Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 19th, 2015 Last Updated:
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Introduction

From the heights of the Andes to the heat of the Amazon Rainforest, experience an incredible land of contrasts on this 16-day journey through Ecuador. Explore the jungle by canoe and stay with a local Quichua family for an extraordinary cultural experience you'll never forget. Scour the market at Otavalo for special treasures and cure what ails you in a mountain hot spring. With its unique variety of accommodation and insight into rural life in the jungle, this is more than just a tour—it's a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

  • Wander Quito and colonial cities
  • Soak in Andean hot springs
  • Feel like a local at a Quichua homestay
  • Search for wildlife in the Amazon and adventure in Baños
  • Shop at the Otavalo Market
  • Visit Ingapirca ruins
  • Travel back in time with an historic hacienda stay.
Duration: 16 days
Start/Finish City: Quito to Quito
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?
Travel Style: Classic
The trips we've built 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 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 Inland & Amazon (EIA)

Day 1 Quito

Arrive in Quito at any time. There are no planned activities, so check into our hotel and enjoy the city.

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.

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 (1B)

Take a public bus through the heights of the Andes en route to the Amazon. Stop for the night in Papallacta, and relax in the natural mineral hot pools.

The village of Papallacta sits 60km (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

Days 3-4 Amazon Homestay (1B,1L,2D)

This morning we descend into the Amazon jungle region. Notice the scenery change dramatically as we leave the mountains and enter the lush, tropical Amazon rainforest. Stay with a Quichua family and enjoy the hospitality of these wonderful people, and experience life in the jungle first-hand.

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

Days 5-6 Jungle Lodge (2B, 2L, 2D)

Today travel to a jungle lodge located on the Napo River, one of the Amazon’s two major tributaries. We explore by foot and canoe to learn about the natural history of this area. There is also an option for an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip on the Napo! Please note that wildlife viewing in this part of the jungle is limited for a number of reasons, and that this is more a cultural learning experience.

Days 7-8 Baños (1B)

Return to the mountains on our journey to Baños, a small town nestled in the hills. Take advantage of the many outdoor options, or simply relax in the thermal waters.

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.

Days 9-10 Cuenca

Today we head south by private transfer along the “Avenue of Volcanoes", through Ecuador's central valley of mountains to the colonial town of Cuenca. This is a full day trip with spectacular views along the way, stopping at the Inca ruins of Ingapirca for an optional visit, they are the largest and best preserved archaeological site in Ecuador. Explore the town and hike in Cajas National Park.

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 Cusco. 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.

Approximate Distance: 321km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours

Days 11-12 Cayambe

A short flight takes the group back to Quito, where we will take a private transfer to the village of Cayambe, where we stay in a 400-year-old hacienda nestled at the base of Cayambe Volcano. G Adventures discovered this hacienda years ago and it has become special part of all our trips in the area. If you are feeling energetic, you can travel to the base of the volcano's glacier and hike back down. Rent horses and head off into the hills, or explore the beautiful property surrounding the hacienda, including an indoor swimming pool.

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.

Days 13-14 Otavalo

Next we visit the beautiful area of Otavalo and its world famous handicrafts market. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits and vegetables. On Day 14, return to 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 15 Quito (1B)

Enjoy a free day to explore Quito, option to visit Basilica or explore the old town. Enjoy your last evening in this energetic city.

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.

Day 16 Quito (1B)

Depart at any time.

What's Included

Papallacta Hot Springs stay. Amazon Jungle homestay (2 nts). Amazon Jungle lodge stay with guided walks and wildlife-spotting (2 nts). Baños stay. Ingapirca ruins stop. Historic hacienda overnight stay. Otavalo visit. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Wander Quito and colonial cities, soak in Andean hot springs, feel like a local at a Quichua homestay, search for wildlife in the Amazon and adventure in Baños, shop at the Otavalo Market, visit Ingapirca ruins, travel back in time with an historic hacienda stay.

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

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 12

Meals Included

7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners.

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. G Adventures understands the importance of breakfast to start your day, we strive to include a basic breakfast wherever possible. A typical breakfast may include toast, coffee and tea, however this may vary depending on the city. Should breakfast not be included, your CEO can suggest some local options.

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 USD240-315 for meals not included.

Transport

Public bus, plane, taxis, motorized canoe, private van, 4x4 vehicles, pickup truck.

Local Flights

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.

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

Hotels (9 nts), jungle lodge (2 nts), simple village cabañas (2 nts, multi-share), historic mountain hacienda (2 nts).

My Own Room Exceptions

Nights 3-4: Amazon homestay.

Joining Hotel

Hotel Quito
Av. Gonzalez Suarez N 27 142
Quito Ecuador
Tel: (593 2) 2 544600

Joining Instructions

The Quito International Airport is approximately one hour outside of the city centre where your joining hotel is located. There are a number of routes the driver may take depending on time of day and traffic, however, the route often seems long and indirect. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by organizing a taxi at the desk within the airport (approximately $30 USD). Private transfers generally cost more as the cars will need to drive from Quito, to the airport, and return. 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.

There is also a shuttle available with the bus company Aeroservicios. Aeroservicios charges 8 USD to board a bus which will take you from the new airport to the old airport. The buses are new, comfortable, and often include wifi. From the old airport, a taxi to get to your hotel would generally cost $5 USD depending on the distance and location.

If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, 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.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.

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.

Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour if desired.

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.
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.

Checklist

- 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
- Binoculars
- 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
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Flashlight
- 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

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.

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 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

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 G 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 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

Quito 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

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

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

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
** Please note. this 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


Tena:
Between the home stay and Shangrila lodge there is Rafting

Banos:
Horseback Riding $5/hour
Rafting $35
Canyoning $35
ATV's $45
Motorcycles $45
Hot Springs visit $2
Zoo visit $2
Water Falls visit $ 20
Bungee Jumping $20

Cuenca:
Horseback Riding $25 (3 hours)
City Tour $25
Ingapirca Ruins $6
Gualaceo and Chordeleg tour $30
Cloud Forest tour $40

Guachala:
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)

Otavalo:
Peguche Waterfall $10
Cotacachi $10 (just transportation)
Cuicocha $10 (just transportation)
Bike $8/hour
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.

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. 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 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. 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)

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 CEO.

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 CEOs met a local Ecuadorian jungle guide by the name of Delfin Pauchi. Delfin invited this CEO 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 CEOs 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 info@planeterra.org

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that 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.