DAYS 17 – 29: ECUADOR
Crossing the border from Colombia into Ecuador, you will camp for one night in the market town of Otavalo before continuing south via the Mitad del Mundo monument that marks the equator to reach the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.
You will have a free day to explore the charming town of Quito and to get ready for your journey into the Amazon basin.
From Quito you will drive to the edge of the Amazon basin near the town of Tena before you head to a jungle lodge for an incredible 3-night stay. During your time at the lodge you will head into the Amazon jungle enjoying rainforest treks exploring the nearby waterfalls and caves, and trips down the Napo River in motorised dugout canoes, hopefully spotting lots of wildlife on the way. You will also see some ancient fossils and petroglyphs and visit a local Quichua community.
Leaving the Amazon behind, you will drive back into the highlands of Ecuador, arriving in Rio Verde near the famous Tungurahua volcano. You will have 3 nights, 2 full days here to enjoy a range of activities such as white-water rafting, trekking, canyoning, cycling, and other options. You will also have the opportunity to visit the nearby town of Banos and its popular volcanic thermal springs.
From Banos you will drive to the remote village of Chugchilán, via the spectacular highland scenery along the road of the ‘Quilotoa Loop’. In Chugchilan you will stay in a fantastic local hostel where breakfast and dinner are included, giving you a chance to enjoy traditional Ecuadorian food. From Chugchilan you will transfer to the village of Quilotoa to see its stunning crater lake, and take an included day trek back to Chugchilán through the local villages, canyons, and beautiful scenery. This walk is widely considered one of the best day treks in Ecuador! The mostly-downhill usually takes between 4-6 hours, but please be aware that there is a section towards the end of the trek with a steep incline which you will need to be physically fit for – although we thoroughly recommend the trek, it can be skipped by anyone if they prefer.
Your overland journey will then continue as you drive along the remainder of the Quilotoa Loop and then head south to the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca, via the stunning landscapes of the Cajas National Park.