Raft, Hike & Bike in Ecuador

Work up a sweat getting an insight into the wonderful South American country of Ecuador on this active, ten-day journey. Hike from the glistening crater lake of Quilotoa to the tiny Andean village of Chugchilan, go mountain biking down the world’s highest active volcano in Cotopaxi National Park and hit the rapids on a main tributary of the Amazon River, the Jatunyacu (Big Water) River. You’ll also go on a guided walking tour of Amazonian jungle, enjoy plenty of free time in chilled out Banos and discover the World Heritage-listed charms of Quito.


Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Quito, Ecuador
Destination
Ecuador
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures
Code
GGOE
Physical rating
Ages
Min 16
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Quito's World Heritage-listed Old Town is best explored on foot. Wander its architecture-rich streets past dozens of gilded churches, through stately plazas and among vendors hawking local delicacies.

  • A guided walk through the Amazonian jungle reveals an array of wildlife and fascinating insights into the jungle’s critical role in the lives of locals.

  • Experience white water rafting on a main tributary of the Amazon River, the Jatunyacu (Big Water) River.

  • Hike from the emerald-coloured crater lake of Quilotoa to the tiny Andean village of Chugchilan, taking in glorious panoramas along the way.

  • Go mountain biking down the world’s highest active volcano in Cotopaxi National Park.

  • Enjoy plenty of free time in chilled out Banos, which sits in the shadow of the active Tungurahua Volcano. From hiking beside waterfalls to soaking in the mineral goodness of the town’s thermal springs, Banos will satisfy your spirit.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the Health section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

  • During your stay at the lodge in the Amazon Jungle, accommodation is quite basic (bed and linen are provided) and the showers are refreshingly cold. 

  • Temperatures in the Amazon can fluctuate. It can get really hot, humid and sticky during the day and cold at night. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle the heat during the day, and base layers are ideal for keeping warm at night. Insects, especially mosquitoes, abound in the Amazon. Bring tropical strength insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.

  • There will be a moderate hike during the trip, which usually takes around 6 hours. Although it''s not too strenuous, the terrain can be unpredictable and good quality hiking boots are recommended. There will also be a couple of stops on your journey for water and food breaks.

  • Includes White Water rafting in grade 3 rapids

  • Includes Mountain bike riding on dirt and paved roads

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2018.
View the 2019 itinerary
Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. After this important meeting, join your leader on a walking tour of the historic centre of Quito where you'll see the Plaza Grande (main square), Archbishop's Palace, Basilica del Voto Nacional, La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) and San Francisco churches. Afterwards, head to a local restaurant on La Ronda Street for an optional group dinner, or hit the town on your own.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.

