When we say this is the trip of a lifetime, we really mean it. No, seriously. It’s one for the bucket list and gets you into the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Spending a couple of days in Quito you’ll explore the city and visit the equator before on Day 3 heading into the forest for four days. You’ll experience unparalleled wildlife and you’ll be taken on treks and walks (including at night) to explore the flora and fauna of the Amazon.
Climb observation towers to experience the forest from its canopy and take an Amazon cooking class to learn about the local cuisine. If the few days in the jungle aren’t enough to relax you we can arrange a journey into the Andes to one of the most relaxing spa resorts in the region.
Day 1: Quito
Arrival into Quito and transfer to your hotel.
Our carefully selected Quito hotels are chosen for their quality of service and ideal locations from which to explore the city – the first to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
Day 2: Quito
A day designed to give you a taste of your new environment. No trip to Ecuador is complete without a visit to the equator and so first visit Mitad del Mundo for a great photo opportunity with one foot simultaneously in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon head back to Quito’s superb historic centre – the best-preserved colonial centre in Latin America — to properly spend time exploring the cobbled streets, squares and churches of this fascinating area with your English-speaking guide.
Day 3: Quito to Amazon
It’s time to venture into the Amazon. Our chosen Amazon lodges are all located within or very close to the world famous Yasuní National Park, recognised as one of the 10 most biodiverse places on earth with more species of plants and animals in one square hectare than are found in all of North America.
Your Amazon adventure begins with a short 25-minute flight from Quito to the jungle town of Coca where your naturalist guide will be waiting for you to escort you to the river port. Board a comfortable motorized canoe to travel down the Napo River for approximately 2-1/2 to 3 hours depending on the lodge you have selected.
Each of the lodges (all of which are handpicked by us in order to assure their quality and the fact that they are gay friendly) is located on the banks of a tranquil lagoon and the last leg of the journey will be by paddle canoe along a black water creek. Throughout the journey there are many opportunities to observe daily activities of the local people and to spot various species of birds, monkeys and other fauna. Upon arrival at the lodge, enjoy a welcome cocktail and briefing before the first activity with your guide.
During the next three days a variety of activities will be offered to fully immerse you in this fascinating world that can include:
- Jungle treks through primary forest to introduce you to the Amazon’s unique flora and fauna
- Night walks to discover a world that that comes alive only after dark
- Observation towers to view up close the jungle’s canopy and the vast expanse of forest below
- Visits to indigenous Kichwa communities to interact with the people who call the Amazon home
- Visits to local community projects and cultural interpretive centres
- Blowgun and spear throwing practice
- Visits to parrot clay licks
- Caiman spotting at night
- Cooking class to learn more about Amazon cuisine
Day 7: Coca to Quito
After breakfast, transfer back to Coca by motorized canoe for the return flight to Quito.
Optional Andes Add On
Transfer to Sacha Jí, an Andean wellness retreat.
The owner of Sacha Jí is both a fully qualified architect and a professional photographer and their skill and passion are evident everywhere in this comfortable, contemporary and ecologically designed hotel.
From the feng shui inspired curved forms of the hotel’s elegant structures to the impressive collection of original photographs that adorn the walls throughout, it is clear that the hotel is in the hands of someone to whom attention to detail is everything.
Sacha Jí’s 11 spacious guestrooms are set into the hillside in small curved groups to take full advantage of the stunning views of Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo. Each room has a well-appointed private bathroom and most come equipped with a cosy wood-burning stove. Individual decorative touches include locally made Andean rugs, 18th century Spanish wooden doors and fabulous contemporary photographs. The eco-friendly green roofs of the room complexes all sport hammocks in which you can relax and take in the views of the surrounding countryside.
Your day includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Optional Add On: Otavalo, Peguche and Cuicocha Lagoon
Otavalo is the biggest and most important indigenous market in all of Latin America. The colourful main handicraft and textile market spills into the streets from the central Plaza de Ponchos whilst the cacophony of the animal market is kept to the outskirts of town. The produce market impresses with the sheer number and colour of the locally cultivated fruits and vegetables. The friendly Otavaleños are more than happy to talk about their crafts and traditions and will expect you to haggle a bit on the price.
From the busy market, head to a restaurant of the area to taste the local flavours in a variety of typical regional dishes. After lunch continue to the town of Peguche to visit a textile and handicraft workshops and learn, from the hand of the owners, the ancient techniques and secrets used in the making of this wonderful pieces. A good example of this is the use of an insect for dyeing the wool.
In this town we also stop by an Andean musical instrument workshop where the musicians, who also build the instruments, will do a short performance. Before heading back to Sacha Jí, visit the active volcanic crater lake of Cuicocha and if time permits, stop for some last-minute shopping in the town of Cotacachi, a town famous for its leather products.
Your day includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.