Explore the diverse landscapes, ecosystems and wildlife of mainland Ecuador in December 2018, on this unique AdventureWomen journey designed just for women. Hike, horseback ride and experience authentic Ecuador while also enjoying one night of solo camping deep in the Andean highlands.
Ecuador is a magical country with its own way of life deep in the heart of South America. It is a country full of variety and amazing scenery, yet easy to get around as the distances from one region to another are relatively short. Ecuador has everything: virgin beaches, unexplored jungle, active volcanoes, snow-capped peaks, lakes, different kinds of forests, mangrove swamps, friendly cultures rich in tradition, colonial towns, and large modern cities.
Begin your journey in Quito, Ecuador exploring this diverse, colonial town with remarkably-well preserved buildings dating back to the 16th century. Considered the best preserved Colonial town in South America, the city of Quito became the World’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the high reaches of the Andes Mountains, Quito offers beautiful scenery, local markets, delicious restaurants, and excellent shops.
Travel to Cotopaxi, where you will get to experience Andean life first-hand. Cotopaxi National Park is known for the volcano of the same name, which suddenly surges out of relatively flat terrain, offering spectacular views of the volcano from all directions. Cotopaxi is one of the highest volcanoes in the world, and is the second-highest summit in Ecuador. The mountain was honored as a “Sacred Mountain” by local Andean people, even prior to the Inca invasion in the 15th century. The ecosystem in Cotopaxi is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including a unique combination of pine vegetation and wolves, pumas, bears, rabbits, condors, wild horses, and foxes.
Then experience Ecuador on horseback! Learn to saddle your Ecuadorian horse from a local "Chagra" (an Andean cowboy) and ride across the slopes of a dormant volcano as you share the unique group energy that is created when humans and horses become part of one herd.
You continue to explore Cotopaxi National Park on foot with your guide on a 5 hour hike to see the landscapes and wildlife that this beautiful park has to offer. Start hiking towards your Hacienda El Tambo on the eastern flanks of the Andes. You will cross hills and valleys, guarded over by Quilindaña, a peak hard to see from the Central Andean Valley. You will hike at an average altitude of 12,100 feet and the highest pass will be 13,400 feet. Arrive at our charming farmhouse retreat where we'll overnight at an old mountain refuge, built on Inca stones.
Connect with your fellow travelers, local guide, and AdventureWomen Associate as you prepare for one of the highlights of this trip, a solo camping experience in the highlands of the Andes. You will be outfitted with your own tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water, and food, allowing you relax in comfort while you enjoy a quiet day and night of introspection and reflection. In the western world, we almost never spend time completely alone, so this is a unique opportunity to disconnect in a more meditative way surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.
After your solo experience, continue your exploration of the interior of Ecuador with a new lens and journey to the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve in Ecuador's Amazon basin for the next four nights. This Ecuadorean rainforest has an incredible variety of wildlife – river dolphins, caimans, monkeys, and butterflies – and spectacular bird life which you can view by boat. Take a hike into the forest, learning about the wildlife, medicinal plants, and the forest ecosystems.
Travel along the Cuyabeno River, observing rich wildlife along the riverbank. Tour a lagoon to observe animals, take a swim in the lake, and enjoy the sunset from a canoe. Enjoy a night hike with your headlamp to look for nocturnal flora and wildlife. Most wildlife in the Amazon are nocturnal, so this is a perfect way to explore all that this unique ecosystem has to offer.
Head downstream on the Cuyabeno River to the Siona indigenous village and immerse yourself in a transformative cultural experience within an indigenous community. Work alongside the local women to cook the typical “casabe,” share stories, and gain an understanding of their way of life.
You will discover more about Ecuador as well as about yourself on this one-of-a-kind, custom-designed 2018 AdventureWomen journey into the magic of Ecuadorean parks, culture, and ecosystems.
- Explore Quito, one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Latin America, and the first to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage City
- Ride on horseback like an Andean cowboy and learn about their culture
- Disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself on a solo overnight in the highlands of the Andes
- Search for wildlife and learn about the rainforest ecosystem in the Amazon basin
- Sleep in traditional Andean haciendas and learn about the local families who run the haciendas
- Galapagos Islands extension available
What You'll See and Do
- Canoe and Boat Travel
- Cultural Exploration
- Historical Sites
- Horseback Riding
- Local Delicacies
- National Parks
- Natural History
- Solo Experience
- Wildlife Viewing