Introduction16 days | Quito to Quito
Trip Style: Classic
The trips we've build our reputation on.
Designed for maximum variety, these trips are geared towards travellers searching for a healthy mix of active exploration, uncommon landscapes, amazing wildlife and local cultures.
Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average about 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16.
Service Level: Standard
- Great value, reasonable prices, quality experiences
- Comfortable and varied tourist-class accommodations chosen for location and character
- Mix of public and private transport for the best overall experience
- All the top highlights included, plus plenty of time to explore on your own
Physical Grading: 3
Trips may include activities like hiking, biking, rafting or kayaking. No sweat, right?
Day 1 Quito
Located 2850m (9348 ft) above sea level, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate, despite the fact that it is only 22 km (14 miles) south of the Equator. Nestled in a valley flanked by mountains, on a clear day several snow-capped volcanoes are visible from the city centre. 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 2,000,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area, but the pace is relaxed and the residents hospitable.
Quito is separated into two basic sections, the old and the new cities. The old city is full of historical 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).
The small, rounded hill dominating the old town is El Panecillo or 'the Little Bread Loaf,' a major Quito landmark. From here there are marvellous panoramic views of the entire city and surrounding volcanoes. You 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 travellers 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 cooking.
Just a couple of hours south of Quito is Parque National Cotopaxi, home to Cotopaxi Volcano (5897 m/19342 ft). 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 a days 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 (overnight excursion). Allow yourself an extra day or two in Quito, before or after your trip, if you want to conquer Cotopaxi.
Day 2 Papallacta Hot Springs (B)
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.
Approximate Distance: 60km
Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours
Day 3-4 Amazon Homestay (2B, 2L, 2D)
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 20th century industries like mining, petroleum exploitation and large-scale cash-crop farming. Among the most representative are the Siona-Secoya, Cofan, Huaorani, Shuar, Ashuar and Quichua.
We spend four days of the Inland & Amazon itinerary in the Ecuadorian Amazon, near the Napo River. Our home for two of these days is with a Quichua family near the community of Cando, where we will learn their traditional beliefs and customs, their many practical uses for the jungle’s wealth of natural products. The family is friendly and over the years they have met countless visitors from around the globe. It is a great opportunity to make new friends, while experiencing a completely different way of doing things—one that may give you a different perspective on life.
Approximate Distance: 95km
Estimated Travel Time: 4 hours
Day 5-6 Jungle Lodge (2B, 2L, 2D)
Day 7-8 Baños
Baños means 'baths' and there are several in and around the town. Some thermal springs come from the base of Tungurahua Volcano (‘little hell' in Quichua), others have melt water running into them from the volcano’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, hiking, mountain biking, climbing and rafting in the surrounding mountains and on the River Patate. Baños is one of the most popular 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.
Day 9-11 Cuenca/Quito
Considered the most beautiful city in Ecuador, Cuenca has had an eventful history. Barely half a century before the arrival of the Spaniards, the powerful Inca Tupac Yupanqui was undertaking the difficult conquest of the local Cañari people, who struggled bravely to stem the expansion of the Inca Empire. After several years of bitter fighting, Tupac Yupanqui's forces prevailed.
The Inca began the construction of a major city whose splendour and importance was to rival that of the imperial capital of Cuzco. Stories of sun temples covered with gold sheets and palaces built using the finest skill of Cuzqueño stonemasons abound. What happened to Tomebamba, as the city was called, is however, a complete mystery. By the time the Spanish chronicler Cieza de Léon passed through in 1547, Tomebamba lay in ruins, although well-stocked storehouses indicated how great it had recently been.
The Tomebamba River divides Cuenca in half, and south of the river lie fairly recent suburbs and the modern university. To the north is the heart of the colonial city. Although Cuenca has expanded to become Ecuador's third largest city with 165,000 inhabitants, it still retains a pleasantly provincial air and the old centre has churches dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. The earliest building is the original Cathedral, construction of which began in 1557, the year Cuenca was founded by the Spanish conquerors.
