Ecuador, Amazon, Hot Springs & Volcanoes
If you’re short on time but still want to experience the awe-inspiring majesty of hot springs and volcanos, look no further than this trip packed with Ecuadorian highlights. Among these are a jaunt through the Amazon jungle, a trip to the Papallacta hot springs, and a visit to the Otavalo handicraft market for souvenirs (because lava is kind of hard to pack in your suitcase). Throw in 2 nights in a luxury Amazon lodge and an overnight in a historic hacienda, and you’ll have made a month’s worth of memories in only nine days.
Your Wellness Moment: Papallacta Hot Springs Visit, Papallacta
Your Discover Moment: Baños. Arrival transfer. Visit the community of San Clemente and enjoy a local lunch. Overnight in an historic hacienda. Explore the Otavalo handicraft market. Relax at Papallacta hot springs. Two nights at an Amazon lodge with jungle walks and canoe excursions. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Traverse the Amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide, be surrounded by towering volcanoes, explore an Andean community and have lunch with locals, learn about traditional handicrafts and folk art from local artisans
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. THE TUNGURAHUA VOLCANO
Please note this tour travels to Banos. The Tungurahua volcano in the area around Banos is constantly active. G Adventures have operated countless tours to the Banos area over the years without incident. However, we are obligated to point out that travel to the area is at your own risk, to exercise caution when travelling in the area. Further, we urge you to check your insurance coverage with your insurance provider prior to travel to the Banos area.
2. All travellers are required to pay the tax on domestic flights in Ecuador. Foreign travellers are exempt form this, and proving you are indeed a foreign traveller can be done by providing us with your international ticket number (ITN). Travellers who do not submit international ticket numbers at least 30 days prior to Day 1 of their tour will be required to pay the domestic tax on all included flights.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, also known as a CEO (Chief Experience Officer). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, Avg 10.
8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private van, boat, flight, walking.
Airline luggage restriction for flying to the Amazon Lodge:
Each passenger is allowed luggage up to 20 kilos (44 pounds) for checked luggage, as well as a carry-on item such as a backpack.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Comfort hotels (4 nts), historic hacienda (1 nts), luxury jungle lodge (2 nts), hot springs resort (1 nt).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
On our Ecuador trip we use various different types of accommodations that are unique to the various environments experienced on this trip. From an historic hacienda in the highlands to a hot springs resort at Papallacta, these are wonderful places to stay.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Detailed Trip Notes
Important nots about visiting the Amazon:
Rubber boots are a must: Rubber boots are very good for hiking in the rainforest, they help protect feet from plants and insects close to the ground as well as deep water. The lodge offers use of boots as a courtesy to our guests, available from size 5 to size 12.
How to keep things dry:
We recommend that passengers bring zip-lock plastic bags or dry sacks for your lenses and camera equipment. A waterproof backpack will also help you to protect your camera gear or anything else you wish to keep completely dry. The humidity is high in the rainforest, however, if you follow the advice about packing appropriate belongings it should not be an issue.
Electricity is available in the bar, dining areas, reception areas and rooms (110V) to recharge batteries. We suggest that guests bring a flashlight or headlamp. The plugs for recharging batteries have three holes, two plainprongs and one circle prong just as most American plugs. However, we recommend that you bring a transformer of two plain prongs.
The weather in La Selva Amazon Ecolodge:
Year-round temperature average is 82°F (28°C), however nights can be cooler. Since Ecuador is located right on the equator, the country does not experience extreme weather changes, and the weather is surprisingly comfortable all year around. Please be prepared for rain.
La Selva Highlights
You will have different activities like: treking, hiking, fishing, swimming, paddle canoes, birdwatching, butterfly watching, photography or simply relax.
New at La Selva is our completed Observation Tower, rising to 35 meters, the tower offers incredible views of the rain forest canopy. Experience amazing opportunities for bird watching and photography, among many species of monkeys, birds, flowers, and insects of which your naturalist guide will more than happy to point out and share interesting facts.
With perhaps the highest species list in the neo-tropics, LA SELVA uses native birding experts for those guests with this singular passion. The Natives speak minimal English, but know the names of all the birds, and, more importantly, how to find them. Please specify in advance if you are a birder and would like to take advantage of this service.
Not far from the lodge you can observe many birds flying by at eyelevel, wildlife of all kinds, and, yes, a bird’s-eye view of it all, from the top platform of our 135 ft. observation tree tower.
