Adventures / Wild Hikes

Amazon Rainforest Adventure in Ecuador

Hike through wild jungle and voyage remote rivers in the untouched UNESCO Yasuni Biosphere Reserve

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Trip Ref #10352

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Amazon Rainforest Adventure in Ecuador

Hike through wild jungle and voyage remote rivers in the untouched UNESCO Yasuni Biosphere Reserve

DURATION

6 nights

LOCATION

Ecuador

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Year round

GROUP SIZE

Up to 12 people

MEETING POINT

Dan Carlton Hotel, Quito

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Campsite

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

This adventure is perfect for anyone with basic fitness levels and a love for the natural world

Trek through primary rainforest teeming with wildlife, eyes open for peccary, giant otters, anaconda and jaguar

Float along the Tiputini River and wind your way into the wilderness, looking out for piranha along the way

Camp on the river’s edge in the heart of the Amazon Basin and fall asleep serenaded by the hum of the jungle

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Thomas, April 2022

We had a great trip into the jungle. The host and guides were brilliant - friendly, and knowledgable and the camp that we stayed in was clean, comfortable with great food! Staying in the jungle was a great experience and absolutely recommend it to everyone!

Tim, April 2022

Fantastic trip all round! Everything exceeded expectations. The local guides were professional, knowledgeable and engaging. Accommodation and meals provided throughout were excellent. If you are considering this trip, go for it! Just make sure you have a decent supply of clothes for hiking / trekking in changeable weather conditions, and plenty of bug spray!

Ryan, April 2022

The trip was simply incredible ! The guides fantastic, good accommodation, an excellent itinerary with lots of interesting and varied activities. I'd strongly recommend this trip to anyone with an adventurous spirit who is on a tight timetable ! For suggested improvements, the marketing perhaps suggests there will be greater hope of seeing wildlife than is possible - the guide made it clear it is a matter of luck - and that might be better explained. I'd suggest emphasising more the trekking and kayaking etc. The kit list also needs to be refined - for example, it would be helpful to know you are likely to need 2 sets of clothes a day and 3-4 trousers and shorts, as they soon get muddy and wet with little chance to dry in the humidity. Dark / khaki colours also recommended.

Included

Guides

Certified, English speaking guides

Accommodation

2 nights in a hotel and 4 nights camping

Meals

All meals while in the Amazon, and breakfasts in Quito

Transfers

To and from the start and everything in-between

Equipment

All camping equipment, life jacket and rubber boots

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Dan Carlton Hotel, Quito

18:00 on Day 1

Ends

Quito Airport

Morning on Day 7

Transfers

Your adventure begins at 18:00 on Day 1 when your host will meet you in the lobby at Dan Carlton Hotel, Quito. On the final day of the trip, your host will do one group transfer back to the airport in the morning. The airport is around a 45min journey to downtown Quito and a 1 hour journey from Papallacta.

A return group transfer from Papallacta to the airport is included in the trip cost. To make your own way to the Quito accommodation from the airport, you have a few options. You can request a private transfer from the host (please see Optional Extras for prices). You can take a public bus for just $2 USD, however, this isn't overly straightforward as you need to change buses at Quitumbe bus terminal. A metered taxi will cost you between $25-35 USD. You can save some money by taking an 'Aeroservicio' - a privately operated bus service connecting the airport with the city centre. This costs $8 USD.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Quito from major airports across the UK, Europe and North America.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 5

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

In Quito and Papallacta, there will be an array of traditional Ecuadorian food to sample. Traditional dishes tend to be meat-heavy, however, seafood ceviche is popular and there are plenty of vegetarian options using potato, plantain and local cheeses. You have one evening in Quito with no dinner included, allowing you to sample the local restaurants nearby.

While camping in the Amazon enjoy delicious, fresh cuisine prepared by a local chef, recognised by the Association of Ecuador Chefs for their work to bring back traditional foods of the Amazon prepared using locally produced, organically grown ingredients.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Quito

During your time in Quito, you'll stay at the Dan Carlton Hotel. Offering a variety of facilities and services, the property provides all you need for a good night's sleep.

Mandari Panga Community Camp

You’ll spend 4 nights at the community-run Mandari Panga Camp, an initiative created in 2016 with a mission to ​directly benefit the local indigenous community, improve their quality of life and protect the biodiversity of the Yasuni National Park. To learn more about this important project and its contribution to the conservation of Yasuni, have a read of the FAQ listed below.

You'll camp in spacious safari-style tents along the river shore in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The tents are set up on large sheltered elevated platforms, built with traditional techniques and elements, complete with all bedding and a hammock for relaxing during your stay. There are 2 shared bathroom structures, each with 2 showers and 2 ecological dry toilets. Please note that hot water is not available at the camp.

Papallacta

You'll spend your final night at the four-star Termas de Papallacta, a hot springs spa resort nestled in a majestic valley of the high Andes. Decorated with wooden walls and gabled roofs, rooms at Termas de Papallacta are fitted with wooden furnishing. You can relax in the thermal pools or try some of the several beauty treatments that are available at the spa.

If you prefer to relax a little bit longer in Papallacta rather than returning to Quito, you can book extra nights and arrange the airport transfer with your host.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Touch down in Quito

Welcome to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quito! The rest of the day you are free to explore the colonial city and shake off any jet lag. There will be a group meet-up at 18:00 to get to know your guide and fellow adventurers.

Day 2

Welcome to the jungle

Driving

6hrs

Hiking

1-2hrs

Settle into the van for a road trip bound for the city of Coca - the starting point for your Amazon jungle adventure. Then start making your way through the Yasuní National Park heading deeper into the jungle before embarking on a motorised canoe. Cross the Tiputini River, where dense trees blanket the riverbanks and birds flutter overhead, to reach your wild camp. Once settled into camp, stretch your legs with a guided jungle walk, getting to know the local wildlife. Enjoy a delicious dinner before calling it a night.

