Day 1 Arrive Quito (2800m), book into hotel, look around new city
Day 2 Old city tour followed by drive to Mitad del Mundo (Centre of the World) and stand on the equator. There is a museum here which is in the form of a square tower centred on the equator. Take the lift to the top for the view and walk down through the interior to see the display of local culture.
Day 3 Drive to Otavalo, a market town about 90 km north of Quito. The colourful market is a typical Indian market with all types of craft and art for sale and is the biggest in Ecuador. Be prepared to haggle. We return to the city in the afternoon.
Day 4 Drive to Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi is the 19th highest mountain in Ecuador and is the world’s highest active volcano. We take a short walk in the park near the lake before returning to the city.
Day 5 Drive to Riobamba (2800m), book into hotel, look around city.
Day 6 Drive to Urbina and start two-day trek. The trek starts at a railway station which has been converted into a simple hotel. (The railway has been closed down since the late 1980s after landslides carried away large portions of it.) We climb steadily up towards a pass between Chimborazo and Carihuairazo, two 6000m peaks. Camp.
Day 7 Continue trek over 4000m pass and down to camp at small settlement close to Ambato - Guaranda road.
Day 8 Pick up by bus and return to Riobamba. Afternoon free.
Day 9 Drive to Baños (1800m), a small town at the foot of Tungurahua volcano. This volcano which had been thought to be extinct started to show some activity in 1999. The town was evacuated, but when the volcano failed to become any more active the townspeople moved back in and the town returned to its former standing as one of Ecuador’s most popular venues. The town is the site of thermal springs (from which it gets its name), and these have been developed at each end of the town into ‘spas’. Each one consists of several pools maintained at different temperatures, and these provide an ideal place to relax after any strenuous activity. The volcano continues to emit a large plume of smoke and at night the sky is often lit up by the glow from the caldera. The town has always been popular with both foreign visitors and Ecuadorians alike and is an excellent centre for activities.
Day 10 Horse riding around a circuit in the hills above Baños.
Day 11 Mountain bike ride down the Avenida de las Cascadas (Waterfalls) to the Rio Verde (40km all downhill), with transport on to Tena (900m).
Day 12 Rafting on the Upper Rio Napo, return to Tena.
Day 13 Drive to Misahuallí (900m), a small town on the Rio Napo which is the starting point for our jungle visit. At the end of the road, the town is very quiet with capucin monkeys swinging in the trees and many colourful birds and butterflies. We stay in jungle cabins.
Days 14 to 16 Jungle visit. We travel in large dugout canoes powered by outboard motors and stay with a local Quechua family. From our base we go out into the jungle each day with local guides and are introduced to the life of the jungle peoples. On the final day we return to Misahuallí via Isla Anaconda, the site of a small vivarium with a few of the jungle animals.
Travelling by canoe
on the Rio Napo
Day 17 Drive back to Baños, afternoon free.
Day 18 Day free in Baños.
Day 19 Drive back to Quito.
Day 20 Free for shopping and sightseeing.
Day 21 Return to UK.