Explore the city’s sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas and museums. The villagers in the surrounding areas are expert milliners, creating beautiful Panama hats (which should perhaps more accurately be called Ecuador hats). The ruins of Ingapirca lie approximately an hour and a half drive north of Cuenca, through some of Ecuador's most beautiful countryside. Although it is a major Inca site, not a lot is known about its history
Yet another nearby attraction is Area Nacional de Recreacion Cajas, a protected area of 28,000 ha, about 30 km (19 miles) northwest of the city of Cuenca. The terrain is quite stark, mostly above 4000m (13120 ft) in the páramo (grassy highlands), with many clear lakes and a great variety of bird life, beautiful scenery and good hiking possibilities.
Fly back to Quito for the night of Day 11
Approximate Distance: 321km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours
Day 12-13 Cayambe
The town of Cayambe is famous both for its dairy industry and the snow-capped, extinct volcano of the same name that dominates the town. Ecuador's third highest peak at 5790m/18991 ft, it is the highest point in the world through which the Equator directly passes — at about (4600m/15088 ft) on the south side.
Hacienda Guachalá, the estate where we stay has a long and dynamic history. Originally part of an Inca outpost, the farm became an encomienda given to a conquistador. In 1647, D. Francisco de Villacis bought the sheep farm and constructed a wool factory, exporting his product to Europe. A great grandson of Pope Alejandro VI (one of the Borjas), married Maria de Villacis in 1700, and the farm passed into the hands of the Borja Family until 1832, when it was sold once again. In 1892, the farm was bought by Josefina Bonifaz, who changed the wool factory to a dairy farm. Her son Neptali Bonifaz, who eventually became Ecuador's President, divided the inherited land between his sons.
Following land reform laws of the 1960s, part of the land was returned to indigenous families. Today only a small fraction of the original land, including the original house and factory buildings, remains in the hands of the Bonifaz family. Part of the family home was refurbished in the early 1990s and converted into a small hotel, the Hacienda Guachalá, where we enjoy the natural beauty of this highland area surrounded by the hacienda’s colourful history.
Day 14-15 Otavalo/Quito
Otavalo is justly famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday 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.
There are three main market plazas in town, with the overflow spilling out onto the streets linking them. The Plaza de Ponchos is where you will find most handicraft items. You will find colourful woollen 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! If you're good you should be able to get at least 20% off of 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 evident features 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.
Approximate Distance: 30km
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour
Day 16 Quito
2-day Amazon jungle homestay, 2-day excursion to Amazon jungle lodge, day trip to Otavalo market, historic hacienda stay.
Wandering Quito and colonial cities, soaking in Andean hot springs, feeling like a local at a Quichua homestay, searching for wildlife in the Amazon and adventure in Baños, shopping at the Otavalo market, staying in a gorgeous historic hacienda.
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. Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.
2.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, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. 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
Your Fellow Travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
6 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 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 group leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Allow USD240-315 for meals not included.
Public bus, plane, taxis, motorized canoe, 4x4 vehicles, pickup truck.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
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.
Hotels (9 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), simple village cabañas (2 nts, multi-share), historic mountain hacienda (2 nts).
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, with the following exceptions: Nights 3-4: Amazon homestay.
Av. Gonzalez Suarez N 27 142
Tel: (593 2) 2 544600
The Quito International Airport is approximately an hour outside of the city centre where your joining hotel is located.The easiest way to get there is via taxi (approximately $30-40 USD). Immediately after the customs and immigration area, as you head to the exits, you will find a taxi stand. We strongly recommend you pay for the car at set rates from the taxi stand and therefore won't need to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport facilities, where the situation tends to get more chaotic with many drivers vying for few clients. The taxis outside the airport area do not belong to the Taxi Airport Union and may charge higher fares.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities are planned.
Your Tour Leader will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your Tour Leader 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.
Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour if desired.
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 trip leader (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.
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.
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.
Remember that although near the Equator, the higher altitude on some parts of the trip make for cool evenings and you will need a warm sweater or pullover. It’s best to layer clothes rather than bring a heavy parka so that you can take layers off.
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD cash
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film,
- Reading/writing material
- Cover for backpacks
- Pocket knife
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants-Money belt
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Sun block
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- 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.)
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.
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.
For practical information on weather, typical costs, visa information, special events and much more, our Destination Travel Guide is the place to visit! This handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about everywhere we go! Head to http://www.gadventures.com/travel-guide for detailed information on the countries and cities we visit.
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.
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 100USD (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
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!
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 tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader 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.
