day 1 arrival in Quito – transfer to Otavalo
day 2 Acclimatization (suggestions: visit to the market – Peguche waterfall)
day 3 horseback ride to Lake Cuicocha and transfer to Mindo
day 4 the waterfalls of Mindo
day 5: choice of Tubing / Canopy / Canyoning
day 6 transfer to Quito (visit “active equator museum”)
day 7 via Papallacta to Amazon rainforest
day 8 Amazon day 2
Day 9 Amazon Day 3
day 10 Amazon day 4 – to Baños
day 11 The route of the waterfalls
Day 12 Rafting on the Rio Pastaza (class III – beginners) and transfer to Guamote
Day 13 Visit to indigenous communities – Indian cooking
day 14 Market visit (on thursdays) – to Puerto Lopez
day 15 Playa Los Frailes
day 16 Isla de la Plata + whale watching or horseback riding Bola de Oro
day 17 to Guayaquil airport – return flight
* All hotel nights with breakfast, transfers, domestic flights and excursions as mentioned in the program.
* Lunch and dinner in accordance with the program if stated.
* Drinks, tips and expenses of a personal nature.
* International flights to and from Ecuador.
* Travel or cancellation insurance.
This is an example trip. You can adapt the order of the trip and the choice of hotels and excursions to your wishes. For example, you can combine this trip with another example trip or a subsequent cruise to the Galapagos Islands. The extensive range of hotels, excursions and cruises can be found elsewhere on this website.
Arrival in Quito
Transfer from Quito to Otavalo in private car
You will be picked up by a Spanish-speaking driver and taken to the hotel in Otavalo in a private vehicle. This drive through the Andes Mountains takes approximately 2 hours.
Acclimatization: we suggest two activities that you can do on your own:
Otavalo – visit to the indigenous market (under your own steam)
This market in the Plaza de Ponchos is without a doubt the most famous indigenous market in Ecuador. You will find a huge range of artesanate there. The best day to visit this market is on Saturday. At the same time, 4 markets take place in different places in the city. But the artesanate market now also continues on the other days of the week – it is then a lot quieter. That also has its advantages.
Hike to the waterfall of Peguche (under your own steam)
The 18 meter high waterfall of Peguche is close to the hotel. The local people of Otavalo celebrate the Sun Festival of Inti Raymi on June 21. Purification rituals are held here for several days. The falls are located in a small nature reserve.
Horse riding to Alpaca farm
In this activity, you will be picked up at your hotel in the morning and then driven for 20 minutes to the Arrayanes community. There we get some instructions from the guide and we meet the horse that will accompany you during this trip. After this, a beautiful horseback ride starts where we ride along beautiful landscapes and have a view of the surrounding volcanoes. After about three hours of driving we arrive at the alpaca farm where we get an explanation about these very beautiful animals and we also have some time to rest. There is certainly also some time to be able to take beautiful pictures together with the animals. Afterwards we start the return trip and are brought back to the hotel by private vehicle.
Duration: about 5h.
Included: English speaking guide, return transport, horse and helmet.
Mandatory: sun protection, a fleece or a sweater, water (min. 1 liter), minimum experience with horses.
Recommended: camera, clothes that can get dirty and a snack.
Transfer from Otavalo to Mindo in private car
On this 3-hour drive through the Andes Mountains, you will cross the valley of Guayllabamba and pass the equatorial monument of Mitad del Mundo.
The waterfalls of Mindo
After a 20-minute drive through the forest, we reach the entrance of the park by car. Here you cross a valley with a width of 530 meters with a cable car. Once across the road, there are trails leading to seven different waterfalls. It is a beautiful walk with an opportunity to swim and with beautiful views.
Duration: 4 hours.
Included: transport, English speaking guide and entrance.
You can choose one of the following activities
Canopy: float above the cloud forest
This is one of the most popular sports in Mindo. This adventure gives you the chance to zoom in on the top layer of the trees of the cloud forest. It gives you the thrill of flying, while enjoying the beautiful landscapes below you. During this activity you are always accompanied by specialized supervisors. There are 10 canopy lines from easy to difficult.
Duration: 3 hours.
Included: return transport, canopy with guide.
Tubing on the Rio Mindo (level 1)
Floating on the Rio Mindo you can enjoy the sunny sky and the tranquility of the forest. Those who like more adventure can do the rapids of the Río Cinto or the Río Blanco. A local guide provides you with a helmet and life jacket and keeps the raft under control. Tubing is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. This excursion takes either 1.5 hours, 2.5 hours or 4 hours and includes transport, equipment and guide.
