascinating cultures along the route, staying in cozy hotels, haciendas and lodges enjoying local cuisine.


Itinerary:
Day 01 Cotopaxi Volcano
Heading south down the "Avenue of the Volcanoes” will bring you to the Cotopaxi National Park. You will make a stop at the visitor centre Campamento Mariscal Sucre to visit the natural history museum. After that you drive to the lagoon Limpiopungo crossing the wide high plateau at the slopes of Cotopaxi Volcano. During an easy hike around the lagoon you get to know the typical vegetation of the Andean highlands and watch out for the local birds as the Andean humming bird and the condor. After the hike you continue to the rustic mountain refuge Tambopaxi on the high plateau. Here you will have lunch with simply stunning of the glacier of Cotopaxi Volcano and the wide plains of the nature park. In the afternoon you cross the high plain to an old ritual place of the Incas, from which you have an excellent view on the surrounding mountains Ruminahui, Sincholagua and of course the Cotopaxi Volcano. In the late afternoon you cross the Panamerican highway towards an Andean Hacienda. Enjoy the typical flair of this hacienda where you will spend the night. L/D
Day 02 Volcano Chimborazo
In the morning you leave the Hacienda and drive further south with many superb views offered by the “Avenida de los Volcanos”; small little villages line the road as overbearing mountains loom in the distance. Via the town of Ambato you drive up towards the huge Volcano Chimborazo ( 6310m ). Through a picturesque landscape the road winds itself up, passing fields, valleys and the volcano Carihuayrazo, to the wide high plain at the slopes of Chimborazo. Every now and then you see lamas, which are still common working animals in this region. With a little bit of luck you also might see some Alpacas and even Vicuñas, the latter ones live in a wide reserve near the Chimborazo. Passing this huge volcano you reach the Chimborazo high plain. If acclimatization permits you can hike up to the refuges up to 4800m or even 5000m and have lunch here. Later you descend to Riobamba, the capital of Chimborazo Province at 2750m altitude. In the afternoon you continue your travel to and Ambato before you make a stop at Salasaca a small indigenous community not too far from Baños. The Salasaca are fine crafts people who specialize in Ecuadorian textiles. Finally you reach an Andean Hacienda situated in the valley of Patate, well known for its picturesque location. After having dinner, you’ll spend the night in one of its comfortable guest rooms, the cosy atmosphere guaranteeing a good rest. B/L/D
Day 03 From the Andes into the jungle
You will start the day with a tasty breakfast and then continue your journey towards Baños (1800m), a tiny village located in a beautiful verdant valley, with a pleasant sub-tropical climate. Famous for its thermal baths and Basilica, Baños is a popular spot for local and international tourists. Driving on east you will follow the Rio Pastaza on its way through the valley of the same name, passing a number of waterfalls you will stop in order to visit the well-known waterfall El Pailon del Diablo. Later you continue to the city of Puyo, known as “The Gateway to the jungle”, that has sprung to life as a trading post for jungle communities. Near the town you visit the foundation “Los Monos Selva y Vida” where you can meet many of the monkey species that inhabit the rainforest. At the Yanacocha rescue center you can observe many more species of tropical animals including ocelots, parrots and caimans. With your visit you support the important work of these institutions while at the same time getting the great chance to observe close by some of the beautiful animals of the rainforest that otherwise are very hard to spot in the dense green of the jungle. In the afternoon you continue your travel from Puyo north to a lodge near the small jungle town Tena. Here you will have dinner and stay the night. B/L/D
Day 04: Exploring the jungle
Let’s start the day with a huge and fantastic breakfast, with the surplus of local fruits underlining the exotic character of your surroundings. Later you head for the Napo River to go on a canoe trip on the Rio Napo and Rio Arajuno towards the animal rescue center Amazoonico, where you can see various animals as the famous tigrillo, different types of monkeys, numerous birds and other wild life.  Then visit the traditional Quechua Museum that presents many artifacts and explanations about the Quechua people’s way of life in the Rainforest. After lunch you explore the rainforest during an easy hike. Your local guide explains to you the amazing world of the plants that you encounter on your walk unraveling many of its mysteries: medicinal plants, birds, wild animals, amazing insects, colorful frogs and reptiles. In the evening relax in a hammock enjoying the exquisite view on the surrounding rainforest which may be peacefully absorbed from your terrace before a fabulous dinner will be served in this special ambience. B/L/D
Day 05 Las Termas de Papallacta
After breakfast you will continue your journey north back towards the Andes, passing through Tena, the capital city of the Napo province, and on to the little village of Baeza, located in attractive pastoral hills between three large, richly forested reserves (Cayambe-Coca, Sumaco-Napo-Galeras and Antisana). In the early afternoon you will arrive at Papallacta, a quiet highland town famous for its excellent hot springs. The marvellous Hotel Las Termas de Papallacta Spa & Resort is located at an altitude of 3,220 meters (10,800 ft.) above sea level and offers comfortable rooms located around individual bathing pools. You’ll have lunch and then be free to take advantage of all the relaxing activities available. A gentle walk along the river and through native high altitude forest is a splendid way to stretch your legs  before a well earned soak in the scenic hot pools, when you may spot the ice giant Volcano Antisana (5.758m) as the clouds roll over the valley. B/L
Day 06 The Northern Andes
Early this morning, your travel leads you onto the Pan-American Highway further north. On you way you visit one of the local flower plantations from where beautiful flowers are traded all over the world. Indeed most flowers grown in Ecuador are for exportation. Later you will follow an old cobbled stone road hardly used nowadays. The little known but impressive route is one of the highlights in the northern part of the Andeans. The green pastures, the fields, the horses, the cows and the clay houses with the red tiled roofs and the Indian farmers in the traditional clothes will make this route unforgettable. After a visit of San Antonio de Ibarra, a small village whose artisans specialize in woodcarvings, you continue north visit the Cuicocha Lake (3.400 m) on foot of the ancient Volcano Cotacachi (4.944 m). It is a collapsed Volcanic Crater now filled with a deep blue lake, which averages 3 km. in diameter and is over 200m deep. The two Islands in the middle of the lake are resurgent volcanic cones. Later you will visit the small village of Cotacachi, well known for its fine leatherwork before you arrive at your hotel. B/L
Day 07 Otavalo Andean Market
For centuries, regional markets have played an important role in Indian life, providing regular gathering places for trade and socializing. The colourful local markets of the Andean valleys are famous for their fine handicrafts. The Otavalo Indian market dates back to pre-Inca times and is famous for its textiles woven on back strap and shuttle looms. Here Otavaleños barter in silence, in marked contrast to the raucous noise of other markets. You will have time to visit the famous market and stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets filled with Otavalo Indians wearing blue ponchos, white trousers and long braided hair. After lunch you will walk to the waterfall of Peguche which is in a small nature sanctuary, and from there you will continue on to the San Pablo Lagoon. This area around the lake below the Imbabura volcano is the home of the Otavalo Indians. Following the ridge of the lake on an old cobblestone road through pastureland and fruitful fields you pass small villages still with Adobe houses inhabited by Indio farmers and art craftsmen. Clear mountain air and the wonderful sights on the landscape with the many small bird-rich side valleys as well as the enormous Cayambe in the background make this ride a genuine experience. In the late afternoon you return to Quito (end of services). B/L

