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Local, Cotopaxi, Avenue of Volcanoes, Ecuador

Amazon, Cloud Forest & Avenue of Volcanoes

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

12 Days

Prices Start from

$3,874 ex. flights

The ultimate medley of mainland Ecuador’s most iconic destinations, from the Amazon Rainforest to the Avenue of the Volcanoes, this journey by road, by plane and by canoe has a truly exploratory feeling due to its remarkable wildlife-spotting and interaction with indigenous communities.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Poison dart frog, Ecuadorian amazon 1

Amazon Rainforest

Sleep in an immersive jungle lodge in the heart of the wildlife-dense Amazon Rainforest.

Plaza de San Francisco, Old Town Quito, Ecuador 2

UNESCO Cities

Visit the colonial UNESCO World Heritage cities of Quito and pretty Cuenca.

Cloud Forest, Ecuador 3

Cloud Forest

Spend time in the Cloud Forest at an impeccable lodge or authentic reserve.

Quito and Cotopaxi, Avenue of Volcanoes, Ecuador 4

Avenue of Volcanoes

Discover the stunning alpine landscapes of Ecuador in the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

Why we like it

This adventure is comprised of mainland Ecuador’s greatest contrasts – the Amazon, the Cloud Forest & the Highlands. Journey deep into the rainforest, navigating in dugout canoes over black water tributaries where slumbering caimans rest like logs and through jungles saturated with exotic bird calls and chattering monkeys. In contrast to this dense and humid region, visit the magnificent Avenue of the Volcanoes and travel to Cuenca and Riobamba to experience local life and market culture.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Quito
  • Day 2
    Quito - Coca - Ecuadorian Amazon
  • Days 3-4
    Ecuadorian Amazon
  • Day 5
    Ecuadorian Amazon - Coca - Quito - Avenue of the Volcanoes
  • Day 6
    Avenue of the Volcanoes - Riobamba
  • Day 7
    Riobamba - Cuenca
  • Day 8
    Cuenca
  • Day 9
    Cuenca - Quito
  • Day 10
    Quito - Cloud Forest
  • Day 11
    Cloud Forest
  • Day 12
    Cloud Forest - Quito
Frog, Amazon
Frog, Amazon

Explore the Ecuadorian Amazon

Travel atop murky brown rivers in a dugout canoe deep within the Amazon Rainforest, navigating tributaries overhung with spider monkeys and watched by countless disguised species. In the company of an expert naturalist and a local guide, spot wildlife, clamber to the top of a tree tower high above the canopy, and watch as caiman eyes shine white under nighttime torchlight.

Vaquero on Horseback, Mountains, Clouds, Horses, Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
Cotopaxi, Peru

Avenue of the Volcanoes

A far cry from the heat and humidity of the jungle, life in the Andes is clear and fresh. Wind your way through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, visiting one of the colourful markets and staying overnight in a traditional hacienda to get a feel for life in the highlands of Ecuador. Cotopaxi National Park, renowned for having the highest active volcano on Earth, is a remarkable spot for mountain biking and horseback riding.

Historic Buildings, Quito, Ecuador
Historic Buildings, Quito, Ecuador
Cuenca, Ecuador
Cuenca, Ecuador

Colonial Quito & Cuenca

Renowned for its colonial buildings, cobbled streets and for being the highest capital in the world, wander the cobbled streets of Quito. Visit its artisan markets and perhaps venturing up Pichincha Volcano by cable car to take in stunning views of the city from 4,100-metres. Spend time in Cuenca, one of the most attractive cities in Ecuador, a title that is contested by Quiteños. Boasting cobbled streets, colonial buildings and domed churches that are offset by art galleries, artisan workshops and iconic Panama hat factories, Cuenca is set in a valley surrounded by the Andean mountains on the grassy banks of the Rio Tomebamba.

Ingapirca Ruins, Ecuador
Ingapirca Ruins, Ecuador

Explore the Incapirca Ruins

Head to the historical ruins of Ingapirca (meaning ‘Wall of the Inca’), the pre-eminent Inca archaeological remains in Ecuador that were constructed as an inn for Inca couriers and other travellers but expanded for use as a lodging for the emperor. Our expert local guides can guide you around the ellipse-shaped fortress made of green diorite, illuminating the details of Inca culture and traditions.

Cloud Forest, Ecuador
Cloud Forest, Ecuador

Amble the Cloud Forest

Visit the Cloud Forest, an area of thick forest that is shrouded in mist, and discover the exotic ferns, bromeliads, orchids, monkeys and hummingbirds that call this place home. From the base of a stylish cocoon-like hideaway or a cosy lodge, head out on daily explorations of the primeval moss and vine-draped bird-rich landscape, travelling by sky bike over the canopy or joining exhilarating night trail walks.