We visit the new and old town of Quito, including the Palace of Congress, Presidential Palace, Independence Square and the Churches of San Francisco, La Compania and La Catedral. After this we go to the Panecillo (a lookout point in the old town), which affords the best view of Quito, then return to the hotel. This trip takes about 3.5 - 4 hours and can depart everyday at anytime.
- Entrance fees for the churches and Panecillo are not included in the price and is about $4USD p/p.
- Price: $24 USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.
CITY TOUR AND THE EQUATOR
After the city tour we go to The Equator line located 45 minutes away from Quito to visit the world monument and shops. Here we also visit the Inti Ñan local museum where you can see different experiments to prove that you are at the Centre of the Earth. This trip takes about 5 hours and can depart everyday at anytime.
Optional visit to The Pululahua crater 10 minutes away from the monument.
- Entrances fees for City Tour (Churches): total approx $4USD
- Equator line USD5 Museums Entrance fee: Total approx $9USD
- Price: $32 USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.
COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
A spectacular 2-hour drive in private transport takes us to Cotopaxi Volcano, 5897m, the highest active volcano in the world. 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.
The full-day trip has departures every morning at 8AM.
- Entrance fee to the National Park: $2USD p/p.
- Price: $55USD P/P, minimum 2 persons (private services)
SAQUISILI MARKET AND COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
Saquisili is another important market close to Quito, located in the south of Quito. A wonderful scenic drive of approximately 3 hours gives you the opportunity for great views of the volcanoes.
Here, the local natives bring their products from over the highlands to sell, such as handicrafts from Salasaca, Otavalo and Chimborazo. You will also find an animal market.
This is an intensive day and leaves at 6AM every Thursday.
- Entrance fee to the National Park: $2USD p/p.
- Price: $90USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.
Your biking adventure begins as we drive south to the Coattail National Park along the Pan-American Highway. Within two hours we reach the trailhead (4600 m) at the base of the Cotopaxi Volcano. After donning our biking gear and catching our breath in the thin, high-altitude air, we begin our downward descent. Get ready for high-speed adventure and hang on tight, as the dirt road will take you on a wild ride. The road will whisk you past silvery smooth Limpiopungo Lake and eventually through a pine forest, until you reach the park's guard station, where you can see a corralled Llama herd. Our 4-wheel-drive vehicles will drive you to Inca ruins (tolas), where a box lunch will be served. After a snack we return to Quito by jeep, bikes loaded on top.
Departures daily at 7AM. We ride approximately 50 kilometres on bike (5 - 6 hours) and 4 hours in the jeep.
Included: box lunch, 21-speed mountain bikes, all transportation and veteran bilingual guides.
- Entrance fee to the National Park: $2USD p/p.
- Price: $50USD P/P (pool services)
BELLAVISTA CLOUD FOREST
To see the cloud forest and to experience the changes in the temperature and vegetation, you have to go to Bellavista cloud forest.
Bellavista cloud forest reserve is located at 0,00,46 latitude in northwestern Ecuador, on the edge of Choco which is among the most diverse places in the word.Things to do:
a)Birds here are always active, from the joy of watching hummingbirds on your private balcony, to exploring in search of elusive forest species, 320 species of birds have been recorded in the Tandayapa valley.
b) Hikes through primary and secondary forest.
c) Naturalist guides and specialist birding guides available (extra cost)
This trip is a full day and starts at 7AM.
- Entrance fee to the reserve $15USD p/p
- Price: $50USD P/P, minimum 2 persons.
1 DAY RAFTING TOUR -2 rivers in 1 day.
The Ríos Toachi and Blanco are fantastic introduction to the rivers of Ecuador. Flowing off the coastal side of the Andes they have some of the longest navigable sections of whitewater in the country. Combine this with the sights and sounds of the forest environment we pass through and you are guaranteed a day to remember.
We travel west down from Quito for about 3 hours through beautiful cloud forest to the bank of the river.
Rafting time approx 3 to 3.5 hrs. (NB. From March to May we usually run the upper Blanco river – 43km, approx. 4 hrs).
River Grading: III - IV (Depending on the time of year).
Includes: Professional guides, top of the line rafting equipment, lunch, transport to and from Quito.
-Departures: Daily with a minimum of 4 people
-Price: $ 75 USD P/P.
