Amazonian Community and the Culture of the Otavalo

Personalised journeys from start to finish

Every trip helps support Conservation

Every detail taken care of

  • Personalised journeys from start to finish

  • Every trip helps support Conservation

  • Every detail taken care of

Suggested places to visit

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • Full Board at Sani Lodge, B&B at the others
  • All domestic flights
  • All private ground transfers
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Delve into Ecuador’s unique and diverse culture on this wonderful nine-day trip across it’s green lands and have a profound encounter with the country’s incredible spirit.

From two nights exploring the opulent and UNESCO-protected capital of Quito, you’ll be flown deep into the Amazon for three nights at the pioneering Sani Lodge. Surrounded by overwhelming biodiversity, explore the rainforest and meet the local community, taking to the river on canoes and seeing the forest come alive at night on nocturnal hikes.

Then its three nights in the cultural epicentre of the country, the Otavalo Region, to stay on a working farm and colonial hacienda spending your days horse riding to visiting local workshops and markets, the pre-Incan pyramids and even getting involved in regional events.

Example trip itinerary

Days 1-3


Flights & transfers


Private transfer from Quito airport to your hotel

Accommodation in Quito

Two nights in Quito Two nights in Quito

Enjoy Ecuador's capital, the first ever UNESCO World Heritage city. You'll have our list of recommendations as well as private guides on hand to enjoy the best of this historical city and contemporary hub. We can arrange a number of private, interest-led tours to booking fine restaurants for you. Talk to your travel designer about how you would like to spend your time here.

Full Day Live Quito Like a Local Tour Full Day Live Quito Like a Local Tour

This brings alive the capital’s historic quarter, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, to go beyond the mere ‘bricks and mortar’ and allow guests to get a true feel for quiteños and the lives that make it such a fascinating place.

The first part of the tour includes a neighbourhood walk in the company of a local guide who will share their first-hand insights into the history, livelihoods, traditions, stories, beliefs and cuisine of their city. Experience the lively market of San Francisco and wander down to the restored and revitalised street of La Ronda, meeting artisans at work and find out more about the art of chocolate-making from a Swiss-Ecuadorian confectioner family.
A lunch of Ecuadorian specialities is served inside the elegant Casa Gangotena hotel dining room. The afternoon is divided between a visit to the Casa del Alabado archaeological museum and a trip up to one of the city’s viewpoints to fully appreciate its Andean setting from on high.

Flights & transfers


Private transfer to Quito airport


Flight from Quito to Coca

Days 3-6

The Amazon

Boat transfer to Sani Lodge Boat transfer to Sani Lodge

After your cooking class enjoy a walking tour of the city's Botanic Gardens. This exotic 137-hectare garden, with over 8000 plant species, was designed by order of the Prince Regent Dom João (later to become Dom João VI) in 1808. Your guide will show you many of the gardens' highlights including the row of palms (planted when the garden first opened), the Amazonas section, the lake containing the huge Vitória Régia water lilies and the enclosed orquidário , home to 600 species of orchids.

After the tour, return to your hotel to freshen up for dinner.

Amazon lodge

Four days exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon from Sani Lodge Four days exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon from Sani Lodge

Spend your days at Sani Lodge exploring this incredible corner of the Amazon, one of the most biodiverse places on earth with 550 species of bird, 1500 species of tree, 1000 types of butterfly and 13 monkey species found within in its 40,000 hectare reserve. Hike through the forest, take to the water to spot caiman, visit macaw clay licks and meet the local Sani community to learn about their environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

Flights & transfers


Flight from Coca to Quito

Days 6-9


Accommodation in Otavalo

Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N) Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N)

Depart from Quito and pass through beautiful valleys and fields by Cayambe volcano (5790m/18,997 feet) into the Northern Andes. En route, visit hacienda La Compañía, one of the oldest haciendas in the area and still a private property. Then continue to the Indian market of Otavalo; hundreds of years old and famous throughout the Andes for its handcrafts, textiles and tapestries. Visit the food, fruits, vegetables and craft markets. After lunch here, drive to the 17th century Hacienda Zuleta, one of our favourite places in Ecuador, to check in to your room.

Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N): Day Two Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N): Day Two

Accompanied by your own private guide, explore the beautiful Hacienda Zuleta and the surrounding area. Make the day your own with a choice of activities, from two-hour horse rides, to hikes, cultural tours to Otavalo, and visits to a condor conservation projects, Zuleta’s cheese factory and organic hardens. Other activities, such as extended horse rides, cooking lessons and mountain biking can also be added to the day at an extra cost.

Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N): Day Three Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N): Day Three

Head to the Cuicocha crater lake to enjoy a short hike near the lake. Then isit The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, a non-governmental, non-profit agency that sponsors projects conceived to improve overall living standards of the community of Zuleta and outlying areas within the province of Imbabura through education, conservation and socioeconomic development programs. The foundation has gained recognition thanks to its promotional work for the region’s weaving industry, one of the most important craftworks in the country and an important piece of Ecuador’s culture.

Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N): Day Four Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo Experience (4D/3N): Day Four

Depart Zuleta in the morning and take a back country road up to San Marcos Lagoon, which is located in the middle of the primary forest of the Cayambe-Coca Natural Reserve at over 3,400 meters above sea level (11,155 feet). Especially beautiful when the mist covers part of the lake, it is an incredibly peaceful place. Enjoy a hike in this amazing environment discovering the great diversity of flora and fauna found here before a picnic lunch in the reserve and returning to Quito.

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Every trip helps support Conservation.

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