For a truly exciting and unique adventure, the 8-day Quito to Amazon tour doesn’t disappoint. You’ll immerse yourself in local culture as you stay on an expansive working colonial farm, followed by a luxury 4-night cruise in the beautiful Amazon Rainforest.
A Unique Hacienda Experience
Once you arrive in Quito, you’ll be whisked away to your hotel within the Andean mountains just two hours north. Hacienda Zuleta is one of the most unique accommodations in the country, situated on a colonial farm belonging to a former president of Ecuador, and is an outdoor lover’s paradise. While here, you’ll experience all the area has to offer and find yourself immersed in an authentic Ecuadorean experience .
Join in on one of the many offerings on this working farm, including cheese-making, relaxing in the garden, exploring the hacienda’s premises, learning about shepherding, or visiting the embroidery museum to learn how traditional fabrics are made. You’ll also have a chance to hike or horseback to the hacienda’s condor reintroduction project.
A day away from the hacienda takes you to Otavalo and its famous colorful market full of fine fabrics, traditional wood carvings, alpaca wool blankets, and clothing. In addition to experiencing the market itself, you’ll meet artisans and learn about their skilled approaches to their craft.
You’ll also have chances to explore an ecological reserve, visit the deep blue crater lake of Cuicocha Lagoon, and stop in the picturesque town of Cotacachi, where you will be introduced to their famous leatherwork.
Amazon Rainforest Immersion
The time arrives to leave the Ecuadorian Andes behind and head into the mystery and beauty of the country’s Amazon Rainforest. A quick flight takes you to the Amazonian city of Coca. Here you will board a motorized canoe for a 90-minute ride deeper into the Amazon itself before arriving at your floating accommodations, the Anakonda.
Expect both luxury and comfort aboard the Anakonda, your floating hotel for the next four nights. Select between your choice of air-conditioned cabins, including the Standard with its French-style balcony, or the spacious Deluxe featuring a jacuzzi bath and private balcony.
You’ll have plenty of social space onboard to enjoy as well, including an expansive sun deck, outdoor Jacuzzi, indoor lounge with plush sofas, a reclusive reading room, onboard boutique, and shaded deck for enjoying a cocktail or simply relaxing while taking in the scenery. Gourmet meals will be served in the spacious dining area.
Offered excursions into the rainforest include day and evening forest walks, canoeing, and visiting a local family to learn about their ways, culture, and traditions. You’ll also have ample opportunities for wildlife spotting, including the legendary pink river dolphins, primates, river otters, and colorful birds such as the hoatzin.
As one of our best Amazon tours from Quito, you’ll experience both the beauty and mystery of this incredible eco-system while being surrounded by luxury and attentive service by the crew at all times. All too soon, however, the cruise must come to an end, but not the adventure. The return trip via motorized canoe back to Coca provides you with one last chance to take photos and enjoy all the Amazon has to offer.
Itinerary & Prices
From Quito to Hacienda Zuleta
We pick you up in Quito and head on to one of the most unique hotels in South America, the Hacienda Zuleta. Dating from the late XVI century, the hotel lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 9,600 feet (2,800 meters) above sea level, and only two hours north of Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
Zuleta is a colonial working farm of 4,000 acres (2,000 hectares) that belongs to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years. It was chosen as one of the world’s “Top Ten Finds” by Outside magazine and named as one of the best Ecuador Hotel by National Geographic Traveler
Meals (L, D)
Otavalo Market Excursion
Today we visit the town of Otavalo, known throughout South America for its enormous and colorful market, and one of the most interesting towns in Ecuador. Still heavily populated by the local Kichwa indigenous culture, the roots and modern development of the local community can be clearly seen. Here our guide gives you some history of the town, the people, and the market before allowing you to explore in-depth.
Be sure to keep an eye out not only for the fine fabrics and clothing but also the traditional wooden carvings particular to this area of Ecuador. As part of our day at the market, we will visit the workshop of Master weaver Miguel Andrango, in the village of Agato. Miguel’s art has taken him abroad, mainly to exhibitions and fairs in the United States where the quality of his work is widely acknowledged. Your guide will explain how the alpaca wool is spun and how the colors are obtained from plant dyes indigenous to the area.
