Quito and the Ecuadorian Amazon | Discover South America

Quito and the Ecuadorian Amazon

  • Sani Lodge
Classic Quito and Amazon map
8 days / 7 nights from £1,385 per person Based on two people sharing double or twin rooms in standard accommodation. Flights are available separately.
Suggested Itinerary in Ecuador

From the colonial charms of central Quito to the cultural experience of staying at the remote Sani Lodge deep in the Amazon Rainforest, this holiday shows you some of the best of Ecuador.

Day

City

Activity

Overnight

Meals*

Day 1

Quito

Arrive in Quito, transfer to Hotel

Quito

-

Day 2

Quito

Morning tour of Quito & Centre of the World

Quito

B

Day 3

Quito

Free Day in Quito

Quito

B

Day 4

Quito - Coca

Travel from Quito to Sani Lodge (flight not included)

Sani Lodge

B, L, D

Day 5

Coca

Wildlife Discovery

Sani Lodge

B, L, D

Day 6

Coca

Yasuni National Park Exploration and Indigenous Community Visit

Sani Lodge

B, L, D

Day 7

Coca - Quito

Depart Lodge and fly to Quito (flight not included)

Quito

B

Day 8

Quito

Depart Quito

-

B

* B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner


Upgrades and Extensions
  • Add extra nights in Quito from £55 more per person, per night (based on two sharing standard accommodation)
  • Add an extra day and night to the Sani Lodge experience from £210 more per person
  • Upgrade to superior or luxury accommodation in Quito - ask us for prices
Combinations
  • Combine this tour with a trip to the Galapagos Islands
  • Combine this tour with our 14 day Peru Holiday

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, transfer to Hotel

You will be met upon arrival at Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito, and have a private transfer to your hotel.  You have the rest of the day free to start exploring the city.  Spend the night at our Standard hotel in Quito.

Day 2: Morning tour of Quito & Centre of the World

You will be picked-up from your hotel by your bilingual guide, and join a group tour in English and Spanish.  The tour begins with a walking tour of Quito's colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America,  which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   You will start of at the main plaza, then visit the temple of La Compañía de Jesús and the Monastery of San Francisco.  Then continue to the Equatorial Monument, 16 miles North of Quito, which marks the exact Middle of the World, latitude 0º, where you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere and get a certificate for having crossed the Equator.  You will be back at your hotel in time for lunch, and you have the rest of the afternoon free to relax or visit the malls and parks of modern Quito.  Spend the night at our Standard hotel in Quito.

Day 3: Free Day in Quito

You have a free day to explore the City of Quito further independently today.  Alternatively contact us if you would like to include a day trip to Cotopaxi.  Spend the night at our Standard hotel in Quito.

Day 4: Travel from Quito to Sani Lodge (flight not included)

Your journey starts with a 35-minute flight from Quito to Coca where staff will meet you upon arrival. You will transfer to the banks of the Napo River where your bilingual guides will give a safety briefing before embarking on a 2 ½ hour boat trip on the largest Ecuadorian affluent of the Amazon, the Napo River. During the journey, you'll get a taste of the Amazon – ancestral communities, life on the river, and birdlife such as herons, egrets and vultures. A packed lunch will be provided.

The motorized canoe ride is followed by a 15 minute walk through flooded forest and a 20 minute paddle canoe ride across the beautiful Challuacocha blackwater oxbow lake. The lodge staff will be waiting to welcome you with refreshing cold drinks and delicious snacks.

After getting settled in to your cabin, you will have a short hike on nearby trails where you will get acquainted with the sights, smells and sounds of the Amazon jungle. As you enter the forest, sunlight is immediately filtered and you are faced with a million shades of green. A symphony of insect song fills the air, and your senses are instantly heightened. you might see one of the forest’s 13 species of primate, birds, frogs, or extraordinary flora. The walk is one of discovery, and immediately tunes you in to the richness of Amazon ecosystem.

Return to the lodge for a chef-prepared dinner. The talented culinary staff at Sani Lodge is proud to offer a wide variety of delicious national and international cuisine. They are able to cater to a wide variety of dietary preferences, including for vegetarians and vegans. One of the bilingual guides will give a briefing about the Amazon region before you head out into the lagoon to search for nocturnal wildlife, paddling silently through its black waters. Someone’s flashlight will almost certainly find eyeshine in the darkness – you might manage so see black caimans! Return to the lodge for overnight.

