Ecuador is amazing. It has it all, massive diversity, a well trodden backpacker trail and it is a stupidly beautiful country. Safe to travel and a lot of fun too. Check the country info section for more.
Flying into South America Via Ecuador? Start with this trip (you can also end with this too). With so many exciting adventures packed into one week, this might be the highlight of your whole trip. The perfect way to acclimatise into South America (literally).
Ecuador Adrenaline Overload Photos
Ecuador Adrenaline Overload: Trip Highlights
- Exploring historic Quito
- White water rafting in the Andes
- Horseback riding and staying in the Avenue of the Volcanoes
- Straddling the equator at the Mitad del Mundo
- Visiting the stunning market town of Otovalo.
- Stunning lagoons, National Parks and epic landscapes
A driver will be waiting for you in the airport with a sign and will drive Ifto the hostel.
**Night in Quito
Mitad del Mundo is an absolute must-see whIfen visiting Ecuador! Visit the world’s actual equator and
stand with the world in your hands in front of the monument as you are simultaneously in both the
Southern and Northern Hemispheres. The National museum, located inside the monument, will give
you a look into the rich Indigenous culture of Ecuador. A short walk down the street will take you to
the intriguing museum of Intiyan where you will have the opportunity to perform a variety of
experiments that will prove you are actually at the equator.
Afterwards, we would enter the old city of Quito, which contains a rich and attractive diversity of
churches, structures and historical sites, such as “La Plaza De La Independencia”, “La Iglesia De San
Francisco” and of course, the mighty “Basilica de voto Nacional”.
- 08:45 Pick up from your hotel for transfer to Mitad del Mundo
- 10:00 Arrive and explore Mitad del Mundo / Intinan Museum
- 12:00 Arrive and explore the old city, starting at “La Basilica del Voto Nacional” and ending at the
- 15:00 Return to the area of the Mariscal / your hotel
**Night in Quito (B)
Cotopaxi National Park tour is an exciting day that begins with spectacular views of the unique Andean
landscape in the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Inside the national park we hike up to the refuge which
is situated at 4,800m on the Cotopaxi snowline. Cotopaxi has its own micro-climate and the weather
in the area is very unpredictable, so please be prepared with warm clothes. Depending on conditions
we will then hike up to 5,000m where it can be possible to see the glacier, followed by a safety briefing
to commence our downhill descent on mountain bikes!
- 06:45 Pick up from your hotel for transfer to Papagayo hosteria0
- 8:00 Meet your guide, and check bikes and drive towards Cotopaxi National Park
- 09:00 Enter to Cotopaxi National Park
- 09:30 Explanations of the area, volcanoes, animals, etc.
- 10:45 Arrive at the parking lot at 4,500m, and begin hike up to “Jose Rivas” refuge.
- 11:30 Reach refuge at 4,810m. Rest, enjoy the view…
- 12:00 Hike to the glaciers (below decision of the guide depending on the weather) 5,000m and return to the parking lot. Drive to departure point for biking.
- 14:00 Equipment and bikes check and short briefing – begin decent on mountain bike.
- 14:30 Arrive at Limpiopungo lagoon via bike. After a short rest, depart the national park
- 15:30 Arrival and lunch at Restaurant Hosteria PapaGayo.
**Night in the Avenue of the Volcanoes – Hosteria PapaGayo (B, LB)
This full day cultural tour begins with a visit to a local indigenous market, Saquisili / Pujili (Thursday /
Sunday). The drive to Quilotoa Lagoon – an amazing emerald lagoon inside a volcano crater at the
height of 3,800m – displays beautiful views of the Andean mountains, passing the ancient canyon of
Zumbahua and many indigenous towns and farmlands. Before lunch we will visit a local aboriginal
home where you have the opportunity to interact with the inhabitants. The tour includes a steep hike
down to the lagoons shore.
- 08:00 Pick up from your Papagayo Hosteria
- 09:30 Explore Saquisili / Pujili (Thursday / Sunday) and visit a native family.
- 10:30 Continue to Quilotoa Lagoon
- 13:00 Begin descent to the lagoon
- 14:00 Explore the lagoon shore
- 14:30 Begin ascent to the lagoon’s viewpoint / * option of renting mules rent $8
- 15:30 Lunch
- 16:30 Returning to Hosteria PapaGayo
**Night in the Avenue of the Volcanoes – Hosteria PapaGayo (B, LB)
Our horseback riding tour is a super way to experience the atmosphere of the Andes and gain views
of the volcanoes. We offer well cared for horses which are well-trained and are ideal for novice to
The tour begins with instruction in a safe enclosure with the help of an experienced guide, to allow
riders to gain confidence with the horses. The trail begins from the Hosteria and heads
toward the many volcanoes in the area such as Corazon and the Illinizas. From the trail you have great
views of the famous Cotopaxi and Ruminahui. You can choose from a 2, 4 or 6 hour tour.
