You could win a customized, 18-day trip for two to Ecuador from Ecuador, Surtrek Tour Operator, and Continental Airlines.
Surtrek Tour Operator (www.surtrek.com) was set up in 1991, to offer nature-oriented tourist activities. We guarantee serious, professional service during our custom luxury trips around Ecuador, as well as quality trekking, climbing, jungle trips, mountain biking, rafting, expeditions, diving, and cruises.
Enter for the chance to win the trip! >>
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in Quito. Assistance and transfer provided from the airport to the Hotel Patio Andaluz (www.hotelpatioandaluz.com). Situated in the heart of the historic Old City of Quito, which was declared the first cultural heritage of the world by UNESCO in 1978, the hotel is surrounded by churches, museums, and national monuments. It is a marvelous colonial building that has been meticulously restored. Enjoy the 31-room hotel's wide corridors, expansive stairways, large arches, balconies, and towering atrium-style patios. B/L/D*
Day 2: Quito City Tour
Explore the colonial center of Quito, starting with a visit to St. Augustine Convent's colonial patio, cloisters, coffered ceilings, and collection of paintings. Visit Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral; the Presidential Palace; the Municipal Building; and the Archbishop's Palace. Continue to the Church of San Francisco. Its impressive façade and atrium lead to its gilded interior with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. Enjoy lunch downtown at a restaurant with typical Ecuadorian specialties and live music. After lunch, drive to the city park, La Carolina, to visit the botanical garden of Quito. Accommodations provided at the Hotel Patio Andaluz. B/L/D*
Day 3: Rafting the Quijos
The Quijos River is Ecuador's premier white water, with miles of class IV to IV+ rapids and spectacular jungle scenery. Expect to run more white water in a day than you'd do in a week elsewhere. This trip is for experienced rafters who are confident swimmers. Depart from Quito at 6:30 a.m. Drive to Baeza. On arrival you'll be equipped with wetsuits, life jackets, and helmets. You'll start with some easier rapids, stopping along the way for a riverside picnic lunch. Then, in the afternoon, raft big, technical rapids. From the take-out, head toward Quito, stopping at Papallacta Hot Springs for a well-earned soak in the volcanically heated mineral waters. In the late evening you will return to Quito. Accommodations provided at the Hotel Patio Andaluz. B/L/D*
Day 4: Cotopaxi Biking Tour
Depart Quito toward the south on the Pan-American Highway through the famous "avenue of the volcanoes" to the entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park. While biking through the national park, you will visit the lagoon Limpio Pungo, as well as the Inca ruins El Salitre, located in the highlands of the park. You'll lunch at the Tambopaxi Acclimatization Center, with great views of Cotopaxi Volcano. Then the tour follows an old cobblestone road to finally reach your accommodations at the Hacienda Tierra del Volcan (www.tierradelvolcan.com). B/L/D*
Day 5: Cotopaxi National Park Horseback Riding
Ride on horseback up to the highest point of Rumiñahui's slopes along hidden trails for a view of the dazzling landscape encompassing several Andean volcanoes. See several species of falcon, guarros, curiquingues, quilicos, and, perhaps, a condor and its mate. In the afternoon, you will return to the Hacienda Tierra del Volcan. B/L/D*
Day 6: Sincholagua Volcano Hiking
After breakfast, head to the Sincholagua Volcano. During the walk, you will cross Páramo vegetation, sandy slopes, and rocks. From the top of Cotopaxi's ridges, you will have a magnificent view. After hiking six to seven hours, you will return to the Hacienda Tierra del Volcan. B/L/D*
Day 7: Refuge of Cotopaxi
Hike to the refuge hut of Cotopaxi (4,800 meters or 15,748 feet), which takes about four hours. After a picnic lunch, head towards the glacier to enjoy the breathtaking landscape that surrounds the Cotopaxi. B/L/D*
Day 8: Cotopaxi Climb