Equipped with ropes, harness, helmet, gloves, you descend in the middle of a waterfall or from a bridge in the river. You will be accompanied by an experienced guide who will take you step-by-step through this unforgettable experience.
Transfer from Mindo to Quito in private car
This private car ride takes approximately 2 hours.
Colonial Quito and the Equatorial Museum
First you will visit the historic colonial center of Quito with the English speaking guide, its churches and squares, the modern city and the Panecillo hill panorama point. Then we drive to the monument at the equator Mitad del Mundo and the Intiñan museum, where various tests show that we are indeed on the equatorial line.
Included: English speaking guide and transport in private car.
Not included: entrance to museums and meal on the way.
Duration: 5 to 6 hours.
Transfer from Quito to Archidona in private car (with visit to Papallacta)
This car ride first takes you high into the Andes – where we stay for a while in Papallacta – and then descends to the Amazon forest, towards Archidona. Papallacta is a small village on the edge of the Cayambe Coca National Park. It is best known for its beautiful volcanic thermal baths. You can also walk very nicely. You will stay a few hours in Papallacta where you can either take a walk in the National Park or relax in the thermal baths (the entrance of the baths
worth USD 10 is not included).
Duration: 3 hours driving and 2 hours stop in Papallacta.
Hakuna Matata – Explorer trip (4 days / 3 nights – all-in) – day 1
This 150 ha private hacienda is the place to fully enjoy the Amazon rainforest. Hakuna Matata is located on the banks of the crystal clear Río Inchillaqui between 600 and 850 m altitude. There is a large swimming pool of 22 by 27 meters, a fine restaurant with bar. All rooms (there are three classes: cabaña, lodge and supreme) have their own terrace and bathroom with hot shower. You can make beautiful walks and set up excursions. Depending on the weather conditions, we may have to adjust the order or content of the tours. We arrive at the lodge in the late afternoon. We have dinner in Restaurant Pangea.
Included: dinner and overnight stay.
Hakuna Matata – day 2 Explorer trip 4D / 3N
Breakfast in Restaurant Pangea. Then an introduction to the Amazon region – day excursion.
We leave the lodge at 5:30 am to the Rio Arajuno, a small tributary of the mighty Napo River. With a small canoe we trek through the forest and the guide points out the great variety of birds. We take a short walk to a clay lick where parrots and parakeets appear in large numbers in the morning. With a bit of luck we will also encounter monkeys. We use breakfast in Santa Barbara, a small Indian settlement of 23 families in the forest. They serve a local for us meal on – freshly harvested from forest and river! We stay in the village to visit some families and then go on a trek in the 2,500 acre Jantun Sacha reserve, where the guide takes us around giant ceibos, walking palm trees and much more. Around noon we return by canoe and car to Misahualli where we have lunch and see the capuchin monkeys in the village. Around 3:00 PM we are back at the lodge, where dinner is served in the evening is served.
Includes: transfers, English speaking guide, breakfast, lunch box, dinner and overnight stay.
Hakuna Matata – dag 3 Explorer trip 4D/3N
Breakfast in Restaurant Pangea. Then Rafting Class 3/3 + – day excursion.
Today we offer you a unique tropical water adventure! For this excursion you will leave after breakfast for a trip of half an hour to Tena. For this class 3/3 + (no prior experience necessary) the ride then continues another 45 minutes (25 km) upstream of the Río Jatunyacu (the “big water” in Quichua). There follows a safety briefing for all participants. During the rafting, rapids alternate with quiet stretches on this mighty river. Beautiful views, waterfalls, almost untouched forest: all this will be an unforgettable day in the Amazon! Along the way there are stops for a number of activities, depending on the water level. Arrival in Puerto Napo is foreseen around 4 pm. During the trip, lunch is served on a beach along the river. This rafting only takes place if the weather conditions and the water level are optimal. Arrival in Hakuna Matata around 5 pm. Dinner at Restaurant Pangea.
Includes: transfers, top quality canoe equipment, English speaking guide / escort, breakfast, lunch box, dinner and overnight.
Hakuna Matata – day 4 Explorer trip 4D / 3N
Breakfast in Restaurant Pangea. After breakfast there are three possibilities for excursions.
Option 1: Horseback riding tour with guide (s) – This excursion is suitable for both the novice and the most experienced rider. Under professional guidance and on well-maintained riding horses you will make an extremely varied tour of approximately 2.5 hours. The ride goes through rivers and streams, along sloping slopes and beautiful flora. You can enjoy beautiful views along the way.
