Travel to Ecuador’s Southern Andes on our family 4-day adventure holiday, visiting Baños and Cotopaxi National Park.

On our Southern loop you travel along the magnificent Avenue of the Volcanos and soak up the atmosphere of the bustling town of Baños, with its hot springs and idyllic surroundings.

Explore waterfalls and volcanoes, get on your bikes or raft some gentle river rapids and treat yourselves to the famous home-made sweets of Baños.

Our Ecuador family adventure holidays allow you to experience and enjoy the way of life in this diverse Andean country.

Round your trip off by a stay at a rural Hacienda and visit the impressive Cotopaxi National Park.

 

More on Ecuador family travel

This trip is packed with activity to keep your kids busy while exploring Ecuador’s fantastic Andean scenery.

However, not all activities may be suitable for all, which is why we are happy to tailor this tour and amend the itinerary to suit your wishes and the age of your children.

If you have more time to spare you can add days. A good example add on would be Mindo for cloud forest walk, rafting, waterfall walks, fabulous birding and chocolate making. Another option is to include a few days in the Amazon where the wildlife is amazing. You will see monkeys, toucans, kingfisher, giant otters, and masses of other bright birds.

Bespoke custom tours of Ecuador are our speciality so please ask for our suggestions for a family holiday to suit you.



Trip Highlights

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  • Fully flexible family itinerary for the south of Ecuador.

  • Explore the Avenue of the Volcanoes, hiking, rafting and zip-lining.

  • Try the delicious sweets of Baños.

  • Visit the famous Cotopaxi National Park, home to Ecuador's most iconic volcano.

The itself trip was so well organised, the accommodation and the food was excellent. The knowledge, experience and kindness of the guides was exceptional.

S. McGregor, Ecuador

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Full Itinerary

Day 1: Pick up in Quito, Cotopaxi National Park, hacienda

We depart Quito and head south along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to the stunning Cotopaxi National Park, which lies in the shadow of the conical Cotopaxi volcano.

We hike around the Limpiopungo lake (approx. 45 min) and enjoy the views. There is a good chance of seeing the endangered Andean Condor in this beautifully bleak landscape, as well as interesting geological features created by the volcano’s past eruptions. Picnic lunch included.

Afterwards we continue to Hacienda Porvenir, an old working farm with horses, llamas and sheep, set in a stunning location.

The afternoon is at your leisure – take a walk, go horseback riding (extra cost), feed the llamas, rent a bike (extra cost), or make use of the comfortable common areas and games room. The hacienda also offers a high-ropes course and spa area (extra costs apply).

At night, make sure you visit the viewpoint for some star-gazing in the Andes, before retreating to the fireplace.

Overnight at Hacienda Porvenir or similar.

Day 2: Baños & the Route of the Waterfalls, hotel (B)

This morning we continue our drive south, along the majestic Avenue of the Volcanoes. Snow-capped mountains and patchwork fields line the road and make for a scenic drive.

We arrive in the bustling town of Baños in time for lunch (not included).

In the afternoon we explore the Route of the Waterfalls near Baños, visiting the biggest of them all, the mighty Pailon del Diablo or Devil’s Bowl.

As we return to Baños you may choose to visit the hot springs which gave the town its name (extra cost).

Overnight at Hostal Floresta or similar.

Day 3: Half day biking or rafting, afternoon at leisure, hotel (B,L)

Today you can choose your morning activity – exploring Baños surroundings by bike on an easy off-road track (17km / 10 miles) offering fantastic views, or rafting the exhilarating Rio Pastazo nearby (grades III – IV, 90 mins).

Alternatively, if this is too much action for your child, we can offer you other options, of course.

After the action, an afternoon at your leisure in Baños. Make sure you try some of the local sweets that can often be seen hanging in the doorways and at market stalls.

Overnight at Hostal Floresta or similar.

Day 4: Zip-lining adventure, return to Quito, drop off at your hotel (B)

Before returning to Quito we take to higher grounds – exploring the canopy as we zip-line amongst the tree tops. Safety standards are very high and we are securely strapped in as we enjoy the views from this new perspective!

We return to Quito and drop you off at your hotel. Or you can choose to add one or more nights at Hacienda Porvenir to explore the area and make full use of the many activities on offer.


Prices From $855 / £684 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

Private transport, English speaking guide, accommodation in double or triple standard rooms (ensuite rooms at hotel in Banos, shared bathroom at hacienda), mentioned meals (B=b’fast, L=lunch, D=dinner), mentioned excursions including all necessary safety equipment.

What's Not Included?

