Ecuador Active Explorer Trip Highlights

  • Mountain bike amongst Incan ruins and a volcano-dotted countryside
  • Ice hike atop a glacier on a volcano
  • Barter for wares with colorfully dressed artisans from varied indigenous groups in South America’s most vibrant market
  • Spot condors while walking among Andean landscapes and exploring the Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes
  • Discover the amazon hiking, canoeing, and wildlife spotting before returning to the comfort of a luxurious jungle lodge

Itinerary Overview

An exhilarating Ecuador adventure taking you through the Avenue of the Volcanoes, the Andes Mountains, and the Amazon Jungle. End your mainland Ecuador trip at the Amazon’s best eco-lodge and see the Amazon with a local indigenous guide.


DAY 1  Quito

Arrive Quito. Transfer to hotel in historic old town (most flights arrive later in the day).

DAY 2 Cotopaxi Mountain Biking

Mountain bike from Incan ruins through picturesque countryside and the Avenue of the Volcanoes with views of Cotopaxi arriving to remote, authentic Hacienda Porvenir. Choose to visit Machachi and small villages in afternoon or relax at hacienda.

DAY 3 Antisana Ice Hiking

Hike on the Antisana Volcano to a glacier where you gear up with crampons, ice axes, and ropes to hike atop this vast icescape (no prior experience necessary).

DAY 4 Otavalo

Heading north visit two historic haciendas lunching at one en route to Otavalo – an outpost for a variety of indigenous peoples from the nearby countryside. Explore South America’s most culturally intriguing market. Overnight in a charming hacienda.

DAY 5 Amazon Jungle – Napo Wildlife Center

Short jet flight to Yasuni National Park in the Amazon Basin. Venture by motorized and traditional canoe through the Amazon arriving to Napo Wildlife Center – a deluxe lodge pioneering cultural and environmental sustainability. Sip a welcome drink, relax in your private cottage, dine on gourmet meals from fresh, local products, and choose from a variety of excursions during your stay. Start off with a caiman search tonight.

DAY 6 Amazon Jungle – Napo Wildlife Center

Visit a clay lick to see parrots, parakeets and macaws. Hike to the Kichwa community of Anangu sharing with villagers learning of their culture and traditions. Picnic lunch while spotting flora and fauna before returning to the lodge.

DAY 7 Amazon Jungle – Napo Wildlife Center

A morning walk on a jungle trail takes you to a 120-foot canopy tower. Ascend through different forest levels emerging to see the jungle as only the birds do and spot wildlife amongst the canopy. Hike in the afternoon or go by dugout canoe looking for wildlife.

DAY 8 Amazon Jungle – Quito – Home

Watch for giant otters, monkey species and rare birds while canoeing back to the Napo River. Continue by motorized canoe and onward for your flight back to Quito and onward home.

Is It For Me?

A more active, in-depth Ecuador trip highlighting the diverse, striking landscapes with exciting adventure excursions like mountain biking and ice hiking, juxtaposed by rejuvenating evenings in cozy haciendas, countryside inns, and a luxury jungle lodge.  Cloudforest, volcanoes, glaciers and rainforest makes this one amazing journey and gets you in close contact with Ecuador’s wide-range of cultures and people. Now that’s an Ecuador adventure trip!

Knowmad has vast knowledge and operations in Ecuador; this is a private trip and we are happy to modify excursions, accommodations, and the flow of the itinerary to perfectly suit your travel style and interests.

Have questions? Talk to an expert: 612-315-2894

Important Info

Ice Climbing in Ecuador


Listed prices are approximations. All Knowmad trips are custom and exact pricing is provided in your trip proposal.

  • From $3,700 per person / 2 travelers

TYPE Flexible Date Private Departures

MODERATE TRIP Activities include mountain biking, ice hiking, canoeing, cultural opportunities, history, shopping, wildlife viewing.

DEPARTURES Year round; can be set up to match your dates.

LENGTH 8 days – 7 nights comfortable hotels              BEGIN / END Quito, Ecuador

Air Travel

INTERNATIONAL Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips. You may arrange your international airfare independently, or we are happy to offer our feedback and assistance in helping you book it.

REGIONAL No regional airfare necessary.

What's Next?

Ready for the trip of a lifetime? Signing up is easy. Call us at 612-315-2894 or email [email protected] and reserve your spot. Or simply download our registration form, fill it out, and send it back to us along with your trip deposit. Please refer to registration form for terms & conditions.

Weather & When to Go to Ecuador

Quito and Highlands (Otavalo and Avenue of the Volcanoes) – Being both close to the equator and high in the mountains, Quito and the highlands enjoy mild days and cool nights most of the year. Evening temperatures average in the mid 40’s F (7 C) while daytime temperatures are consistently in the 70’s F (25 C). Rainy season runs from October to May with April being the wettest month, however rains are intermittent and the region is enjoyable to visit during this time. June to September is drier with slightly warmer temps.

Weather in Ecuador

Prior to your departure, you are provided a detailed pre-trip information packet including a recommended pack list, information about the regions you’ll be visiting, suggested readings, up-to-date health information including any recommended vaccinations and more.


Our trips feature comfortable accommodations that complement their surroundings. We seek out intimacy and character, but never sacrifice cleanliness and security. We also find the best value for quality. In general, our physically moderate to vigorous trips feature hotels classified as 3+ to 4 stars, while less physically demanding trips feature 4+ to 5 star hotels.

As South American travel specialists, we’re experts and have inspected hundreds of properties. Knowmad is happy to suggest upgrades and alternative hotels based on your preferences to ensure your trip is perfect for you. Photos below are from this itinerary’s preferred accommodations. For more specifics, call or write to request more info.

