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Landscape of mainland Ecuador

Ultimate Ecuador

Example 15 Day Tour
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Jump right into the action with a fast-paced mountain bike descent down Pinchincha Volcano, then settle into a lodge perched above the cloudforest canopy. Continue the adventure with a whitewater rafting trip before setting off to hike, horseback ride near the Cotopaxi Volcano. Then experience a kayak expedition into one of the most important and biodiverse ecosystems on earth. Here we'll camp for two nights, and enjoy the Shiripuno jungle lodge in indigenous Huaorani territory in the vast Amazon basin. The Huaorani lived as hunters and gathers, entirely without outside contact until the end of the 1950s. Your trip helps encourage and promote long-term conservation of the traditional Huaorani community and the protection of their surrounding jungle environment.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Quito
Day 2 : Volcano Biking
Day 3 : Bellavista Cloudforest
Day 4 : Whitewater Rafting near Santo Domingo de los Colorados
Day 5 : Horseback Riding
Day 6 : Ecological Reserve and Paramo Hiking
Day 7 : Cotopaxi National Park
Day 8 : Morning Adventure and Market Visit
Day 9 : Into the Jungle
Day 10 : Huaorani Community and Shiripuno Paddling
Day 11 : Kayaking and Hiking
Day 12 : Rainforest Hiking and Lake Exploration
Day 13 : Motorized Canoe to Coca. Overnight
Day 14 : Fly Quito. Overnight
Day 15 : Return Home


  • Descent the slops of Pichincha Volcano to Bellavista Cloudforest
  • Explore the 180 acres of Bellavista Cloudforest
  • Embrace the life of the Chagras while exploring Cotopaxi on horseback
  • Experience the traditional lifestyles of the Huaorani People

Places Visited

  • Amazon
  • Ecuador
  • South America
  • Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
  • Coca
  • Cotopaxi
  • Hacienda El Porvenir
  • Hacienda Santa Rita
  • Mindo
  • Napo River
  • Quito
  • Santo Domingo de los Colorados, Ecuador


Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Kayak group in the Amazon Whitewater rafting adventure in Ecuador Pichincha Volcano Biking Tour The sun sets over the lagoon Family horseback riding in Ecuador The food tent Hiking in the cloud forest At the Parrot Clay Lick

Day 1 Arrive Quito

Day 2 Volcano Biking

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin your Ecuador travel adventure with an exhilarating descent down the slopes of Pichincha Volcano to the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve. The tundra grass of the Andean paramo (high altitude grassland) changes before your eyes (and the knobby tires of your bikes) as you roll into the lush cloud forest. Steep gorges and ridges covered by impenetrable jungle provide spectacular views on the 3-4 hour downhill ride. In the afternoon, settle into Bellavista's cloud forest lodge and begin your first explorations of this unique ecosystem.

Day 3 Bellavista Cloudforest

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bellavista protects 1800 acres of endangered cloudforest on the western slopes of the Andes. Bordering the Choco bio-region, the forest is part of something that scientists refer to as a biodiversity "hotspot" - a place of extreme biodiversity in danger of extinction. Today you'll explore the miles of trails at Bellavista, passing by waterfalls, steep ravines, and thick gardens of hanging epiphytes in search of some of the 320 bird species recorded here. You'll learn more about the area's complex ecology, what Bellavista is doing to protect it, and about the endangered mammals such as the spectacled bear, mountain lion, Andean coati, and others that take refuge here.

Day 4 Whitewater Rafting near Santo Domingo de los Colorados

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Time to hit the Class III+ rapids of the best whitewater in the Western Andes! During the winter months, you'll be on the Rio Blanco and in the summer you'll paddle the Rio Toachi. On these exhilarating rides, you'll pass through forested canyons and isolated villages as you descend towards the Pacific lowlands. This afternoon, we return to the highlands to the western flank of the Cotopaxi Volcano for dinner and to rest after an exciting day.

Day 5 Horseback Riding

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast we drive to El Porvenir, a fully-functioning hacienda and our base for the next three nights, set high in the Andean paramo with spectacular views of Cotopaxi. After a brief orientation is given to get acquainted with the horses, we head out on horseback in the spirit of the Chagras (Ecuadorian highland cowboys) to visit the foothills of Rumiñahui Volcano, riding side by side with herds of wild horses and bulls. As we cross the paramo, enjoy the bird and wildlife, and the local guides will share their knowledge of medicinal plants. Afterwards a delicious lunch of local dishes awaits us upon our return to the farmhouse.

The afternoon is free to explore the hacienda grounds, and there are a couple of self-guided paths to the Manto Blanco Waterfall and to lookouts with nice views of the mountains and surrounding landscape.