Snorkelling with sea lions
Snorkelling with sea lions

Suggestion: Galapagos Islands Extension

To truly experience all that Ecuador has to offer, fly out to the remote and remarkable Galapagos Islands – the gem of Ecuador and a treasure of the world. The pristine archipelago, which is reachable in as little as two hours from the mainland, can be explored during eye-opening sailing voyages or through carefully planned island-hopping trips. For up close and personal encounters with fearless sea lions, penguins, tortoises, sharks, blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas (to name very few), these islands are unmissable.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Sacha Lodge £££££

  • Ecuador
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Offering a rainforest lodge experience on the banks of Pilchicocha Lake, Sacha Lodge is nestled deep within a private 5000-acre reserve. Arriving at the lodge is an adventure in itself, reached by a combination of motorised river boats, canoeing and hiking. An elevated boardwalk leads to 26 individual thatched cabins, each with a shady terrace and personal hammocks, which are decorated in a bright and spacious style with sustainable wood furnishings. An incredible base for explorations of the jungle and swims in the lake pool, guests can join birds and monkeys on the delightful canopy walkway.

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La Casona de la Ronda £££££

  • Ecuador
  • City

Situated on one of Quito’s most traditional streets, La Casona de la Ronda has been wonderfully restored to maintain its original colours, stone walls and traditional character. Entering through wooden doors into a piece of Ecuadorean history, the heritage hotel is within a mansion built in 1738. Featuring 22 rooms, each arranged around a central patio, the property boasts a concoction of cultural, traditional and contemporary design elements. Each of the rooms is well-appointed, containing polished wooden floors and elegant furnishings.

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Hacienda La Alegria £££££

  • Ecuador
  • Farmstead and Ranches

A family-run organic farm situated south of Quito in the heart of the nation’s Andean region, Hacienda La Alegria offers an insight into one of Ecuador’s traditional working homesteads in an area renowned for its spring climate and snow-capped mountains. With just ten comfortable rooms that cater to everyone from independent travellers to families and private groups, the property is decorated in an authentic style with cotton bedding, solid cypress floors and beamed ceilings. Most importantly, the accommodations boast spectacular views of the Avenue of Volcanoes.

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Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge £££££

  • Ecuador
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Set within nearly 2000-acres of private reserve in Ecuador’s cloud forest, Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge is two hours outside of Quito and provides an ideal base for adventure, exploration and relaxation. Surrounded by hidden valleys, waterfalls and crystal-clear streams, there is a network of trails that you can amble in peace at your own pace without bumping into crowds of other people. Offering a unique stay above the forest canopy, the lodge is comprised of a selection of accommodation options from camping and mountain-view rooms to forest-view bamboo houses and geodesic domes.

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Mashpi Lodge £££££

  • Ecuador
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Seamlessly blending lush jungle with an urban comfort, Mashpi Lodge is at once enormously elegant and uniquely natural. An Ecuadorean cloud forest hideaway that is exclusive in feeling, the lodge is situated on a scenic plateau that overlooks distant forested mountains and up-close untamed foliage. A stunningly contemporary piece of architectural design, the lodge offers 22 rooms that aim to immerse guests in the striking landscape through the use of sweeping floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows. The flabbergasting restaurant and Explorer’s Bar prepare cuisine and beverages that have been created with a focus on native ingredients and flavours from both the coastal and Andean regions. An indulgent indoor forest experience is a show-stopping, immersive addition to the luxurious property.

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Casa Gangotena £££££

  • Ecuador
  • City
  • Boutique

A spectacular three-story boutique hotel set within a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco, Casa Gangotena boasts an exquisite interior that combines contemporary aesthetics with antiques and fine furnishings. A number of charming nooks and cosy spaces can be found dotted around the property, providing ideal spots to tuck into tea or cocktails. Its 31 spacious rooms and suites are appointed with rich carpets, towering window frames and lofty ceilings, while original restored fittings can be spotted throughout the entirety of the property.

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Mama Cuchara £££££

  • Ecuador
  • City
  • Boutique

An antiquated colonial house that has been through a meticulous process of renovation and modernisation, Mama Cuchara is a chic boutique hotel that integrates elements of authentic Ecuadorean culture with forward-thinking design aesthetics. Positioned just outside of the bustling centre of Quito, the property benefits from the quiet while still being within walking distance of the main square, churches, museums and eateries. Its 26 rooms and suites are charmingly decorated with locally-inspired textiles, featuring original wood beams and meticulously carved oak headboards, and are warmly lit by custom-made recycled plastic lighting fixtures. The walls of the property are lined with interesting modern artworks, the central courtyard is elegantly topped with a glass roof, and a rooftop bar offers the most wonderful panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.