Departures: Sunday and Thursday

B= breakfast; L= lunch/box lunch; D= dinner
Contact Ecuador Travel

Prices 2017 per person (minimum 02 people)

3* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1470,-
Single room supplement: US$ 136,-

4* Hotels in a double room: US$ 1659,-
Single room supplement: US$ 183,-

5* Hotels in a double room: US$ 2106,-
Single room supplement: US$ 712,-

(NB: Where no 5* hotel accommodation is available, accommodation will be in the best available rooms in 4* hotels)

Prices include: All transfers in private transportation, excursions and overland tours as mentioned in the program, accommodation based on double rooms in hotels & haciendas of the chosen category, meals according to the itinerary description (B: breakfast, L: Lunch/Box Lunch D: Dinner), entrance fees, bilingual guide (Spanish/English – other languages upon request) during the round trip.

Not included in the price: Beverages, extra charge for single rooms, international airport tax (Quito ca. US$ 43 / Guayaquil ca. US$ 28), personal equipment and items, tips, travel insurance and luggage, anything not mentioned in the program.

Please note that the program has been organized to fit all activities. If you change the days (the program starts on a Sunday or Thursday) we will have to revise the program and changes may be necessary.

Please note that the category-stars given for the accommodations are estimated as local categories do not fit international standards. Local categories are in all cases equal or higher then the ones given above.

NB: Please read all itineraries as a guide only. All routes and programs can change without notice due to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and the wildlife encountered during the travel. Flexibility is the key to the success of any tour. Nevertheless the safety and the interest of our passengers is always our first priority.


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