Relief Ride through the Andes and the Amazon. 13 Days

Take a spiritual journey through Ecuador’s eclectic terrain delivering humanitarian aid to remote communities. 13 days.

  • Ecuador
  • Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito (UIO)

This trip allows you to experience the Andes and the Amazon in a unique way.

Riding horseback with a remarkable group of travellers, you’ll embark on a journey through colourful quinoa fields, through tropical cloud forests and over Ecuador’s mountainous terrain.

Along the way you will spend time with village natives and work with the Red Cross to deliver healthcare programmes to those in need. You’ll stay with the Sapara tribe; experiencing their way of life and gaining a fascinating insight into their culture and way of life.

This life-changing experience includes:

  • 7 days in the Andes
  • 5 days in the Amazon
  • 5 days of horseback riding
  • All humanitarian programs on the scheduled itinerary
  • 12 nights’ accommodation
  • Local, certified guide
  • All meals during the trip
  • Local transfers
  • Airport transfers
  • All taxes, insurances and licenses relative to the trip

Perfect for:
Anyone looking for a life-changing adventure that offers the opportunity to help underprivileged, remote communities.

Adventures for Good Your host is a humanitarian-based, adventure travel company that leads horseback and motorcycle journeys through remote areas while providing humanitarian aid to rural populations. See all of our Adventures for Good here.

Need To Know

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights to and from Quito airport
  • Snacks and drink
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)

This trip will run with a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 8.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Travellers need to be healthy and in moderate to good physical condition. Previous riding experience is required. This trip is ideal for riders who see themselves as advanced beginners.

The temperature is usually pretty constant year round as Ecuador is on the Equator. Generally, the Northern Hemisphere summer months are drier in Ecuador and the winter ones, wetter. But due to climate change, much of this is changing. In the mountains it is usually sunny in the daytime usually 15°C to 20°C in the day and can get cooler at night, as low as 10°C. In the jungle, it is usually warm to hot, but usually comfortable as we are often shaded by the canopy (around 25°C), cooler in the evenings and at night.

If you have any special requests, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.

  • All riding equipment
  • Mosquito nets and bedding will be provided when we spend the night in the community.

As you will be in two distinct ecosystems, you’ll have listed rainforest and mountain equipment separately.

Your hosts recommend that you bring three bags; one large bag in which you can fit everything, a smaller backpack or duffle for the rainforest, and a daypack for water, rain jacket, camera, etc. when hiking.

Please note that you can leave anything you don’t need in the jungle in a secure store in the Andes (jeans, jumpers etc). Everything will be waiting for you when we come out of the jungle again.

Rainforest Clothing: You can buy special jungle moisture wicking shirts or just choose lightweight fast-drying fabrics – synthetics or cotton-blends.

  • At least two pairs of long lightweight trousers (not jeans)
  • Three long sleeved shirts
  • Quick drying socks
  • Underwear
  • Quick dry or light t-shirts
  • Swimming costume
  • Sun hat
  • Comfortable trainers or light hiking boots
  • Sandals (such as flipflops or Tevas).
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Camera & batteries or charger (film if needed)
  • Light rain jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Torch / headlamp & batteries
  • Bin liners to keep things dry and put wet clothes in
  • Alarm clock
  • Water bottle
  • Binoculars
  • Light snacks – trail mix or energy bars
  • Earplugs – jungle very can be filled with sounds at night.
  • Journal and pen
  • Soap – please ensure that soap is biodegradable – the fewer chemicals we introduce into the jungle the better.

Please note that there is a 25lb limit for the one piece of luggage that you will be able to take into the rainforest (this doesn’t include your carry on bag)

During the day you will be walking in the jungle, in the evenings you will be relaxing in the library/bar or sitting by the fire, so it is very casual. Also, we may go for a night walk or canoe ride so nothing smart needed.

Clothing for the Mountains: - Trainers or light hiking boots - Jeans or equivalent long trousers - Warm jacket - Jumper or sweatshirt - Socks and underwear - Something nice for farewell dinner - Bag to leave behind mountain clothes while we are in the jungle.

All care is taken to keep luggage dry especially when travelling by canoe but your hosts recommend that you pack all your rainforest clothing in a bin liner. Books, documents and journals are best packed in zip lock bags. This can be done the night before you travel into the jungle.

Required Documents: - Passport (must be valid at least 6 months after return) - Copy of travel insurance (highly recommended) - Copy of personal health insurance information - Immunization certificate (for yellow fever) if coming into Ecuador from another South American country

Medical supplies: - Sun block - Mosquito repellent - Aspirin, Imodium etc. - Malaria medicine

In Ecuador malaria and hepatitis can be contracted, however, if the necessary preventative measures are taken, these illnesses can be avoided easily.

