Choose an action-packed Ecuador adventure tour.

Perfect for families and active travellers, we’ll have you trekking, biking, horse riding and climbing a volcano.

See the best of Ecuador, one of the most geographically varied countries in the world.

More on Ecuador Adventure holiday

Receive a warm Quito welcome and viit the inspiring colonial architecture of this historic city.

Later, experience the vibrant culture of rural, Hispanic villages as we move around this compact Andean country.

You will be constantly surrounded by green mountains patch-worked with corn fields and stark majestic snow-capped volcanoes that reach out to the crystal sky.

Hike in subtropical cloud forest, horse back ride through the stunning highlands and zip-line through the forest canopy.

Then mountain bike in Antisana National Park on the slopes of one of Ecuador’s highest volcanoes and raft the mighty Toachi or Blanco rivers.

Enjoy its many treks and trails many of which are quiet and well off the tourist routes.



Trip Highlights

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  • Raft, bike and hike this wonderful Andean country.

  • Expert guides show you the best of Ecuador.

  • Fully flexible itinerary can be tailored to your needs.

  • Visit volcanoes, lakes, cloud forest and haciendas.

Your organisation was faultless. We were most impressed. It wasn't just that it all went so smoothly but that your arrangements were so well judged.

We were the envy of other travellers.

We value your commitment to responsible tourism and support for local communities. This was a factor in choosing Andean Trails.

We had a busy schedule, covered many miles but experienced so many unforgettable places, people, landscapes and wildlife.

T & A Morgan, Ecuador tailor made

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Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Quito. Transfer to hotel. Free day

You will be met on arrival at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The day is yours to explore Quito and to adapt to the altitude (2,800m/9,186ft).

Make sure you visit the beautiful Old Town with its many squares and churches – head to Independence Square, where the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral and El Sagrario Church are located. Later on maybe visit the Church of La Compañía (1605), with its amazing gilt altars (considered the finest example of baroque art in America), or see the Monastery of San Francisco (1535) – the oldest Ecuadorian church and the main altar inside is a spectacular example of baroque carving.

For a spectacular view of Quito take a taxi ride to the highest viewpoint of the city, “El Panecillo” where you can see the only winged virgin in South America.

Day 2: Rafting on River Toachi. Overnight at El Monte Lodge (B,L,D)

Depart Quito at 07.00 for a 3-hour journey north west of Quito, down the outer slopes of the Andes through beautiful cloud forest to the shores of the river.

The Río Toachi is a fantastic introduction to the rivers of Ecuador. Flowing off the coastal side of the Andes it has some of the longest navigable sections of white-water 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.

Before setting off on our rafting experience you will be fitted with life jackets and helmets, given a comprehensive safety briefing and be trained in the paddling techniques needed to navigate your way down the river.

The rafting activity takes around 3 hours. During the trip we’ll stop by the side of the river for a delicious picnic lunch.

At the end of the day you will be driven to Mindo Lodge, our accommodation for the evening.

Day 3: Zip-Lining canopy and hike in cloud forest, Quito hotel (B,L)

This morning enjoy an early hike through El Monte’s cloud forest reserve with a local guide. The area of Mindo in Ecuador is famous for its diverse birdlife.

Then take part in the exhilarating canopy activity at the near-by zip lining centre, where there are 10 different zip lines ranging from 20 to 400 metres in length, taking you on a thrilling ride over the canopy of the beautiful cloud forest.

After lunch back at El Monte Lodge you will be picked up by your driver for your return journey to Quito. En route you will have the opportunity to visit the Mitad del Mundo where the equator line crosses Ecuador. A great photo opportunity.

Overnight in Quito hotel.

Day 4: Downhill Mountain Biking in Antisana National Park, Quito hotel (B,L)

This morning you depart Quito at 07.00 and head towards the Antisana Ecological Reserve.

The stunning snow-capped Antisana Volcano is Ecuador’s fourth highest and is one of the best places in Ecuador for spotting the endangered Andean Condor.

The mountain biking activity begins at La Mica Lake (4,000m/13,123ft) located within the ecological reserve.

Our route of around 30km brings us through the beautiful Andean paramos of this region. The first 7km of the ride are mainly flat before a 2km climb up to the mountain pass. From here we can enjoy a fantastic downhill ride through the changing Andean landscapes before arriving at the entrance to the park, where the ride ends.

Box lunch is served en-route and there is a back up vehicle with the group at all times.

In the afternoon return to Quito and our hotel.

Day 5: Pasachoa hike, hacienda (B,L,D)

This morning you will be picked up at 08.00 from your hotel and head south for one hour to the beginning of the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

Our hike takes us on a trail which ascends through the Pasochoa Volcano Wildlife Reserve, walking through Andean forests, up to the ridge of the old caldera. We discover the fascinating flora and fauna of this reserve and picnic with incredible 360 degree views of the Pasochoa, Atacaso & Corazon volcanoes.

In the afternoon we continue our journey south onto the Quilotoa region.

Overnight in Hacienda La Cienega with dinner and breakfast included.

