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Ecuador: Raft, Hike & Bike tour
Cotopaxi Quito Ecuador: Raft, Hike & Bike Trip

Ecuador: Raft, Hike & Bike

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4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
10 days
From: $ 1,610 $ 161 / day
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Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • 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.

Short Description

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.

Style Small group tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions Roundtrip air to/from trip start & all internal transport
Start City Quito
End City Quito

Destinations

Ecuador

Attractions & Cities Visited

Cotopaxi Quito

Activities & Interests

N/A

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 Quito

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.

Day 2 SuchiPakari Lodge (Amazon Jungle)

Today will be an early start as we travel to a jungle lodge, located in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This incredible ecolodge is bound to be a highlight of your trip. Here, you can hike various trails of varying difficulty through lush forest filled with incredible biodiversity. There are plenty of activities to keep you active over the next two days. Choose to hike to Ombuni Waterfall, a magical series of cascading waterfalls deep in the jungle, go birdwatching with a local expert or learn to make chocolate. There's also ample opportunity to learn more about the local Quichua-speaking community, its culture and customs.

Day 3 SuchiPakari Lodge (Amazon Jungle)

After breakfast, travel by canoe to the starting point of today's hike. The trek is relatively easy and, depending on the group’s pace, should take around three to four hours. During the hike, visit a protected private reserve in the secondary rainforest, where you will be shown how to spot the insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Throughout the walk, you’ll come to understand the importance of the jungle to the local community as your guide provides in-depth knowledge and history. After a packed lunch on the banks of the Arajuno River, you’ll have the option of going tubing down the river. Please note: The river's currents are not particularly strong, but it's Intrepid's policy for all passengers to wear life jackets. You'll then canoe back to the lodge, where you'll shower before sitting down to dinner. Afterwards, you'll head back out into a pitch-black forest filled the sounds of millions of insects and countless frogs for a night walk. 

Day 4 Tena Rafting / Banos

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 you’ll board a local bus for the three-hour drive to Banos. Arrive late afternoon.

Day 5 Banos

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 you’ll 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.

Day 6 Banos

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, including waterfall canyoning, 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.

Day 7 Quilotoa / Cotopaxi

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 small Indian village of Zumbahua, perched in the foothills of the Andes. Among locals the village is famous for its Saturday market, where llamas and riding horses are traded and local artisans sell woodcarvings and other handcrafts. 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.

Day 8 Quilotoa / Cotopaxi (Quilotoa to Chugchilan hike)

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 Moya, 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.

Day 9 Cotopaxi Mountain bike riding / Quito

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 on the world’s highest active volcano. Your ride starts at 3,800 meters, you’ll don helmets, gloves and protection pads for a truly one-of-a-kind biking adventure. On dirt roads you will ride through volcanic ash and tundra landscape . You will have to do some pedalling while you descend slowly over an eight km 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 km (10 miles). This leg is all 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.

Day 10 Quito

The trip ends after breakfast this morning.

Availability

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Price From $ 1,610
Price Per Day: $ 161 per day
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Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

4,186 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

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Great 667
Average 132
Disappointing 66
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Value
4.6
Guide
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Activities
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Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
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Ecuador: Raft, Hike & Bike

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Great trip made better by the guide.

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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

Roundtrip air to/from trip start & all internal transport Local Bus,Private Vehicle,Taxi,Canoe

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accommodations

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

Guides

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader 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 places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Hotel La Cartuja
  • Leonidas Plaza 170 y 18 de Septiembre
  • Quito
  • ECUADOR
  • Phone: 593 22523721

Trip ID#:

intrepid-GGOE

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