Transport from Quito to the Green Horse Ranch, inside the National Reserve Pululahua, about 25 miles north from Quito. Quiet sure footed mountain horses will take us through the stunning landscape of this ancient volcanic crater, the biggest one on the whole American continent and one of only two inhabited craters in the world. With its constantly changing sceneries and bio-diversity it's a great day.
Guided day tours are available for all standards of riders - and if you've never ridden before what better place to start than in the Andes .
- Minimum 2 persons
- USD75 USD P/P
ARCHEOLOGICAL TRIP IN QUITO
Start with an amazing panoramic view of the old town of Quito and learn about the pre-colombian and pre-inca ethnic groups that live around the region. Enjoy the “Rumipamba” archeological and ecological park and visit the necropolis of “La Florida in situ Museum”. Finally, go down to the equatorial valley and visit the “Rumicucho” ruins, considered one of the biggest archeological sites of the area. This trip takes about 5 hours and can depart from Wednesday to Sunday. Entrance fees are not included and total approx $2.50 P/P. Price $32 USD P/P minimum 2 persons (private services)
QUITO CUISINE TRIP
A different way to learn about Quito's traditions and culture. Drive to a local food market, where your will see many varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers grown in Ecuador. After this, head south to the old part of the city, where you can visit historical monuments and buildings, and also see the manufacturing site of Quito`s traditional sweets. The tour finishes at one of the most traditional ice cream parlours in Quito. This trip takes about 5 hours and departs every day at anytime! Entrance fees and shopping in the market are not included and total approx $12 P/P. Price $32 USD P/P minimum 2 persons (private services)
Horse Riding $10/hour
Hiking at no cost
Between the home stay and Shangrila lodge there is Rafting
Horseback Riding $5/hour
Hot Springs visit $2
Zoo visit $2
Water Falls visit $ 20
Bungee Jumping $20
Horseback Riding $25 (3 hours)
City Tour $25
Ingapirca Ruins $30
Gualaceo and Chordeleg tour $30
Cloud Forest tour $40
Horseback riding $7/hour
Cayambe Volcano tour $20 (subject to change according the the # of pax)
Cochasqui Pyramids $20 (subject to change according the # of pax)
Peguche Waterfall $10
Cotacachi $10 (just transportation)
Cuicocha $10 (just transportation)
Indian Community visit $30
TELEFERICO ( CABLE CAR )
You can get from 2.800 m to 4.200 m in 10 minutes and view Quito at your feet.
Take a taxi from the hotel $3 to get there.
Entrance $8 foreigners. Locals $4
Option for a small hike inside the complex.(bring warm clothes)
Shops and restaurants available
Monday to Friday 9:am to 5:pm
Saturday and holidays 10:am to 5:00 pm
NOTE: These prices are based on 2 clients but if you are a single traveler we can accommodate your trips as well. If there are more than 2 clients booking, the prices may be less than those quoted above. Please note that many optional activities will need to be paid in cash.
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. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our group leader 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. 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:
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!
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.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
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 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.
Being a responsible tour operator is at the heart of what G Adventures is all about. From the start, G Adventures has been committed to offering low-impact tours that benefit traveler and host alike. While our sustainable tourism policies are constantly evolving, our commitment to socially conscious, grassroots style travel has never changed. We work with local communities, businesses and individuals to develop sustainable tourism opportunities that help local economies while minimizing negative environmental and cultural impacts.
We would like to give you a couple of tips to start you thinking about traveling sustainably.
-Please bring rechargeable batteries, a battery charger (and plug adapter if necessary). Batteries are incredibly toxic and many places that we travel do not have proper disposal facilities. Rechargeables are best but if this is not possible we recommend that you bring any used batteries back home with you for proper disposal.
-Please ask before taking pictures. Just as you would not like to have a stranger come up to you and take a picture of you while sitting on your front porch either do the locals of the places that we visit. As you can imagine pictures of their children are also not appreciated.
For more information about our commitment to responsible travel, please visit the Sustainable Tourism section of the G Adventures website: www.gadventures.com
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)
Associated Planeterra Project
On this tour you may have the opportunity to visit the following Planeterra projects:
SALESIANO STREET CHILDREN PROJECT
In the last five years the Salesiano Street Children Project has opened its doors to approximately 870 children each year who were either living in the streets or were at immediate risk of being abandoned to the streets by their families. In Ecuador, there are more than 1 million children and adolescents who are economically active, working in the informal sector for more than 40 hours a week. It is not easy to determine the exact number of children living in the streets, but the highest concentrations are in urban areas.
