Ecuador - Coast, Highlands and Amazon

Enjoy Ecuador´s natural and cultural diversity in its three regions Coast, Highlands and Amazon.
By Duration: > 7 days        By Destination: Countrywide Itineraries        By Interest: Culture || Hiking & Mountain Climbing || Birdwatching, Flora & Fauna || Development, Microenterprises ||


Description: During this round trip through Northern Ecuador you will see the three geographical regions Amazon Basin, Andean Highlands and Pacific Coast. After exploring Quito and its colonial city centre, we will spend the next three days in the Amazon rainforest to see its astounding natural and cultural diversity. In the community of Shayari you will learn about the lifestyle and traditions of local indigenous people and get the chance to see the fascinating animal and plant life of the rainforest up close. In the second part of the trip we will explore the Northern Sierra of Ecuador, where we will get detailed insights into the culture of the Kichua-Otavalo ethnic group on the one hand, and the Afro-Ecuadorian culture on the other. Besides, you can enjoy breathtakingly beautiful Andean landscapes during several hikes and day trip in the area. The third leg of the journey takes us to the Northern Pacific Coast, where you will see idyllic fishing villages, pristine mangrove forests and stunning beaches. On the way back to Quito we will stop in Santo Domingo – centre of the Tsachila-culture, in Mindo with its pristine cloud forests, and finally in Mitad del Mindo – a monument dedicated to the equatorial line from which Ecuador got its name.

Difficulty: easy-moderate

Total Duration: 18days/17nights


Day 1, Quito: Transfer airport-hotel, city tour to the historic center of Quito with its famous squares and churches, Cultural Centre Tiánguez. Accommodation in Quito.

Day 2, Shayari: Departure to Lago Agrio, visit to San Rafael Waterfall along the way, afternoon arrival in Shayari, welcome and explanations about the community. Accommodation in community lodge Shayari.

Day 3, Shayari: Guayusa ceremony at sunrise (optional), visit to animal rescue center, afternoon hike along the "waterfall trail", swimming in waterfall. Accommodation in Shayari.

Day 4, Shayari: Hike along the "lake trail", boat tour on the lake and fishing, return to village in private transport, demonstration of handicrafts production, cultural night. Accommodation in Shayari.

Day 5, Papallacta: El Cedro community, travel to Papallacta with stopovers at sites of interests on the way, free afternoon for Papallacta hot springs. Accommodation in Papallacta.

Day 6, Cotacachi: Walk to environmental interpretation center, visit to Equator monument Quitsato near Cayambe, afternoon arrival in indigenous communities of Cotacachi. Family homestay in community.

Day 7, Cotacachi: Tour of four indigenous communities, visit to Peguche Waterfall and handicrafts workshops, handicrafts market Plaza de Ponchos in Otavalo. Family homestay.

Day 8, Cotacachi: Hike around Lake Cuicocha, city tour of Cotacachi and local leather workshops, return to host family, cultural night. Family homestay.

Day 9, Cotacachi: Visit to communal micro-enterprises in Cotacachi, ethno-botanical garden, free afternoon to relax or for activities with your host family. Family homestay.

Day 10, Cotacachi: Visit to Mojanda Lakes, climb of Volcano Fuya Fuya (4.265m/14.000ft), return to community and free time to relax, cultural night. Family homestay.

Day 11, Lita: Liberty Train from Ibarra to Salinas, afro-ecuatorian culture, Salt Museum and ethnographic showroom, organic fruit and coffee farm. Accommodation in the Lita area.

Day 12, Same: Travel to Esmeraldas beaches, stops along the way at several sites of interest, fishing village of Súa, free afternoon at beach in Same. Accommodation in Same.

Day 13, Pedernales: Travel to Pedernales, afro-ecuadorian community of Muisne, boat tour through mangroves of Muisne, visit to fishermen and mussel collectors. Accommodation in Pedernales.

Day 14, Pedernales: Travel to beaches of Cojimies, fishing villages, coastal culture, free afternoon at beach, return to Pedernales. Accommodation in Pedernales.

Day 15, Mindo: Travel to Santo Domingo, visit to community tourism project Tolón Pelé, Tsáchila culture, travel to Mindo, nocturnal frog concert. Accommodation in Mindo.

Day 16, Mindo: Optional morning activities (birdwatching, butterfly farm, orchid garden, ziplining, tubing, and others), afternoon hike through cloud forest to several waterfalls. Accommodation in Mindo.

Day 17, Quito: Birdwatching, travel to Quito, Equator monument Mitad del Mundo and site museums, Museum Intiñan, free afternoon in Quito. Accommodation in Quito.

Day 18, Quito: Free morning for activities in Quito, transfer to airport. End of tour.





Included Services

Tour leader and local guides, private transport during the whole trip, full board (17 breakfasts, 18 lunches, 17 dinners), 17 nights accommodation with private bathroom (2n Quito, 3n Shayari, 1n Papallacta, 5n indigenous village near Cotacachi, 1n Lita, 1n Same, 2n Pedernales, 2n Mindo), all entry fees and activities as detailed in the itinerary.

What to bring?

Mandatory: Travel documents, good shoes for hiking, sun protection, clothes (for warm coastal areas and cool Andean Highlands) and personal things for at least 7 days (along the way we will have the chance to do laundry and shop necessary things)
Recommended: camera , binoculars, swimwear, rain poncho
Optional: A good book for long travelling days


Prices depend on season, hotel standard and number of participants. Please ask us for an exact costing.

More in this category: « Active Ecuador



How to find us


Tel: (+593) 06 2915977
Mobile: (+593) 097 995 9682