We take a drive to the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and embark on a short stroll through the reserve until the welcome center where we learn all about the flora and fauna of the area. We venture on to the beautiful Cuicocha lagoon, which was formed when an ancient volcano collapsed and formed a caldera. The result is a deep-blue crater lake on the lower southern flanks of Mount Cotacachi which makes for spectacular viewing, the diameter of its crater is about 3km, and the lake some 180 meters deep.
After the hike, we will stop at the picturesque colonial town of Cotacachi, famous for its leatherwork. Here you will find a great variety of stores with top-quality leather articles, such as wallets, belts, bags, shoes, and clothes.
Meals (B, L, D)
Experience the Hacienda
Cheese Making: One of the most interesting activities that take place on the property is the cheese-making collective. A total of 14 different types of cheese are made in this building, ranging from the soft fresh traditional Andean cheese through to semi-aged and mature-aged cheeses. Here you take a tour with an expert cheesemaker and learn all about the process from its beginnings as milk from the community through to the end product.
Hacienda Zuleta: The hacienda itself is a hive of activity, and activities popular with our visitors are: a visit to the organic garden, feed the baby calves, take a walk of the hacienda’s premises, relax in the garden, learn about how traditional fabrics are made in the embroidery museum and learn about shepherding techniques with the resident vaqueros.
Condor Project: In the afternoon we have the choice between a hike and a horseback ride through the spectacular Andean scenery to the hacienda’s condor reintroduction project. We make a brief stop en-route at the site of some ancient pre-Incan remains. In the evening we can relax in the beautiful setting of the hacienda.
Meals (B, L, D)
AM: Enjoy your final morning at Hacienda Zuleta before embarking on your new cruise adventure! You will be transferred to the airport after breakfast for your flight from Quito to Coca.
PM: Our adventure begins in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. After a 30-minute flight from Quito to the Amazonian city of Coca, we will transfer to the dock and board our motorized canoe for a 90-minute journey down the river, taking in the Amazon, until we reach the Anakonda Amazon Cruise and receive our welcome aboard.
On the Anakonda, we will be joined by expert local naturalist guides, who will provide us with a brief, informative introduction to the Ecuadorian Amazon. Afterward, guests will have the opportunity to explore our cruise ship and admire the rainforest landscape as we glide down the Napo River. After dinner, we will take a nighttime forest walk to observe the rainforest’s nocturnal activity and vividly experience its biodiversity first-hand.
Meals: (B, D)
Yasuni National Park
AM: Early in the morning, we will visit Yasuni National Park, a pristine region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, home to the legendary pink river dolphin. In this area, we can also find anacondas, river turtles, and various primate species, as well as the colorful hoatzin, a unique bird known locally as the “stinky turkey”.
PM: In the afternoon, we will take a motorized canoe to a black-water lake, home to giant otters and the elusive manatee, and enjoy a pleasant hike in the riparian/gallery forest, with the chance to spot flocks of birds and marvel at the intricate organization of a colony of leaf-cutter ants.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Kichwa Family and Life Onboard
AM: We will start the day off by visiting an authentic Kichwa family on the banks of the Napo River, where we will receive the opportunity to learn directly from members of the local community.
PM: We will board the Anakonda for lunch as we continue upstream. Guests will participate in a cooking class with our expert chef and prepare exquisite traditional Ecuadorian. Guests are invited to try traditional handcrafting or enjoy our onboard facilities, including the Rainforest Spa, the spectacular view from our Amazon Hot Tub, cocktails at our Bar and Lounge, and stargazing from our Observation Deck.
Meals: (B, L, D)
Forest Adventure & Observation Canopy Tower
AM: Our guests can relax and enjoy the Anakonda Amazon Cruise during the morning and disembark to explore the nearby forest and discover a myriad of animals and plant species endemic to the Amazon basin.
PM: In the afternoon, we will visit a canopy tower built against a giant kapok tree and take in the view from the top as we loom above the lush treetops and look down on the sheer vastness of the Amazon. In the evening, we will take a canoe onto the river to search for black caimans by flashlight.
Meals: (B, L, D)
AM: This is where our adventure ends! Enjoy the final part of our return journey, then disembark the Anakonda Amazon Cruise to take the motorized canoe for 90 minutes back to Coca.