You'll start climbing at midnight. If the weather conditions are good, after six to seven hours of climbing, you will reach the summit (5,897 meters or 19,347 feet) for an awesome view of the surrounding volcanoes. Afterwards, return to the hut. In the afternoon, you will drive back to Quito where you return to the Hotel Patio Andaluz. B/L/-*
Day 9: Amazon Jungle Adventure
After a flight to Lago Agrio and three-hour drive, you reach "El Puente" (the entrance of the Cuyabeno Reserve). Take a canoe ride down the Cuyabeno River through the dense vegetation of the Amazon jungle. Dinner and accommodations will be at the Tapir Lodge (www.tapirlodge.com). B/L/D*
Day 10: Amazon Jungle Adventure
After breakfast, explore the forest to learn about the endemic flora and fauna. Your first excursion will be a three-hour walk in the primary forest and the nearby lake, Laguna Grande, where you can admire a variety of ancient trees, giant palms, orchids, and birds, such as woodpeckers, macaws, toucans, as well as two or three species of monkeys. In the afternoon, go piranha fishing and for a refreshing dip into the Cuyabeno Lagoon. Dinner and accommodations at the Tapir Lodge. B/L/D*
Day 11: Amazon Jungle Adventure
After breakfast, hike through the jungle with a naturalist guide, who will give you some lessons about the use of medicinal plants. You will have the chance to see diurnal mammals, reptiles, and birds. Lunch in the lodge includes the best traditional and international jungle cuisine. In the afternoon, canoe on Canangueno Lake to see fresh water dolphins, arapaimas, prehistoric hoatizins, and a fantastic sunset. Dinner and accommodations at the Tapir Lodge. B/L/D*
Day 12: Amazon Jungle Adventure
Early breakfast, followed by bird watching. Visit the small settlement of Puerto Bolívar (Siona Indians). Learn how the indigeonous people live. In the afternoon, canoe to the Grande Lake for an extraordinary sunset. At night, look for caiman crocodiles and be part of the nocturnal wildlife along the Cuyabeno River. Experience the nocturnal jungle by staying overnight in a sheltered hammock. You can also return to the Tapir Lodge. B/L/D*
Day 13: Amazon Jungle Adventure
Enjoy the surrounding nature for the last time before making your way back to "El Puente." You'll travel to Lago Agrio by bus to take a flight back to Quito. Stay the night at the Hotel Patio Andaluz. B/L/D*
Day 14: Ecuadorian Pacific Coast Manta Bahia de Caraquez
Take an early flight from Quito to Manta. From here, drive to Bahia de Caraquez and transfer to the Hotel La Piedra. In the afternoon, explore the surrounding area. Visit Isla Corazón from Bahía by boat. Dinner and accommodations provided. B/L/D*
Day 15: Bahia Montañita
After breakfast, enjoy surfing or relaxing on the beach at Montañita by the Ruta del Sol. In the late afternoon, head to your hotel, the Hosteria Atamari. Dinner and accommodations provided. B/L/D*
Day 16: Relax on the Pacific Beaches
Relax as you like, meals and accomodations at Hosteria Atamari. B/L/D*
Day 17: Guayaquil City Tour
From the Hosteria Atamari, drive three hours to the economic center of the country, Guayaquil. Transfer to the Oro Verde Hotel (www.oroverdehotels.com). In the afternoon, visit the city and its tourist attractions. B/L/D*
Day 18: Transfer to the Airport and Flight Home
Enjoy your last day in Ecuador.Transfer to the airport included. We hope you will return again! B/-/-*
Total Land Trip Cost: $2,285/person
Included: All transfers, transportation, excursions, visits, and accommodations, according to the program, as well as domestic flights (Quito-Jungle-Quito and Quito-Coast-Quito).
*Meals are provided as mentioned above: B=Breakfast / L=Lunch or lunchbox / D=Dinner, National Park entrance fees, English speaking guides, native guide in the rainforest, rubber boots, rain poncho, tents, and lodging according, to the program. International flights are provided by Continental Airlines, with some restrictions.
Not included: Single accommodation, alcoholic beverages, tips, personal items, travel insurance, and international airport tax in Quito ($25).
Enter for the chance to win the trip! >>
Pick up the November 2005 issue for Wild Horizons 2006, offering up the top 25 trips and outfitters for next year.
Subscribe to Adventure today and save 70 percent off the cover price!