Rivers and Rainforests
After settling into your room at Mama Cuchara Hotel you’ll start your adventure through Ecuador in the pretty city of Quito. On your first full day, you’ll get to know Ecuador’s capital better on a private full-day tour. Head to Panecillo Hill and San Juan Mirador for unbeatable city views, then make your way to the cobblestoned historic center to explore the many churches and colonial-era buildings that line the city. After a tasty local lunch, it’s on to the Middle of the World monument to straddle the equator. The Quito tour finishes at the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve where you’ll glimpse inside a crater of an active volcano.
On your third day, you’ll head north to the Yanacocha Reserve. Located on the western side of the Pichincha Volcano, the area is home to the critically endangered black-breasted puffleg hummingbird. The forest around the volcano is one of the most reliable locations for spotting this endemic species. During the tour, you’ll learn more about the work that goes into conserving these distinctive creatures.
On day four you’ll explore ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’, a route between Quito and the city of Riobamba that’s known for its imposing volcanic peaks and blockbuster scenery. You’ll spend the day with a local guide who will show you around the markets along the route and explain the nature and history of the Cotopaxi National Park that’s home to one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. The trip wraps up with a stop at the beautiful Limpiopungo Lagoon to spot hummingbirds before heading back to Quito.
On day five you’ll head east to the subtropical forests of the Narupa Reserve. Deep in the Napo province, you’ll find rich evergreen forests teeming with tanagers, tyrant flycatchers and hummingbirds. It is also home to the only currently known nesting pair of orange-breasted falcons. Over the years, the team here has also managed to track puma, ocelot and Brazilian tapir. After settling into the Hamadryade Lodge, head out and explore the many networks in the reserve, taking the footbridge at Rio Hollin where you can access the higher elevations of the reserve.
Yasuni Biosphere Reserve
Today your explorations of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest begin, as you head to the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve. You’ll start in Coca where you’ll board a river canoe and paddle for two hours up the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon River. In Napo, you’ll walk through the jungle then take a small canoe over the Garzacocha Lagoon to the luxury La Selva Ecolodge, your rainforest home. It’s a fascinating and unforgettable journey, providing the chance to absorb the atmosphere of this spectacular rainforest.
The next day heads out with a naturalist and native guide to exploring the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve. At the observation tower, look for colourful birds of the Amazon and native primates. There is also the opportunity to visit the lagoon of Mandi Cocha, hike the surrounding trails and venture out on a night canoe ride for nocturnal wildlife watching and stargazing.
On your final day in the jungle, explore the Napo River by motorized canoe and visit the clay licks where hundreds of parrots and parakeets gather to feast on the mineral-rich soil. Afterward, you’ll meet an Amazonian Kichua woman who will show you around her local community. Later in the afternoon, you’ll take the Ceiba trail to look for monkeys and birds. Listen too… you might hear the sound of the howler monkey and toucans flying overhead. In the evening head out for a nocturnal wildlife walk and discover the Amazon by moonlight.
Bid farewell to the rainforest and canoe back to Coca where you’ll fly to Quito and spend the evening as you please. Your home for the night will be the Wyndham Condor.
You’ll take a short flight to Guayaquil and your stay at the Wyndham Guayaquil for the final leg of your trip. On arrival, a private tour guide will be waiting to show you the city’s waterfront and tell you about the picturesque and historic Barrio Las Penas.
The next day you’ll visit one of the last remaining dry tropical rainforest ecosystems in Ecuador – the Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco. Take a guided walk and keep an eye out for a huge variety of bird and mammal species including monkeys, the great green macaw, goldfinches and bats. The area is also home to jaguars and pumas. On your last day, you'll be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back home.