The following is only a guide, please consult with your doctor well ahead of your departure for further information.

  • You are required to take a preventative medicine for malaria. We recommend Malarone which is very effective and doesn’t have the side effects that Larium has.

  • No immunizations are required for entry into Ecuador, EXCEPT – yellow fever immunization is required if you are passing through any other South American country on your way to Ecuador (even when you only are in an airport) or if you are entering Ecuador from an endemic area.

  • If you are committed to homoeopathic or herbal medicines some of the following information may be useful. For intestinal protection: cinnamon and peony – 4 capsules before each meal beginning before and throughout the trip. Unwanted bacteria in the intestines – 2 capsules twice a day or Acidophilus and Bifidus before meals will regulate absorption.

  • Vitamin B shots or B-12 pills (100mg doses 3x daily two weeks prior to departure) can repel mosquitos, as do store-bought repellents or geranium, eucalyptus, citronella or pennyroyal essential oils.

  • Altitude Sickness: Travelling to high altitudes may lead to insomnia, headache, nausea, dizziness and fatigue although individual reactions are highly variable. The medication prescribed to prevent symptoms is Acetazolamide (Diamox) taken twice daily starting 24 hours prior to ascent and continuing 2 – 3 days while at altitude. This should not be taken by those with reactions to sulfa drugs. Be careful to drink plenty of water when over 8,000 feet (in Quito and Otavalo).

Quito – (is the highest capital city in the world) with an elevation of 9,350 feet or 2,800 meters above sea level.

Otovalo – 8441 feet or 2573 metres

Baños – 5,905 feet or 1,820 metres

Zuleta – 9,534 feet or 2,906 meters

Drinking plenty of water, taking it easy on the first day and drinking local herbal teas help, but if you are particularly sensitive to altitude it may be a good idea to bring Diamox or other altitude sickness tablets just in case.

Visitors from the UK, US and Australia don’t need a visa – you will be given one upon entry into Ecuador. Other nationalities please check with the Ecuadorian embassy in your country.

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You’re free to book any flight you like. Your host suggests arriving at least a day before the trip starts.

Location

View map

The diverse landscape of Ecuador is an eclectic blend of Amazonian rainforest, the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands, and the breathtaking heights of the Andean highlands.

It’s capital city, Quito, sits dramatically squeezed between peaks. Warm and relaxed, the streets are overflowing with native markets, shamanistic healers, and fourth-generation hat makers.

Start point?
You will be met at Quito Airport. You can book any flight that suits you. Your host will be in touch before your trip to finalise details.

Finish point?
You will be dropped off at Quito Airport. Your host will be in touch before your trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Quito Airport (UIO) is served by regular inexpensive flights. You can get any flight that suits you, but make sure they fit the times above to take advantage of the included transfers. Your host will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

What to Expect

Friday: Arrive in Quito

Today, you’ll arrive at Quito airport and be taken to a boutique hotel on the outskirts of the city, in Puembo. Get settled for a good night’s rest ahead of an early start in the morning.

30-minute drive

Saturday: Ride to Zuleta Valley

You’ll be on the road early this morning as you take the 2-hour drive to the city of Otavalo. This stunning drive will take you through arid valleys and into Imbabura, a province also known as the ‘Land of the Lakes’.

Around mid-morning, you’ll get to know your horse on a nice easy ride following a trail past hamlets of adobe huts, though colourful quinoa fields, and onto the slopes of the extinct Imbabura Volcano.

Your ride will come to an end at a hacienda in the spectacular Zuleta Valley where you will stay for the night.

Sunday: Ride to San Pablo

This morning, you will take the breathtaking ride through the Andes landscape to San Pablo.

On arrival, you will visit the Condo Park, a foundation dedicated to the protection and rescue of rare birds. As well as stunning panoramic views over Otavalo, the park’s surroundings are home to the local indigenous market, the waterfall of Peguche, the sacred tree of Lechero, and the spectacular lagoons of Mojanda.

Explore the park and take a photograph or two from some fantastic viewpoints before taking the short drive (10 minutes) to Hacienda Pinsaqui where you will spend your evening.

Monday: Ride from Cochapata to Piñan

This morning, you will drive across the valley to meet the local Criollo horses at Cochapata. From here, you will begin a stunning ride across the vast paramo to the remote village of Piñan; swirling grass beneath you, with condors, eagles and hawks above.

As you ride the highland you will ascend to 3658m before you crest the mountain and descend 2438m. Your final stop will be at a lodge in Piñan. Here you will rest, refuel, and stay for the night.

1-hour drive

Tuesday: Dental and Obstetrics Programme

Today, you will deliver Red Cross dental and obstetric care to the people of Piñan. The camp will open at 10:00 and close at around 16:00, or when the last patient has been seen.