Click here to watch Youtube video to learn more about El Porvenir and the Tierra del Volcan's area near Cotopaxi.

Day 6 Ecological Reserve and Paramo Hiking

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A thirty minute drive takes you to the Hacienda Santa Rita Ecological Reserve and the impressive 270 feet high Condor Machay Waterfall. Continue on foot along a trail that takes us through a very unique native forest of the Andes known has the "paper bark tree forest". Continue to the village of El Pedregal where we will have the chance to experience the local culture of the area before continuing to El Porvenir. Today's hike is 11 kilometers (7 miles).

Day 7 Cotopaxi National Park

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After enjoying the views of the volcano over the last three days, we drive for 45 minutes into the Cotopaxi National Park. An hour hike takes us to the climbing hut (refugio) and a nearby glacier at 4,800 meters (14,760 ft) above sea level.

Continue by vehicle to visit Laguna de Limpiopungo, a shallow Andean lake with great birdwatching, and from here we start our ten kilometer (7 miles) trek back to El Porvenir. We stop at the Chusig Machai cave for lunch and continue on foot through beautiful mountain valleys before returning to a good dinner and the last night at the hacienda.

Day 8 Morning Adventure and Market Visit

This morning you get your choice of excursions, such as mountain biking or ropes course challenge.

After your adventure, hike to the Pita River waterfall for lunch. In the afternoon, travel to Sangolqui, a village with a traditional market. Browse the market stalls with traditional arts and crafts and sample some of the local produce, particularly the fruits. Return to Quito in the evening.

Day 9 Into the Jungle

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A morning flight carries you over the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes and down into the Amazon basin to begin your Amazon tour. A three-hour drive will take you to your put-in on the Shiripuno River and the start of your amazing journey. You'll meet your Huaorani guide and spend time in a local community were you'll have the unique experience of learning about the Huaorani people, their traditions, their history and their commitment to preserving the natural treasures of the region. Tonight's campsite is hosted by a local Huaorani family - enjoy a campfire dinner.

Day 10 Huaorani Community and Shiripuno Paddling

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Following breakfast, visit the nearby Noneno Community where the local Huaorani share more traditions and aspects of daily lifestyle. After our visit we'll continue kayaking down the Shiripuno - you'll have nearly 25 km of river kayaking to do-- a challenging trip, but along the way you will be treated with the wonders of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This incredible region boasts some of the world's highest biodiversity and sustains the traditional lifestyle of numerous indigenous groups. On your silent journey downriver you'll have an excellent chance of spotting monkeys, capybara, toucans, macaws, tapir and maybe even the elusive jaguar. There will be plenty of short stops to stretch and rest your muscles. Expect a late arrival to this evening's campsite.

Day 11 Kayaking and Hiking

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you'll paddle to the remote Shiripuno Jungle lodge; the wooden buildings and thatched roofs blend into the surrounding landscape. In the evening, enjoy a hike into the forest as the wildlife becomes more active, where your naturalist guide teaches you about the complex ecology of the rainforest. Relax and overnight in the rustic jungle lodge.

Day 12 Rainforest Hiking and Lake Exploration

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A short trip upriver in motorized canoe will take us to the start of our rainforest hiking adventure. We'll explore old-growth and flooded (varzea) forest. We'll hike for 4-5 hours, keeping an eye out for monkeys, white-lipped peccaries, and jaguar tracks. During our walk the expedition guide and Huaorani guide explain their practical, medicinal and spiritual relationship with the Amazon jungle.

After lunch we will reach a series of small lakes, where we will paddle in wooden canoes. You'll reach a region of flooded forest and small jungle lakes where you'll have the chance to spot the prehistoric Hoatzin bird and caimans (a relative of the alligator). There is also great fishing in the area. Tonight, you'll return to Shiripuno where you can relax in a hammock and share stories about your Amazon adventures.

Day 13 Motorized Canoe to Coca. Overnight

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a short wildlife hike in the morning to see a glorious sunrise -- and one more chance to spot some Amazon wildlife -- you head back upriver by motorized canoe, and transfer to Coca where you'll overnight before your flight back to Quito in the morning.

Day 14 Fly Quito. Overnight

Day 15 Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve

Coca - Hotels

Hacienda El Porvenir

Hosteria Granja La Estacion

Quito - Hotels

Shiripuno Lodge

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  • 3 Nights Accommodations
  • 2 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Gear Rental
  • Gear Rental: Kayaking & Camping Gear (except sleeping bags)
  • Gear Rental: Kayaking & Camping Gear


  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • International Flights
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
  • Airport Departure Tax
  • Park Entrance Fee
  • Internal Flights: Quito - Coca - Quito 
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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