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Mansion Alcazar £££££

  • Ecuador
  • City

Positioned in central Cuenca, a vibrant UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity town, Mansion Alcazar is a boutique hotel set within a historic 19th-century colonial building. Within ambling distance of architectural marvels, churches and art galleries, the property evokes old-world charm and elegant modernity all at once. Its 19 cosy rooms and suites are tastefully decorated with fine antiques, traditional touches and hanging artwork, all overlooking either a quiet interior courtyard or colourful external gardens. Gourmet cuisine is served at the in-house restaurant and there is also a delightful lounge and chandelier bar.

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Hacienda San Agustin de Callo £££££

  • Ecuador
  • Farmstead and Ranches

Situated on the site of an Inca fortress at the base of the active Cotopaxi volcano, Hacienda San Agustin de Callo is a working farm built in a unique architectural style that reflects its 15th-century origin. Its illustrious history sees the hacienda having served as a former Inca fortress, an Augustinian convent and the temporary lodging for the French Geodesic Mission. Today it offers six suites and five classic rooms that are spread between three unique houses, each attractively appointed with beamed ceilings, hardwood flooring and working fireplaces, and brightened with bold splashes of colour and hand-painted murals. For special occasions, it is possible to horseback ride further into the Andes for a remote champagne picnic.

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Napo Wildlife Centre £££££

  • Ecuador
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Burrowed in the very core of the Ecuadorean Amazon, Napo Wildlife Centre is a lodge owned and run by the local Kichwa Anangu community. Its privileged location within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Yasuni National Park is granted as a result of the lodge is 100% community based – these are sacred lands and waters owned by the indigenous people who call the Amazon home. The accommodations are spread between 20 rustic cabins, most of which are set slightly inland from the lake, built and decorated in a traditional style. Do not expect air conditioning, locking doors or glass windows at Napo Wildlife Centre – visitors will receive a truly authentic Amazon experience where luxury lies in the exquisite location, world-class guiding and an unimaginable abundance of raucous wildlife.

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As usual all aspects of this trip went like clockwork, even thought we were in South America where timings can be different to other parts of the world! This we put down to the work done by Paul and his knowledge of the country.

Destination: Ecuador
Travel Expert: Paul

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From $3,874 Per person

When to travel

Ecuador in January

January to May is a good time to visit the coast of Ecuador, with warmer weather ideal for relaxing on the beach. Short tropical showers can occur in the afternoon, but mornings tend to be bright and sunny. The rainy season is not such a good time for hiking in the highlands though, and the Amazon is drenched with roads often becoming impassable at this time.

Ecuador in February

January to May is a good time to visit the coast of Ecuador, with warmer weather ideal for relaxing on the beach. Short tropical showers can occur in the afternoon, but the mornings tend to be bright and sunny. The rainy season is not such a good time for hiking in the highlands though, and the Amazon is drenched with roads often becoming impassable at this time.

Ecuador in March

January to May is a good time to visit the coast of Ecuador, with warmer weather ideal for relaxing on the beach. Short tropical showers can occur in the afternoon, but the mornings tend to be bright and sunny. The rainy season is not such a good time for hiking in the highlands though, and the Amazon is drenched with roads often becoming impassable at this time.

Ecuador in April

January to May is a good time to visit the coast of Ecuador, with warmer weather ideal for relaxing on the beach. Short tropical showers can occur in the afternoon, but the mornings tend to be bright and sunny. The rainy season is not such a good time for hiking in the highlands though, and the Amazon is drenched with roads often becoming impassable at this time.

Ecuador in May

January to May is a good time to visit the coast of Ecuador, with warmer weather ideal for relaxing on the beach. Short tropical showers can occur in the afternoon, but the mornings tend to be bright and sunny. The rainy season is not such a good time for hiking in the highlands though, and the Amazon is drenched with roads often becoming impassable at this time.

Ecuador in June

June to September are typically the driest and clearest months across the country, with peak visitor numbers generally in July and August. It is worth booking in advance if you wish to travel at the time to secure the best accommodation.

Ecuador in July

June to September are typically the driest and clearest months across the country, with peak visitor numbers generally in July and August. It is worth booking in advance if you wish to travel at the time to secure the best accommodation.

Ecuador in August

June to September are typically the driest and clearest months across the country, with peak visitor numbers generally in July and August. It is worth booking in advance if you wish to travel at the time to secure the best accommodation.

Ecuador in September

June to September are typically the driest and clearest months across the country, with peak visitor numbers generally in July and August. It is worth booking in advance if you wish to travel at the time to secure the best accommodation.

Ecuador in October

October to December generally sees the fine weather continue across much of the country, although showers can occur at any time of year. It is a quieter time of year to travel, until the end of the year where accommodation should be booked well in advance.

Ecuador in November

October to December generally sees the fine weather continue across much of the country, although showers can occur at any time of year. It is a quieter time of year to travel, until the end of the year where accommodation should be booked well in advance.

Ecuador in December

October to December generally sees the fine weather continue across much of the country, although showers can occur at any time of year. It is a quieter time of year to travel, until the end of the year where accommodation should be booked well in advance.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

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