Quito and the Ecuadorian Amazon | Discover South America

Quito and the Ecuadorian Amazon

  • Huaorani Guide
Classic Quito and Amazon map
8 days / 7 nights from £1,175 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 Huaorani Ecolodge 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 overland from Quito to Huaorani Ecolodge

Huaorani Ecolodge

D

Day 5

Coca

Huaorani Community Activities

Huaorani Ecolodge

B, L, D

Day 6

Coca

Shiripuno River trip to Campsite

Community Campsite

B, L, D

Day 7

Coca - Quito

Fly Coca – 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 £32 more per person, per night (based on two sharing Standard accommodation)
  • Add an extra day and night to the Huaorani Ecolodge experience from £110 more per person
  • Upgrade to our Superior hotel in Quito from £162 more per person for the 4 nights spent in Quito
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 Huaorani Ecolodge

You will be picked up early today to travel overland from Quito to Shell (named after the oil company) where you will board a small aircraft to fly to the Huaorani community of Quehueri’ono (keh-weri-oh-noh). 

Upon arrival in Quehueri’ono you will be warmly greeted by your hosts after a short 35-minute flight. From here, you will start your expedition downstream in a shallow dugout canoe called a quilla (kee-yah). Your luggage will be taken ahead separately, so be sure to keep your camera, binoculars, sunscreen and hat on-board with you. Rubber boots and rain ponchos will be distributed at this point. Immediately, you will begin to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the Amazon. The entire paddle downstream will be filled with amazing wildlife viewing, and you’ll likely catch a glimpse and photo of the many riverside birds, including the Yellow-rumped Cacique, the Greater and Lesser Kiskadees, and any of the four Amazonian kingfishers. You won’t want to put your camera down as you traverse the mighty Shiripuno River (shire-puno) sandwiched between thick tangles of rainforest vegetation on either side.

Finally, you will arrive at Huaorani Ecolodge, your intimate and comfortable home for the next few days. You’ll have the chance to settle in, have lunch listen to an introductory briefing about the Huaorani culture and their relationship with the rainforest at the discovery trail. After dinner, feel free to rest up for day two of your Amazonian adventure, or if you have an urge to start exploring, ask your guide to lead you on a night walk.  Spend the night at the Huaorani Ecolodge.

Day 5: Huaorani Ecolodge activities

After breakfast, a Huaorani guide will accompany you on a long nature hike into the forest. The local guides are also experienced hunters and they will teach you the secrets of rainforest survival without killing any of the creatures that live there. You’ll learn how to set traps, make fire without matches, build a shelter in minutes, use a blowgun, practice the perfect swing of the machete and catch fish in small creeks. Your guide may also point out and let you taste edible insects, identify and explain the uses of medicinal plants, and show you which clay is used to make pottery.

The trail has two overlooks as it winds toward the community. There are tree trunk seats for some much-needed rest and will allow you to enjoy the view over the forest canopy, where you may see vultures soaring and trees in bloom. Afterwards, you’ll have time to change into your swimsuit and take a dip in the fresh river water, swimming beside the creatures of the Amazon. Do not worry, though, the animals won’t bite; humans are the only true threat in the jungle! Most likely, members of the Huaorani community will join you for the swim; the river plays a central role in their lives and they love to play in the water! Shortly after, you’ll fill up on a hearty lunch near the community.

The afternoon will be spent with the community, when you’ll get to know the members personally. The relaxed, informal visit may lead you to share a bowl of chucula (a sweet drink made of ripe bananas) under the filtered light of the thatched houses, or admire the beautiful handmade artifacts, including woven hammocks and bags, blowguns, traps and necklaces. You’ll also have the chance to visit the Bi-cultural Ecology Education project and learn how to harvest manioc, also known as yucca or cassava. Perhaps you will be invited to join in a game of ecua-volley!

If you’d like, you can visit the community’s handicraft market and purchase some of the products. The production of crafts is one of the ways the Huaorani maintain their culture, and buying crafts is way to provide direct support the Huaorani families: it provides employment in the village and another reason to protect the natural areas around the community. You return to the lodge by canoe at the end of the afternoon to relax and have dinner, then your naturalist guide will offer a half hour discussion, or charla, on a subject of interest.  

Spend the night at the Huaorani Ecolodge.

Day 6: Huaorani Ecolodge activities

After breakfast, you set off canoeing down the Shiripuno River in traditional Huaorani style, or you can choose to kayak instead at an additional cost. Today the day starts extra early in order to catch a glimpse of the many different birds out at these hours. The tranquillity of the morning will allow you to appreciate the true peace and calm of the rainforest, and is the perfect time to relax and engage in intimate conversations, reflect on the past few days of the journey, or to learn some Huaorani vocabulary. 

Next up is a stop at the Apaika community, which lives inside the Yame Reserve, a 55,000-hectare protected area managed by the Huaorani Association, who leads the region’s ecotourism initiatives.  Here you will enjoy a quick snack and visit Apaika’s mini interpretation center, where you can learn more about Yasuní National Park.  To complete the afternoon, you’ll be able to join the community in some of its daily activities and share in its history, myths and magic.  Afterwards, the group continues a couple more hours downriver near the Huaorani village of Nenquepare. You will spend the night here, camping out along the Shiripuno River, sleeping with the sounds of the Amazon’s animals. The well-constructed and comfortable campsite is part of a community initiative, so you will really get to participate in and support community tourism at its finest.

Day 7: Depart Huaorani Community Campsite and return to Quito (Coca – Quito flight not included)

Before the return journey and after being treated to a delicious breakfast, you will have the opportunity to hike the community trail to visit an impressive waterfall, one that has special importance for the Huaorani. Once there, you can take a dip in the energizing waters to recharge for the trip back to Quito. The fairly easy walk is three hours altogether, and your naturalist guide will be sure to point out any special plants and animals you may come across.

Once back at the campsite, the group will bid farewell and start the return journey downstream in canoe. This will begin the “toxic tour,” an introduction to how the oil industry has impacted the Huaorani lands. The group will head to the border between traditional Huaorani territory and that of the petroleum companies, though it all used to belong to the Huaorani. Here you will see the road built by oil companies in the early 1970s, which crosses the river, and transitions from forest to “civilization.”  Roads are symbols of modern deforestation, providing access and means for human populations to grow at a rapid rate. This affects indigenous peoples by displacing them from the best and most accessible agricultural soils (which aren’t particularly well suited to begin with), reducing the amount of land available for their hunting and gathering practices, and encouraging them via settler example and government policy to increase their reliance on agriculture and timber extraction.

On this short tour, you will witness the crude reality of our collective thirst for oil as you ride alongside miles of pipelines, which go from the Huaorani community of Tihuino to Lago Agrio, the oil hub of el Oriente, to be pumped across the Andes to the port of Esmeraldas. This brief journey through oil territory illustrates the reality of the threat facing the rainforest and the Huaorani people. You will also realize why your visit to Huaorani Lodge was so important!

After a 2-hour overland ride down the auca road, you will reach the banks of the Río Napo and the town of Coca, where you will catch your flight to Quito.

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
  • 2 nights at the Huaorani Ecolodge in a twin share cabin, with private bathroom
  • 1 night at Community initiative campsite
  • 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 (Coca to Quito from £75 per person subject to availability)
  • Airport taxes

Click on image to enlarge
Huaorani GuideQuito Historic CentreLa Compania Church, QuitoQuito CathedralHuaorani EcolodgeHuaorani Community
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.