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  • Pricing
  • Dates
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The great thing about multisport trips is that the activities are selected to make the most fabulous experience out of each destination. During this Ecuador adventure travel, you'll visit three national parks, observe diverse wildlife at close range, take in breathtaking vistas from extraordinary viewpoints and learn about indigenous life from villagers themselves. From the Andes to the Ecuador Amazon to the Galápagos, in just ten days, you'll pack more into one adventure vacation than you thought possible, staying in small private hotels, distinctive lodges and historic haciendas along these many roads less traveled. Expert guides will see to your comfort and add to your understanding of these diverse Ecuador landscapes and fascinating people. This multi-sport itinerary of mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting and ocean kayaking is the ultimate Ecuador adventure tour.

 

Itinerary
DAY 1: ARRIVE QUITO

Upon arrival into Quito, a Southern Explorations representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. If you arrive early, optional tours to museums or other Quito attractions can be arranged.

DAY 2: QUITO - PASOCHOA WILDLIFE RESERVE (Hiking) - COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK (Horseback Riding)

In the morning, you'll depart from Quito by car, heading south through the famed Avenue of the Volcanoes, with spectacular views of the Pita Canyon River gorge and the Pasochoa Volcano foothills. Your first stop, Pasochoa Forest, sits within the collapsed crater just 30 km south of Quito. This lively forest boasts a wide range of highland trees and shrubs, as well as orchids, bromeliads, lichens, and ferns. Prolific birdlife includes at least 11 species of hummingbirds, and many birds endemic to Ecuador are easily spotted along the trails. If the skies are clear, the stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks in the distance make the hike even more magical. From there, you'll go on to a local hacienda to begin your horseback riding adventure through the highlands. This 7,600-acre hacienda is rich in history and representative of the Chagra (Ecuadorian cowboy) culture. This hacienda has been in the same family for seven generations and was the first Ecuador hacienda to raise fighting bulls. After a traditional welcome tea, you'll be treated to a gourmet lunch featuring locally-produced Andean dishes. Then you'll don the gear of the Chagra, ponchos, chaps, and cowboy hats, for an unforgettable four-hour horseback ride through the hacienda's expansive grounds midst awe-inspiring volcano scenery (you may hike if you prefer). The hacienda still raises fighting bulls as well as producing potatoes, lima beans, quinoa and other high-altitude crops. Your Chagra guide will tend to the horses and share his knowledge of the hacienda's history and local flora and fauna along the way. The ride takes you up the slope of the Ruminahui Volcano where with luck you'll spot the amazing Andean condor, the world's largest flying bird. After this long eventful day, you'll spend a relaxing evening and have a restful night's sleep at a cozy hacienda. (B,L,D)

DAY 3: COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK (Mountain Biking)

After breakfast, you'll travel towards the base of the Cotopaxi Volcano to begin today's Ecuador mountain bike adventure following a safety briefing. You will prepare your mountain bikes and then explore the park’s highland plateaus, endemic highland vegetation and wildlife. On the way you may encounter llamas, wild horses, ducks, highland gulls and hawks. Riding mostly downhill to compensate for the high altitude, arrive to the Pucara Inca Ruins—the perfect place to learn about the Inca presence in the Cotopaxi area. Before exiting the park you will also visit Limpiopungo Glacier Lake. The journey continues through the Avenue of the Volcanoes and on to the subtropical Patate Valley to a local hacienda for a tasty dinner and a relaxing night's stay. (B,L,D)

