Ecuador Amazon, Hot Springs & Volcanoes

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 31st, 2014 Last Updated:
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Introduction

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.

  • 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
Duration: 9 days
Start/Finish City: Quito to Quito
Service Level: Upgraded
  • All the adventure you want, with a softer landing
  • Handpicked, character-rich accommodations with upgraded amenities services
  • Upgraded and private transport, including flights to maximize time
  • More included meals, activities and transfers
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Comfort
Great adventures with a few extra frills along the way.

Looking for a little extra from your adventure but don’t want to skip out on all the genuine experiences? Comfort is your ticket. These trips offer upgraded accommodations and more inclusions while still delivering plenty of freedom to pursue spontaneous situations on your own.

Please note: The Comfort Travel Style is a renamed edition of the G-Plus, our collection of comfort-themed adventures. Same great trips, more descriptive name!

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Ecuador Amazon, Hot Springs & Volcanoes (SEAV)

Day 1 Quito

Arrive in Quito at any time, and transfer to the hotel. There are no planned activities, so check in and enjoy the city. A G Adventures CEO will hold a briefing at the hotel to review the various aspects of the tour. If you are not able to attend this welcome meeting, our representative will leave all important information at your hotel’s reception, indicating what time to be ready on Day 2 of our trip. If there is any confusion on arrival, please do not hesitate to call the contact number listed in these trip details.

Located 9,348 ft (2,850 m) above sea level, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate, despite the fact that it is only 14 miles (22 km) south of the Equator. Nestled in a valley flanked by mountains, on a clear day several snow-capped volcanoes, including nearby Pichincha, are visible from the city center. Add to its beautiful location a rich history and well-preserved colonial district, and you begin to understand Quito’s appeal to thousands of tourists every year.

In 1978, UNESCO declared Quito a World Heritage site, and any new development in Quito's old town is now strictly controlled. Life in Quito tends to be peaceful, though the drivers are fond of using their car horns! There are approximately 2 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, but the pace is relaxed and the residents hospitable.

Since pre-Columbian times, the site of Quito has been inhabited by the Quitus, the Shyris and the Puruhas. The Inca reached this city before the Spaniards, but leveled it to the ground rather than give it up to the Spanish. The present capital was founded by the Spanish on December 6, 1534. Quito is separated into two basic sections, the old and the new cities. The old city is full of historic buildings and churches. One of the more noteworthy is the Catedral de Quito, located on the Plaza de la Independencia. Built between 1550 and 1562, it was one of the first neoclassical works in Quito. La Compañía de Jésus Church is considered one of the most beautiful in the Americas. The decorations in the Compañía contain approximately one and one-half tons of gold, and construction of the church took 170 years (1605-1775).

There are several excellent museums scattered throughout the city. The Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana has an interesting display of traditional musical instruments and Ecuadorian traditional dress, a large art collection, and a small natural history museum. For archeology, the best museum to visit is the Museo del Banco Central with its well displayed pottery, gold ornaments, skulls showing deformities and early surgical methods, a mummy and many other objects of interest. The small, rounded hill dominating the old town is El Panecillo, the Little Bread Loaf, a major Quito landmark. From here there are marvelous panoramic views of the entire city and surrounding volcanoes. Tourists can easily take a trolley (streetcar) or a cab between the Old Town and New Town.

Quito’s large foreign population and steady stream of travelers have given it a varied and vibrant nightlife, and salsotecas and other dance clubs abound. For a real Ecuadorian experience though, be sure and drop by a peña if you can; these are great places for meeting locals and dancing, as well as enjoying local cuisine.

Just a few hours south of Quito is Parque National Cotopaxi, home to Cotopaxi Volcano at 19,342 ft (5897 m). The beautiful cone-shaped, snow covered volcano is Ecuador’s second highest peak and the highest active volcano in the world. This is a great spot for day hiking up to the refuge on the glacier’s edge or mountain biking (downhill all the way). True enthusiasts attempt the climb to the summit on an overnight excursion. Allow yourself an extra day or two in Quito, before or after your trip, if you want to conquer Cotopaxi.

Day 2 Otavalo (1B,1L)

Drive to the highlands with a stop at the community of San Clemente. interact with locals in this traditional Andean community and enjoy an included lunch. Continue to Otavalo and visit the famous handicraft market and watch local artisans at work and enjoy some shopping. Stay tonight at a historic, highlands hacienda.

Spend 1 night in the Otavalo area and visit its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits and vegetables.

There are three main market plazas in town, with the overflow spilling out onto the streets linking them. The Plaza de Ponchos is where we will find most handicraft items. We will find colorful wollen goods such as ponchos, gloves, hats, blankets, scarves and sweaters, as well as fine tapestries and a variety of embroidered blouses and shirts, shawls, string bags and rope sandals. This market gets underway at dawn and continues until early afternoon. Remember, bargaining is expected for every purchase! A good negotiator should be able to get at least 20% off the starting price. The food market sells produce and household goods for the locals, and there is an animal market beginning in the predawn hours on the outskirts of town. Although these are not designed for visitors, they are cultural experiences to see and are definitely worth a visit.

