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Amazon, Tribes and Volcanoes


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Discover Ecuador’s Andean peaks and live volcanos and cruise a tributary of the mighty Amazon…

Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest and most diverse countries. Your holiday starts high in the Andes in the capital of Quito, exploring the culture and landscape and meeting the local people. Next you head for the River Napo – a tributary of the Amazon – to spend four nights cruising and exploring aboard a river boat…


5 nights in hotels, 4 nights on board ship and 2 in flight

25 meals: 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 9 dinners

Excursions and visits

  • City tour of Quito
  • Visit to a rose plantation
  • Visit to Otavalo craft market
  • Visit to a Quechua family who make pan flutes
  • Attend a shaman ritual
  • Trip on the Tren de la Libertad train
  • Evening forest walk
  • Ecuadorian cooking class
  • Walk in the tropical rainforest
  • Visit to a Kichwa home
  • Canoeing in a black water lake
  • Visit to a canopy tower
  • Forest hike
  • Visit to see Amazon turtles

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 - 2 UK to Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Fly overnight to Quito, capital of Ecuador, arriving the next day. Stay overnight at the Hilton Colon Hotel (4Q).

Quito Ecuador South America

Day 3 Imbabura

Quito, Ecuador

Quito lies in the Andes, overlooked by the Pichincha Volcano. It’s a fascinating city whose old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a city tour, head for a rose farm to learn about one of Ecuador’s important exports, then transfer to the beautiful mountain setting of SachaJi Wellness Ecolodge (4Q) in Imbabura where you’ll stay for three nights. B, L, D

Imbabura Ecuador South America

Day 4 Imbabura

Local crafts and textiles

The mountain town of Otavalo is known for its local markets. Today you’ll visit both the craft market famed for its textiles, and an Andean Quechua family who will demonstrate how pan flutes are made. After lunch at a community project, see a shaman ritual (a traditional healer who uses plants and spiritual practices), performed at your hotel. B, L, D

Imbabura Ecuador South America

Day 5 Imbabura

The Andean countryside

Travel to Ibarra station and board the ‘Tren de la Libertad’ – the Liberty Train – for a journey through the Andean countryside to Salinas. Here you will meet members of Ecuador’s Afro-Ecuadorian community, whose ancestors were forced into slavery by the conquistadors in the 16th century. Learn about their history, lifestyle and culture before enjoying lunch at the town’s community centre. B, L, D

Imbabura Ecuador South America

Day 6 Imbabura to Quito to Capo to Napo River

Rio Napo

Fly from Otavalo to Coca, and transfer to the MV Manatee Amazon Explorer (3Q) cruise ship for your four-night trip down the River Napo, a tributary of the Amazon. This dedicated ship is perfect for exploration. As you set off downstream, admire the scenery from the observation deck in the company of your local tour and nature guides. This evening enjoy a walk ashore and experience the sounds and night wildlife of the forest. B, L, D

River Napo Ecuador South America

Day 7 Napo River

An anaconda

Disembark and set off into the tropical rain forest to discover the abundant plant and animal life. Continue to cruise the river watching out for the elusive Pink River dolphin, as well as the sinister anaconda. Once back on board your ship, continue sailing along the Ecuador/Peru border. B, L, D

River Napo Ecuador South America

Day 8 Napo River

Squirrel Monkeys

Sail upstream calling en route at the aptly named ‘Piranha Lake’, home to the notorious fish of the same name. Local wildlife also includes common squirrel monkeys and the white caiman. From here you’ll visit the home of a Kichwa family – an Amazonian tribe –before continuing your cruise. On board perhaps join a cooking class with the chef, who will share some Ecuadorian recipes and techniques. Later, go canoeing in a black water lake with its giant otters and elusive manatee, followed by a forest hike watching out for birds and the Giant Fig tree. B, L, D

River Napo Ecuador South America

Day 9 Napo River

The Amazon canopy

Spend the morning cruising before disembarking for a forest walk, when you can explore some of the animal and plant species to be found in the Amazon basin. This afternoon, visit a canopy tower constructed against a giant Kapok tree, from where you will be able to take in breathtaking treetop views. B, L, D

River Napo Ecuador South America

Day 10 Quito

Spot turtles

Your adventure concludes with a visit to see Amazonian turtles before disembarking and transferring to Coca. Fly to Quito and return to the Hilton Colon where you stay overnight. B, L, D

Quito Ecuador South America

Day 11 - 12 Quito to UK

The wing of a plane over clouds

Transfer to the airport after breakfast for your return overnight flight to the UK, arriving the next day. B

Swap the cruise for an ecolodge stay

Some departure dates offer a different itinerary. Follow the same itinerary from Days 1-5 then, instead of the 4-day cruise, you’ll transfer to the Napo Cultural Centre – a community project run by the Kichwa Añangu people. Head to the Yasuni National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and stay four nights in a comfortable cabin that’s part of an ecological lodge. Set out each day to discover this unique area, enjoying the following included excursions and visits:

  • Visit the Parrot Clay Lick where a host of these colourful birds lick the clay, said to counteract toxins in their diet
  • Visit community projects run by the Kichwa people, an Andean tribe, and learn about their culture and traditions  
  • Discover the nightlife and sounds of the forest by canoe
  • Visit an observation tower over 100 feet high, and watch for birds and wildlife 

On Day 10 you’ll fly to Quito for an overnight stay at Hotel Colon, flying home to the UK overnight on Days 11-12.

Available departure dates: October 17, 2018, February 20 and April 17, 2019.

Please note

In Quito you will travel to around 3,000 metres above sea level. A good degree of fitness is required to enjoy this holiday. The itinerary may be subject to modification dependent upon technical or operational changes. 

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Amazon, Tribes and Volcanoes