The Butterfly Farm
The interest in our butterfly farm is overwhelming. Now entering its 15th year of operation, our guests have enjoyed this attraction even more than we expected. Only 5 minutes from the lodge, a guide will take you there at least once during your stay; however, many people go back a second and third time on their own.
LA SELVA’s Butterfly farm was designed to present an ecologically sound, sustainable alternative way to help preserve the rainforest. It is another step in our ongoing effort to find viable ways (besides ecotourism) to help save this beautiful rainforest.
Kayaking and Swimming
Guests may take out our kayaks to explore the lake on their own anytime they wish. The kayaks hold one or two people and paddlers must be signed in and out at the bar. Kayak instructions will be available from the staff.
Besides voyages of discovery, La Selva will arrange kayak races and other prize-winning activities with the kayaks. It is child’s play and free drinks for the winners but enjoy that silliness and exhilaration.
Unless the lodge is very crowded, guests may have kayaks without time limit, however if there is a great demand a two-hour per excursion time will be in effect. A guest must return for another two hours if desired.
No fishing is allowed from the kayaks, but this activity can be done from the dock.
Swimming, another great recreational activity is highly encouraged. The Lonely Planet guide has called Lake Garzacocha one of the most beautiful lakes in the Amazon, so take a swim with your sunscreen (well applied please) to our balsa wood raft and enjoy the tranquility. If there is truly no demand for the kayaks you can paddle your way to the raft and bring a book a long to read in the middle of a lake in the middle of the Amazon.
The Biology Field Station
In 1992 LA SELVA created, built and continues to fund The Neo-tropical Field Biology Institute. Researchers from around the world come to our lodge to carry out scientific investigation.
Guests often brush shoulders with researchers in the bar and elsewhere for enlightening conversation.
Please find below a partial list of activities. Trained Naturalist guides and Native assistants will accompany you during all your adventure.
This is a two-hour excursion often combined with a picnic lunch and trips across the Napo River. Visit a site where, with a little luck, parrots and parakeets, by the thousands can be seen.
Walk by a Native’s House
Cross Garzacocha Lake. Two and a half to three hour walk on a purposely underdeveloped trail which has some physical challenge. Half of the walk takes place in primary forest and the other half passes the huts of our indigenous neighbors along the Napo River.
High Forest Trail
The duration can vary between three to five hours. Cross the Napo River and arrive at a challenging mountainous trail which offers yet another ecosystem. It is a chance to see birds and wildlife nowhere else seen. Try the lemon ants!
An easy trail close to the hotel which is usually filled with wildlife no matter what hour of the day you do it. The excursion can last as long as you want.
Cross Garzacocha Lake then one hour or more of walking. See an enormous colony of leafcutter ants and whatever wildlife may come your way.
Canoe or walking trips after dark to view nocturnal animals such as caiman, monkeys, insects and owls.
Two versions are available. Cross Garzacocha lake, walk through the virgin forest and arrive at the tower: four hours. Short version: Pass Butterfly farm and join the trail in the middle: two hours.
Head east at Mandicocha trailhead and walk along the lake. Arrive at Napo River. Return by elevated walkway and cross Garzacocha by canoe: three hours.
Short trip by foot around the edge of Lake Garzacocha. Return by canoe to the lodge.
Across the Mandicocha lake, it goes on and on and on. Good place to look for Jaguars.
For Serious Photography
A long lens, at least a zoom capable of 200 mm is recommended and an assortment of film as low as ASA 25 for out on the streams in full sun and around the lodge, to ASA 400 – pushing it if you like, for in the forest. Be sure to carry your film separately.
Digital camera users need only beware (as SLR users) that moisture can fog their lenses rapidly. Silica gel in the camera carrying case should do the job and remember to put your camera back in the case when not using it. Bring plastic zip-lock bags for protecting your gear.
Quito City Tour
This tour of Quito is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, and historical architecture of Quito. Learn about colonial art, culture, legends, and traditions.
Quito was designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage Site. The trip takes about 3.5 hours including the visit to the lookout point of El Panecillo where you will find one of the best views of Quito.
Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the churches and Panecillo are not included in the price and are approx $ 9 USDp/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD
City Tour + Equator Line
(Combination of City tour and Middle of the World Tour)
After the scenic city tour of Quito (described above) we go to the Equator line museum . Here we visit the Inti Ñan local museum where you can see different experiments to prove that you are at the Centre of the Earth. On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line.