DAY 4: BIKING TO THE AMAZON

This morning's drive takes you to the edge of Llanganates National Park, an area that extends from the high Andes down into the Amazon Basin. Gaining altitude, you'll come upon one of the best views of the often fuming Tungurahua Volcano for the start of today's scenic mountain bike trip. Beginning as highland paramo, the picturesque route of wild orchids, waterfalls, high rock walls and deep canyons transitions into mountain cloud forest before becoming lowland rainforest. Ride through a dry basalt gorge, a hot spot for wild orchids, and the canyon widens and deepens as you reach the Pastaza River Gorge which forms spectacular waterfalls. Stop to visit two of these waterfalls, Pailón del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) and Manto de la Novia (Bride’s Veil). Then continue the drive down into the Amazon Basin to reach Puyo, an Amazon frontier town where we will learn about balsa, bamboo and ceramic products. Continue through the Amazon highway until you reach the riverfront Cotococha Amazon Lodge. In the afternoon you will head out for a jungle walk. Explore the ecosystem and search for species particular to the tropical lowland rainforest. You will explore under the canopy for trees such as balsa, cedar, rubber, kapok and cinnamon, as well as many bromeliads, orchids, vines, ferns, insects and even reptiles. At the end of the day, you'll retire to your cabaña for a peaceful evening accompanied by sounds of the rainforest. (B,L,D)

DAY 5: AMAZON (Rafting Jatunyacu Class III-IV) – PAPALLACTA HOT SPRINGS

After breakfast at the lodge, you'll drive into a part of Llanganates National Park that has been declared a Biosphere Zone by UNESCO. The water that collects here forms the Jatunyacu River, considered the best one-day Ecuador whitewater rafting run. Before today's adventure begins, you'll walk in the rainforest to some naturally-formed swimming pools and have a safety briefing. Your rafting route of breathtaking landscapes, abundant birdlife and crystal clear water passes riverbank indigenous communities with small bamboo houses. The Jatunyacu is famed for its Class III and III+ rapids, its big waves, fun holes and high volume of water. In the afternoon, you'll drive back into the Andes, climbing from 1,500 to 10,000 feet to reach the Papallacta Hotsprings Resort and Spa, nestled in a cloud forest. First, you will stop to meet the Waira Churis. Also known as the “Wind Dancers”, this friendly group will share and teach you about their way of life, culture, and traditions. Many of these values will come to life through traditional dances. You will continue your journey through the Andes and through other national parks with great jungle scenery. In the evening, you'll relax in the therapeutic alkaline-rich natural thermal waters of Papallacta followed by a restful night in your lodgings at Papallacta Hot Springs Resort. (B,L,D)

DAY 6: CAYAMBE COCA RESERVE (Hiking) – OTAVALO (Indigenous Community) - QUITO

In the early morning you will hike in the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve which is located on the shoulders of the Andes, the continental divide. The environment in this reserve is a mix of endemic highland paramo combined with cloud forest patches. Great amounts of water are retained in this sponge-like environment, amounting to the largest water system in the world. The reserve features a great number of lakes and wildlife such as deer, the elusive spectacle bear and the Andean Condor. Continue the drive north though the Inter Andean valleys until you reach the town of Otavalo. These proud indigenous communities have a rich cultural heritage made visible through their renowned markets, filled with colorful textiles and skillful handicrafts. You will visit some of the local weavers who will share how this craft has been passed down for generations. After a late lunch, you will be returned to Quito to prepare for tomorrow's flight to the Galápagos Islands, spending the night at Grand Hotel Mercure Alameda. (B,L)

DAY 7: QUITO - GALAPAGOS - SAN CRISTOBAL (Hiking)

In the morning you will be transferred to the Quito airport for your flight to San Cristóbal Island. On arrival at this Galápagos Island, you will be welcomed with lunch and have an orientation about the islands at a local restaurant. On today's Galápagos tours, you hike first to the San Cristóbal Interpretative Center to learn about volcanic activity, natural history and evolution before continuing along lava rock trails towards Frigate Hill with splendid views of the coastline and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. You'll be in dry forest and observe cacti, acacia, palo santo, Galápagos cotton and other vegetation where great frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, gulls, herons and such land species as Darwin finches, warblers and mockingbirds may be observed. On your return, you'll stop for a refreshing swim at Carola Beach or Mann Beach. In the evening, you'll get acquainted with the town and dine at a waterfront restaurant before spending a relaxing night in a centrally located hotel in Puerto Moreno. (B,L,D)

