For an extraordinary way to see mainland Ecuador, the 'Tapir' is packed with exciting and varied activities, wonderful scenery, and the chance to meet the local people. On this Ecuador adventure tour you’ll hike through virgin Amazon rainforest, around high volcanic plateaus and the fertile highlands surrounded by ‘The Valley of Volcanoes’. You’ll cycle the Chaquinan trail, visit an indigenous family, and soak in hot springs in an incredible Ecuadorian highland setting.You’ll go on a waterfall hike in the Amazon jungle, and explore Quito – Ecuador’s cosmopolitan and colonial highland capital city – it’s all here!
Chaquinan trail Puembo to Cumbaya
The Amazon jungle
Visit a traditional hacienda
Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve
Visit an indigenous Amazon family
Soak in hot springs
Charming hotels in Quito and Banos.
Hacienda in Cotapaxi.
Eco Lodge in the jungle.All activities
If the Kauri trip is our ultimate multi-adventure itinerary in New Zealand, the Tapir trip has to take that prize in South America. Over just 7 days you'll hike, bike, horse ride, ascend a waterfall and relax in hot springs!All domestic transport
Airport transfers on the first and last days.
All ground transport in a comfortable, air-conditioned van.
Jungle canoe ride.All guiding services
You'll have an experienced Active Adventures guide with you for the entire duration as well as specialist local guides in select locations - the perfect mix!All meals
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, except in Banos where you'll be free to eat dinner where you choose.
Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
- Start Date
- Start Date:14 Aug 22
- Availability:Filling up
ItineraryDAY 1 - ARRIVE QUITO, BIKE PUEMBO TO CUMBAYA
Your trip begins in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. Today is definitely a highlight of the ‘Tapir’ trip. The Chaquinan is a wonderful trail for biking and walking, it is a well maintained track on a disused railway through the Chiche River valley and other countryside features. We’ll cycle part of the trail, from Puembo to Cumbaya, where you will encounter great views, intriguing tunnels and the occasional bar or café. You can ride at your own pace through the tranquil landscape inhabited by native birds. On a clear day you may catch a glimpse of the perfect cone-like, snow-capped peak of Cotopaxi at 5,897 metres (19,347 feet). The scenery is magical! Later, we’ll make ourselves at home at Hacienda Porvenir, a typical, family-run Ecuadorian ranch, where we’ll share our first meal together!Hacienda Porvenir, Cotopaxi (Lunch, Dinner)Biking Distance: 20 kilometres (12 miles), 1.5-2 hoursElevation Gain: 200 metres (656 feet)Elevation Loss: 200 metres (656 feet)
This morning, after a hearty breakfast we’ll set off for our spectacular ride to the heights of Rumiñahui. We'll get acquainted with the horses and there are great possibilities of going at a faster pace, to either trot or canter on the high plateau. When we reach the base of the central summit of Rumiñahui, we’ll stop for a hot drink. Around this area there’s a high chance of spotting Andean birds, herds of wild horses and wild bravo cattle. This is a superb ride ride that allows riders of all abilities the chance to immerse in the local Chagra culture, all the while enjoying panoramic views of at least a dozen volcanoes. Later, we’ll drive through the ‘Valley of the Volcanoes’ to Baños, a beautiful mountain village in the Rio Pastaza Valley.Hotel Napolitan, Baños (All meals)Hose Riding Elevation: 600m (1,970ft) gain/loss
Baños, nestled between the Rio Pastaza canyon and Tungurahua volcano, is a playground of adventure activities. There are lots of optional activities here, including canyoning, biking, rafting, horse riding and even salsa dancing lessons! Unless you have your heart set on a certain activity, your guide will take you on a grand tour of the area, packing in a wide variety of sites you might not otherwise have found. We’ll head out of town to visit the Pailon de Diablo Waterfall, or Devil's Cauldron, hiking right up to the edge, allowing a soak in the waterfall itself, and we’ll check out the immense hydrologic power churning through the gorge in this portion of the Rio Pastaza. We'll also visit the famous treehouse swing, which swings high over the cliffs above Baños. The afternoon will then be yours to explore on your own, the magnificent, subtropical cloud forest here offers incredible hikes and the town is charming too. There are hot springs, great cafés, a beautiful town square and rows of little stores along the sidewalk where the locals weave melocha (toffee).Hotel Napolitan, Baños (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today we’ll head out of Baños and down the Rio Pastaza Valley. The high cloud forest gives way to lush rainforest, sweeping all the way down the canyon walls into the river below as we descend into Ecuador’s Amazon jungle lowlands. After lunch, we’ll travel deeper into the rainforest and hike along a stream to a series of waterfalls. With local specialist guides by your side, we’ll safely pick our way up through the cascading water. This is a wonderful chance to cool off and it’s a lot of fun! Once we’re above the waterfalls, we traverse a rainforest ridge to the trailhead. After our day exploring we’ll head to our accommodation for the night, a jungle lodge only accessible by boat and we’ll take a dugout canoe across the Napo River to the lodge set in the primary rainforest of eastern Ecuador. Sacha Sisa Lodge, Arajuno River (All meals)Waterfall Hiking Distance: 4 kilometres (2.5 miles), 3-5 hours Elevation Gain: 800 metres (2,624 feet) Elevation Loss: 800 metres (2,624 feet)
This morning we’ll head out for a walk prior to breakfast to explore the wildlife around the lodge, and we’ll have the chance of spotting chichico monkeys, stinky turkey, tanagers, seed-eating birds, oropendolas, cacique birds and woodpeckers! After heading back to breakfast, we’ll take the time to visit a local Napo River family. This is a real highlight of the trip – you’ll learn how these small indigenous communities maintain their traditional ways of life and get some sense of the important role the rainforest plays in their lives. We’ll then take a short drive to a small village called Misahualli on the banks of the Napo River, followed by a quick canoe boat across the river. In this area, Capuchin monkeys can be found jumping close to the river and within the village, the monkeys are wild however the local community feeds them which keeps them close by. After lunch we'll hit the road and head back into the highlands to Papallacta, taking in the cloud forest and mountain views along the way. Tonight, we’ll soak in glorious hot springs that sit right outside our rooms.Termas Papallacta, Ecuadorian Cloud Forest (All meals) - 3,300 metres (10,826 feet)Amazon Jungle Walking Distance: 1 kilometre (0.6 mile), 1-2 hours
We’ll rise early this morning and head to a nearby lodge that attracts a large variety of hummingbirds. Flitting and fluttering right past you, these busy birds will keep you clicking the shutter on your camera. With patience, we'll catch some staying still as they look for some sweet nectar in a nearby flower or feeder. After heading back for breakfast we’ll take a hike in the Andean grasslands, beginning at the South American continental divide at around 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) before making your way back down to the lodge. The weather here is changeable, so we have a variety of hikes to choose from depending on the conditions. This reserve, full of grasslands and little lakes, is the natural habitat of the spectacled bear, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled for the chance to see one. Then we’ll travel back to Quito where we’ll have the afternoon free to explore the city. We’ll meet again this evening for our final celebratory dinner in Ecuador.Hotel EB, Quito (All meals)Hiking Distance: 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), 1 hourElevation Gain: 300 metres (985 feet)Elevation Loss: 300 metres (985 feet)
Today is the last day of your ‘Tapir’ trip. If you have time to spare, we’re happy to help with some ideas for what you can do for the rest of your time here. You’ll return home relaxed and refreshed from all the great activities, fine food and friendly people you’ve met while travelling with us in Ecuador!(Breakfast)