Option 2: Guided nature walk – An experience in itself is the guided walk of about 3.5 hours. The medicinal properties of medicinal plants and trees, insects and ancient customs are explained in an entertaining way by a professional guide.
Option 3: Chocolate Preparation – You start with the freshly harvested cocoa fruits and then learn the full process of the chocolate preparation until you have a perfect chocolate bar.
Lunch at Restaurant Pangea.
Included: breakfast, excursion and lunch.
Transfer from Archidona to Baños in private car
This 3 to 4 hour drive takes you through the Amazon forest via Tena to Puyo, at the foot of the Andes mountains. From there it goes up steeply against the Andes to Baños in an hour and a half.
Cycling in Baños: the route of the waterfalls
You leave Baños by bike and follow the road to Puyo through forests, through tunnels and along rivers and waterfalls. An English-speaking guide accompanies you permanently by bicycle. On the way you will see the Agoyan waterfall, the Manto de la Novia where you go by cable car and finally the impressive waterfall Pailon del Diablo where we make a nice hike. We return to Baños by car. We choose to eat a snack at the end point in Rio Verde or on return
Duration: 5 hours.
Included: equipment, English speaking guide, cable car entrance, Pailon del Diablo entrance, snack and return transport.
Rafting on the Rio Pastaza (class III – beginners)
You can make this trip in the morning as well as in the afternoon. You will depart by car from Baños to Cumandá, where there will be a brief explanation of the safety regulations on board. The descent along the river takes about an hour and a half. Afterwards you will have a small lunch and return to Baños.
Duration: half a day.
Included: neoprene suit, life jacket, helmet, water footwear, kayak, guide, transport and packed lunch.
Transfer from Baños to Guamote in private vehicle (SP-speaking driver)
The driver will pick you up at the hotel in Baños. This drive through the mountains takes about 3 hours.
Visit to the indigenous villages around Guamote
Today we take a closer look at how the indigenous people live here in this region. After visiting Inti Sisa’s own center in Guamote, we head into the mountains. We visit a school where the children explain how they are taught here. We visit a local weaver who makes alpaca wool ponchos and end up with an indigenous family who talk about their life in the village. Along the way you will receive information about the history of the region and the local culture. If you wish, you can then return to Guamote on foot (1.5 hours).
Duration: 4 hours.
Included: English speaking guide; snack and drink.
Native cooking class
First we go to the market to buy all the ingredients for making a fruit salad and empanadas. Then you will learn from the indigenous kitchen staff of Inti Sisa how these delicious things are prepared. After that, everything is eaten together in a cozy atmosphere.
Included: visit to the market, ingredients and coffee or tea
Guamote’s indigenous market (Thursdays only)Entering Guamote from the mountains on a Thursday morning, you will see a sea of red ponchos: thousands of indigenous farmers and craftsmen come from around the world to buy and sell their animals, vegetables, fruits and other wares. This ancient market is perhaps the most authentic of the Ecuadorian Andes. There are several squares inside and outside the town (with animals, vegetables, …). Very early on it is very busy. You will be dropped off at a meeting point in the market and picked up again two hours later.
Transfer from Guamote to Puerto Lopez in private car
You will be picked up at the hotel by a local driver and taken to the hotel in Puerto Lopez in a private vehicle. This ride – which takes a whole day – takes you high from the Andes via the extensive coastline to the beaches of Puerto Lopez. You cross many changing landscapes. Meal on the go is not included.
Duration: 8 hours
Los Frailes and Agua Blanca
Today you will visit Ecuador’s most beautiful beach. You can choose to drive or cycle to the start of the walk. Los Frailes is about three kilometers from Puerto Lopez, so it is also very doable by bike. Once you arrive at the start of the walk you first get some explanation about the region and afterwards you start walking towards a beach with black sand, La Tortuguita, a lookout with a view over the coast to finally reach a beach with beautiful white sand. Here you can rest for a while before you leave for Agua Blanca. Agua Blanca is an archaeological site in the middle of a beautiful nature reserve. You can swim here in a beautiful lake that has medicinal properties due to its volcanic origin. After this we return to the hotel.
Duration: approximately 6 hours.
Included: English speaking guide, transport, entrance to the archaeological site and lunch.
What to bring: sun and rain protection, sporty footwear and bathing gear.