With various centers set up across the country, the Salesiano Street Children Project provides programs and shelter for children working on the streets of Ecuador. Children are provided with valuable programs including medical and family outreach programs, psychological support, schooling, cultural programs, technical workshops in mechanics, carpentry, auto repair, electricity and agricultural skills as well as sports on Sundays.
The Planeterra Foundation supports Salesiano’s reference center, located in La Marin near the main bus terminal which is in one of the poorest sectors of Quito. This center is run by Ivan Troya, an educator who has dedicated his life to helping children in need. Through this center, Ivan and other volunteers provide programs for 50+ children on a daily basis. Parents are able to take part in their family outreach program, while children are provided with a safe environment where they can enjoy a warm meal, receive educational and psychological support, participate in music and cultural workshops and have time to play foosball and other board games. Ivan understands that each child has a unique background and individual needs and he sees the reference center as one of the only places where these children can take a break from working on the streets and spend some time just being children.
It is possible to visit this project as an optional activity on most tours that pass through Quito. To arrange a visit please speak to your G Adventures tour leader.
How You Can Help
For those travellers who have the opportunity to visit La Marin Reference Center we encourage you to bring food items that can be purchased locally. Items needed include milk, bread, eggs, tuna, sugar, coffee, hot chocolate, rice, oil, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, jam etc. This will help provide children with a nutritious meal when visiting the center.
However, if you would like to make a lasting difference, your donation through the Planeterra Foundation will support the development of a performing arts program for the children of La Marin. The goal of this program is to teach children dance, music and performance skills that they can use to present at various festivals in and around Quito. The estimated cost of this program is $6000 USD annually to develop and maintain the music program which will benefit the 50+ children who attend the center. Funds donated will provide wages for a music instructor, the purchase of uniforms, an amplifier, sound equipment, guitars, microphones, etc.
CANDO COMMUNITY SCHOOL - Amazon
Over 10 years ago, one of our tour leaders met a local Ecuadorian jungle guide by the name of Delfin Pauchi. Delfin invited this tour leader and G Adventures group to his home in the Amazon where he and his family gave them the opportunity to experience their way of life, and the natural wonders of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Since this was such a positive experience for both Delfin's family and the travellers, we developed a working relationship and over the years many G Adventures groups have experienced life with Delfin, his wife Estela, and their six children. With suggestions and training from a Peace Corps Volunteer and continued visits and support from G Adventures groups, Delfin and Estela developed “Cabañas Pimpilala” and are now able to offer memorable homestays for our travellers.
When G Adventures first started visiting the Cando Community, there was no school for the children. They had to travel at least 45 minutes by car to get to school, and since there are not a lot of cars in the community many children had to walk several hours to get to school.
With the help of G Adventures and members of the community, a school was built in the Cando Community and Delfin's wife, Estela, became the very first teacher. Today, twenty children between the ages of 6 and 11 attend this school and Estela now receives payment from the Ecuadorian government for her teaching wages.
How You Can Help:
When G Adventures groups visit the school, our tour leaders often suggest bringing items such as rice, canned tuna, beans, oatmeal, fruit etc which are used to provide the children with mid-morning meals.
Also, each year we work with Delfin, Estela, and the local Parents Association to identify the needs of the school. In the past we have helped with donations of school supplies for the children, teaching materials for Estela, children’s clothes, kitchen utensils and have covered the cost of construction materials which will be used to build a kitchen and eating area for the children. With help from travellers' donations we continue to support this school with an annual donation through the Planeterra Foundation. G Adventures pays all administration costs so that 100% of each donation goes to the projects we support.
For more information about these projects and/or to make a donation please visit our website at www.planeterra.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Please visit http://www.gadventures.com/evaluations
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.
Keeping in Touch
If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend that you set up an email address that can be accessed on the road, rather than relying on postal mail. Email cafes are becoming increasingly commonplace and cheap throughout the regions we visit, and have quickly become the preferred way for our CEOs and travellers to stay in touch. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our Emergency Contact. We recommend that family and friends don't try to contact you through phoning hotels en route, as our hotels are subject to change, and our hotel receptions often don't have English speaking staff.
Why not knock the Galapagos Islands off your list while you're at it - see code EF10P.