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Cock of the Rock

Ecuador - Amazon Rainforest and Cloud Forest Adventure

13 days from £3,970pp (excl. international flights)
Quito  → Amazon Rainforest  → Otavalo  → Cloud Forest  → Quito

Explore Ecuador's wildlife diversity

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Ecuador, immersing yourself in the rich diversity of the Amazon Rainforest, Otavalo in the Andean Highlands, the mystical Cloud Forest, Quito city.

Commence your adventure in the Amazon, where the lush rainforest beckons with unique flora and fauna. Engage with indigenous communities, explore winding rivers, and encounter the breathtaking biodiversity of the region from your comfortable lodge.

Transition to the Otavalo Highlands, a cultural haven where vibrant indigenous traditions thrive. Delight in the renowned Otavalo craft market, where skilled artisans showcase their creations. Immerse yourself in the local way of life, surrounded by the breathtaking Andean landscape.

The Cloud Forest awaits, offering a mystical realm of exotic bird species like the Andean Cock of the Rock and Crimson Rumped toucanet and enchanting nature trails. Wander through dense vegetation, where the air is alive with the calls of colourful birds. Uncover the secrets of this biodiverse haven, where every step unveils a new marvel.

Finally, explore Quito, Ecuador's capital, where the colonial charm of the old city blends seamlessly with modern vibrancy. Visit historic sites, indulge in delectable local cuisine, and soak in the cultural richness of this UNESCO World Heritage city. Each leg of this journey promises a unique and immersive experience, weaving together the natural wonders, cultural treasures, and historical allure of Ecuador.

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The itinerary…

Day 1: Welcome to Ecuador

La Jimenita gardens 2

Haceinda la Jimenita gardens

After the long daytime journey, a warm welcome awaits you at the airport from our local Far & Wild representative. The short transfer to Hacienda la Jimenita takes only 15 minutes to where your accommodation is nestled in a tranquil natural reserve, perfect for an overnight stay. Allow the relaxing ambiance of the surroundings embrace you as you unwind and prepare for the next leg of your adventure.

Day 2: Amazon Rainforest

Sani Lodge from the river

Sani Lodge from the River

Your Amazon adventure starts with a short flight from Quito to Coca, where our dedicated lodge staff will be ready to welcome you. From a local hotel, embark on a captivating 3-hour boat journey along the Napo River – the largest Ecuadorian tributary of the Amazon. Marvel at ancestral communities and observe myriad of avian wonders, including herons, egrets, and vultures.

Following the boat trip, a short 5-minute walk and a 20-minute paddle canoe across the Challuacocha creek takes you to Sani Lodge. Upon arrival, you will be greeted with refreshing cold drinks and snacks, setting the stage for you to settle into your comfortable cabins.

Later in the day, choose to explore nearby trails or embark on a canoe ride, offering prime opportunities to observe primates, Amazonian birds, and black caimans in their natural habitat. Delight in a close encounter with the diverse flora, from majestic cedar trees to vibrant orchids and bromeliads.

In the evening, explore the black-water Oxbow Lake, a sanctuary for the black caiman – a species facing increasing endangerment. Witness the majesty of these South American crocodiles, known to reach lengths of up to 6 metres (18ft.). Absorb the serenity of the surroundings before returning to the lodge for a restful night's sleep.

Day 3: Amazon Rainforest

Sani Lodge walkways

Walkways in the rainforest

Awaken to the promise of a new day in the Amazon, and after a hearty breakfast, prepare for an extraordinary adventure. Ascend to the treetops on our 36-metre (118 ft.) observation tower, a vantage point that provides a mesmerizing view of life in the canopy. Your journey to the tower involves a 30-minute paddle on the Challuaco-cha Lake, meandering through the enchanting Igapo Forest, followed by a brief 10-minute walk. Behold the spectacle of the Amazon's avian wonders where over 565 bird species have been documented, including vibrant macaws, toucans, honeycreepers, tanagers, flycatchers, and hummingbirds. With a stroke of luck, you may even witness the serene presence of howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and sloths resting in the lofty branches.

