Coastal Ecuador & The Amazon

12 days
from
incl. taxes
View Trips
Loading...
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
WUE
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
6–16
Min age:
16

Ecuador's coastline and the heart of the Amazon

Isla de La Plata is widely known as mainland Ecuador's ‘little Galapagos’. This stretch of coastline harbours many of the same wildlife species that you’ll find in the Galapagos, but without the crowds. In season the warm coastal waters become a breeding ground for Humpback whales with their impressive behaviour. Further inland, the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve is a bio-diversity hotspot, with its vast bird count and some 20 different species of hummingbird. And that just leaves the famous Sacha Lodge in the heart of the Amazon, where days are spent paddling in dug-out canoes looking for wildlife and soaking up the rainforest ambience.

Highlights

  • Isla de la Plata - mainland Ecuador's mini Galapagos
  • Discover Machalilla National Park & Isla Corazon 
  • Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve 
  • Sacha Lodge in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest

Key information

  • Travel by minibus, internal flight, boat and canoe
  • 8 nights comfortable hotels and lodges, 3 nights standard hotels and lodges
  • Whale watching season: June to September

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas & vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Guayaquil
to
Quito
  • Day 1

    Start Guayaquil.

    The group flight usually arrives into Guayaquil this evening. Free transfers are available to anyone on the group flight. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening.

    Accommodation: Grand Hotel Guayaquil (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Transfer to Puerto Lopez via Ayampe.

    After breakfast we set off towards Ecuador's coastline and the small town of Puerto Lopez, stopping on the way to visit Ayampe. Ayampe is a small protected rainforest reserve in the Manabi province, best known for its bird life such as the endemic and critically endangered Esmeraldas woodstar which can only be spotted in a very small region around the west coast of Ecuador. We spend some time walking in Ayampe reserve near the river basin before continuing to Puerto Lopez and our accommodation for the next three nights. Our hosteria is located on the malecon just a moment from the beach and consists of wooden cabins set in lush tropical gardens full of bromeliads and orchids.

    Accommodation: Hosteria Mandala (or similar)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Boat excursion to Isla de la Plata.

    This morning we board a private boat for a day excursion to Isla de la Plata, widely known as mainland Ecuador's ‘little Galapagos’. Isla de la Plata is around 50km from the coastline and harbours many of the same wildlife species that you’ll find in the Galapagos, but without the crowds and high prices! You are likely to see Blue-footed boobies, Red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, Waved albatross and frigatebirds - and that's just the birds. In season (June to September) the warm coastal waters become a breeding ground for Humpback whales with their impressive breaching behaviour. The ocean around Puerto Lopez is the mating and calving grounds of around 450 - 500 whales, who migrate here from Patagonian waters. Sea lions, dolphins, turtles and Manta rays are also common. Our excursion will last the whole day, with several hours on the boat (depending on the number of stops to see whales) and a hike at Isla de la Plata lasting around 3 hours. There will also be time to snorkel, should you wish, with equipment provided.

    Accommodation: Hosteria Mandala (or similar)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Full day to discover Machalilla N.P.

    We spend today in Machalilla National Park, a 55,000ha reserve in Manabi with a range of habitats and vegetation ranging from dry scrub to deciduous forest and wetlands. Some of the highest altitudes have regions similar to Andean Cloud Forest. The park protects a large area of beach, islets and coastal scrub as well as the ocean itself. Within Machililla there is a small community of about 52 families, known as Agua Blanca. We visit the village and walk through the dry forest, and if time allows the cloud forest. There are many species in Machalilla and we may spot Howler monkeys, snakes or amphibians on our walk. Afterwards we visit the beautiful white sand beach of Los Frailes, marked by rocky headlands, for a refreshing swim. In the late afternoon we'll have a talk from a researcher studying the behaviour of giant Manta rays found off the coast of Puerto Lopez. This ongoing research project is the largest of its kind and so far 1600 individuals have been recorded around Isla de la Plata.

    Accommodation: Hosteria Mandala (or similar)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Visit Pacoche to observe Howler monkeys.

    After breakfast we drive around one and a half hours to Pacoche, a small reserve located along the coast to the north of Puerto Lopez. This is one of the last remaining semi-dry tropical forests in the area and has a fascinating micro-climate. We join a walking trail through Pacoche Reserve where we hope to come across one of the 10 groups of Howler monkeys in the area. There are numerous birds, such as the West Peruvian Screech owl, Short-tailed Woodstar and Rufous-headed Chachalacas. Following this visit and lunch we depart to our hotel.

    Accommodation: Casa Ceibo (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Boat trip to Isla Corazon; to Bellavista Cloud Forest.

    We depart early this morning for a private boat trip to Isla Corazon, a mangrove island located within the Chone River estuary. The island is an important habitat and nesting site for one of the largest frigatebird colonies in the Pacific. It is a wonderful place to see these birds and get close to mangrove forest. After this we have a long drive (around 6 hours) to Bellavista Cloud Forest. Situated on the North-Western slopes of the Andes at the top of the Tandayapa Valley, Bellavista is a private reserve bursting with orchids, bromeliads, toucans, tanagers and hummingbirds. The area is a paradise for naturalists with a vast network of hiking trails, some of which lead to waterfalls. Tonight we may see the nocturnal Olinguito from the lodge.

    Accommodation: Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve & Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Birdwatching at Bellavista Cloud Forest; to Puembo.

    An early start this morning to appreciate the diversity of Bellavista and spot some of its many bird species. The reserve has previously won awards for its high bird count - there are 20 different species of Hummingbird to look for! After this morning's excursion and lunch at the lodge, we drive towards Puembo, where our beautiful hacienda for the next two nights is located. On the way we will make a short stop at the Equatorial monument.