Day 8: SAN CRISTOBAL (Sea Kayaking & Snorkeling)

Transfer to the coastline where your kayaks are waiting for you. Paddle along the coastal bays and coves of San Cristobal’s north coast, full of blue footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. You may see occasional rays and marine iguanas perching on lava rocks. In the afternoon, leave your kayaks and continue exploring by boat. You may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo. The visiting site will depend on the week day according to Galapagos National Park regulations. Put on snorkels and fins to interact with sea lions, as well as marine iguanas and countless reef fish. You will swim with spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and color. With luck, you might even see some menacing but harmless hammerhead sharks! (B,L)

DAY 9 FLIGHT TO ISABELA - TINTORERAS & BEACH EXPLORATION

After breakfast, you'll take a small plane to Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest Galápagos Island, formed by five shield volcanoes, four of which remain active, making this one of the world's most volcanically active locations. Here, you'll visit the Galápagos Tortoise Rearing Center to learn about Galápagos tortoise development and conservation. You'll explore the bay in search of endemic Galápagos penguins and follow a coastline trail to observe dramatic lava formations and a large colony of sea lions, passing through mangroves and salty lagoons that are home to the endemic mangrove finch. You'll also spot American oyster catchers, herons, flamingos and many other shore birds. The afternoon is spent relaxing on exotic white sand beaches before going into the tranquil port town of Puerto Villamil for a leisurely evening and overnight stay. (B,L,D)

DAY 10 ISABELA - SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO HIKE

Today you'll drive into the highlands of Isabela for the start of a six-mile Galápagos Island hike on irregular terrain to the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano. Sierra Negra is an active volcano that last erupted in October of 2005 and has the second largest caldera in the world, measuring five by six miles. You'll hike around the crater rim with fantastic views of the other Isabela volcanoes and the Perry Isthmus beyond. From here, you'll hike to Chico Volcano, with its puffing fumaroles and unusual lava formations, examples of the dramatic geological events that have forged the Galápagos Islands over millennia. In the late afternoon, you return to Puerto Villamil for a last evening and overnight stay in the "Enchanted Islands." (B,L,D)

Day 11 ISABELA - BALTRA - QUITO

In the early morning, you will be transferred from Isabela to Baltra Island to board your flight back to mainland Quito, Ecuador. Arrival and transfer to your hotel for the evening. (B)

Day 12 QUITO - HOME

Transfer to the airport for the international departure home, the end of Southern Explorations services. If you are interested in more Galapagos tours, trip extensions to other regions or extra days in Quito, we would be happy to arrange them. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Due to fairly stable seasonal weather conditions in Ecuador, travelers can enjoy year-round travel to the country. Some areas have better weather at certain times of the year, but it is always a good time to travel to Ecuador. Ecuador has a surprising variety of climates. The weather can be very localized and tends to change quickly because of the country’s unique geography. Located on the Equator, Ecuador is divided into four main regions: the Andes, the Amazon, the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. Within these four regions of this small country, roughly the size of Colorado, elements of all four seasons can occur in a single day.

The Andes (Highlands)
Visitors can experience the Andean Highlands year-round, though June to September and late November to mid-January tend to be the drier months. February to May and October to mid-November are considered the rainier season. During the rainier months, one will find warm sunny weather in the morning followed by almost daily showers in the afternoon. Temperatures show little variance throughout the year with averages in the 60s during the day and 50s at night, though sunny days may get into the 70s and cooler nights may drop into the 40s. Despite these averages, it is common to have rainy streaks in the dry season and nice sunny weather in the wet season. It is best to come prepared for both rain and sun, as visitors will likely run into both during any month of the year. Warm days and cool nights are normal so packing layers is essential.