International flights, hotel in Quito (can be added), extra excursions at Hacienda Porvenir, drinks, personal expenses, insurance, personal items, tips


Accommodation

The trip starts in Quito but does not include accommodation there. We can book any Quito hotel for you, many with child-friendly rooming arrangements such as family or inter-connecting rooms.

In Baños we use a small, friendly hotel near the mountains, with private bathrooms (upgrades available at extra cost).

We can also book extra nights in a Hacienda in Cotopaxi, if you wish to spend longer exploring.

Tour Staff

You’ll be shown around by bilingual Ecuadorian guides with many years’ experience.

Our local drivers and support staff have worked with us for many years.

Staff employed at the lodges are generally from the local communities.

 

 


Meals

Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please ask us for more information.

Breakfasts at hotels will feature teas, coffees and juices to drink, plus cereals, fruit, eggs, toast and jams etc.

While out on tours and where lunch is provided, we either supply a packed lunch of sandwiches, snacks, soup, fruit etc, or we eat at a local restaurant/hacienda. These are often buffet style with soups, rice, pasta, potatoes and then puddings/fruit.

Our accommodation will provide evening meals. In general, it’s a soup for starters followed by an Ecuador inspired main dish – some international meals may be available at certain lodges.

Activity Level

Your trip is a private trip, making it a very flexible trip for you and your family.

The itinerary can be adapted to suit your preferences and needs and our guides are flexible and used to guiding families with children, so they know that sometimes plans for the day might change depending on the little ones.

Baños has no real altitude issues at 1,820m/5,971ft. Cotopaxi is higher at 3,600m/11,811ft.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Ecuador

Ecuador is the second smallest South American country, and one of the most varied.

It comprises three main geographical areas: the coast, highlands and Amazon plus is home to the Galapagos Islands.

Because of its relatively compact size, it makes a great holiday destination as you can move from highlight to highlight fairly easily and rapidly.

Geography of Ecuador

Landscapes vary from the drier south to the more humid north.

The Highlands, or sierra, encompass two Andean Cordilleras (the Central and Western), which run north to south through the country. Ecuador’s largest volcano is Chimborazo (6,310m) whose summit, because of its proximity to the equator, is the closest point on earth to the sun. Several of Ecuador’s volcanoes are still active, and it’s a great area for trekking.

Descending the steep, east-facing slopes of the eastern Cordillera, one passes through a transition zone comprising dense cloud forest and humid high jungle, before entering the Amazon lowlands.

This mainly primary rainforest covers a third of the country, accounts for 5% of the population and stretches across Ecuador, from its Colombian to its Peruvian borders.

The Galapagos Islands are simply unique. Lying 600 miles off the mainland, the archipelago comprises the summits of gigantic equatorial volcanoes.

The flora and fauna of the Galapagos, long separated from their continental cousins, have evolved differently. Charles Darwin used his observations there to develop his theory of Evolution.

Quick facts about Ecuador

 

Official name: Republic of Ecuador

Country population: 15,000,000

Capital city: Quito (2.51 million)

Largest cities: Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Machala

Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua

Latitude/Longitude: 2º S, 77º 30 W

Official currency: US dollar

Major industries: bananas, shrimp, oil, gold, roses

Time zone: GMT-5 (Galapagos GMT-6)

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.

We provide all technical equipment on activities.

During the day hopefully it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and T-shirts though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It can and will get cold in the highland areas, especially in the evenings so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for Quito.

In the cloud and rainforest we recommend you wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid the strong tropical sun and persistent sand flies.

Extras: Biking gloves, water Bottle / camel-bak, bike shorts, biking T-shirts (long-sleeved), biking trousers, raincoat / rain trousers / poncho, smart clothes for nightlife, Comfortable clothes for journeys, After trip shoes (Sandals), After trip trousers & t-shirt, Small Towel, Sunglasses with attaching string, Peaked cap, Torch & Spare Batteries, Socks / underwear, Swim suit, Lip balm, Suntan lotion Factor 25+, After sun, Personal toilet kit, Camera and spare film/memory cards, Book, Notepaper & Pen, Insect Repellent, Money belt, Spare Glasses / Lenses, Warm fleece or down jacket, Thermal underwear, Warm hat, gloves, scarf.

Personal first aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-septic cream, after-bite, anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.  (We carry a first aid kit but these are generally for emergencies only)

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.


ATOL protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Ecuador Adventure Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.

We provide all technical equipment on activities.

During the day hopefully it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and T-shirts though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It can and will get cold in the highland areas, especially in the evenings so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for Quito.

In the cloud and rainforest we recommend you wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid the strong tropical sun and persistent sand flies.

