Indigenous Ecuador Adventure

A Culture Focused Holiday in Ecuador

Ecuadorian Amazon, Quito & Northern Highlands

Duration: 10 nights

Price: From £5,700 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, most meals, private transfers, experiences as stated and taxes

Before and throughout Ecuador’s long imperial and colonial history, from the Incas to the conquistadors, the country’s indigenous peoples continued to practiced their rich and varied cultures. In this off-the-beaten track itinerary, you’ll get to meet indigenous people and experience their way of life, from the depths of the Amazon to the hills of the Andes. You’ll begin and end in the capital, Quito, shaped by centuries of interaction between indigenous people and colonisers, before venturing into the Amazon rainforest. Here you’ll experience rich wildlife and get to know the Achuar people, spending a night in a traditional village to learn about their arts, myths and legends. Your other stop is a historic hacienda in the Andes, where you’ll meet the Otavalenos, renowned for their beautiful textiles, and the Afro-Ecuadorians of El Chota, whose culture is infused with African music and dance.
Perfect forGetting to know Ecuador’s indigenous people and their rich cultures.
In the knowAdd some time in Colombia, especially Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast.

Best for

  • Adventure
  • Cultural Immersion
  • Off the Beaten Track
  • Wildlife & Nature

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Itinerary details

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2 nightsQUITO

Your journey begins in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito. Famed for the Spanish architecture of its old town, Quito is a fascinating mixture of colonial and indigenous culture. A walking tour of the old town should take in the baroque, gold-leaf covered church Compania de Jesus, and the huge, 16th-century Monastery of San Francisco. Your hotel, the restored classical mansion Casa Gangotena, is right in the middle of the old town, making it the perfect base for exploration. At the National Museum, you can learn more about the pre-Hispanic culture of Ecuador, with artefacts and artworks from throughout history up to the Inca Empire. To get a different perspective on the city, take a ride on the TeleferiQo, a cable car up the side of the Pichincha volcano, which offers beautiful views over the city.  
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4 nightsAMAZON

The next leg of your journey is a wild adventure in the Amazon, with four nights at the remote Kapawi Ecolodge, accessible only by private plane. Transferring to the town of Shell, you’ll be greeted by members of the Achuar community, indigenous people whose skilled craftsmanship built the lodge. After a short flight over pristine rainforest, you’ll take a tranquil canoe ride down the river to the lodge. Once you arrive, a programme packed full of cultural and natural activities awaits. A boat trip will take you to see the remarkable parrot clay licks, where thousands of colourful tropical birds descend on mineral-rich mud pools; kayak trips on the Kapawari River will allow you to spot wildlife including the pink river dolphin; and birdwatchers will have the chance to spot herons, comorants and egrets, among many other species. A nature walk through the forest will teach you about its wildlife and the Achuars’ relationship with it. Other cultural activities will see you learn the art of Achuar face painting, hear their myths and legends around a campfire, and purchase traditional handicrafts. You’ll even get the chance to test your hunting credentials with a blowgun contest. Your four nights here include one night camping in a traditional Achuar village.
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2 nightsMISAHUALLI

From Kapawi Ecolodge, you'll be transferred to the eco-friendly Hamadrade Lodge, where you'll spend two nights taking part in all of the fantastic jungle activities, whether you are interested in trekking through the rainforest, passing the exotic wildlife, or kayaking the lagoons and white water rafting along the Napo and Anzu rivers. If you didn't get enough of experiencing Ecuador's incredible indigenous communities, you can meet the people of the Valle Hermoso and join in their cultural activities, such as chocolate making, gold panning and traditional dancing. 
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1 nightQUITO

You'll be transferred back to Quito for a night at the Casa Gangotena. This is a great opportunity to experience some of Quito’s attractions that you may have missed first time around: explore the work of legendary painter Oswaldo Guayasamin at his former home, now a museum; treat yourself in the gourmet chocolatiers of La Ronda; or dance your night away in one of the city’s pumping salsotecas.
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3 nightsIBARRA

For the final few nights of this adventure, you’ll be transferred to Hacienda Piman, a historic estate in the Ecuadorian Andes. Your time here will see you exploring the culture of the indigenous Otavaleno people, whose beautiful textiles have made them Ecuador’s most commercially successful indigenous people. You’ll have the chance to pick up a souvenir or gift with a visit to Otavalo’s bustling indigenous craft market, which has been running for hundreds of years. You’ll also get the chance to meet the Afro-Ecuadorian people in the villages of the nearby valley El Chota, whose unique culture has retained African elements such as bomba music and dance. During your stay here you’ll also take a trip to the El Angel Reserve, a wildlife-rich whose moorlands support frailejones, huge plants resembling sunflowers. In the regional capital, Ibarra, you’ll stroll through colonial streets and indulge in delicious regional cuisine at local restaurants. 
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