Colonial Quito, colorful Otavalo, and the jungle wildlife of Yasuni National Park
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|Trip Length||7 days/6 nights|
|Price||From $3,295 to $3,695|
|If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.|
|*Price varies depending upon departure's group size.|
Day 1 (Quito) Set out on a morning tour of Old Town Quito, to marvel at the city’s ornate churches and architecture, rich in art treasures, fine woodcarvings, and gold leaf designs. A little north of the city, stop at the Middle of the World Monument to take your picture standing on the equator! Lunch is at a 17th century hacienda, where our hosts show us the chapel, gardens, and commercial rose farm.
Day 2 (Otavalo and Peguche) In store this morning is a visit to textile and vegetable markets, and a stop at the home of weaver José de la Torre, who still uses ancient weaving techniques in his small workshop. Lunch is at a local hacienda. In the afternoon, we enjoy a relaxing and hike to the sacred waterfall of Peguche.
Day 3 (Otavalo and Quito) After an easy-going breakfast at the hacienda, we visit Cuicocha Lake, in the crater of the dormant Cuicocha Volcano. Lunch is at a local hacienda, then we drive back to Quito. This evening before dinner we enjoy a private demonstration of the pottery technique known as mucahua. These mud pieces are decorated by Quichua women using rope and paint brushes made with human hair. The vasijas are fired in an open oven, and when finished, are used to drink the traditional beverage known as chicha.
Day 4 (Napo Wildlife Center) Catch a short morning flight to Coca, and board a covered, motorized boat for a 2.5-hour ride on the Napo River. Then we transfer to a dugout canoe for a quiet ride to the lodge along a narrow creek connecting to beautiful Añangu Lake. Watch for monkeys, toucans, parrots, herons, kingfishers, and even macaws. After dinner there’s an optional outing to look for caimans (crocodiles) and learn about the amazing nocturnal sounds.
Day 5 (Napo Wildlife Center, Yasuni National Park) Your experiences and activities at Napo will vary according to the weather and interests of your group. The goal is always to maximize wildlife viewing and wilderness enjoyment, and cultural interaction with local people. The description that follows for Days 5-7 gives you a general sense of what’s in store. Wake up early to walk to the best parrot clay licks in Ecuador, about 1 hour away from the lodge. You’ll have the opportunity to see up to eleven species of parrots, parakeets, and macaws, depending on the weather. Later, you have the option to hike along a forest trail to the Quichua community of Añangu. Return to the creek and hike through a “terra firme” (relatively dry) forest to the second parrot clay lick, to enjoy lunch with the birds.
Day 6 (Napo Wildlife Center, Yasuni National Park) After an early breakfast, head for a treetop canopy tower deep in the forest. Ascending the 12-story tower, you pass through different levels of the forest to emerge atop a huge “ceiba” tree. Wildlife that is virtually impossible to see from the forest floor are right beside you. Watch for flocks of colorful tanagers and blue and yellow macaws, as well as spider monkeys in search of fruit. There is no finer canopy experience in Amazonian Ecuador. After you come back to earth and have some lunch, hike through primary forest where you might see lizards, manakins, or golden mantle tamarin monkeys. Later, explore the lake and creeks by dugout canoe with the possibility of running into a giant otter family.
Day 7 (Napo and Quito for departures home) An early departure ensures one more quiet canoe excursion on the Napo River for a last chance to see giant otters, monkeys, or even rarer birds. You’ll board the motorized canoe for the 2.5-hour ride back to Coca to catch the flight to Quito in time for departures home.