Day 6: Walking around Quilotoa crater lake, Quito hotel (B,L)

This morning we drive to Quilotoa Crater lake from where we begin today’s walk.

We follow the rim of this stunning lagoon with its incredible blue-green waters, one of Ecuador’s most beautiful and impressive spots.

In the afternoon we return to Quito and our hotel.

Day 7: Transfer out, ends (B)

Transfer to the airport for your departing flight, trip ends.

OR continue onward travel.


Prices From $1,602 / £1,358 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

All transfers (most with Spanish speaking driver only), all accommodation/activities as described (mix of shared and private), all meals as described, English-speaking guides for all activities and excursions.

What's Not Included?

International flights (we can look for these for you), insurance, meals not listed, tips, personal items, alcoholic or soft drinksInternational flights (we can look for these for you), insurance, meals not listed, tips, personal items, alcoholic or soft drinks


Accommodation

We use 2-3* hotels in towns/rural areas and cloud forest lodges with private bathrooms.

Upgrades available at extra cost – please ask.

Tour Staff

You will meet English-speaking, local guides with specialist knowledge / skills as you move around from activity to activity.

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


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

Evenings are often free for you to choose to eat in a local restaurant or at the accommodation, depending on where we are.

Bigger towns have international and local Ecuadorian options.

Activity Level

This trip is open to people of good mobility and health.

We build in acclimatisation and any walks aim to be 2-3 hours maximum. You can sit any out that you wish.

It’s aimed at people who wish to be active and active families. We can tailor activities for younger and/or older children.

We grade this as an ‘easy but active’ trip because there is high altitude, walking in open countryside, plus active tours like rafting and biking, all on consecutive days to be aware of.

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.

Weather in Ecuador

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

 

The Sierra 

In the Ecuadorian highlands, there is little temperature variation by season as temperature 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 basins between mountains, it gets significantly warmer.

Rainfall depends on whether an area lies closer to the eastern or western Andes. To the west, June-Sept is the dry period and Oct-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-Sept and Dec/Jan. This is also Ecuador’s high season. During the Oct-May wet season, most rainfall is in the afternoons.

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

 

The Coast

On the Pacific coast, rainfall becomes less from north to south. The coast can be enjoyed year-round, although from June-Sept mornings are often grey with the garua mists.

Jan-May is the hottest and rainiest time of year.

 

The Amazon

In Ecuador’s Amazonian region, rain can fall at any time, but Dec-March is usually the driest season and Mar-Sept is usually the wettest period.

 

The Galapagos Islands

Galapagos can be visited at any time of year.

The warm season is Jan-Jun, bringing calm, warm waters (around 70°F) and sunny days (72-9°F or 22-32°C), February and March being the hottest and sunniest months with blue skies and sunshine.

The islands receive slightly more rainfall during these months, occasional heavy bursts in the afternoon. Great for snorkelling and you can spend a lot of time in the water without wetsuits, with great, clear waters.

The dry ‘garua’ season is Jun-Dec an it’s a great time for marine life. August and September are the coolest when you may need a jacket in the evenings and the sea can be choppy and temperature drops around 15-24ºC on average.

There can be mist on the islands in the mornings (garua) which usually burns off by midday leaving overcast skies or a sunny afternoon.

Sea temperatures may drop to 60°F- 72°F (15-22°C) during this time and snorkellers will want a wet suit for prolonged periods in the sea.

 

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.


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.

Ecuador’s Cloud Forest

Ecuador’s cloud forest covers its rolling hillsides as they descend from the high Andean plateaus into the rain forest or down to the Pacific coast.

Most of this tropical forest lies between 1,200-2,700m/3,937-8,858ft above sea level, an evergreen, lush and moist forest, teeming with bird  and insect life.

Much of the cloud forest is readily accessible from Quito making it perfect a 2 or 3-day stay.

There are many lodges with virgin forest, home to a dazzling variety of hummingbirds, refreshing waterfalls for swimming, zip lining and wildlife walks.

The humming birds, Cock of the Rock and the chance of spotting larger mammals such as the spectacled bears are just some of the attractions of spending some time in this amazing ecosystem.

Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Cotopaxi National Park is dominated by the almost perfect cone shape of Cotopaxi (5,897m/19,347ft), an active volcano and the second highest mountain in Ecuador after Chimborazo.

The national park is well worth a visit for trekking in the foothills, climbing smaller peaks like Ruminahui, downhill mountain biking, horse riding or just enjoying the National Park itself.

The surrounding páramo is good for bird watching – you may see condors soaring above.

There are lots of lovely hacienda and mountain refugios to stay at in and around the park, and from which there are a variety of walks, horse rides and bike rides for all levels.

 

Ingapirca Ecuador

Ingapirca (meaning wall of the Inca) is just an hour from Cuenca and is the most important Inca archaeological site in Ecuador.

The site is in good condition and consists of a main elliptical building thought to be a sun temple, with typical Inca features such as trapezoidal doorways and niches.

There are Inca trails leading to and from the site, so you can visit on a day trip or incorporate a visit as part of a trekking itinerary.

You can travel here from Cuenca, or make it part of a trip from Baños to Cuenca.

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.

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