In the afternoon, embark on a 3-hour hike along the Chorongo or Coto trails, traversing the magnificent terra-firme forest. Delve into the intricate relationships among diverse living beings and their roles in this complex ecosystem. Orchids, vines, strangler figs, ancient trees, and bromeliads weave the tapestry of this splendid tropical rainforest. As night descends, gather for a delightful dinner at the lodge. Afterward, partake in a mesmerising night walk, where the forest comes alive with myriads of insects, spiders, and frogs. Experience the enchanting nocturnal symphony of the rainforest.

Day 4: Amazon Rainforest

Blue headed parrots clay lick

Blue headed parrots at the clay lick

Embark on a new day with an early breakfast before making your way back to the Napo River. Board a motor canoe and set out to witness the captivating spectacle of the parrot clay lick at Yasuní. This natural landslide becomes a hub where hundreds of parrots gather, searching for a spot to land and partake in a unique diet of earth. Marvel at the sight of Mealy Amazon, Yellow-crowned, Orange-winged, and Blue-headed parrots as they grace the clay lick. Following this avian encounter, take a leisurely walk on the southern outskirts of Yasuní, offering a breathtaking perspective of the rich flora and fauna.

Venture into the southern region to encounter species not found in the north, such as golden-mantled tamarins, spider monkeys, and the vibrant Blue and Yellow Macaws. With a stroke of luck, you might even have a close encounter with white-lipped or collared peccaries.

Return to the Sani Community Centre, where you'll have the opportunity to visit a native house and experience first hand the daily life of a typical Kichwa family. Immerse yourself in their food, drinks, customs, and culture, gaining insights into how the locals maintain an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Cap off your day with an exciting session of piranha fishing before indulging in a well-deserved dinner back at the lodge.

Day 5: Amazon Rainforest

Red Howler Monky

Red Howler Monkey

Embark on an adventurous expedition of the hidden corners of Sani Lodge with a 6-hour hike on the Chorongo Largo trail. Prepare for a close encounter with the stunning wildlife that graces this pristine environment – from woolly monkeys and playful troops of squirrels to the charismatic white-fronted capuchin monkeys. The air will be filled with the vibrant hues of parrots, macaws, and toucans, creating a spectacle of biodiversity. With a touch of luck, you might even witness the elusive tapirs and peccaries in their natural habitat. This immersive trek unveils the magic of an untouched, virgin forest, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Day 6: Amazon Rainforest to the Ecuador Highlands

La Selva canoe

Leave the rainforest on a canoe

Depart the lodge at 5am and as you navigate the waterways, relish the sights and sounds of the waking jungle, bidding farewell to the unique ecosystems that have captivated your senses. Take the short flight to Quito and transfer to the Otavalo Highlands where the local Kichwa indigenous culture not only remains prominently visible but is also on the rise.

At the heart of Otavalo's allure is its renowned craft market, a must-visit site that attracts visitors from far and wide. Immerse yourself in a treasure trove of colourful and sometimes rare objects and crafts, each telling a story of local artistry and tradition. The market, situated at the foot of the majestic Mt. Imbabura, is a daily spectacle that unfolds on one of the town squares.

Day 7: Otavalo

Market colours

Otavalo Market Colours

Free day to relax or explore the local area. Options include a boat trip on Cuicocha Lake, a stunning crater lake with two islands, offering breathtaking views. Hike to the Peguche Waterfall, surrounded by lush scenery and sacred indigenous sites or visit the Cotacachi leather market for handmade leather goods. Engage in cultural experiences, from attending local festivals to exploring historic sites like the Plaza de Ponchos. Otavalo beckons with a variety of experiences, blending tradition, nature, and artisanal delights.

Day 8: Otavalo to the Cloud Forest

Blue winged Tanager

Blue winged tanager

Depart Otavalo for a scenic drive to the charming colonial town of Cotacachi, renowned for its exquisite leatherwork. Take a moment to appreciate where traditional craftsmanship comes to life. En-route to the Cloud Forest, pause at the majestic Pululahua volcanic crater which is the world’s only inhabited crater with patchwork fields and a breathtaking panorama

Alambi Cloud Forest Reserve is celebrated among birding enthusiasts worldwide and your accommodation for the next 2 nights is the El Monte Lodge. At the lodge, the choices are as diverse as the cloud forest itself. Opt for a guided nature walk uncovering myriad of plant species and spotting the rich wildlife. Alternatively, visit the enchanting waterfall, taking a refreshing swim in the Rio Nambillo, explore an Orchid Garden or simply unwind alongside the Rio Mindo in a hammock with a good book.

