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15 Day Exciting Wildlife Tour in Ecuador

Hilton Colon Hotel, Amazonas, Avenida Patria 14, Quito 170143, Ecuador

Mainland and Amazon Wildlife Tour in Ecuador

Let Ecuador Wonders show you the amazing country of Ecuador, with its nature, culture, and hospitality of the people, in this tour. The best of Ecuador, touristic attractions, nature, adventure, culture, gastronomy form part of our programs in Mainland Ecuador and the Amazon. The guides are determined to provide an unforgettable experience.

Key information

  • Maximum group size: 2 persons
  • Children policy: Children from one year old are allowed to join.
  • Starting point and ending point: Quito
  • Languages: English and Russian
  • Park fees are included.

Highlights

  • Quito city tour
  • Spot various birds and other wildlife
  • Explore Mainland Ecuador and Ecuadorian Amazon
  • Private transportation in mainland Ecuador
  • Shared transportation in the Amazon
  • 14 nights accommodation
  • Daily delicious meals

Styles


12 activity days
Group size: Maximum of 2 participants
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Accommodation

During this tour, accommodation will take place in:

  • First, second, and tenth night: Hotel Hilton Colon
  • Third night: Hacienda Pinsaqui
  • Fourth night: Polylepis Lodge
  • Fifth night: Hacienda Cusin
  • Sixth night: Hotel El Crater
  • Seventh and eighth night: Bellavista Lodge
  • Ninth night: Hacienda La Cienega
  • Eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth night: Sacha Lodge

Sacha Lodge

Lodging at Sacha combines the highest comfort to the traveler with the preservation of the environment and rainforest ambiance. All cabins, with high thatched roofs and private shaded terraces with hammocks, are constructed with traditional materials and nestle subtly into the lush surroundings.

Each of the 26 the rooms, which include single, double and (upon request) triple accommodations and three family cabins, provides a spacious private bathroom with flushing toilet and hot shower - some even feature floor-to-ceiling windows for an immersive jungle shower experience! All cabins are screened against insects, and contain ceiling fans above two comfortable double beds.

Program

Day 1: Arrival in Quito

Arrival at Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO) in Quito. Transfer to Hilton Colon Hotel.

  • Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel

Day 2: Quito - Teleférico

A Quito city tour is perfect for seeing fascinating panoramas, churches, domes, and roofs that have an important historical value. You will admire and learn about colonial art, architecture, culture, legends, and traditions.

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 9.350 feet. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic center in Latin America. The architecture and rich interiors, are pure examples of Quito School of sculpture, which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

After four incredible hours exploring the Old Town, you’ll understand why Quito was the world’s first city named to UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage list.

After your visit to Quito, continue to Teleférico which is located at the eastern end of the city, at the height of the boundary between the north and center of Quito. The moor of Pichincha volcano, at the top of Cruz Loma, offers a spectacular view of the whole city of Quito.

If the weather is good, it can be seen some main elevations of the Andes mountain chain such as: Cayambe, Antisana, Cotopaxi, Pasochoa, Rumiñahui and the list goes on. Besides the beautiful view, offered here is the Andean landscape, the cold wilderness with almost straight, flat road to the summit of Rucu Pichincha. Pichincha is the most visible elevation from Quito.

  • Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel
  • Included meals: Breakfast and boxed lunch

Day 3: Quito - Otovalo

Early in the morning, you will begin the exciting and colorful journey to Otavalo in Imbabura Province. Your first stop will be at Calderon, a small town where marzipan figures of different designs, shapes and colors are made, perfect to start buying souvenirs.

Your next stop will be at Guayllabamba. Here you can find “chirimoya”, a traditional fruit that you can try if you want to. Continuing your way, you will arrive to the “Mirador de San Pablo”, where you can appreciate the unique landscape of the lake that sits at the foot of Imbabura volcano.

In the afternoon, you will arrive to Otavalo, a handicrafts market of the city known as “Plaza de Ponchos”. On this site you’ll find carpets, wool coats, bags, and pottery made by the natives Otavalo Indians (Otavaleños).

