macrolobium-trees-cuyabeno

Ecuadorian calderas and Amazon Rainforest

Sleeping in a volcanic crater, paddling through the Amazon Rainforest!

This itinerary is part of a combined Peru and Ecuador journey. This adventure can be arranged on its own or as originally planned, together with Peru. This experience has somebody in mind who is not that fit yet wants to explore the Amazon Rainforest, encounter some of its indigenous people and support their cause.

Arrival in Quito from Europe and transfer to a small Heritage hotel, immersing you in the true atmosphere of the unique colonial centre of Quito. The next day featured a fully guided city tour taking in the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace and several historic churches. We included some free time to explore Quito and to relax into Ecuador.

The following morning we had arranged a pick up to drive to Pululahua, a Geobotanical Reserve. Home for the next five days was to be in a private lodge surrounded by Orchids, butterflies and rare species of birds. The lodge produces its own organic food and renewable energy, it is located in a 2500-year-old caldera. If one ever wanted to sleep in the crater of an extinct volcano, here is your chance.

The next couple of days were planned to relax, to explore many trails, go bird watching, butterfly spotting and horseback riding. One of the highlights we had arranged included a visit to Mindo, located in a cloud forest valley. Butterflies and especially Hummingbirds can be spotted from the paths.

From the Geobotanical Reserve, we arranged an early morning drop off at the airport in Quito to fly the short hop to our pick up point in the Amazon Jungle. The 55-minute flight avoids a 5-hour drive and therefore makes sense.

Upon arrival, a drive to the local river from the airport brings you to the canoe landing location and from there you paddle deep into the Amazon Rainforest. The next five days are spent immersed in the jungle together with your local tribe. What is special: The eco-tour is booked and arranged through the tribe. All monies go directly to them. Further details on request.

Why is this so special? When you walk in the forest, the animals above in the treetops are difficult to observe. Looking up, you hardly see anything and with the contrast of the sky and leaves it appears quite black. Along narrow rivers, the light can break through the canopy and from the water you see birds, flowers and mammals. Dolphins, manatees, capybaras, cormorants and many other exotic creatures can be observed within the Cuyabeno National Park. Spotting wildlife is much easier from a canoe compared to walking on a trail.

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Magic encounters can happen in the Amazon Jungle, the quietness of the forest, the deep immersion with the local indigenous people or an encounter with the wild can trigger a mindset open to the discovery of purpose and meaning.

Drop off back at the canoe landing happens around midday and a return flight to Quito completes the adventure into the Amazon Rainforest. Upon arrival in Quito, we arrange a day hotel stay to prepare for either a continued stay in Ecuador or leaving the following day! There are a number of options from visiting the coast to discovering historic train rides to flying to the Galapagos Islands; in our case, we had prepared a visit of Peru with a flight from Quito to Lima and on to Cusco. Details of that trip can be found in the Peru itinerary.

Facts: this itinerary is part of an Ecuador/Peru travel adventure. It was designed with somebody less fit in mind. The Ecuador part includes nine nights accommodation from bed&breakfast in Quito to half board in Pululahua and full board in the Amazon Rainforest. Local return flights, all local transfers and the guided tour were included. Total cost per person was €1886. International flights from Europe at time of planning this trip was €951.00 per person.