Andes & Amazon Family Exploration
Take your family into a wonderful journey to explore two of the most amazing natural environments on the planet, the Andean Region and the Amazon Rainforest. Reconnect your family with the natural world while introducing them to a variety of ecosystems and habitats. Inspire your children to experience the wonders of nature first hand.
Help your children to bring their classroom to real life. Discover the high grassland ecosystems and admire stunning Andean landscapes.
Enjoy an amazing journey through the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest while drifting down a narrow creek surrounded on all sides by a lush and endless sea of tropical greenery, and all that separates you from the deep black Amazon waters is a canoe hand-carved out of a single tree trunk. Play, learn, and have fun in nature!
Andes & Amazon Family Exploration: Tour Highlights
- Straddle both hemispheres at once at the Middle of the World.
- Hike a Thousand-year-old Polylepis Forests
- Train ride through Andean Valleys aboard a locomotive.
- Enjoy Thermal Springs at 3200 mts / 10500 ft above sea level
- Meet an Amazon indigenous family and visit their home.
- Night jungle walk to discover insects, and nocturnal flora and fauna
- Navigate along the Napo River to cross the Equatorial Rainforest.
- Evening family activities
- Child-friendly menus
- Child-focused activities including visits to Wildlife refuges, Interactive Museums, Butterfly farms, etc
- Child friendly and experienced tour guides.
- Family-friendly hotels
Itinerary – Day by Day
Day 1: Arrive in Quito Welcome to Ecuador! Arrive in Quito and transfer to your Hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Exploring Quito’s historical legacy and Straddling hemispheres at the Middle of the world.
Explore Quito, the capital of Ecuador; a charming city surrounded by mountains and volcanoes with the largest and best preserved historic center in America.
Learn about the history of the city while walking along its colonial streets. Quito’s superb churches store treasures of the religious art and are an amazing example of the most wonderful architecture. There is no question why UNESCO declared Quito the First World Cultural Heritage Site.
In the afternoon, visit the Equator and celebrate with your family the ability of standing at the two hemispheres at the same time. A once in a lifetime experience!! Visit the famous Middle of the World complex, built to commemorate a group of scientists who had the hard mission to determine the Earth’s shape back in 1743 and to mark the point; where according to calculations used at that time, the equator line crossed. Learn important facts about the Equator and confirm or dismiss related rumors that have fascinated people for centuries. (Meals: B, L)
Day 3: Condor Park Wildlife Refuge – Introduction to the Otavalo Indigenous culture.
Enjoy beautiful countryside landscapes on your way from Quito to Otavalo. En route, visit Parque Cóndor; a non-profit wildlife refuge for birds like owls and the endangered Andean Condor. Parque Condor seeks to rescue, protect and rehabilitate birds. Enjoy an educational bird show to learn about the importance of its environmental conservation, and watch these beautiful creatures in flight.
Continue to the Otavalo craft market where locals show their products and crafts to sell. Visit a local indigenous family who will share with you their culture and traditions; including their weaving ability, their music, and their ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants. Enjoy a traditional lunch and continue to your hotel; a restored Historical Hacienda. Enjoy with your family the rest of the evening at leisure. (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 4: Exploring the Andean Ecosystems: Espeletia and Polylepis forest.
Drive through wonderful Andean landscapes to El Angel Ecological Reserve; home to the giant frailejones or espeletia.
The natural vegetation of the Reserve mainly consists of high altitude grassland (paramos) which has the ability to retain large quantities of water becoming the main source of water for the towns nearby. Continue to visit one of the remaining thousand-year-old Polylepis Forests; a unique ecosystem considered one of the most beautiful forests in the world, your children will feel as walking in a forest product of a fairy-tale writer’s imagination! In the afternoon return to your hotel to rest and relax. (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 5: Train ride adventure to the Chota Valley – Papallacta Thermal Springs.
This morning enjoy a beautiful train ride on board a locomotive that will take you through beautiful Andean landscapes, tunnels, and sugarcane plantations. Arrive in Salinas town where you will learn about the history and customs of the Afro Ecuadorian community; you will also enjoy their music and dance. Continue through a scenic drive descending the Eastern slopes of the Andes cordillera into the entrance of the Amazon basin. Arrive in Papallacta; a small village famous for its thermal hot springs of volcanic origin.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax with your family at the hotel pools and enjoy the hotel facilities (Meals: B, L)
Day 6: From highlands to lowlands; Introduction to the Amazon Cultural diversity.