Extras: Biking gloves, water Bottle / camel-bak, bike shorts, biking T-shirts (long-sleeved), biking trousers, raincoat / rain trousers / poncho, smart clothes for nightlife, Comfortable clothes for journeys, After trip shoes (Sandals), After trip trousers & t-shirt, Small Towel, Sunglasses with attaching string, Peaked cap, Torch & Spare Batteries, Socks / underwear, Swim suit, Lip balm, Suntan lotion Factor 25+, After sun, Personal toilet kit, Camera and spare film/memory cards, Book, Notepaper & Pen, Insect Repellent, Money belt, Spare Glasses / Lenses, Warm fleece or down jacket, Thermal underwear, Warm hat, gloves, scarf.

Personal first aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-septic cream, after-bite, anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.  (We carry a first aid kit but these are generally for emergencies only)

Climate, Ecuador mainland

Ecuador lies between latitudes 4º south and 2º north. Overall, climate varies according to time of year, altitude and region.

In the Ecuadorian highlands, there is little temperature variation by season; this depends largely on altitude.

In Quito, shade temperatures range from 6 to 10ºC in the morning and from 19 to 23ºC in the afternoon, with cool nights. In the lower intermontane basins, it gets significantly warmer.

Rainfall depends on whether an area lies closer to the eastern or western Andes. To the west, June to Sept is the dry period and Oct to May the wet (with often a short, dry spell in Dec or Jan).

The best period to visit Quito and trek and climb volcanoes such as Cotopaxi is the west Andean dry season of June to Sept and Dec/Jan. This is also Ecuador’s high season. During the Oct to May wet season, most rainfall is in the afternoons.

To the east, Oct to Feb are dry and March to Sept are wet. Overall, the southern highlands are drier than the northern highlands.

Communication, Ecuador

Dialling codes

The international code for Ecuador is +593.

Regions have dialling codes, with a 0 prefix.

 

Landlines

Ecuador’s landlines have 7 digits, and to call landline-landline in the same city, simply dial the 7 digits.

If calling landline to another regional landline/city, start with a 0 then the regional code.

If using your own mobile phone to call a landline, dial the country code, the regional/city code without the 0, and then the number, e.g. for Quito (code: 02), dial +593 2 1234567.

 

Mobiles

Mobiles have 8 digits, and start with 09 to make a total of 10 digits;

If you are dialling Ecuador mobile to mobile, simply dial the full number, including the 09.

If using your own mobile phone to call an Ecuadorian mobile, dial the country code, then omit the 0 of 09, then the 8 remaining digits e.g. +593  9  1234-5678.

Almost all unlocked phones will work in Ecuador with a local SIM, however – check with your provider before arrival if your phone will work.

Roaming charges may be high – again, best to check.

 

Internet

Most hotels, cafes, restaurants and airports offer free and generally good Wi-Fi. There are some locoturios – internet cafes – offering cheap and good internet in most towns and cities.

 

Post

Head to the official postal service, Correos del Ecuador.

Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest

Some 40% of Ecuador’s and is covered by Amazon rainforest.

As well as being rich in wild life, Ecuador’s rain forest is still home to a multitude of indigenous tribes, some of which have opened their communities to ecotourism.

A 4 or 5-day visit to one of the quality lodges will allow you to venture into beautiful primary forest.

Native guides lead you on verdant forest trails where you will see monkeys, tortoises, frogs and an array of birds including toucans and macaws.

Large mammals like jaguar, tapir and giant anteater have been spotted, but are elusive.

Quito, Ecuador

Ecuador’s vibrant capital Quito sits in a stunning location, surrounded by snow capped volcanoes and many of the  high peaks of the Andean sierra.

There is plenty to do for visitors of all ages and interests. The old town of Quito is a UNESCO world heritage site, with many beautiful churches and colonial facades, a wonderful range of museums and picturesque squares.

For an over view of the city and along the Avenue of volcanoes to north and south and to help with acclimatising  try taking the Teleferico (cable car) up the eastern slope of Pichincha volcano.

At night Quito is a lively city. Head to the modern Mariscal area where tourists and locals alike find a great range of restaurants, bars and night clubs.

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos is an ideal year-round destination, with its volcanic landscapes and tame wildlife.

Whether you cruise or stay in a hotel, you are guaranteed to see giant tortoises, sea lions, iguanas and blue-footed boobies to name a few, plus amazing volcanic formations and stunning beaches.

No trip here is complete without diving or snorkelling – turtles, rays, schools of fish, and for the lucky, hammerhead and whale sharks.

Divers can enjoy some of the best underwater diving in the world on liveaboard cruises to remote and spectacular dive sites.

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