The Amazon
The Amazon basin is what you would expect of a tropical rainforest: wet, hot and humid. January marks the beginning of the less rainy period, which extends through March. Calling this the dry season would be a misnomer as it still rains quite frequently. March through July tends to be rainier than the first two months of the year, with July tending to be the rainiest. August through December is known as the fluctuation season. During this time, it is nearly impossible to predict weather patterns. One minute could be hot and sunny with clear blue skies and then the next minute a heavy downpour could begin. Temperatures year-round range in the 80s (27-33°C) and rain, sometimes even cool rainstorms, can be expected most days in the afternoon, as the Amazon basin is truly a rainforest. Any time of year is great to visit the Ecuadorian Amazon despite the level of rain. Contrary to what one may think, the months with higher averages of rainfall are great times to visit. Higher levels of rain increase fruit production, which results in more activity from monkeys and other fruit eating species. The Amazon is an unpredictable environment from both a weather and wildlife standpoint. The best approach for visitors to have an excellent Amazonian experience is to come prepared for the unexpected and to have an open mind!

The Coast
On coast, the dry season runs from about June to December with a temperature drop to the high 70s. The garua, a damp mist, has a tendency to cast itself over the coastline and the sun. The sun can disappear for three months at a time. Then in January to June, temperatures go up and despite the occasional heavy rain, the days will be bright and sunny.

The Galapagos
The great weather of the Galapagos Islands makes them a fantastic destination for travel year-round. Every month of the year is a good time to enjoy a tour of the region. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is almost completely determined by sea currents. Although most believe the Galapagos to be a very hot destination, the cool water currents in the area keep the climate fairly temperate year-round. The mild variations in weather from month to month result in an overall climate of warm days, cool nights and low humidity. Anytime is a great time to travel to the Galapagos; while visiting one can expect to see plenty of sunshine, blue skies and a possible chance of light rain.
 

QUITO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN50-664.5
FEB50-665.1
MAR50-666.0
APR51-666.9
MAY51-664.9
JUN49-670.8
JUL49-671.0
AUG49-671.0
SEP49-683.1
OCT49-675.0
NOV49-674.3
DEC50-664.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN70-841.0
FEB74-861.0
MAR73-882.0
APR72-861.5
MAY72-820.8
JUN66-780.3
JUL67-760.5
AUG64-750.3
SEP62-750.5
OCT64-770.3
NOV66-780.5
DEC68-800.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

Maps

Andes, Amazon & Galapagos MultiSportTour

Pricing
4 or more
$4,295
3 Travelers
$4,795
2 Travelers
$5,095

Domestic Airfare:
Round Trip Quito / Galapagos: $560
Round Trip Guayaquil / Galapagos: $525

Entrance to Galapagos to National Park ($100 Adult / $50 Child)
Galapagos Transit Control Card ($20)
Christmas Surcharge ($255)

Single Supplement: $850
Single Supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.

Included in tour cost
  • All land and sea transportation during the itinerary
  • Mountain biking gear
  • Rafting equipment
  • Sea kayaking gear
  • Snorkeling gear
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Domestic airfare to and from Galapagos Islands
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100 Adult/$50 Child)
  • Galapagos Transit Control Card ($20)
  • Wetsuit rental, recommended May - November
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

Andes, Amazon & Galapagos MultiSportTour

Trip Dates
This tour operates year round. Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details
Thursday, February 9, 2017 to Monday, February 20, 2017
Available
Thursday, March 16, 2017 to Monday, March 27, 2017
Available
Friday, April 7, 2017 to Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Available
Thursday, May 25, 2017 to Monday, June 5, 2017
Available
Friday, June 30, 2017 to Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Available
Thursday, August 24, 2017 to Monday, September 4, 2017
Available
Thursday, October 19, 2017 to Monday, October 30, 2017
Available
Thursday, November 16, 2017 to Monday, November 27, 2017
Available
Thursday, December 21, 2017 to Monday, January 1, 2018
Available
Baños
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cotopaxi
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Papallacta
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Quito
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Tena
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Isabela Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
San Cristobal Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Santa Cruz Island - Puerto Ayora
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Floreana Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
  • 3 Star
     Included Hotel (subject to availability) 