Day 5: Wildlife Discovery

After breakfast at the lodge, you set out for a full day of adventure in the rainforest. To start you will have a hike to learn about the plants, animals and people of the Amazon. You will discover medicinal uses for the rainforest’s many plant species, search for impossibly small species of frog and startlingly large insect species, keep your eyes open for primates high in the forest canopy, and learn about the Sani culture. You will also hone your blow gun skills to understand survival hunting techniques.

After a full morning, you will enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest in a special spot chosen by your guide. Following lunch, you will make our way to the lagoon system where you will set out on kayaks for an afternoon of paddling. A stop at Sani Lodge’s observation tower is a highlight.

You will wind your way up a 36 meter (108 ft) high staircase to the wooden observatory perched at the top of the forest canopy in majestic kapok (aka ‘God’s Hand) tree. The exhilaration of standing above the entire forest is quickly overtaken by the excitement of spotting some of the 565 registered species of birds. With some luck, there is also a chance to spot howler or squirrel monkeys or even sloths resting high in the canopy. The wildlife viewing from above is an entirely different perspective, and gives a chance to discover some of the Amazon’s biodiversity that can be difficult if not impossible to see from the ground.

After getting your fill of wildlife watching from the tower, you walk back to your kayak for a (1 hour) recreational paddle back to the lodge. You will enjoy another delicious chef-prepared dinner before retiring for the night.

Day 6: Yasuni National Park Exploration and Indigenous Community Visit

After an early breakfast, you will depart for a visit to Yasuni National Park. This 9,620 sq km park is Ecuador’s largest mainland park and is a Unesco designated international biosphere reserve. The park was untouched by the last ice age, resulting in a thriving and diverse pool of species, and it is one of the last true wildernesses in Ecuador.

You will walk in the park, observing its flora and fauna and make your way to a viewing blind near one of the park’s famous clay licks. There you might be lucky to see parrots and parakeets. They visit most mornings to eat clay that aids their digestion of unripe seeds and fruits. You might see mealy Amazon, yellow-crowned, orange-winged and blue-headed parrots among others.

After your morning in Yasuni, you will visit the local Sani community. Here, you will learn about and support their women’s project, the community turtle breeding work, and also participate in a cooking class, which will become your traditional lunch. Spending time with the Sani women in the kitchen allows for a special glimpse into their culture and customs, and also insight into our many commonalities. You enjoy a very special, very local lunch in the community.

Your cultural exchange and exploration continues after lunch, when you will hike back to the lodge on a “camino vecinal” (minor road/community path?) accompanied by your guide and a member of the local community. On your hike, you will get first-hand insight into local life while the Napo River flows by your side towards the Atlantic Ocean. You will learn about the local’s architecture, see their farming activities, their lifestyle, discover plants in the rainforest that are used for medicine, and more.

You will return to the lodge in the late afternoon for a well-deserved dinner. Optional night walk in the rain forest to see myriad insect, spider and frog species come to life in their nocturnal habitat.

Day 7: Depart Lodge and fly to Quito (flight not included)

After breakfast, you will make your way back to Coca for your flight back to Quito. As you journey up the Napo River, you will learn about some of the challenges that local communities and ecotourism ventures face with the intense pressure that extractive industries place on the Amazon.

Upon arrival in Quito you have a private transfer from the airport to your hotel.  Spend the night at our Standard Hotel in Quito.

Day 8: Depart Quito

After breakfast at your hotel, you will have a private transfer to the airport at the appropriate time to check-in for your onward flight.


Included:
  • Private transfers between Quito airport and your hotel with English speaking guide as mentioned
  • 4 nights Accommodation in double or twin share room at our Standard hotel in Quito,  including Breakfast
  • 3 nights at the Sani Lodge
  • Group tour of Quito and the Centre of the World, with Bilingual English/ Spanish guide
  • Entrance tickets for the churches mentioned and the Centre of the World monument
  • Full board while at the Lodge (see above table of meals included)
  • Purified drinking water, tea and coffee at the lodge
  • Bilingual English/ Spanish naturalist guide during lodge stay
  • All transport as mentioned (except flight from Coca to Quito)
Not Included:
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks payable at the Lodge bar
  • Unspecified meals and services
  • Optional tips for guides and/ or drivers
  • International and domestic flights
  • Airport taxes

Click on image to enlarge
Sani LodgeQuito Historic CentreLa Compania Church, QuitoQuito CathedralRed Howler MonkeySani LodgeKingfisherHoatzin
Packing List
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Fleece or down jacket for evenings
  • Trainers or walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Sun hat
  • Sun block
  • Insect repellent
  • Small backpack
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Binoculars
  • Torch
  • Camera (and spare batteries)
  • Cash for optional souvenirs and tips
All our tours are fully customisable - please ask us about any changes you would like to make to this itinerary.