Andes to Amazon

Resort:Andes to Amazon
Operator: Exodus
Destination: Ecuador, Latin America
Price From: £3149.00


The best of mainland Ecuador: wildlife, jungles, volcanoes and the coast

Stunning Andean scenery, colonial architecture, fascinating Indian markets
and verdant cloud forests are just the start. Follow the Avenue of the
Volcanoes with great views of snow-capped volcanoes such as Cayambe and
Chimborazo, before boarding the ‘Devil’s Nose’ train to switchback down the
western Andean slopes. In the Amazon Rainforest we discover the jungle and
its incredible biodiversity, before ending at the Pacific coast to discover
the mangroves by boat and visit a cacao plantation.


* Visit colonial Quito, the Otavalo Indian market and Cuenca’s UNESCO
Heritage Reserve
* Overnight in the peaceful Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
* Two nights to soak up the sounds of the Amazon Rainforest
* Ride the famous ‘Devil’s Nose’ train
* Visit the ruins of Ingapirca and Cajas National Park
* Take a mangrove boat trip by the Pacific Coast and visit a Cacao


Day 1

The group flight usually arrives into Quito this evening and clients will be
met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients can make use of our
free airport transfer to the start hotel today – please read the joining
information for more details.

*Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)*

Day 2
Quito city tour; Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.

This morning’s short walking tour of Quito is the perfect opportunity to meet
your guide and get to know your fellow travellers. The heart of old Quito is
a colonial masterpiece and the capital is widely regarded as one of the most
beautiful cities in South America, as well as being a UNESCO site. Leaving
Quito behind we drive towards the North-Western slopes of the Andes where
Bellavista Cloud Forest is located. Situated at the top of the Tandayapa
Valley, Bellavista is a private reserve bursting with orchids, bromeliads,
toucans, tanagers and hummingbirds. The area is a paradise for naturalists
with a vast network of hiking trails.

*Accommodation: Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve & Lodge (or similar)**

Day 3
Spot birds in Bellavista; to hacienda.

An early start this morning to appreciate the diversity of Bellavista and
spot some of its many bird species. The reserve has previously won awards for
its high bird count – there are 20 different species of Hummingbird to look
for! Following this morning’s excursion we drive towards Northern Ecuador and
the beautiful hacienda that will be our home for the next few nights.

*Accommodation: Hosteria Pantavi (or similar)**

Day 4
San Clemente Indigenous Community.

After breakfast we travel towards the foothills of the Imbabura Volcano where
the indigenous community of San Clemente is located at 2900m. The community
consists of a number of local indigenous families whose main livelihood comes
from farming and agriculture. We have a guided tour by one of the families,
who will introduce us to a number of native and medicinal plants, explain
traditional embroidery techniques, tell us about their culture and show us
the day to day activities that take place within the community. A traditional
lunch will be prepared using locally grown produce. This afternoon we drive
back to our hacienda with the rest of the afternoon free to relax in the
beautiful gardens of Pantavi.

*Accommodation: Hosteria Pantavi (or similar)*

Day 5
Walk at Cuicocha Crater Lake; visit Indian Otavalo.

Drive to Cuicocha Crater Lake at approximately 3000m. This beautiful caldera
(volcanic crater) is about 2 miles/3km wide and was formed over 3000 years
ago by a massive volcanic eruption. We start a scenic walk along one section
ofthe lake (up to 3 hours duration) to take in the impressive scenery,
before continuing our journey to Otavalo. Otavalo is situated in a valley at
2250m,the town is well known for its bustling Indian Market. There are many
of stalls and locals wear traditional colourful clothes – a fantastic
introduction to Andean life and a good place to pick up some souvenirs. We
have some time to soak up the atmosphere before continuing our journey.
Overnight in a 400-year old colonial hacienda.

*Accommodation:Hacienda SuMerced (or similar)*

Day 6
Visit Papallacta Hot Springs; to Amazon Rainforest.

A short journey driving over the dramatic (and breathless at 4069m!)
Papallacta Pass. Located east of Quito, the Papallacta Hot Springs are
regarded as the nicest of all Ecuador.We have some time to bathe in both
hot and cold pools as the snow-capped Antisana Volcano (5758m) looms over the
horizon. We continue our journey, driving around the flanks of the Antisana
Volcano before the descent into the Amazon Basin to our rainforest lodge.
After a short briefing we take a night walk to discover our new surroundings
– there are fantastic night time sounds to listen out for, a wonderful
experience amidst the humidity of the rainforest.

*Accommodation: Liana Lodge (or similar)*

Day 7
Rainforest exploration; AmaZoonico Animal Rescue Centre.

