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ECUADOR PHOTO TOUR

Ecuador: Andes, Amazon and Galapagos Islands

Ecuador: Andes, Amazon and Galapagos Islands

$0 per person
This Itinerary is a sample of what we can offer to you. We can tailor-Make it with you depending on your points of interests and needs. Activities can be added as they can be deleted.

ECUADOR PHOTO TOUR

Welcome to Ecuador, a land of incredible natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Join us on a photo tour that will take you on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes of the Andes Mountains, the lush Amazon Rainforest, and the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.

Our journey will begin in the charming colonial city of Quito, nestled in the heart of the Andes. From there, we will explore the rugged peaks and stunning valleys of the Andes, where we will capture the majesty of snow-capped volcanoes and the vibrant colors of indigenous markets.

Next, we’ll venture into the Amazon Rainforest, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, where we will have the opportunity to photograph exotic wildlife, including colorful birds, monkeys, and other wildlife, and witness the traditional way of life of the indigenous communities.

Our journey will culminate in the Galapagos Islands, a natural wonder of the world, where we will photograph unique animal species such as giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. Our photo tour is designed to provide you with unforgettable experiences, incredible photographic opportunities, and a deep appreciation for the unique and diverse beauty of Ecuador.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Your Photography gear.
  • Warm clothes for the night and the morning ( gloves, beanie, winter jackets, winter socks ) Rain coat in case of bad luck. Good comfortable walking shoes.
  • Headlamp for walking in the dark, essential!
  • Sharp eyes and your smile!

RECOMMENDED GEAR

  • Mid-range zoom to cover a variety of focal lengths
  • Wide angle for landscape opportunities and astro-photography (f 2.8 or wider works best)
  • Tripod for landscape shots and astro
  • Filters for landscapes (ND, Grad ND and CPL recommended)
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  • Departure/Return Location
    Ecuador’s capital of Quito
  • What to wear
    Comfortable seasonal clothing and shoes
  • Included
    Accommodation
    Entrance Fees
    Extras
    Guide
    Local Flights
    Lunch
    Meals
    Photo Assistance
    Transport
  • Not Included
    Insurance

Tour Plan

1
Day 1: ARRIVAL TO QUITO
When you arrive in Ecuador’s capital of Quito — which lies at 2,800 meters above sea level at the foot of the Pichincha Volcano — you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel.
Accommodation: Nh Collection
Meals: None
2
Day 2: QUITO CITY TOUR & MIDDLE OF THE WORLD TOUR
AM: This morning we will explore Quito’s colonial center: the best-preserved historic district in the Americas. Here, you can learn about Quito’s history and artistic legacy while admiring the stunning architecture of its colonial buildings and the uniqueness of its pieces of religious art. We will visit, the most iconic streets, main square Quito, San Francisco and Panecillo Hill. PM: Optional : this afternoon, we will continue to the famous “Middle of the World” complex on the equatorial line, where you’ll be able to straddle the planet’s two hemispheres. A great photo op..!!. We will continue to visit Intiñan Museum.
Accommodation: Nh Collection
Meals: Breakfast
3
DAY 3: QUITO – CHOCO ANDINO – MAQUIPUCUNA RESERVE.
Your guide will pick you up from hotel in Quito. We take the highway north of Quito, passing the Equator Monument and Latitude 0, and then we climb over the pass and from here on, it's downhill. Enjoy the changing views from dry landscapes to the stunning virgin lush cloud forests of Maquipucuna. About an hour after you leave your hotel, the first real forests that you encounter will be the protected highlands of the Maquipucuna Reserve. You will witness the classic example of a "rain shadow"effect created by the Andes on the moist air masses coming from the Pacific - dessert on the east slope of the mountains and lush wet forests on the pacific slopes. The drive lasts about 2 hours from Quito. Check-in to Maquipucuna Lodge, receive the welcome talk and get fitted with rubber boots and prepare yourself for an introduction trek on one of our various trails. Before lunch:  We will take a guided short walk to learn about some of Maquipucuna's medicinal and useful plants.
Do you have a cut on your finger? There is a natural Neosporin-like plant for that. Interested in a natural bug repellent? Or, in preventing baldness? It’s all here. Also, find out where novel plants, such as the lengua de la suegra (tongue of mother-in-law), get their names. The medicinal properties of Maquipucuna plants are endlessly fascinating. You will run out of time before you run out of plants, and those are only some of the ones we are already aware of. After lunch: We will walk through the Bear trail and part of the Palmito or River trails in search of Spectacled bears or their traces. This is a moderate hike through Secondary and some Primary Forest.
The most incredible birding and wildlife can be expected along this hike as Emblematic birds such as the Lanceolated Monklet, the Choco Toucan, the Esmeraldas Antbird, the Guayaquil Woodpecker, various species of raptors, and the occasional Cock-of-the-rock are possible to see along this trail. This trail can be thought of as a journey through the progression of forest regeneration from secondary forest to primary forest.
One of the tree species typical of a regeneration forest is a Lauraceae tree, known locally as Pacche. When in season, these trees carry in abundance mini avocado fruits. This is the fruit responsible for attracting unusually high numbers of bears yearly. One can see several individuals feeding on the top of the Pacche trees as close as 15 minutes away from the lodge. A local guide is mandatory during Spectacled Bear season. 6:00 pm Bar opens officially; however, if you desire a drink before then, please let our staff know and they will be happy to serve you. Optional guided night hike.
Accommodation: Mquipucuna
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
4
DAY 4: BIRDING HIKE / TRANSFER TOQ UITO
Wake up to the calls of a concert of birds and get ready for an early start. After enjoying a cup of our own freshly brewed coffee, we have the first birding hike from 6:30 - 8:30 am to enjoy the sounds and sights of dawn in the forest – which is when most birds are active and calling. Take a short break by the waterfall for a refreshing dip and check check out before taking lunch at the Lodge. Leave for Quito after lunch.
Accommodation: NH Collection
Meals: Breakfast
5
DAY 5: TRANSFER QUITO AIRPORT / NAPO CULTURAL CENTER
After breakfast your guide will pick you up and transfer to the airport to take your flight at Coca. