Day 1: Quito

You will be met on arrival in Quito at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport and transferred to La Casona de la Ronda, beautiful hotel located in the historical center of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Casona de la Ronda

Two nights at La Casona de la Ronda. Breakfast daily.

Day 2: Quito - Personalized City Tour

After breakfast, explore Quito on a privately guided tour to see your choice of the city’s artisan workshops. Quito’s workshops produce a range of goods, such as silver, sacred art, woodcarving, and mazapan figurines. We also offer chocolate tours to Ecuador’s premier single-origin chocolate maker, Pacari, private professionally-led photography tours and art gallery tours. Dinner at leisure; we can assist with restaurant recommendations and reservations.

Day 3: Otavalo, Ecuador - Otavalo Market Visit & Waterfall Hike

Depart Quito early this morning, heading north on the Pan-American highway to Otavalo market, one of the most famous in entire the Andes region. The indigenous weavers from the villages around Otavalo are among the most talented in Ecuador, and having adapted their products to worldwide market demands, the Otavaleños have earned recognition and prosperity on an international level.

After visiting the market and perhaps picking out a few beautiful craft pieces of your own, continue with your guide to your lodge located above the town of Otavalo in the foothills of Mount Mojanda. At the lodge enjoy a welcome tea and brief talk by our hosts, before a short tour of the lodge and its grounds including the organic garden. Later, venture out on a short guided hike to the Taxospamba waterfall, learning about the medicinal herbs and plants that grow in the region, the wildlife and birds, and the area’s current conservation issues.

After a delicious lunch in the lodge, visit the Mojanda lakes, a scenic 20-minute scenic drive from the lodge. Activities include a two-hour scenic hike around the lakes, a more challenging climb from the lakes up to Fuya Fuya (14,200 feet), or simply unwind and enjoy the view fishing or relaxing by the lake.

This evening, after the lodge’s well-prepared dinner, you can relax after the busy day in the traditional Japanese style hot tub or choose a film - shown in video room – from the lodge’s large selection, which includes documentaries on local birds and folklore, as well as many films by Latin American directors.

Casa Mojanda

Overnight at Casa Mojanda. All meals included.

Day 4: Cotopaxi National Park

Today we head south to Cotopaxi National Park, one of the most beautiful protected areas of Ecuador near the volcano Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. Visit the spectacular Cotopaxi National Park including Lake Limpiopungo and the ruins of El Salitre, a former Inca pucara (fortress). Our day ends at the hacienda, a delicious dinner and a warm fireplace will be ready and waiting for you!

Hacienda el Porvenir

Overnight at Hacienda el Porvenier. All meals included.

Day 5: Yasuni National Park

Your journey to the Amazon begins early in the morning as you drive through the Ecuadorian countryside, transitioning from the Andes to the Amazon (locally known as the Oriente) winding along the impressive Avenue of Volcanoes—a strip of 14 volcanic mountains—and passing traditional haciendas, indigenous villages, waterfalls and protected natural areas. You’ll start to notice changes in vegetation, with Spanish moss, bananas and tropical palms beginning to dominate the countryside.

Four hours later, you will arrive to the town of Shell, named after the oil company. Around noon, depart in a light aircraft to the Huaorani community of Quehueri’ono (keh-weri-oh-noh), where after a short 35-minute flight, you’ll be greeted by your hosts and start your expedition downstream in a shallow dugout canoe called a quilla (kee-yah). Immediately, you will begin to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the Amazon. The entire paddle downstream will be filled with amazing wildlife viewing, and you’ll likely catch a glimpse and photo of the many riverside birds, including the Yellow-rumped Cacique, the Greater and Lesser Kiskadees, and any of the four Amazonian kingfishers. You won’t want to put your camera down as you traverse the mighty Shiripuno River (shire-puno) sandwiched between thick tangles of rain forest vegetation.

Arrive at Huaorani Ecolodge, your intimate and comfortable home for the next few days. You’ll have the chance to settle in, have a late lunch, and listen to an introductory briefing about the Huaorani culture and their relationship with the rainforest. After dinner, feel free to rest up for your Amazonian adventure, or if you have an urge to start exploring, ask your guide to lead you on a night walk.

Huoarani Ecolodge

Three nights at Huaorani Ecolodge and Fly Camp. All meals included.

