SMALL GROUP ADVENTURES IN ECUADOR
Looking for that sweet spot between independent backpacking and a package holiday?
Travelling as part of a Small Group tour has its perks. There are local expert tour leaders to take the hassle out of travel arrangements and show you the sights, plus a group of like-minded travellers to share the fun with. All you have to do is turn up with a smile and a passport
Groups are small, normally 8-16 people, meaning the trips aren’t disruptive to the places we visit, and a smaller number creates a good group dynamic; you’ll get to know a range of people from different backgrounds with a shared interest in travel.
Got the urge for adventure, but no-one to do it with? Over half of the travellers on Small Group trips are travelling solo.
Compact and diverse, Ecuador is like a tasting menu for South America. There are Andean mountains, with glacial volcanoes. The largest market in South America, where Ecuador's numerous Indigenous groups come to barter. There are Amazonian jungles and charming colonial cities, like cobblestoned Cuenca. Best of all, all these flavours are packed together, so you can be in the jungle in the morning and at the foot of a glacier by the evening. And of course, a trip to Ecuador wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the pristine and fragile Galápagos Islands.
- Acclimatise to the literally breathtaking 2,850m altitude in sophisticated Quito, checking out the colonial churches and hopping over to Otavalo, just north of the city, for the country’s best crafts market.
- Stay overnight in one of the gorgeously restored haciendas just outside of Cotopaxi National Park, and see wild horses and migrating birds
- Discover the delights of Cuenca, a gorgeous colonial city with cobblestone streets, arts, markets and excellent food.
- Enjoy some tropical relaxation, mountain biking and rafting in Baños
- Head to the Galapagos Islands for a once in a lifetime island-hopping, wildlife-watching cruise
- Take a trip down to less-visited Amazon Basin, where you can see wildlife, paddle rivers and learn about the unique cultures of isolated indigenous tribes like the Huaorani and Shuar
ECUADOR HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Ecuador is a diverse country with over a dozen distinct ethnic groups and some 20 unique languages. In the highlands, you won’t want to miss the small Kichwa villages found on the Quilotoa Loop. Along the way, you’ll get the chance to descend to a crater lake that local legend says has no bottom, meet artists in Tigua or just get lost on ancient trails as you hike and bike from village to village.
Ecuador offers up a truckload of adrenaline-soaked activities:
- Summit one of the nation’s towering glacier-draped volcanoes, Cotopaxi
- There’s good surf in Ecuador, too, and you can find 2m waves, chill surf scenes and plenty of other fun activities. The waves are best from January to March.
- Fill your need for white water with a rafting adventure down any of the country’s Class III and IV rivers.
- There’s mountain biking down the flanks of Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, plus a ride past a dozen waterfalls as you descend from Baños to Puyo.
- There are plenty of zip lines to fly down, bridges to jump (or swing) from, and mountains to climb.
- For wildlife watching, there is world-class birding in Mindo, Amazonian jungle treks for glimpses of monkeys, toucans, river dolphins and caimans along the Río Napo, staggering biodiversity in parks like Parque Nacional Podocarpus and, of course, the place that revealed The Origin of the Species, the Galapagos Islands.
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