Day 9: Cock of the Rock lek

Cock of the Rock

Cock of the Rock

Today’s early morning adventure is to witness the captivating gathering of the vibrant "cock of the rock" birds at their lek, the place where these magnificent creatures come together to feed. Following a nutritious breakfast, set out on a nature walk along the elevated paths of the Cordillera San Lorenzo.

Your knowledgeable guide will enrich the journey by sharing insights into the diverse birds and animals inhabiting the region. If weather conditions permit, your guide will skilfully assist you in catching glimpses of extraordinary avian species, including the resplendent Golden-Headed Quetzal, the striking Choco Toucan, and the elegant Crimson Rumped Toucanet. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Cordillera San Lorenzo, where each step unveils the rich biodiversity of this enchanting ecosystem.

Day 10: Butterfly Garden & Mindo River

Butterfly

Butterfly

Start your day at the enchanting Butterfly Garden, surrounded by hundreds of vibrant butterflies and witnessing the captivating four stages of their life cycle. Immerse yourself in the experience as you feed some of the 25 different butterfly species residing in the garden. Following this, venture to the Garden of Orchids, a haven with 35 to 60 blooming orchid species. Conclude the tour by observing hummingbirds and other avian wonders in this idyllic setting.

In the afternoon, your local guide will lead a 2-hour exploration along the Mindo River and through the nearby forest. Spot exotic birds, discover local medicinal plants, and gain insights into their traditional uses. This immersive day promises a blend of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and delectable delights in the heart of Mindo.

Day 11: Cloud Forest to Quito city

Quito San Francisco church

Quito, San Francisco church

Explore the best of Quito on a Six Senses Tour, a private excursion led by your guide and driver, immersing yourself in a sensory adventure that unveils the essence of Quito in a unique and innovative way. Engage your taste buds, touch, hearing, sight, and smell, with the "sixth sense" being love – witnessing the artisans of Quito pour their passion into their craft.

Commence with a guided walk through the winding streets of downtown Quito, delving into traditions, history, and the local life of this enchanting city. Experiences include a variety of activities, including a visit to a small bakery to learn the art of crafting the traditional quesadilla, one of Quito's oldest and most cherished desserts. As you wander through the city, marvel at the stunning facades of old colonial homes and churches. Overnight at the charming, La Casona de la Ronda.

Day 12: Free day in Quito and departure

Teleferiqo

Quito, TelefériQo

A free day in Quito offers a blend of cultural exploration and natural beauty. Start at the historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can wander through narrow streets, visit the Basilica del Voto Nacional, and explore the vibrant Plaza Grande. Head to the TelefériQo for a panoramic view of the city and surrounding mountains. For a taste of local culture, visit the Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal to shop for handmade crafts. Indulge in Ecuadorian cuisine at a local restaurant, savouring dishes like ceviche and llapingachos. Finally, unwind in the serene Parque La Carolina.

Later in the day, depart downtown for the airport and your return flight.

Day 13: Arrive home!


Duration: 11 nights

Location: Ecuador Holidays, South and Central America Holidays

Price: £3970pp

From £3,970pp based on two people sharing, excluding international flights.

The trip includes all accommodations and activities specified above. Rooms and meals are as follows:

1 night at Haceinda la Jimenita - Deluxe Room, breakfast included.

4 nights at Sani Lodge – Standard Cabin, all meals included.

2 nights at Las Palmeras Inn, Standard Room, breakfast & dinner included

3 nights at El Monte Cloud Forest – Standard Room, all meals included.

1 night at La Casona de la Ronda - Standard Room, breakfast included.

Also includes

All transfers, domestic flights within Ecuador, guides and other fees where stated as included.

This trip excludes:

Single Supplements.

International flights to/from Ecuador

Meals not mentioned as included.

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When to go

Find out the best time to visit Ecuador with our month by month guide.

  • Best
  • Good
  • Mixed
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

January

Best time for the coast and Galapagos due to warmer sea temperatures. Coastal regions enjoy warm temperatures, perfect for beach activities and water sports. Whilst it may occasionally rain, the weather is preferable for these activities compared to the dry season, which is cold and overcast. In the Andes, it is more likely to be humid and wet, meaning it is ideal for exploring cities and visiting indigenous markets, but less ideal for hiking and exploring. The Amazon rainforest is humid and wet and whilst the scenery is pleasant, the animals might be harder to find.