Today you will have some additional free hours in the morning to enjoy the hotel pools or just relax at the Hotel Spa (cost of spa treatments not included). Continue your drive into the Amazon region. Arrive in Punta Ahuano, a tiny port town on the north bank of the Napo River, where canoes await for a 15 minute ride downstream to the lodge. Time to settle in and enjoy a refreshing welcome drink and lunch. In the afternoon, visit a local Quichua Indian family in the village of Ahuano.
Here you may learn about several aspects of the traditional Quichua culture like their way of living, beliefs, and history, a very enriching family visit! Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 7: Explore the Rainforest – Navigate on a raft.
Today’s visit consists of a walk through primary and secondary forest trails to observe distinct species of birds and insects as well as a great variety of trees and medicinal plants. The guides will explain how such plants are used not only in medicine, but also in construction and other important local activities. Along the trails you may enjoy several opportunities for adventure, such as hanging bridges and vines for swinging from tree to tree.
After the walk you may choose to eat lunch in the jungle, and later live the incredible experience of building and navigating a raft! On a small river island your guide will show you how to tie balsa logs together, so those who wish can float down the Napo for about an hour back to the lodge. Dinner at the lodge and overnight. (Meals: B,L,D)
Day 8: Crossing the Amazon Rainforest by canoe.
Board a motorized canoe for a journey down the Napo, taking you deep into the pristine Amazon rainforest. During this 3 hour ride it is easy to spot handsome shore birds such as herons, kingfishers, spoonbills and ospreys between the scattered native huts as the river slowly widens to a kilometer across! At a little more than halfway you will stop along the riverbank for a break, and enjoy a box lunch before continuing on to Port Francisco de Orellana. There will be a short stop to board a larger motorized canoe for the last 2 hours ride to the lodge.
Upon arrival at the lodge 3200 acres (1300 hectare) reserve, you will take your first walk along a raised boardwalk through dense flooded palm forest where several species of monkeys are often sighted. This path leads to Pilchicocha lake, a black water paradise where you’d least expect to find any sign of people, but dugout canoes (and even paddlers) await to carry across the lake to the Lodge. The cries of tropical birds lead you to your final destination, which magically materializes out of the jungle at the last possible moment. Arrive with time to settle in, bird watch, swim or take a walk under the canopy before dinner. (Meals: B, L, D)
Days 9 & 10: Exploring the Amazon Rainforest amazing biodiversity.
Expedition day begins at sunrise or earlier, and each group may decide on its own wake-up and breakfast times. In the afternoon, visits begin between 3:00 and 4:00 pm, and often continue into the evening, when the nocturnal insect and frog chorus begins. Activities are spread out over a wide area and allow visitors to explore several distinct but equally fascinating habitats. A favorite activity is to paddle dugout canoes along tannin-rich black-water creeks and lakes, where luxuriant lianas, bromeliads and palm trees thrive and wherever an outing may lead the possibilities of spotting animals, from the tiny pygmy marmoset to the feared ocelot or puma, are endless.
One of the lodge’s highlights is the Canopy Walk, enabling guests to casually move along at their own pace while enjoying the spectacular views. It is one of only a few rigid, self-standing suspension canopy walkways in the world. Two of the three towers have observation platforms every 12 meters, making the towers accessible for everyone. For adventurous souls, the day does not necessarilyend with dinner. Night walks and canoetrips, with the aid of flashlights, often reveal creaturessuch as caimans (of the alligator family) that are seldom seen during daylight. (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 11: Journey back to Quito.
After breakfast you will be back out to the Napo River along the boardwalk, where with some luck, the local wildlife may appear to see you off. The motorized canoe will be waiting at the shore of the Napo for the trip to Puerto Francisco de Orellana and from here it’s a 30 minute-flight back to Quito arriving there at midday. Transfer to your hotel; enjoy the rest of the afternoon on your own.
At night, transportation at your disposal to take you to a local restaurant for your Family Farewell Dinner! We will provide some nice restaurant recommendations so you can choose on your own the most appropriate place for your family to eat. (The cost of dinner is not included, paid on your own). After dinner, you will be transferred back to your hotel. (Meals: B, XL)
Day 12: Departure day.
Transfer to the airport for your flight back home or to your next destination.
- Program starts and ends in Quito.
- Program operates with minimum 4 participants.
- Kids must be 7 years old or older to participate in this program.
- Vaccinations are not required.
The program includes
Private transportation, expert local guide, accommodation in family friendly hotels & meals according to itinerary detail (menu meals, special kids and teens menus!), visit and entrance fee to mentioned places. Welcome kit, kids amenities, snacks and water provision along the trip.
The program does not included
International airfare, personal expenses, insurance and gratuities
Ready to get started? Contact us to book your trip.