One Day

Multi-Day

Thank you so much for arranging such a wonderful trip.  Terry and I definatly had a wonderful time in Ecuador!!. Tomas and Arturo were amazing and really made the adventure terrific.  Tomas' knowledge and expertise is valuable.  He was such a great guide!! - Maria and Terry Slayman (Custom Ecuador Hiking Adventure)

 
Southern Explorations created a trip for us that allowed us to truly enjoy the wonders of mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos with none of the usual logistical hassles of navigating an unknown country. The guides greatly enriched our experience, especially Tomas Espinosa & his sidekick Arturo, as they transported us through the Andes, into the Amazon Basin, and up to Otavalo. – Michele Maynard (Custom Ecuador & Beagle)
 

I have traveled many places in the world but the trip put together by Southern Explorations may well be the best. The amazing biology we saw on the Galapagos and in the Amazon, wonderful guides both on the Eclipse and at Sacha lodge, excellent food, and great coordination of the different parts of the trip made for an incredible journey. - Marilyn Parsons, USA (Amazon & Galapagos Island Cruise)


All of our guides [on our Ecuador tours] were exceptional. Their English was good, they brought excitement and enthusiasm to their jobs and they were all very knowledgeable. We are hoping to go to Peru next year and I will definitely contact Southern Explorations for that trip. - Heidi Otton, Connecticut (Ecuador & Galapagos Island Cruise)

Our trip was rather complex with three different sections (Amazon, Galapagos, and Machu Picchu (Peru)).  There were a number of internal flights as well as trains, boats, and more.  We also had coordination of people joining us part way through, special guides, and special activities for some people.  I was very impressed that all of the transfers, activities, and connections occurred without a hitch.  There were ample opportunities for things to go wrong, but the whole trip went exceptionally smoothly.  All of the guides were outstanding - knowledgeable, personable, with good communication skills, and a good sense of humor.  I appreciated the very small groups, which afforded just the right balance.  We were able to see more than expected.   It couldn’t have been better. - Linda Tredupp, Wisconsin (Amazon, Galapagos Island Cruise & Machu Picchu)

Fabricio is a great guide. He really keeps it fun yet he is on top of all arrangements. We were very lucky to have a private trip with him. At the Napo Wildlife Center, the guides were also great, very knowledgeable and personable. They helped us out a lot by setting up a personal itinerary for my wife and me since we wanted to hike more than the rest of the group. On both tours, we got individualized attention. We wanted to hike more than the normal program and in both locations we were accommodated. We really appreciate the extra hiking that was planned; we got to complete a 15 mile day hike through the rainforest that I will not soon forget. - Dan and Mary Greenblatt, Wyoming (Amazon & Galapagos Island Land Tour)


Just want to thank Jon ...it was the best vacation ever! - Neet Shah (Ecuador & Galapagos Island Cruise)


When planning our trip to South America we could find few companies providing tours of Ecuador. I came across Southern Explorations on the internet and, knowing nothing about them, took a chance. This turned out to be the best decision we made for the entire trip. This was by far the best experience of our six weeks in South America – due entirely to the organization and our superb guide. From the moment we were picked up we were made to feel that everything was being done to meet our needs and wants. From time spent at markets, roadside stops, food, to photo-stops and ice-cream treats – everything was about what we wanted rather than following a restrictive timetable. Our guide was so good at predicting our needs, picking up on our interests and facilitating these wherever possible. Half-way through our tour we were asking our guide about other Southern Exploration tours. We live a long way away, but I don’t think this will be our only Southern Explorations adventure. Thank you all, we had a fantastic time.  - James McCallum, Australia (Ecuador)