One of the most obvious signs of the Otavaleños' cultural integrity is their traditional dress. This is not just put on especially for the tourists at the Saturday market, but is worn throughout their daily life.

Otavalo is justly famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday animal market. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products were transported from the eastern lowlands and traded for highland goods. Today's market has two different functions: the local market for buying and selling animals, food and other essentials, and the crafts market for the tourists and other interested people.

Day 3 Papallacta Hot springs (1B)

Continue by private transportation to the Papallacta Hot Springs resort for onsite hot springs, optional spa treatments and hiking excursions. Plenty of time to soak, relax and enjoy the mountain views.

The village of Papallacta sits 60 km (37 miles) southeast of Quito, over the Andes and on the outer rim of the Amazon Basin. This small village, surrounded by cloud forest on the road between the highlands and the Oriente, has arguably the best thermal springs in all of Ecuador. It is the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening soaking in the mineral hot springs, while enjoying the great natural beauty of the area with views towards the snow-capped Antisana Volcano.

Days 4-5 Banos (2B)

Take one last dip in the hot springs before continuing along the 'Avenue of Volcanoes' to Baños where there are numerous optional activities such as hiking, horseback riding, hot springs and mountain biking.

Baños is one of the most popular and important tourist spots in the country and you will find many Ecuadorian families vacationing here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Surprisingly, it is pleasant and unspoiled. Baños means 'baths' and that is precisely what the town is famous for. Some are thermal springs from the base of Tungurahua Volcano, which means 'little hell' in Quichua. Other baths have melt water running into them from Tungurahua's glaciated flanks. Locals swear that the baths are good for your health; it’s definitely worth rising early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains from a hot spring vantage point. The town is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits, including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing and rafting in the surrounding mountains and on the River Patate.

Days 6-7 Amazon Lodge (2B,1L,2D)

Private transportation from Baños to Coca to travel into the rainforest by motorized canoe to the luxurious La Selva lodge. Explore the Amazon jungle with a local guide, activities can include jungle walks, canopy tower, wildlife viewing, canoeing and photography. In the evenings enjoy dinner and a drink by candlelight, listening to the sounds of the jungle, before retiring to stylish cabanas.

An amazing fluvial journey of approximately two and a half hours in a motorized canoe will be the beginning of a great experience in the tropical rainforest. A delicious boxed lunch will be provided.

At the end of the motorized canoe ride, you will be dropped off at La Selva's main dock. After using the facilities and putting mosquito repellent on, a short 15 minute jungle walk will lead you to a creek where a small canoe will be taken to enjoy an unforgettable 20 minutes paddle canoe ride across “Garzacocha” (the heron´s lagoon) in order to reach the lodge area.

Do not forget that the only thing you must take care of is your carry-on and camera equipment. Your other luggage will be transported by our lodge´s staff.

Approximately 15 minutes later, the resident manager will greet you with a delicious welcome cocktail. From there you will continue on to relax in the bar area with a fresh tropical fruit snack and a short briefing with general information about the lodge and activities, provided by one of our bilingual naturalist guides.

La Selva has been in successful operation for about sixteen years. One of the first Amazon rainforest lodges in Ecuador, the award winning La Selva was completely remodeled and reopened in July of 2012, and has become the premier eco lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The cabanas are inspired by native bamboo design: authentic, airy and comfortable with unexpected amenities including private bathrooms, hot showers, electricity, ceiling fans, and are immaculately cleaned daily.

The cozy private bungalows are made entirely of secondary growth rainforest materials and designed to blend with the surroundings. Each one has a private bathroom, a hammock and mosquito netting for each bed (although you will be surprised at what little need you will have for this item due to the lack of insects).

There are 12 thatched cabanas of varying sleeping configurations and several public gathering spots, including the spacious dining room with a rooftop lookout point, an open-air combined bar and a lounge with a wrap-around view of the lake.

In an effort to conserve the authentic Amazon experience and for ecological reasons, please note that there is no air conditioning in the rooms at La Selva. However, for your convenience and comfort there are fans for use 24 hours a day, and after a short period you will be surprised at how quickly your body will adapt to the change of climate. The open design of the rooms allows you to listen and enjoy the sounds of the jungle, while maintaining an genuine jungle experience in maximum comfort.

See the canopy of the rainforest from a tower, 43m in height (141 ft), and choose from dozens of walks of varying lengths and difficulty; several routes can only be accessed by canoe. Choose from a variety of activities: wake up early for some bird watching or stay up late and go out on a boat to view caimans by flashlight. Learn about the environment and wildlife from your naturalist guide, who accompanies you to ensure you get the most out of your excursions. The opportunities for birding, botany, hiking, herpetology, canoeing, photography, entomology, fishing, relaxing and swimming at La Selva Lodge are boundless. You decide which paths to explore and which adventure to experience, according to your own ability and interests.

In the 16th Century, Spanish conqueror Francisco de Orellana ventured from Quito into the eastern jungle, in search of El Dorado, a mythical stash of Inca gold hidden away in the jungle. While he didn't find gold, he did discover Ecuador's Rio Napo which, along with Peru’s Marañón, combines to create the mighty Amazon. He followed the Napo into the Amazon mainstream and travelled all the way through the dense jungle to the Atlantic Ocean on Brazil’s coast.