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February

Great time for the coast and Galapagos despite potential rain. It is still pleasantly warm along the coast and perfect for beach relaxation and water activities. The mountains see temperatures hovering at about 17°C (63°F) with the humidity and rainfall continuing. Visit Cuenca or Ambato for the Carnaval festivities during February. The Amazon rainforest remains humid, and increased rainfall means a higher chance of flooding.

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March

A pleasant climate across the country and cheaper than December- February. Coastal areas are temperate still, and the beaches get quieter as school holidays end. The Andes see temperatures from 12-21°C (54-70°F), hiking opportunities become more appealing as the rainfall starts to slow down. If Easter falls in March, don’t miss the Santa Semana celebrations in Quito. Humidity still reigns in the Amazon rainforest.

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April

Beaches and Galapagos are quieter, but the weather remains pleasant. Everywhere else is wet. Coastal areas bask in warm temperatures, perfect for beach adventures and water sports. However, it's worth noting that some regions may experience occasional showers. The mountain ranges can experience intermittent rainfall. The Amazon rainforest is still wet meaning the swollen rivers open up tributaries that are otherwise too shallow to access by boat.

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May

Things are getting cooler in Galapagos and on the coast. Whilst the rain clears up along the coast, it becomes colder and less pleasant, so avoid the beaches at this time of year if sunbathing or water sports are on your activity checklist. The Amazon is wet, and there can be frequent road closures. The humidity combined with the wet weather means peak mosquito season too. It is less likely to rain in the Andes in May, and hiking the volcanoes becomes more accessible.

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June

The high season for the mountains begins. Around the summer solstice is the celebration of the Incan festival of Inti Raymi, best celebrated in Otavalo or the Ingapirca archaeological site. Along the coast, temperatures range from mild to warm, with occasional rain showers. In the highlands, temperatures are slightly warmer and the climate is drier, making for better birdwatching possibilities. The Amazon region is hot and humid, with heavy rainfall.

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July

Best time to visit Quito as it rarely rains but also the most expensive time of year due to high visitor numbers. There is a greater number of travellers exploring the highlands for good reason – it is an excellent time to embark on the Quilotoa loop trail or to visit Parque Nacional Cotopaxi. Head to Guayaquil for its foundation celebrations to experience some Ecuadorean culture.

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August

August presents favourable conditions for visiting Ecuador, particularly in Quito, where a brief dry spell occurs. It is an opportune period to engage in hiking activities around the picturesque Andes, where the weather remains consistently manageable. Additionally, witnessing the remarkable 70km procession of La Virgen del Cisne (Virgin of the Swan) is a noteworthy cultural experience. Furthermore, the rainfall in the Amazon region begins to diminish, resulting in reduced hazards during hikes characterized by slippery terrain.

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September

September in Ecuador brings slightly humid conditions, but overall, the weather is reasonable for both the coast and the highlands. It is definitely better weather for hiking than surfing, however. September is best for its cultural offerings in the form of the Fiesta de la Mamá Negra in Latacunga where you can witness traditional dances, music, and culinary delights or the and the Fiesta del Yamor harvest festival in Otavalo.

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October

October is perhaps around the best time to visit the Amazon basin due to drier conditions (it will still be raining, just less). It is cheaper to visit the Galapagos and the coast at this time because it is too cold for beach activities. A great time to hike the mountains if you prefer lower traveller numbers.

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November

November sees a continuation of reduced rainfall in the Amazon, making it a great time to spot animals, and avoid mosquitoes! Spend time in any city at the beginning of the month to participate in Día de los Difuntos (All Souls Day) where you can partake in colada morada, a purple corn-based drink, and sweet bread shaped like babies called guagas de pan.

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December

In December, Ecuador offers a wide range of experiences that cater to various interests. Along the coast, the calm seas and excellent water clarity create ideal conditions for boat-based wildlife-watching, as well as diving and snorkelling adventures. For beach lovers, the coastal region provides an array of options, with beachside fishing villages and vibrant coastal party towns where one can set up camp and enjoy the festive atmosphere.


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