Amazon Rainforest Excursion, Guided Walking Tours, Trip to Cotopaxi National Park
This eight-day tour of Ecuador includes an excursion through the Amazon rainforest, possible wildlife sightings in Cotopaxi National Park, and a guided tour of the capital city, Quito. The package includes round-trip airfare from Miami International Airport (MIA).
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Days 1–3: Quito City Tour, Middle of the World Monument, Otavalo Market
The tour kicks off in Quito, the capital of Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the city’s cobblestone streets are lined with colonial buildings and many 16th-century churches with elaborate interiors adorned with real gold leaf. Travelers will visit the Legislative Palace and Alameda Park, which holds the oldest observatory in South America, as well as the Monastery of San Francisco, Quito's oldest church. Stop at one of Quito’s top attractions, the Middle of the World Monument, which sits on the exact spot where Charles Marie de la Condamine first established the equator.You can stand with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern. While in Quito, you’ll stay at the Sheraton Quito Hotel, before departing for Puertolago Country Inn in Otavalo.
On day 3, you’ll explore the town of Otavalo, home to one of the most spectacular markets in South America. The scene here is saturated in color—stalls overflow with hand-woven clothing and fresh vegetables, and the local Otavaleno Indian women who work at the market wear intricately embroidered blouses and beaded necklaces. Afterward, the group will make their way to the small town of Papallacta at the entrance of the Amazon jungle. Your home for the night, the Termas de Papallacta, features a hydrotherapy center with five hot thermal pools.
Days 4–5: Amazon Rainforest Excursion
The Amazonian part of the tour begins on day 4. After crossing the Napo River via canoes, the group will enjoy dinner and the sunset at the Casa del Suizo hotel. The following morning, after a walk through the jungle, you can choose between two rainforest adventures: a tour of the Amazoonico—a rescue center for tapirs, monkeys, snakes, and other animals—or a rafting trip on the Napo River, in which participants will learn to make their own rafts out of balsa logs. Later in the day, travelers will visit with a Quechua family and learn to make chicha, a popular beverage among locals.
Day 6: The Devil’s Cauldron and Baños Hot Springs
On day 6, the group will visit Rio Verde falls, also known as the Devil’s Cauldron. This spectacular waterfall tumbles through verdant, rugged cliffs on its way to the rainforest floor in Puyo, which is considered to be the most important city in Ecuador's Oriente region. The next leg of the trip includes a guided tour of Baños, an idyllic town situated at the base of a volcano. While most famous for its namesake thermal springs and beautiful highland scenery, Baños also produces delicious taffy called melcocha. You'll spend the night at Hacienda Leito.
Days 7–8: Cotopaxi National Park
The final leg of the tour unfolds in this 84,000-acre national reserve that’s home to the world’s highest continuously active volcano, which rises 19,500 feet over the plains in the Andes. A diversity of wildlife inhabits Cotopaxi, including wild horses and the impressive Andean condor. This indigenous, carrion-eating bird can live up to 60 years. After a farewell dinner at a local restaurant on day 7, you’ll stay the night at Sheraton Quito Hotel to rest up for your flight home the next day.