Thumbs up to Southern Explorations! We went to the Galapagos and Ecuador and everything was perfectly planned from A to Z. The choices of the boat, the restaurants and the hotel were perfect. The guides were excellent. And out trip coordinator did a fantastic job when planning the trip with us. We absolutely recommend Southern Explorations and hope to travel with them again.   -The Tamers family, Miami (Galapagos Island Cruise & Ecuador)


I have traveled with many travel companies to over 45 countries and all 7 continents. I don't usually travel with the same company more than once because I am very picky about my itinerary and I also want a good value for my money without the hassle of traveling with a group. Southern Explorations provided the flexibility to develop my own itinerary, even if it required modifying the excursions that they had available. Once the itinerary was developed to my specifications, I still didn't know how it would turn out until it was done. Now that I'm home, I can say that my trip to Ecuador was executed flawlessly. Everything was exactly as described and planned. The guides were knowledgeable, efficient, prompt, and showed a definite interest in and enthusiasm about their country. Each of the places I visited was exceptional. I got a wonderful trip for a reasonable rate and I would definitely travel with Southern Explorations again. - Anne Marie Lewis, USA (Ecuador & Galapagos Island Cruise)


My trip coordinator, was Fabulous!! She was always available to answer questions and followed up with us many times to ensure everything was in order with a very energentic personality, very friendly and was a great help to coordinate our trip on short notice. I'd definitely work with her again if we book with Southern Exploration. - Jan Filipiak, USA (Ecuador)


Thank-you for the trip of a life time and I have already recommended you to everyone who asks!   -Wendy Williams, Canada (Galapagos Island Cruise, Amazon & Machu Picchu)


The Ecuador Highlights was a trip of a life-time! I have traveled the world but this trip ranks as one of my best ever. So, come on fellow ‘Boomers,’ depart the States (and the grandkids!) and see what is see is happening in such an exciting part of South America…Ecuador. - Linda Owens, Oregon (Ecuador)


Southern Explorations provided my family with an adventure of a lifetime...we have traveled to Asia,Africa and South America with other companies and S.E. surpassed all of them in regards to activities, lodgings and personnel that they have aligned themselves with. We truly felt we saw Ecuador as it is meant to be experienced, we loved the people, the food, and the scenery, an amazing country that I hope everyone gets to enjoy at some time in their life. This trip was unbelievable! Thank you.  - Mary Jane Mumford and family (Andes, Amazon & Galapagos Island Land Tour)


We had a great trip - very impressed with Southern Explorations. Jorge, your representative in Quito was super. He was always on time, friendly and informative as well as a great ambassador for his country. All the connections were on time and well planned- would consider another trip with Southern Explorations.   Roger & Priscilla Beaver, Indiana (Galapagos Island Cruise & Amazon)


Southern Explorations planned our trip without a lot of advanced notice and did an excellent job in meeting our needs and budget. We were very impressed with their responsiveness and willingness to customize. - Susan Lebowitz (Custom Ecuador)


We had a wonderful experience in Quito and the Galapagos Islands. Southern Exploration’s people in the United States and in Quito did their utmost to make our travel experience memorable and comfortable.   - Ben Freiberger (Ecuador & Galapagos Island Cruise)


We had a wonderful trip. During the planning stage, Jonathan was easy to deal with and extremely helpful. During the trip itself, Felipe was a treasure. And the call afterwards from Justin was icing on the cake. We feel like we're part of the Southern Explorations family now. Add to that the wonder that is the Galapagos, perfect weather and pleasant trip-mates, and the whole thing was beautifully memorable. Thank you so much for a trip of a lifetime.  - Gwen Ruta and Paul Buchanan-Barrow (Ecuador)