Discover the Amazonian basin on foot. The incredible biodiversity of the
rainforest environment will be explained by our indigenous guide, who will
show us the most interesting and medicinal plants. There is a good chance of
seeing kingfisher, parrot, oropendula and other bird species. Squirrel and
Capuchin monkeys can be seen in this area, although other larger mammals are
considerably more shy and harder to spot. The insect life is also
fascinating, with beautiful butterflies flashing by and Army ants and
Leaf-cutters on patrol. Visit the AmaZoonico Animal Rescue Centre where we
can see some of the forest’s larger inhabitants such as tapir, capibara,
pecari and various species of monkey.

*Accommodation: Liana Lodge (or similar)*

Day 8
To Banos; visit Devil’s Couldron waterfall.

Begin the wonderfully scenic drive west along the ‘Road of the Waterfalls’
with spectacular views of the upper Amazon Basin and the Andes towering
above. The climb back to the highlands is mesmerising as we watch the ecology
change and the many waterfalls cascade from the high peaks into the lush
valley of the Pastaza River. There are good photo opportunities along the
way, including a visit at the Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) waterfall.
We pass through Banos, a picturesque hot spring and pilgrim town adjacent to
the 5000m high volcano of Tungurahua. There is some time to explore Banos
before we drive to our hacienda in Patate.

*Accommodation: Hacienda Leito (or similar)*

Day 9
Walk in Chimborazo N.P.; to Riobamba.

Drive to the region of Chimborazo for a short walk (around one hour) in
Chimborazo National Park, located at approx. 4600m. Due to the equatorial
bulge the summit of Chimborazo is the furthest place from the centre of the
earth! In the national park there are good possibilities to observe vicuas,
a relative of the llama. This afternoon our journey continues towards
Riobamba where we stay overnight.

*Accommodation: Hacienda Abraspungo (or similar)*

Day 10
‘Devil’s Nose’ train ride; to Ingapirca and Cuenca.

Today involves a colourful train ride across the Andes through the steep and
famous ‘Nariz del Diablo’ or ‘Devil’s Nose’ – one of the most difficult
railways to have been constructed. If the weather is clear, we can see
volcanoes as we chug slowly down a steep series of switchbacks with
impressive drops. Afterwards visit the incredible Inca architecture at
Ingapirca, the largest Inca ruins in Ecuador. The Inca Empire stretched along
the Andes north through Ecuador into Colombia and south through Peru and deep
into Chile. Ingapirca has fine examples of their famed brickwork as well as a
solar observatory. We descend from the highlands to colonial Cuenca where we
stay for the next two nights.

*Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucia, Hotel Victoria, Hotel Carvallo (or

Day 11
Half day city tour of Cuenca.

Like Quito’s old centre, Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a
charming place to explore. A guided tour this morning takes in the remarkably
intact old town, where many artisans have taken up residence amidst the
narrow colonial streets and famous landmarks. The afternoon is free to
discover the town at your own leisure.

*Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucia, Hotel Victoria, Hotel Carvallo (or

Day 12
Walk in Cajas N.P.; to Los Chorreras.

A short drive this morning brings us to Cajas National Park, otherwise known
as the ‘Gateway to the Snowy Mountains’ in local Quichua. This is a stunning
area of lofty peaks, lagoons, lakes and rivers amidst pristine paramo
vegetation. During a walk of around 2 hours we may encounter some of the 125
bird species recorded here, such as Yellow-billed pintails, Ecuadorean
hillstar or Violet-throated metaltail. With good weather we are rewarded with
stunning views of this well preserved national park during our walk. We stay
in a hotel close to Cajas National Park for our last night in the Andean
Highlands before we descend towards the coast.

*Accommodation: Hosteria Dos Chorreras (or similar)*

Day 13
Mangrove boat trip; visit cacao plantation.

Today we descend towards the Pacific and visit the Manglares Churute
Ecological Reserve where we take a boat excursion through the incredible
mangrove forest. This important eco-system has both Red and Black mangrove
species and provides opportunities for seeing a number of aquatic birds and
other wildlife along the many small river inlets. In the afternoon we visit a
cacao plantation to learn about the production of one of Ecuador’s biggest
exports. After this we travel to Guayaquil, the main port town in Ecuador,
for our final evening together.

*Accommodation: Grand Hotel Guayaquil (or similar)

Day 14
Depart Guayaquil.

The trip comes to an end today after breakfast and it’s time to bid Ecuador
and the rest of the group goodbye. Free transfers to Guayaquil airport are
available to all clients today. Those on group flights will fly this evening
and arrive in the UK the following day.

Day 15 Arrive London.