This trip takes about 5 hours in total and includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
- Entrances fees for City Tour : $ 6 USD (Churches)
- Equator line fees : $ 6 USD (Museums)
- Price for 1 person : $ 60 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $45 USD
The Middle of the world
Driving 25 Kms. (16 miles) north of Quito, marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º. Here you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere. We will visit the Inti ñan site museum (pathway of the sun) which show the diversity of Ecuador’s native groups .
On the 00°00’00” line at the museum, you will have the opportunity to interact with demonstrations of phenomena that occur in nature, and which can be tested on our magnetic equatorial line.
Later we head up to Pululahua crater view point , which is one of the two inhabited volcanic caldera in the world. Trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation)
- Entrance fees for the Museums are not included in the price and are approx $9 USD p/p.
- Price for 1 person : $ 50 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $40 USD
The Otavalo market is considered one the biggest and best native markets in South America. Here you can find an extremely wide variety of handicrafts made in Ecuador. We head north along the Pan-American highway for 2.5 hours. On the way we visit the village of Calderon to see the bread figures and Cayambe to taste the typical ‘biscochos’ (local biscuits). After you have explored the Otavalo market, we go to the leather market at Cotacachi or Peguche the weaving town . The busiest Market Day is Saturday with the most vendors, but the market is open daily.
This trip takes about 8 hours and can depart everyday at 08h00 am (trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
Mindo Cloud Forest – Full Day
Drive northwest for about 2 hours, enjoy the dramatic change of vegetation as we go down the andes to the cloudforest. Mindo is a tiny town set amidst some of the most beautiful and peaceful countryside in the entire country. It is a centre for both nature and adventure activities.
Go walking through the cloud forest and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the different waterfalls, take time to ride up the cable car with amazing views.
Time for lunch in a local restaurant (not included) and visit a butterfly farm where you will be able to see an array of colorful humming birds for which Mindo is renowned.
In the afternoon there is also the option of an organic chocolate tour which includes a demonstration of the chocolate-making process and of course tasting too!
This trip takes about 9 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes English speaking guide/driver and private transportation )
Allow : $10 USD for lunch and $ 20 USD for entrance fees.
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
A spectacular 2-hour drive in private transport takes us to Cotopaxi Volcano National Park , the highest active volcano in the world (5897 m) . We visit a museum in the park and hike around a lagoon at the bottom of the volcano to learn about the flora and fauna found at this altitude. We then continue by car up the volcano to the parking lot, at over 4500m. Then we walk approximately 1.5hrs to the refuge at 4800m, and after a short break, continue to the glacier (if the weather holds out). We head back to the Pan-American highway to have lunch somewhere near Latacunga, or buy a box lunch on the way to have more time in the park. Return to Quito in the afternoon.
This trip takes about 8 hours and can depart everyday at 07h00 am (trip includes guide/driver in english and private transportation )
- Price for 1 person : $ 100 USD – Price for 2+ persons : $70 USD
- Does not include Cotopaxi Park Entrance fee $40 USD per group ( Park fee cost can be split between travellers)
PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS
Two hours drive to the east are the Termas de Papallacta. They are located on the Cinnamon trail, (65km from Quito) which is the same route that Francisco de Orellana took in 1542 when he crossed the Andean mountain range in search of spices and gold, and discovered the Amazon River.
Things to do:
a) Hot springs pools with different temperatures and sizes with views of the Antisana volcano 5750m.
b) Trekking up the river on marked path
c) Horseback rides – extra cost
d) Relax in the new spa recently inaugurated (spa services not Included in entrance fee cost.)
- Lunch not included however restaurant available onsite offering typical Ecuadorian meals with some international options.
- Return to Quito in the afternoon.
- This tour provides transport service only. Your driver will drop you off at the Hot Springs and wait for you when you are ready to leave.
- Full day tour
Tour Price: $100 USD – 1 Person
$50 USD per person for 2+ travellers
$7 USD Entrance fee per person
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes, as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. Discovery Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude, in Quito and the highlands. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your Adventure, please consult your physician.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEOhas the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEOwill assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Trip Specific Safety
Please take care when wandering about the city on your own, as pick pockets and purse-snatchers are common, particularly in the Old Town. Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, traveller’s cheques and cash you don’t need in the hotel’s safety deposit box. Most Quiteños are honest and genuinely helpful and friendly, but be safe and enjoy the city!