Today you can choose from the following activities:
Isla de la Plata or Little Galapagos (Machalilla National Park)
During this trip – which takes 6 to 7 hours – you will visit this beautiful island, also called small Galapagos. It is 25 km (about 1.5 hours by boat) off the coast of Puerto Lopez. In addition to frigate and tropic birds, you will also find blue-footed, masked and red-footed boobies and even some Galapagosal batros. The island can only be visited with a guide from the park and – just like on the real Galapagos – you are not allowed to deviate from the official trails. You make a walking tour of 3 hours with the nature guide and you can swim and snorkel. On the way to the island you can spot humpback whales from June to September, which use the area in large numbers as a nursery.
Including: land transport, boat, English speaking guide and lunch box. Exclusive: entrance 1 USD pp. to be paid on the spot
Horseback riding in the cloud forest of Machalilla
This full-day excursion takes about 6 hours and gets you to know the interior of the coast. You will depart from the hotel to a drop at the foot of the Rio Blanco. Here you first get some explanation about this beautiful region, you get to know the horses and afterwards you start a beautiful trip of about two hours and a half through the cloud forest. Along the way you can enjoy the flora and fauna such as the howler monkeys, the capuchin monkeys, the guantas (a kind of rodent) and different species parrots. Around afternoon you reach the end of the walk, after which you can eat a tasty lunch from the region. After dinner you will return to the hotel.
Duration: 6 hours.
Included: English speaking guide, transport, rubber boots and lunch.
What to bring: Sun and rain protection, sports footwear and a camera.
Transfer from Puerto Lopez to Guayaquil airport in private car (SP-speaking driver)
You will be transferred from the hotel in Puerto Lopez to the airport in Guayaquil (drive of +/- 4 hours).
* All transfers are done with private car and Spanish-speaking driver unless otherwise stated
* Mentioned trips and excursions are examples from a wider range. Check out our website for more options.
* This travel proposal is based on double standard rooms, unless stated otherwise. Surcharges for single rooms or deluxe rooms are on request.
* This travel proposal is without obligation, depending on the travel period and subject to availability.
* In the final travel program, certain fixed days of activities must be taken into account, such as Indian markets, departure dates of cruises and flights, etc. We do everything possible to optimally integrate the mentioned activities into the program.
I’m Tom from Belgium and I’ll make sure your trip to Ecuador or cruise in Galapagos goes as smoothly and pleasantly as possible. I have been living in Ecuador for a decade and have been working in tourism for 8 years now. Before that, I obtained my guides diploma in Ecuador. Traveling and discovering new places is my passion.
Together with the local travel agency Descubre-Ecuador, we offer tailor-made tours in Galapagos and on the Ecuadorian mainland. Over the years, Descubre-Ecuador has built a reliable partnership with the best hotels and the best nature guides in Ecuador. Our small-scale way of working ensures easy accessibility and a lot of flexibility when traveling.
Customer satisfaction is the essence for us. And even in those rare moments of unforeseen difficult circumstances, we make sure that we are there to make sure your trip runs smoothly.
Explore Ecuador and Galapagos!
In South America, Ecuador is one of the smaller countries, but the country is hugely diverse in terms of geography, climate and population. You can visit the Andes, the Amazon rainforest as well as the tropical coast without taking extremely long domestic flights or transfers. And then you have the Galapagos Islands, a once in a lifetime experience. The diversity of flora and fauna per square mile is enormous. Ecuador is South America in a nutshell. Moreover, the country is relatively safe and little visited. The national currency is the USD and you have a wide choice of direct flights to Quito and Guayaquil from Europe and the United States.
Ik ben Tom uit België en zorg ervoor dat jullie reis naar Ecuador of cruise in Galapagos zo vlot en aangenaam mogelijk kan verlopen. Ik woon al een tiental jaren in Ecuador en werk nu 8 jaren in toerisme. Daarvoor heb ik in Ecuador mijn gidsen-diploma behaald. Reizen en nieuwe plaatsen ontdekken is mijn passie. Samen met het lokale reiskantoor Descubre-Ecuador, bieden we reizen op maat in Galapagos en op het Ecuadoriaanse vasteland aan. Descubre-Ecuador heeft door de jaren heen een betrouwbare samenwerking opgebouwd met de beste hotels en de beste natuurgidsen van Ecuador. Onze kleinschalige manier van werken zorgt voor een vlotte bereikbaarheid en veel flexibiliteit bij het reizen. De tevredenheid van de klant is voor ons de essentie. En ook op die zeldzame momenten van onvoorziene moeilijke omstandigheden zorgen we dat we er zijn om jullie reis toch perfect te laten verlopen. Ontdek Ecuador en Galapagos!