Day 3

Wild pig trail

Hiking

5-6hrs

After breakfast, you'll jump into your motorised canoe for a quick transfer across the river to the trailhead. Hike deep into virgin forest, keeping an eye out for wildlife along the way. Canoe back to camp for lunch and hit the trail again in search of peccary (mountain pigs). You’ll then get to share some time with the native Kichwa people, hearing their stories and legends and learning about their traditions. As dusk falls and the jungle comes alive, you'll set out on a torchlight hike in search of amphibians, reptiles, insects and arachnids.

Day 4

Parrot Clay Lick

Hiking

1-2hrs

Wildlife Watching

2hrs

Fuel up with some breakfast and coffee before boarding your motorised canoe and heading downriver to a parrot clay lick, a spectacle of colours and sounds. You’ll witness various species of parrots and macaws go to town licking the clay off the cliffs. Be on the lookout for predators such as snakes, boas and raptors. In the afternoon take a hike on a new trail near camp known as the Tucán Trail, then spot piranha along the Tiputini River before sitting down to a traditional Ecuadorian dinner.

Day 5

Tapir Trail and Black Water Lagoon

Wildlife Tracking

4-5hrs

As the jungle wakes you'll take to the river and make your way to the Tapir trailhead. From here, set off for a morning hike, keeping a keen eye open for the region's resident monkeys, birds, snakes and even jaguars. In the afternoon you’ll hike to Black Water Lagoon to see a series of endemic aquatic species, giant otters, and with any luck, anacondas. After another full day in the jungle, you’ll enjoy a well-earned meal and then fall asleep, serenaded by the trilling hum of the jungle one last time.

Day 6

Goodbye Amazon, hello hot springs

Driving

5-6hrs

Wave goodbye to the jungle as you take one more canoe ride to connect with the van to make the long journey to Papallacta, a small village in the Andes. In the afternoon you are free to enjoy some well-earned downtime in the hotel's hot springs. You'll share a final evening together with your group, sharing memories, adventure stories and probably the odd photo of a giant otter from your time in the Amazon Basin.

Day 7

Bid farewell to Ecuador

Your adventure ends today as you enjoy a final breakfast in the natural surroundings at your hotel. You're free to head to the airport in time for your onward flight.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All camping equipment
    Dry bags
    Rubber boots
    Life jacket

What do I need to bring?

BAGS
Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
Daypack (25+ litres)

CLOTHES
Waterproof jacket
Waterproof trousers
Breathable wicking layers
Fleece jacket or similar
Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
T-shirts
Underwear and socks
Swimwear
Sunglasses
Sunhat
Something to sleep in
Walking shoes (worn-in) Sandals or flip-flops

OTHER
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel insurance documents
Earplugs
Insect repellent
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Quick-dry towel
Alcohol hand-gel
Headtorch or torch
Reusable water bottle (x1 litre) Biodegradable wet-wipes
Energy bars and snacks
Water purification tablets/treatment system

Post-trip accommodation at Termas de Papallacta (Single/ Double) (except Saturday nights and holidays)

Payable Before Departure

Post-trip accommodation at Termas de Papallacta (Single/ Double) (except Saturday nights and holidays)

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Single)

Per Night

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Twin/Double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Twin/Double)

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Per Person

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 130kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Everybody with basic levels of fitness can enjoy this trip. Hikes can be a bit of a muddy slog and through thick forest at times but there will be plenty of breaks and time to take in the surrounding views, wildlife and enjoy the rainforest. The activities aren't strenuous, the aim on this trip is to breathe in and soak up the natural wonders of the Amazon while immersed in your surroundings.

Yasuni National Park is recognised as one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. However, despite opposition from the global environmental community, oil drilling started in Yasuni in 2016. 10,000 hectares were lost and countless habitats destroyed. The hope is that reforestation projects can be supported by more sustainable sources, such as adventure tourism.

That's where you can come in…

The majority of your stay on this adventure is at the community-run Mandari Panga Camp, an initiative created in 2016 with a mission to ​directly benefit the local indigenous community, improve their quality of life and protect the biodiversity of the Yasuni National Park.

Proceeds from The Mandari Panga community project directly funds the education of local school children, creating better employment opportunities within sustainable tourism - particularly for women - with 32 families currently being supported. The project is also improving local transportation links, available medical care, and local conservation and reforestation efforts, protecting 7,000 hectares of rainforest in the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve. This is helping efforts to preserve vital watersheds, streams, rivers and forests as well as endangered species such as the pink river dolphins and giant river otters that inhabit the ecosystem.

Simply by visiting you’re helping to support all of this. Read more about the project on the United Nations Development Programme’s website.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however, we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

Guides: $10 USD per day

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The tap water in mainland Ecuador is not always friendly on the stomach for those who haven't been in Latin America for a while. There is purified water in each of the accommodation which you can use to fill up each morning, so be sure to pack a reusable water bottle or two.

The camp has a solar panel which is sufficient to charge batteries, but otherwise there is no electricity at the camp. We recommend you bring your own portable charger for the devices you would like to use during your stay.

There really is no “best” time to visit the Amazon, anytime of year offers a great chance to experience the jungle. May and June tend to be the wetter months, but the climate is slightly cooler as well. July through December see a decline in the amount of rain that falls each month. The average temperature in the jungle remains around 25°C (77°F) year-round, but during the dry season, daytime temperatures can reach 40°C (104°F).

Yes, you are able to leave excess luggage in Quito at the start of the trip, to be collected when you return to Quito.

We recommend checking out the country-specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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