Also you will visit Peguche Waterfall, a beautiful waterfall of 50 feet in height formed by the river of the same name which starts at Lake San Pablo. The waterfall is one of the most important tourist attractions of Otavalo because of its proximity and easy access.

This beautiful waterfall is considered as an Indigenous Ceremonial Site due to the purification baths held here a couple days prior the Inti Raymi celebration (Sun and harvest celebration, June 21st).

  • Accommodation: Hacienda Pinsaqui
  • Included meal: Breakfast

Day 4: Otavalo - El Angel

After breakfast, you will visit Condor Park. The Condor Park is located in a strategic point from which you can admire the Imbabura volcano, Cotacachi, and the Cuicocha crater. It is a conservation and research space located on the Loma Pucara Cuniloma. It houses 80 birds of prey that cannot be reinserted into the wild.

One of the best features of Parque Cóndor is the educational bird show. Visitors will sit and get to learn more about the aim of the foundation while they get to admire free-flight demonstration of birds, such as the American bold eagle and other small birds.

Then continue to El Angel Ecological Reserve. Located in El Angel-Carchi, a village two hours from Ibarra, it has a natural vegetation adapted to cold climates, a real sponge water that supplies the entire province of Carchi.

It is one of the most humid highlands of Ecuador, which offers a variety of flora especially frailejones (endemic to the Andes), polylepis trees, and typical landscape of the moorlands. Its fauna is diverse and you can find deers, wolves, rabbits, ducks, and moor doves that inhabit in the three lagoons.

  • Accommodation: Polylepis Lodge
  • Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

Day 5: El Angel - Cuicocha

In the morning, you can take a walk around the Polylepis Forest. This forest is considered to be the only one of its type in the world as it is millennial and primary composed of polylepis “paper” trees.

Then continue to visit Cuicocha Lagoon. The Cuicocha Lagoon is located 12 kilometers southwest site of Cotacachi town, it is part of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, occupies part of the provinces of Imbabura and Esmeraldas.

Cuicocha is a collapsed volcanic crater, but still shows signs of activity. Inside the lagoon are two islets called Teodoro Wolf and Jose Maria Yerovi. Its midst is separated by narrow water passage which only can be crossed by kayak or paddle boat. The lagoon has a beautiful crystal waters and has a depth of approximately 200 meters.

  • Accommodation: Hacienda Pinsaqui
  • Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day 6: Cuicocha - Pululahua

In the morning, you will return to Quito. The first stop is a rose plantation where you can learn about all the diversity and colorful roses that Ecuador produces. You will be able to take a closer look at what goes into the process of cultivating these beautiful flowers as well as the behind the scenes of the exportation and bouquet making processes.

Then continue to visit the Equator Line “Cuidad Mitad Del Mundo” and Intiñan Museum. “Ciudad Mitad del Mundo” is the touristic, cultural, scientific, and commercial smallest city of Ecuador. Its architecture is based on colonial style.

An obelisk and a museum relevant to its geographical location were built at the Middle of the World site. All of this is found among the drastic landscape surrounded by nature and modern buildings. The monument is crowned by a metallic sphere that represents the Earth. It is named Equatorial Monument and it geographical orientation coincides with the four cardinal points and is located precisely at Earth’s midpoint - 0 degrees latitude, 0 minutes, 0 seconds.

After that, you will visit Intiñan Museum. Since the year 1960, the Intiñan Museum in Quito has been a center for the promotion of the many aspects of Ecuador’s culture. This museum offers interactive exhibits on how the Incas determined the middle of the earth, plus interesting science experiments such as balancing an egg on a nail.

Continue to the Pululahua Crater. Pululahua volcano is one of the largest volcanic craters in the world, 34 square kilometes and 5 kilometers wide, which was last active about 2500 years ago. There is a lava dome rising 500 meters at the center which is covered in lush cloud forest vegetation. Pululahua was declared a Geobotanical Reserve in 1966.

Pululahua is Quichua for cloud of water in reference to the fog that rolls in everyday at midday to fill the crater (it’s best visited early in the morning for this reason!) and which is the only real source of water for local crops. It is one of only two inhabited volcanic craters in the world, and the only one which is cultivated due to its rich soils on the crater floor.