Consider the variety of mammals living in Ecuador's Amazon: armadillos, honey bears, sloth, 60 varieties of bats, tapirs, peccaries, jaguar, monkeys, manatees and much more. Birds are the richest group of Amazon vertebrates, at approximately 1000 species. Visitors will see hummingbirds, toucans, macaws and tanagers on land, and darters, herons and gulls on water. If fortunate, you may catch a glimpse of the prehistoric looking Hoatzin, with its brightly coloured feathers and sharp talons.

Over 500 species of trees per acre have been recorded in the jungles of the upper Amazon. If this doesn’t seem particularly astonishing, consider that this is ten times greater than either Europe or North America, and you will begin to appreciate the significance of the conservation of this area and others like it.

The rainforest is also the traditional home of many indigenous communities, whose traditional homelands and way of life are threatened by the encroachment of 21st Century industries like mining, petroleum exploitation and large-scale cash-crop farming.

Day 8 Quito (1B)

Travel by boat back to Coca and catch our flight Quito. Enjoy some shopping before returning to Quito for our final evening.

Day 9 Quito (1B)

Depart at any time.

What's Included

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.

Highlights

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

Dossier Disclaimer

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.

Itinerary Disclaimer

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.

Important Notes

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.

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.

Meals Included

8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners.

Meals

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.

Meal Budget

Allow USD200-275 for meals not included.

Transport

Private van, boat, flight, walking.

Local Flights

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.

Solo Travellers

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.

Accommodation

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

About Accommodation

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.

Joining Hotel

Hotel Hilton Colon
Avenida Amazonas N19-14 y Avenida Patria
Quito, Ecuador
Tel: (593-2) 2560-666

Joining Instructions

An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or when you arrive up to three days prior to the tour, provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through G Adventures in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned other then the welcome meeting which takes place in the late afternoon/early evening. You may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.

A representative will be waiting at the airport to meet you holding a G Adventures sign with your name, directly in front of the arrivals section. There are often many people holding signs so we recommend to take some time to locate the rep with a G Adventures logo and sign with your name. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, you can go directly to the H.A.T.S. counter (Hotel and Airline Transportation Services) which is situated directly in front of the international arrival area, next to the taxi stand, and they will be able to assist you. In addition you may call our local support line at 0999 506 000. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi and report the issue to a G Adventures representative at the welcome meeting.

A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time and your transfer times back to the airport the next day. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Arrival Complications

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610
From within Ecuador: 022 506 610

After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000
From within Ecuador: 0999 506 000

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. We recommend the use of a medium sized soft suitcase, duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry. A good size daypack is also essential.

Checklist

Documents:
-Passport (with photocopies)
-Travel insurance (with photocopies)
-Airline tickets (with photocopies)
-Cash
-Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
-G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
-Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Suggested Items:
-Camera and extra memory card/film
-Extra batteries (recommended)
-Electricity Plug Adapter
-Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
-Binoculars
-Cover for backpacks
-Concealable money belt
-Fleece top
-Windproof/waterproof jacket (a must for the Amazon)
-Small towel and swim wear
-6 shirts/t-shirts
-Sun hat
-1 pair of shorts
-2 pairs of long trousers
-1 pair hiking pants/track pants (quick-dry recommended)
-hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
-Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes, and 3 pairs of socks
- Knee-length socks (to be used with rubber boots at the jungle lodge)
-Sport sandals
-Sunblock
-Sunglasses
-Toiletries
-Watch or alarm clock
-Water bottle
-Insect Repellent
-Pocketknife
-First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Optional Items: reading/writing material, Maps, guidebooks

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.

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.

Observation Tower:
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.

Bird Watching
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.

Tree Tower
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.

Expeditions
Please find below a partial list of activities. Trained Naturalist guides and Native assistants will accompany you during all your adventure.

El Salado
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!

Mandicocha Trail
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.

Pilche Trail
Cross Garzacocha Lake then one hour or more of walking. See an enormous colony of leafcutter ants and whatever wildlife may come your way.

Night Excursions
Canoe or walking trips after dark to view nocturnal animals such as caiman, monkeys, insects and owls.

Pedro's Trail
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.

Chawamango's Trail
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.

Little Chawamango
Short trip by foot around the edge of Lake Garzacocha. Return by canoe to the lodge.

Ruth's Trail
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.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available some may not accept all international credit or debit cards. You may need to try at more than one machine if the first does not accept your card. You should also check with your bank before leaving to ensure that your card works internationally. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. Please bring USD banknotes in denominations smaller than 100, as they can be hard to exchange in Ecuador. 100 dollar bills of certain series (e.g. CB B2) can be especially hard to cash! CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than $100 USD (or equivalent). As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

USD $40.80

Tipping

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your Discovery Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

Quito:
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 USD p/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


Otavalo Market
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


Cotopaxi Volcano
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 $35 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.)

Important Note:
- 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

Health

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 CEO has 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 CEO will 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:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

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!

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that you'll receive a special discount code for free online prints and we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.