10:00 Begin riding instruction in enclosed arena, then we will start the ride.
Ride along Papagayo Farm and see the spectacular panoramic views of Pasochoa, Corazon, Ilinizas…
14:00 Return to the Hosteria for lunch, then transfer back to Quito
**Night Quito (B)
Our first stop will be in Cayambe where we will taste the town’s famous bizcochos (biscuits cooked on
an open fire) and admire the beautiful scenery of El Lechero, Otavalo and Lago San Pablo. Discover
the most famous artesian indigenous market in Ecuador, the Otavalo, where you will have free time
to explore and purchase local handicrafts, and where our guide will provide an explanation about the
local indigenous culture. We continue to the town of Cotacachi, then onward to beautiful Cuicocha
- 06:45 Pick up from your hotel for transfer to Otavalo
- 08:30 View point where it is possible to see Cayambe, Guayllabamba, Quito, Cotopaxi, Tabacundo and flower farms.
- 09:00 Quitsato Mitad del Mundo (entrance $1)
- 09:30 Visit at the Cayambe bizcochos (local biscuits) factory
- 11:00 Exploring Otavalo Market (Goatskin trousers optional)
- 14:00 Cuicocha crater lake (entrance: $2).
- 15:30 Cotacachi leather city
- 15:00 Leave back to Quito
**Night Quito (B)
Take a bus early in the morning to Banos. Arriving around midday, please go to the operator office
after lunch to start your tour.
A fun time is certain to be had with this tour of the incredible Route of the Waterfalls! Our day
begins with a 20 minute bike ride from the operator office in Banos to the first waterfall, Agoyan,
where we will stop to rest and take photos. The next stop is the spectacular Manto de la Novia. The
cable car ride we will take over the booming Pastaza river will give us an up-close view of the
The Ecuadorian landscapes will amaze you as we wind our way 18 km through the small village of Rio
Verde and stop to stand in awe of the massive Pailon del Diablo waterfall. Afterward, we will ride to
Machay falls, hike to its base and cool off in its powerful and refreshing waters. Having worked up an
appetite we will be glad to have lunch back in Rio Verde, and relax and take in the scenery as we
travel by car back to Banos.
**Night Baños (B)
Ecuador offers great rivers for experienced rafters and have proved to be the beginning of a
whitewater addiction for thousands of first-timers. Flowing off the coastal side of the Andes they have
some of the longest navigable sections of whitewater in the country. Combine this with the sights and
sounds of the forest environment we pass through and you are guaranteed a day to remember. The
day starts when we pick you up from your hotel then we about 3 hours.
Before setting off down the river, we will fit you with life jackets and helmets, give you a
comprehensive safety briefing and train each crew in the paddling techniques needed to navigate our
way down the river. Once on the river you can expect both the action of thrilling whitewater and the
tranquility of drifting silently through tropical rainforests. So while you’re guaranteed to get wet you’ll
also have the opportunity to be absorbed by the sounds of the forest and to see wildlife up close from
our mobile ‘viewing platform’. Rafting time approximately 3 hrs.
Back to Banos around 13h00/14h00 to take your bus back to Quito or travel onwards through Ecuador.
Please note the above itinerary is flexible and subject to change. You may not necessarily be doing these activities in the order listed, as we match the time schedule up to the best local ground conditions.
In Quito you will stay in a friendly hostel.
On day four we move to a great place just outside Quito in Cotopaxi National Park. A charming 150 year old farmhouse in the spectacular “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, a part of the western mountain range of the Andes located south of Quito in Ecuador.
This colonial hosteria accommodation near the volcano Cotopaxi does not only offer magnificent views of the untouched country-side, but also gives you the possibility to experience the culture of the Andes’ local communities. At the altitude of 3200m you can comfortably acclimatize and prepare yourself for the climbing of Cotopaxi, Ilinizas or even Chimborazo.
A Rough Idea of Price
All of our gap year holidays are completely customised to your needs and prices will therefore vary based on things like the time of year and level of accommodation; but we want to give you as good an idea of how much this itinerary will cost.
8 Days -