Pululahua enjoys a unique microclimate which supports cloud forests, orchids, and all kinds of plants that grow on the crater walls and lava dome. In the afternoon you can enjoy time at leisure.

  • Accommodation: El Crater Hotel
  • Included meal: Breakfast

Day 7: Pululahua - Bellavista

Transfer to Bellavista Lodge. Leaving Quito, you will descend to a scenic mountain road reaching the turn to Bellavista, climb to the top of the mountain, again with fabulous views where Bellavista’s lodge is perched. Settle into your room, and enjoy the flurry of the hummingbirds or take a hike into the forest on our varied trails.

After lunch, you can take a hike on your own into the forest, or go on one of the guided hikes. Your guided hike will acquaint you with the exuberant vegetation of the cloud forest, its bird life and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment. The evening is relaxed; we will help you discover the incredible variety of moths, many of which are unknown to science.

  • Accommodation: Bellavista Lodge
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 8: Bellavista

After a refreshing night’s sleep, an ample breakfast is served. Afterwards, take a guided hike or explore further on your own. After lunch, an afternoon hike deep into the valleys of the reserve is recommended, and in the evening it is possible to see night birds and more.

  • Accommodation: Bellavista Lodge
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 9: Bellavista - Yanacocha - Cotopaxi

Enjoy breakfast and head toward the Yanacocha Ecological Reserve located on the north side of Volcano Guagua Pichincha at 3600 meters / 11,483 feet. Here you will see hummingbirds and the mixed feeding flocks you will encounter will add many more tantalizing birds to the list!

You have good chances to spot Barred Fruiteater, Great Sapphirewing, Golden breasted and Sapphire vented Pufflegs, Sword billed Hummingbirds, and many more. After the visit to Yanacocha, you will continue to the Cotopaxi province.

  • Accommodation: La Cienega
  • Included meals: Breakfast and boxed lunch

Day 10: Cotopaxi - Quito

After breakfast, will drive to the famous Quilotoa Crater Lake. On the way, you will pass by the Tigua workshop and admire some impressive local artwork with impressions of life in the Andes.

At your arrival to the Quilotoa Loop, you will appreciate an emerald green lake inside the crater of an extinct volcano with steep jagged cliffs. You are going to trek into the crater to the lake shore and the return to the top of the crater in a mule ride.

  • Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel
  • Included meal: Breakfast

Day 11: Quito - Pilchicocha

Depart Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) at 11 a.m. (subject to change). A 30-minute flight over the Andes Mountains leads you to a bustling oil town called Coca located in the Amazon Basin. A quick lunch in Sacha´s private house and then its off to the town docks where you will board Sacha´s private canoes for the two-hour journey down river to Sacha´s Lodges property.

A 30-minute hike through the rainforest leads you to lake Pilchicocha. Here, you are met by native workers to paddle you across the lake to your final destination. Arrive at Sacha Lodge around 3:30 or 4 p.m.

Swim in Lake Pilchicocha, which is a black water lake home to many species of fish and animals. A refreshing swim after arriving may be just what you need after being in the equatorial heat all day.

Bird observing from the mini tower offers guests an excellent opportunity to view several species of birds common around the lodge. Also a great place to watch the sunset. Visit the butterfly house with your naturalist guide to view the beautiful colors of many different species of butterflies.

After dinner, accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest to view the hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night. Or maybe a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.

  • Accommodation: Sacha Lodge
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 12: Liana Chica and Liana Grande

Begin the morning activity between 6 and 7 a.m. with a walk on trail Liana Chica and arrive at the canopy walk for spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and the many different species of vibrantly colored birds.

Designed to be a self-standing rigid suspension canopy walk, it is one of only a few in the world! Located within Sacha´s private reserve, two miles from the shores of the Rio Napo and one mile from the lodge, the bird walk gives guests the opportunity to get an up close and personal view of the rainforest canopy.

Two of the three towers have observation decks every 12 meters making towers accessible for everyone. The canopy walkway is at 36 meters high and 275 meters long, giving guests a “birds eye view” of all the wonders and beauty the tropical rainforest has to offer. The canopy walk is designed as a sturdy walkway enabling guests to casually move along while enjoying the spectacular views.