Quito is located 2,800 metres/9,185 feet above sea level, where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender or fitness. Please refer to the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes for important information about altitude sickness before and during your trip.
Today will be an early start, as the group will be on the move by 7 am. Catch a local bus from Quito Central Station to Tena (approximately 5 hours). There’s no toilet on board, but the bus will stop for one toilet break during the journey. From Tena, travel by private vehicle to your lodge for the next two nights, arriving by approximately 1.30 pm, just in time for lunch. After lunch join your tour leader and a local guide for a jungle hike. In the afternoon, try your hand at making chocolate from scratch. After a group dinner enjoy a night walk through the jungle looking for insects and nocturnal animals.
Accommodation
  • Amazon Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Amazon Jungle: The main focus of this Amazon stay is to learn about the local indigenous people and their way of living.While you'll may be able to see a number of small animals (butterflies, spiders and some monkeys), it's unlikely you will see an array of wildlife.
In the morning after breakfast, you will travel by canoe to visit a local indigenous community and become part of the local family as you interact and learn about their lifestyle and customs, you will also get to prepare a local drink known as chicha. 
After the visit, enjoy a packed lunch on the banks of the Arajuno River. Next you’ll have the opportunity to go tubing down the river. The water currents are not particularly strong however it’s part of our safety policy for all passengers to wear a life jacket if you wish to take part in this activity. The activity will last approximately 1 hour, you will then get back on board the Canoe and travel back to the Amazon lodge (approximately 1.5 hours) Once you get back to the lodge there will be time to shower and freshen up for dinner. After dinner, head out on a night jungle walk!
Accommodation
  • Amazon Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today is a bucket list day as you go whitewater rafting on a main tributary of the Amazon River. The adventure begins after breakfast when you’re picked up by rafting experts for the 40-minute drive to the village of Cando in Llanganates National Park and the class III (medium waves, but not much considerable danger) Jatunyacu River. No previous experience is needed to raft this river, which originates from a glacier and springs fed by the Cotopaxi Volcano. It's a perfect combination of exciting rapids, calm pools and vibrant jungle scenery. At a halfway point near a Kichwa community you’ll enjoy a well-earned, homemade lunch and a chance to exchange experiences with locals. The rafting adventure ends in Puerto Napo, where your private vehicle will be waiting with your bags. After a quick shower and a change into fresh, warm clothes board a local bus for the three-hour drive to Banos, arriving in the late afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tena - White water rafting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After an orientation walk of Banos take a private vehicle to Pondoa, a small village in the shadow of the Tungurahua Volcano, for a hands-on lesson on Ecuadorian farm life. Plan on milking cows, harvesting whatever needs to be picked – corn, tamarillo, babaco – before sitting down to a lunch prepared with your harvest. In the afternoon visit a viewpoint and seismic monitoring station named La Casa del Arbol (The Treehouse). On a clear day you’ll have spectacular views of Banos and the Tungurahua Volcano, but no matter the weather you’ll be free to try the Swing at the End of the World, a must for adrenalin junkies. With hearts pounding you’ll head to Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron), an 80-metre (262-foot) waterfall. A walk down narrow stairs will provide extraordinary photo opportunities of the waterfall upon a platform, but be advised: Be sure to pack a rain jacket or poncho and waterproof case or water-tight snap-lock bag to keep your camera and any valuables dry. Afterwards drive back to Banos for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Banos - Casa del Arbol visit
  • Banos - Devil's Cauldron visit
  • Banos - Pondoa Community Project visit & Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy a free day in Banos, a city that offers a variety of adventurous and relaxing experiences (please see safety note below). There are several options for soaking in natural hot springs, or perhaps a massage, even salsa dancing. Your leader can help you choose from many outdoor activities, or you can engage in more spiritual pursuits with a visit to the Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water, a magnificent basilica and pilgrimage destination.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tree House Swing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Banos has traditionally been known as the outdoor centre of Ecuador with a number of popular high risk activities being offered to foreign and national tourists alike. The safety of our travellers and staff is our first priority. As such, we at Intrepid have gone through our due processes and assessed local suppliers and their safety standards in Banos. Unfortunately, to date none of the local operators in the area have been able to pass Intrepid minimum safety standards. As a consequence, we have instructed local leaders to share with you our safety concerns, discourage travellers from taking these type of activities at this destination and strictly forbid them from helping travellers arrange these activities at this location. Fortunately, Banos has plenty more to offer than high risk activities and we are confident that you will have a great time exploring the area under the guidance of our knowledgeable local leaders
Depart Banos early for Quilotoa, an emerald-coloured volcano crater lake, in a private vehicle that you will use for the remainder of your trip. Along the way you’ll stop at the Pujili or Salasaca Market.  After taking in the sights and sounds of this very real mountain market you’ll continue to Quilotoa lagoon, located at 3900 metres (12,800 feet) above sea level. The 250 metre (820 feet) deep crater lake’s distinctive colour comes from dissolved minerals and was created after an eruption roughly 800 years ago. A two-kilometre (1.25 mile), sandy trail leads to the lagoon – it’s about a 45-minute walk down, and 1-1.5 hour walk back up. Spend the night in Quilotoa.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After an early breakfast you’ll begin a day dedicated to hiking 14 breathtaking kilometres (8.7 miles) to the tiny Andean village of Chugchilan. As you hike down the picturesque valley you’ll pass through villages like the tiny Guayama, where after three or four hours of hiking you’ll rendezvous with your private vehicle to rehydrate. The rest of the hike is a combination of road and trail that passes through some communities and begins to ascend as you near Chugchilan. All told, the hike can take between five and six hours (depending on the group’s fitness level) but after lunch in Chugchilan you’ll be driven to Cotopaxi, where you will stay the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Quilotoa - Quilotoa to Chugchilan hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Todays activity will be supported by a private vehicle which will meet the group half way to refill water bottles and have a quick snack. The vehicle is also there in case someone does not want to continue the other half of the hike. At the half-way meeting point, a local woman will prepare a delicious local snack for the whole group to enjoy, she also offers her house for the group to use the restroom and unwindin her living room. The snack is usually some Corn, Lima beans and locally made cheese, however this can change depending on seasonailty of ingredients. 
Depart in a 4WD vehicle to Cotopaxi National Park and be taken to the highest point of the tour: 4500 metres (15,000 feet) above sea level. The volcano juts out from a flat landscape,  the view is stunning, and, on a clear day, you will see the eight volcanoes that surround Cotopaxi.

This is a bucket list day as you mountain bike around the base of the world’s highest active volcano. Your ride starts at 3800 metres, you’ll don helmets, gloves and protection pads for a truly one-of-a-kind biking adventure. On dirt roads you will wind around through volcanic ash and tundra landscape . You will have to do some pedalling while you descend slowly over an eight-kilometre ride to a lunch spot by an Inca ruin at 3700 metres (12,140 feet). Cotopaxi’s ecosystem is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including a unique combination of pine vegetation. Keep your eyes peeled for a condor or caracara, a local bird of prey. The bikes will be loaded back on the 4WD before heading up to Laguna (Lake) Limpiopungo at 3800 metres, where the last phase of the ride will be 16 kilometres (10 miles) of winding your way downhill – on dirt and paved roads through pine forest. Your bike adventure will end in the late afternoon, when you will be driven back to Quito.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Mountain Biking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
The trip ends after breakfast this morning.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Local Bus, Private Vehicle, Taxi, Canoe

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Tena - White water rafting
  • Banos - Casa del Arbol visit
  • Banos - Devil's Cauldron visit
  • Banos - Pondoa Community Project visit & Lunch
  • Tree House Swing
  • Quilotoa - Quilotoa to Chugchilan hike
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Mountain Biking

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Essential trip information

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