Hotels in Ecuador

Accommodations featured in this itinerary are the following:

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Quito

Upon arrival (most international arrivals will be late at night) you’ll be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken to your accommodations centrally located in a historic Quito neighborhood.

Day 2 Cotopaxi Volcano Mountain Biking

Depart early after a filling breakfast and head north through the striking Avenue of the Volcanoes. Arriving to the Incan ruins Pucara del Salitre you’ll gear up, hop on mountain bikes, and enjoy a beautiful ride through the countryside with views to the Cotopaxi and other Volcanoes. Your ride ends at Hacienda Porvenir where you’ll have a filling highland lunch and learn of chagra (Ecuadorian cowboy) culture. In the afternoon choose to relax at your rejuvenating hacienda accommodations with views to Cotopaxi, or explore highland culture visiting small villages home to leatherworkers and other artisans.

*For those who prefer, horseback riding (alternate route to Ruminahui Volcano) in the morning rather than biking is possible for a small additional cost.

Day 3 Antisana Volcano Ice Hiking

Setting out by van in the morning you’ll head from the Cotopaxi Volcano to the Antisana. From the foot of the volcano you’ll hike to the tree line. From here continue another hour and arrive to the glacier’s edge. After a snack and being fitted for crampons, ice picks, and ropes you will embark with a specialized ice climbing guide atop the glacier (suitable for those without experience). After an exciting hike in this surreal setting enjoy a gourmet lunch at Mucki’s, a charming and rustic German-Ecuadorian style restaurant, that is the perfect end to a great day. By van head back north and spend the evening at an over-200-years-old converted hacienda.

Day 4 Otavalo

Following breakfast you will continue north and after a short drive arrive to Otavalo. En route stop at a historic hacienda and an adjacent rose plantation learning of their cultivation and worldwide exportation. Arriving to Otavalo, enjoy a traditional lunch at Hacienda Pinsaqui. Following lunch continue on to the Otavalo Market, the biggest and most important indigenous market in all Latin America. The colorful main handicraft and textile market spills into the streets from the central Plaza de Ponchos, the colorful produce market impresses by sheer number, and the cacophony of the animal market comes from the outskirts of town. The friendly Otavalenos are more than happy to talk about their crafts and traditions.

Day 5 Amazon Jungle – Napo Wildlife Center

Getting an early start to the day, after a hearty countryside breakfast you will be taken to the Quito airport for a short flight (by jet) to Yasuni National Park in the Amazon Basin. After a short drive to the dock, board a large, motorized canoe for a scenic two-hour trip downriver. Transfer to smaller dugout canoes and be paddled up the black water creek to the Napo Wildlife Center – an environmentally friendly lodge that offers an exciting and rejuvenating experience deep in an isolated setting perfect for spotting the flora and fauna the Amazon is famous for. Along the way it’s possible to see a variety of monkey species as well as large birds like toucans, parrots and macaws. After an hour or so the creek opens to an overwhelming view of the Anangu Lake where the Napo Wildlife Center is perched along the banks. Enjoy a welcome drink and briefing while your luggage is transferred to your private jungle cottage. After dinner you may choose to go on an excursion around the lake to spot caimans.

Your stay at the lodge includes gourmet meals and a variety of excursions to choose from according to your interests and preferences. The following is a sample itinerary.

Day 6 Amazon Jungle – Napo Wildlife Center

Rise early to reach Ecaudor’s best and easiest-access parrot clay licks. A total of 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen at the naturally created feeding ground. Later, hike along a forest trail to visit the Kichwa community of Anangu meeting villagers and learning of their culture, customs and traditions. Return to the creek and hike through the forest for half hour until arriving to the second parrot clay lick where you can find different bird species. Enjoy a tasty picnic lunch at the observatory before a late-afternoon return to the lodge.

Day 7 Amazon Jungle – Napo Wildlife Center

Following an early breakfast hike 20 minutes on a jungle trail arriving to a 120-foot canopy tower. Ascending the tower you pass through different levels of the forest emerging on top of a huge ceiba tree. Cross onto a platform built into the tree and view the Amazon as only the birds do. Flocks of colorful tanagers pass right through the canopy, blue and yellow macaws soar past, spicer monkeys search for fruit in nearby trees, two species of toucans make regular early-morning visits, and the life of the forest canopy opens before you. Birds virtually impossible to see from the forest floor are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence. Have a gourmet lunch full of fresh local products back at the lodge, and enjoy an afternoon hike through primary forest watching for a variety of lizards and amphibians, colorful manakins and endemic golden mantle tamarin monkeys. Explore the lake and creeks by dugout canoe with great possibilities of seeing a giant otter (an extremely endangered species) and take in an Amazonian sunset.

Day 8 Amazon Jungle – Quito – Home

Watch for giant otters, monk saki monkeys and a variety of other rare birds while canoeing through the lake and black water creek to the Napo River. After using the restrooms return by motorized canoe and onward to the Coca airport for your flight back to Quito and onward home.

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Extend Your Adventure


After a thorough exploration of mainland Ecuador, fly west to the Pacific for a Galapagos adventure cruise. 

Machu Picchu

This incredibly vast archaeological site – lost to the world until well into the twentieth century – is perched amidst Andean peaks and lush cloud forest making it as breathtaking as it is intriguing. Arrive by train or by a day’s hike on the Inca Trail. 

Let The Journey Begin

Let the Journey Begin - Knowmad Adventures

Planning a trip to South America might seem a little overwhelming at first. Knowmad offers door-to-door trip planning: first, we listen, and then we help you navigate the seasonal differences and itinerary options, resulting in a holistic, seamless, and custom-crafted experience, all at a guaranteed best value.

The simplest way to get started is to give us a call at 612-315-2894or to fill out this short form so we can learn more about your travel preferences.