    Accommodation: Hacienda Su Merced (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Walk in Antisana N.P. to look for the Andean Condor.

    After breakfast we drive to Antisana Ecological Reserve, a protected area with a beautiful mountainous backdrop. Antisana Volcano rises to a height of 5704m - Ecuador’s fourth highest - and is surrounded by striking lagoons which reflect the peak in their still waters. In this region Andean Condors are found - the largest flying birds on Earth! Seen locally as a symbol of health and strength, these huge birds have wing spans of up to 3 metres, allowing them to stay aloft for hours. On our walk in Antisana we have good chances of spotting them in the skies above.

    Accommodation: Hacienda Su Merced (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Fly to Coca; to Sacha Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest.

    A short drive brings us to Quito airport where we board our flight to Coca in the Amazon Basin. From Coca it will take around two and half hours on foot and by canoe to navigate to Sacha Lodge, located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Sacha Lodge can be found within a 5000 acre private ecological reserve on the banks of Lake Pilchicocha, a stunning setting and incredible place for wildlife and birds. On our first evening at Sacha we may join a night walk to gain a totally new perspective on the rainforest, or paddle across the lake by canoe to see how many Spectacled black caimans we can spot with their glowing orange eyes.

    Accommodation: Sacha Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Two full days exploring the Amazon Rainforest.

    Our morning begins early to take advantage of the first light on a bird watching and canopy walkway excursion. Just one mile from the lodge is a sturdy canopy walkway 36 metres high and 275 metres long - one of only a few of its kind in the world. From here there are spectacular views of the rainforest canopy and numerous vibrantly coloured birds to see. There are a number of trails on which to walk to discover the rainforest and its inhabitants, and expert native guides will lead these excursions, explaining about the various medicinal plants that have been used for hundreds of years. It is also possible to visit the parrott clay lick and have a go at fishing for Piranha off the dock today.

    Accommodation: Sacha Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Sacha Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest.

    We continue exploring Sacha, hiking through the forest, taking canoe rides across the lake and seaching for its many inhabitants. There are 8 species of monkey found in this area alone, from the tiny Pygmy marmoset to the noisy Red Howler monkey. We hope to encounter some of these species during today's activities - there is a good chance of being surrounded by troops of Squirrel, Capuchin and Howler monkeys whilst on a silent canoe ride through the flooded Amazonian forest. The shy and elusive River otter may also be seen as well as the three-toed sloth. Today we also have the opportunity to visit Sacha's observation tower built around an ancient Kapok tree some 135 feet high.

    Please note that the order of activities at Sacha lodge may change and you will likely join other guests staying at the lodge to participate in some activities.

    Accommodation: Sacha Lodge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Depart Sacha Lodge and fly to Quito; end Quito.

    This morning we say goodbye to the rainforest and return to Coca airport the same way we came on our last canoe ride. Our flight should arrive into Quito in the early afternoon (slightly later on Saturdays) and at this point the holiday comes to an end. Land only clients are free to make onward travel arrangements after 6pm this evening. Alternatively, please ask your sales consultant about post-tour accommodation in Quito.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Ecuador

British passport holders do not need a visa for Ecuador. Very few other nationalities need a visa for Ecuador, but if you are in any doubt you should contact the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy. 

Vaccinations

Ecuador

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

If you will spend any time in the Amazon Rainforest we recommend a Yellow Fever vaccination. Please note that your certificate of vaccination may be inspected on arrival to this region.

Malaria is also a risk in some areas of the country (including the Amazon Rainforest) so we suggest you consult a doctor for more advice. 

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to Ecuador will be required to show valid medical insurance on arrival and cannot enter the country without it.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 6 dinners included.

Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style with toast, cereal, eggs, fruits and tea/coffee all available. Some lunches are included and maybe in the form of a box lunch. The tour leader will recommend various dinner options in convenient locations, usually booking restaurants and eating with the group.

Vegetarians can be catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Weather

In Quito and the highlands it should be warm by day and generally dry. Maximum daytime temperatures are almost constant throughout the year at 20ºC, nights 8ºC. Some rain can be expected in February to May and October to November but storms, though heavy, are generally short. Quito and in general the highlands, are considered to have quite a pleasant climate, although the evenings can be chilly.

In the jungle regions it will be hot with high humidity. There is always a possibility of rain at any time, but not to the extent of spoiling your enjoyment. The driest time in the jungle (in terms of rainfall levels, not number of rainy days) is October to January. On the coast the climate is tropical. Between December and April, it is sunny, hot and humid, with daytime temperatures often reaching the mid 30s. As the Humboldt Current moves north, the city tends to be cloudier and cooler between May and November, but temperatures rarely dip below 29ºC.

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 2: Leisurely/Moderate, with a Safari Rating of 3.

It will appeal to those interested in the astonishing variety of mainland Ecuador - mangrove systems, rainforest, cloud forest, coastline, islands and volcanoes. It is a busy trip, taking in a huge amount of scenery, flora and fauna in two weeks. Some of the areas visited on the trip are at high altitude and some walks are planned. There will be early starts and long drives to fit in as much as possible - the longest driving day is on day 6. Please note that a reasonable level of fitness is required for this trip.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

On this holiday we stay in a mixture of standard and comfortable lodges, all of which have en suite facilities. The highlight of this holiday will no doubt be our stay at Sacha Lodge, in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Set within a 5000 ha ecological reserve, all of the cabins have thatched roofs and private shaded terraces, concealed within the lush surroundings. Look out on the jungle from the comfort of your hammock, or see toucans, agoutis or monkeys from your cabin!

Optional single supplement available from GBP440 (excluding Sacha Lodge) or GBP920 throughout

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Paul Goldstein is one of very few people that has spent time with all five of the BBC's ‘Dynasty’ luminaries.

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

Trips you might also like

Call us on 1 800 267 3347