After the canopy walk, explore Liana Grande through terra firma and igapo forest habitats where native guides will explain many different species of medicinal plants that have been being used in their culture for hundreds of years.

Liana Grande will turn into the trail Higueron, which will take you through pristine primary forest with huge Kapok and Fig trees towering hundreds of feet above your head.

After lunch, you may choose to take a leisurely hike along the Rio Napo, or choose a little more challenging hike on the trail Leoncillo to try and spot the elusive dusky titi monkey. Either way the trails will lead you back to the main boardwalk for your final hike and canoe ride back to the lodge.

  • Accommodation: Sacha Lodge
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 13: Lagartococha

Leaving the lodge after breakfast, begin your hike on trail Lagartococha. This trail offers you the chance to learn more about the native people and their relationship with the forest. earn about the trees where native people believe the spirits of their ancestors live, and the mysterious “dwende” or devil-man of the forest.

After arriving at lake Lagartococha, take a tranquil canoe ride through a natural swamp, which is the home of anacondas, caimans, and capybaras. After the canoe ride, a walk on the other side of Largatococha may give you the opportunity to spot capuchin or squirrel monkeys playfully jumping through the trees.

Return from the walk or canoe ride and head back to the lodge for a refreshing dip in the lake, or a nice relaxing nap in your personal hammock on your private balcony.

Around 3:30 p.m., you will begin what many think is the best trail at Sacha, a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest where you have a good chance of being surrounded by troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys. Keep your eyes peeled for the shy and elusive river otter as well as the incredibly well camouflaged three-toed sloth!

After your eye-popping ride through the flooded forest, you will arrive at Sacha´s 135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient Kapok tree. Get close up views of vibrantly colored birds through Sacha´s powerful scopes, and watch the sunset with an amazing view of Mount Sumaco, a volcano, and possibly a view of the snow-covered caps of the Andes!

Leaving the tower just before or after sunset will give you an experience not soon forgotten. A canoe ride back through the flooded forest at night will be an awe-inspiring experience. Listen to the symphony of frogs and insects as you navigate through the narrow flooded forest trail, keeping your eyes open for caimans. Watch the several species of bats flying over your heads and listen to the many species of nocturnal birds making their eerie nighttime calls.

Finally, after your mesmerizing canoe trip through the Amazon, you will arrive back at lake Pilchicocha and the welcoming lights of Sacha lodge.

  • Accommodation: Sacha Lodge
  • Included meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 14: Return to Quito

Have breakfast and depart from the lodge at 7:30 a.m. One last walk on the boardwalk to the river, and from there take a two-hour canoe ride back to Coca for your 35 minutes flight back to Quito. Arrive Quito at 12:30 p.m. (subject to change). Transfer to the hotel afterwards.

  • Accommodation: Hilton Colon Hotel
  • Included meal: Breakfast

Day 15: Departure

Have breakfast then transfer to the airport for your international flight.

  • Included meal: Breakfast

Location

The Amazon Basin, and the Ecuadorian Amazon in particular, is home to truly astounding biodiversity. The Yasuní Biosphere Reserve is believed by many to be home to the most diverse set of species on the Earth.

In the Ecuadorian Amazon, you will find: 800 species of fish, including three sorts of piranhas, 350 Species of reptiles, including anacondas and iguanas, more than 300 species of mammals, including monkeys and jaguars, thousands of species of plants and trees, and thousands of species of insects. One acre of rainforest may be home to 70,000 species of insect!

Food

Meals as mentioned in the itinerary are included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Quito city tour
  • Tour to Mainland Ecuador
  • Tour to Amazonian Ecuador
  • Private transportation in mainland Ecuador
  • Shared transportation in the Amazon
  • Services of an English speaking guide
  • 14 nights accommodation
  • Daily meals
  • Entrance fees

What's not included

  • Flight to / from Coca (240 USD for adults, 144 USD per child 12 years below)
  • Optional visit to Native Community Interpretation Center (5 USD)
  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Health insurance (obligatory)
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Items not specified

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO).

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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