We just got back from our trip and we wanted to thank you, the tour was excellent and exceeded all of our expectations. Juan was outstanding, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable and really helped us while hiking. We really enjoyed the cruise onboard the Legend. The room was great, with fantastic views of the islands, and the food was superb. We travel extensively and visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands was the ideal trip. Thanks again for your expert advice and great support. We will be traveling again with you soon! - Jerry Smith, Minnesota (Ecuador & Galapagos Island Cruise)


Everything was excellent. We were both thoroughly happy with our trip and our tour guide. We learned a lot about the culture as well as were busy doing fun activities. We will recommend Southern Explorations and our guide to others. Thank you. - Sheila and Reena Krishnan, Missouri (Ecuador)


This was my first time traveling to South America and although it was very last minute, Southern Explorations made everything a breeze. Kapawi was truly a special place and I'll always remember this trip. - Rushita Jampani (Kapawi Amazon Ecolodge)


Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the trip. Southern Explorations agent was excellent in helping with trip. Thanks so much for everything. - Jean Audet, USA (Ecuador)


We took this trip to celebrate my boyfriends 50th birthday and we had the time of our lives! The guides were really seemed to care about us and ensured we having a great time! Thank you! - Tammy Rogers (Andes, Amazon & Galapagos Multisport)


 
Ecuador - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer both active and cultural tours that visit different regions including the Andes, Amazon and the Ecuadorian coast. These tours vary in length and level of accommodation. Our Adventure Travel Coordinators would be happy to chat with you to help you find the itinerary that best meets your needs and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to put together a custom Ecuador itinerary for you if our existing itineraries are not exactly what you are looking for. You can also check out our extensions in mainland Ecuador to make additions to our existing trips. Contact a trip specialist for recommendations.
Q: When is the best time to go to Ecuador?
A: Peak tourism season in Ecuador corresponds with North American and European vacation periods over the summer and the winter holidays, rather than the weather, which is fairly consistent with warm and sunny days throughout the year. All of our trips run year-round, but a few trekking or wildlife-specific itineraries are better during some months than others. Please check with your Adventure Travel Coordinator for more details.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: The weather in Ecuador is pleasant year-round. There is a wet season and a dry season, but this varies depending on which region of the country you are in. Even in the wet season, you will experience plenty of clear, sunny days. The Andean Highlands are a great place to visit year-round with temperatures in the 60s during the day. Occasional light showers can happen anytime, but heavy afternoon rains are common here from January to May. You have the best odds for clear views of Ecuador’s many volcanoes in the months of June, July, August and September, but you will often have views in the morning throughout the year. The Amazon region is hot, humid and wet throughout the year, with the wettest months being from April to June. Please consult the weather tab on your trip itinerary for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like on an Ecuador trip? 
A: A typical day in Ecuador will vary from tour to tour, but generally, you can expect to start your excursions right after breakfast with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. A lunch break is included and you’ll retire to your hotel in the late afternoon with evenings free.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Ecuador? 
A: Our Ecuador trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do I need to visit Ecuador?
A: Most of our mainland Ecuador itineraries are at least nine days in length, but we do offer some lodge-based trips and cruises that can be done in a week or less.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: For the best guide availability and selection in hotels, we recommend booking three to six months in advance. Spring and summer holidays book up more quickly, so more advance planning is ideal. For the holiday season, we recommend booking a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We only hire guides who are native to the destination and are licensed or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In major cities we offer a variety of hotels including several boutique, Ecuadorian-style properties. Throughout the rest of mainland Ecuador we work with a combination of historic haciendas, small Ecuadorian-style hotels and remote lodges. The majority of the properties are family-run or locally owned. All of our accommodations are clean and comfortable, with private bathrooms and hot water. We offer basic or luxury options in many locations, depending on taste and budget.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We will include any necessary internal flight pricing in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Most of our Ecuador tours are private, with a guide and vehicle just for your family or group. Visits to haciendas or lodges may include tours with small groups, but do not exceed eight people.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.