After a long and rewarding day, you will return to the lodge to stay another night in Piñan.

Wednesday: Tropical cloud forest and coffee plantation

You’ll leave Piñan early this morning and ride out through the paramo into the tropical cloud forest. In vast contrast to your surroundings over the past few days, you’ll find yourself amongst mountain bamboo, passion fruit and coffee trees.

You will dismount at a coffee plantation which will also be your lodge for the night. With your room surrounded by coffee and banana trees, there really is nothing like waking to the smell of fresh coffee in the morning.

Thursday: Journey to the Hacienda La Cienega

Kick-starting your day this morning with a tour of a fair-trade coffee plantation will ensure you are adequately caffeinated for the trip ahead into the Amazon.

By mid-morning, you will begin to make your way to the exceptional Hacienda La Cienega in the low-lying cloud forest. You’ll stop for lunch on the way in Otavalo and make time to walk through the native market, packed with traditional handicrafts and textiles.

Back on the coach, you will drive through the high cloud forest towards the Equator and the staggering ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’; a group of seven peaks running for 200 miles and standing more than 5180m high.

Tonight, you will check in to the Hacienda La Cienega. One of Ecuador’s oldest haciendas, Hacienda La Cienega which has accommodated many famed explorers in the past.

Friday: Meet the Sapara tribe

You’ll start today with a drive to Shell (3 hours) where you will board a light aircraft which will take you to Llamchamacocha, home of the Sapara tribe (45 minutes).

The Sapara people are master healers with a great interest in spirituality, and incredible knowledge of plant medicine. You will receive a gracious welcome on arrival, taking part in a cleansing ceremony and given a Sapara name.

Suitably cleansed and now appropriately named, you will travel down the river by canoe to your stunning riverside camp for the night, Naku.

Saturday: Dental and Obstetrics Programme

This morning you will be welcomed into the home of the Sapara people once again, with a ceremony to enhance your connectivity with the surrounding forest.

The Red Cross team will then open the dental and obstetrics camp to the people of Llamchamacocha and you will be on hand to help.

Tonight, you will stay once again in the breathtaking surroundings of camp Naku.

Sunday: Meet the Sapara leader

After a delicious breakfast, you will have the honour of canoeing downstream with Manari – the Sapara leader and a keen fisherman. Along the way, Manari will share with you the Sapara cosmovision and way of life.

You will rest on a beach by the river where you can enjoy lunch and a swim before heading back to camp. Tonight you will experience a traditional shamanic ceremony, giving you a fascinating insight into the lives of the Sapara people.

Monday: Dental and Gynaecological Programme

You’ll start this morning with another traditional ceremony with Manari and other Sapara elders; a way of life you may already be becoming accustomed to. This ceremony will help you understand the effects of last night’s ceremony enabling you to take from it the most you can.

After lunch, you will travel to a nearby village and support the Red Cross team in delivering a dental and gynaecological clinic to the residents.

After a rewarding day, the rest of the afternoon is yours to spend at your leisure; take a refreshing dip in the river before another night’s stay in the isolation of Naku.

Tuesday: Luna Runtun Adventure Spa

It’s time to say goodbye to the Sapara tribe and show your gratitude for their hospitality. You’ll be sad to leave Naku, so be sure to treat yourself to a Sapara artisanal gift and take a piece of this wonderful place with you.

When you return to Shell, you will continue to drive up through the Andes to the Luna Runtun Adventure Spa where you will stay for the night. Enjoy the rest of the day soaking in a thermal pool or hike the cliffs surrounding Baños – make your stay your own.

Wednesday: Baños and farewell

After breakfast this morning you will visit the spa town of Baños, located in the shadow of Volcano Tungurahua. There will be time to enjoy lunch and explore the market before boarding the coach to return to Quito.

When you arrive in Quito you will have a farewell dinner with your fellow adventurers. After dinner, you will be taken to the airport for your evening flight home.

4-hour drive from Baños to Quito

Accommodation

In Puembo you will stay at a boutique hotel. Exact accommodation will be confirmed prior to your trip depending on availability but you can expect a comfortable stay in a small and welcoming hotel.

As you travel the Andes you will stay at a number of haciendas. These offer a very comfortable stay, with an onsite restaurant and beautiful grounds.

During your time with the Sapara tribe, you will stay at the riverside camp Naku. With beds beneath the stars, you’ll sleep in serious comfort.

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Dates & Prices

Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Airport Transfers
  • Equipment
  • Guide
  • Local Transport
  • Meals As Described

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Your host will confirm your booking subject to availability. There may be a minimum number of guests required to guarantee that a trip will go ahead.

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Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Single Room Occupancy Payable Before Departure
Single Room Occupancy $750.00 Per Person

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