Day 6: Yasuni National Park – Huoarani Community Day

Huaorani are hunters and gatherers and their main sources of protein are mammals (yes, including monkeys), fish and birds. The goals of this project are to preserve the traditional practices of the Huaorani culture and, in turn, to protect both the people and the tropical rain forest. After breakfast, a Huaorani guide will accompany you on a long nature hike into the forest. The local guides are also experienced hunters and they will teach you the secrets of rain forest survival without killing any of the creatures that live there. You’ll learn how to set traps, make fire without matches, build a shelter in minutes, use a blowgun, practice the perfect swing of the machete and catch fish in small creeks. Your guide will let you taste edible insects, identify medicinal plants, and show you which clay is used to make pottery. Then, change into your swimsuit and take a dip in the fresh river water, swimming beside the creatures of the Amazon. Do not worry, though, the animals won’t bite; humans are the only true threat in this jungle! The Huaorani will likely join you for the swim; the river plays a central role in their lives and they love to play in the water!

Spend the afternoon with the community and get to know them personally. The relaxed, informal visit may lead you to sharing a bowl of chucula (a sweet drink made of ripe bananas) or admire the beautiful handmade artifacts and learn about their woven hammocks and bags, blowguns, traps and necklaces. You’ll also have the chance to visit the Bi-cultural Ecology Education project and learn how to harvest manioc root, join in a game of ecua-volley or visit the community’s handicraft market. The production of crafts is one of the ways the Huaorani maintain their culture, and buying crafts is way to provide direct support the Huaorani families: it provides employment in the village and another reason to protect the natural areas around the community.

Return to the lodge by canoe to relax before dinner, then your naturalist guide will offer short discussion, or charla. Like the day before, if you’d like to extend your day and continue observing, ask your guide to bring you on a short night hike.

Day 7: Yasuni National Park - Canoe Trip & Yame Reserve Ecotourism Project

After an early breakfast, set off canoeing down the Shiripuno River in traditional Huaorani style hoping to catch a glimpse of the birds active in the morning hours. The first stop is the Apaika community, inside the Yame Reserve, a 55,000-hectare protected area managed by the Huaorani Association, which leads the region’s ecotourism initiatives. Enjoy a quick snack and visit Apaika’s small interpretation center, where you can learn more about Yasuní National Park. To complete the afternoon, you’ll be able to join the community in some of its daily activities and share in its history, myths and magic. Afterwards, the group continues a couple more hours downriver near the Huaorani village of Nenquepare. You will spend the night here, camping out along the Shiripuno River, sleeping with the sounds of the Amazon’s animals. The well-constructed and comfortable fly-camp is part of a community initiative, so you will really get to participate in and support community tourism at its finest.

Day 8: Departure

After a delicious breakfast, you will have the opportunity to hike the community trail to visit an impressive waterfall, one that has special importance for the Huaorani. Once there, you can take a dip in the energizing waters to recharge for the trip back to Quito. The fairly easy walk is three hours altogether, and your naturalist guide will be sure to point out any special plants and animals you may come across. Once back at the campsite, bid farewell to the Huaorani and start the return journey downstream in canoe. This will begin to an introduction to how the oil industry has impacted the Huaorani lands. Head to the border between traditional Huaorani territory and that of the petroleum companies, though it all used to belong to the Huaorani. Here you will see the road built by oil companies in the early 1970s, which crosses the river, and transitions from forest to “civilization.” Roads are symbols of modern deforestation, providing access and means for human populations to grow at a rapid rate. On this short tour, you will witness the crude reality of our collective thirst for oil as you ride alongside miles of pipelines that pump oil across the Andes to the port of Esmeraldas. This brief journey through oil territory illustrates the reality of the threat facing the rain forest and the Huaorani people. You will also realize why your visit to Huaorani Lodge was so important!

After a 2-hour overland ride down the auca road, you will reach the banks of the Río Napo and the town of Coca, where you will catch your flight back to Quito in the late afternoon. Connection to your international flight home.

Breakfast included.
Rates - 2017
Dates Per Person Double Single Supplement
Jan-Dec $2,668.00 $500.00
Prices based on two travelers sharing International and domestic airfares are not included. Please call for a quote from our air partners!
Registered Seller of Travel License # 602 127 852.    •   

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