Ecuador: Amazon, Hot Springs & Volcanoes

Get in touch with the power of the Earth on this nine-day adventure packed with many of Ecuadors must-see highlights. Hike through the greener-than-green Amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide at your side, slip into the celebrated (and restorative) hot springs of Papallacta, enjoy lunch with the residents of an Andean community, and spend a night at a historic hacienda. Feel the warmth of Ecuador's spirit and make some memories.

Latin America

Duration: 9 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Parks & Nature Reserves, Local Culture & Cuisine, History, Wildlife Physical rating: Light
Accommodation standard:   Moderate% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 155224
Starts: Quito, Ecuador Finishes: Quito, Ecuador
You will visit
  • Quito
  • Quito



Day 1: Quito

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Private Vehicle


Day 2: Quito/Otavalo (1B, 1L)

Spend a night in the Otavalo area and visit its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables.

One of the most obvious signs of the Otavaleños' cultural integrity is their traditional dress. This is not just worn for the tourists at the Saturday market, but is worn throughout their daily life.

Otavalo is famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday animal market. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products were transported from the eastern lowlands and traded for highland goods. Today's market has two different functions: the local market for buying and selling animals, food, and other essentials, and the crafts market for the tourists and other interested people.

Included Activities:
San Clemente Community Visit
Otavalo Handicrafts Market Visit

Private Vehicle (2.50-4.00 hours)


Day 3: Otavalo/Papallacta (1B)

Visit the home and studio of Don Miguel, and learn how the Indigenous people of the Otavalo region have used the backstrap loom to create their woven goods. Continue to the Papallacta Hot Springs Resort for onsite hot springs, optional spa treatments, and hiking excursions. There is plenty of time to soak, relax, and enjoy the mountain views.

Included Activities:
Otavalo Weaving Lesson
Papallacta Hot Springs Visit

Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours)


Day 4: Papallacta/Baños (1B)

Baños is one of the most popular spots in the country. Many Ecuadorian families vacation here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Baños means “baths” and this is precisely what the town is famous for. Some are thermal springs from the base of Tungurahua Volcano, which means “little hell” in Quichua. Other baths have melt water running into them from Tungurahua's glaciated flanks. Locals swear that the baths are good for your health; it's definitely worth rising early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains from a hot spring vantage point.

Included Activities:
Papallacta Hot Springs Visit
Visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park

Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)


Day 5: Baños (1B)

The town is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits. Activities include horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and rafting on the River Patate.


Day 6: Baños/Yasuni National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Transfer to the port to board a motorized canoe to go to La Selva's main dock. Continue on a short 15-min jungle walk leading to a creek. Enjoy a paddle by canoe across “Garzacocha” (the heron´s lagoon) in order to reach the lodge area. Upon arrival at the lodge, enjoy a welcome drink and get an introductory briefing. Take part in a short activity to be introduced to the rainforest.

Additional Notes:
All activities in the Amazon depend on weather and natural conditions. Year-round temperature average is 82°F (28°C), however nights can be cooler. Since Ecuador is located right on the equator, the country does not experience extreme weather changes, and the weather is surprisingly comfortable all year around. Please be prepared for rain.

Electricity is available in the bar, dining areas, reception areas and rooms (110V) to recharge batteries. We suggest that guests bring a flashlight or headlamp. The plugs for recharging batteries have three holes, two plainprongs and one circle prong just as most American plugs. However, we recommend that you bring a transformer of two plain prongs.

Included Activities:
La Selva Lodge Excursions

Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)
Motorized canoe (1.50-2.00 hours)


Day 7: Yasuni National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

See the canopy of the rainforest from a tower, 43m (141 ft) in height, and choose from dozens of walks of varying lengths and difficulties. Several of these routes can only be accessed by canoe. In the morning, wake up early for some bird watching and as night falls go out on a boat to view caimans. Learn about the environment and wildlife from the naturalist guide, who accompanies the group to ensure you get the most out of the excursions. The opportunities for birding, botany, hiking, herpetology, canoeing, photography, entomology, fishing, relaxing, and swimming at La Selva Lodge are boundless.

Not interested in hiking or canoeing? Feel free to relax at the lodge.

Additional Notes:
Photography: A long lens, at least a zoom capable of 200 mm is recommended. Digital camera users need only beware (as SLR users) that moisture can fog their lenses rapidly. Silica gel in the camera carrying case should do the job and remember to put your camera back in the case when not using it. Bring plastic zip-lock bags for protecting your gear.

Included Activities:
La Selva Lodge Excursions


Day 8: Yasuni National Park/Quito (1B)

Travel by boat back to Coca and catch a flight to Quito.

Motorized canoe (2.50 hour(s))
Plane (0.75-1.00 hours)


Day 9: Quito (1B)

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

    • Arrival transfer
    • Visit the community of San Clemente and enjoy a local lunch
    • Overnight in an historic hacienda
    • Explore the Otavalo handicraft market
    • Otavalo weaving lesson and studio visit
    • Relax at Papallacta hot springs
    • Two nights at an Amazon lodge with jungle walks and canoe excursions
    • Visit the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
    • Interesting articles, helpful tips, and photography advice from National Geographic before you depart
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Hotels (4 nts), historic hacienda (1 nt), jungle lodge (2 nts), hot springs resort (1 nt)
    Meals Included
    • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
    • Private van, boat, plane, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Visit the Otavalo Weaving studio and get a lesson from Miguel Andrango
  • Explore villages and learn about traditional handicrafts and folk art from locals
  • Traverse the Amazon jungle with a local naturalist guide
  • Learn about the relationship between cultures and the plants around them at the Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
  • Be surrounded by towering volcanoes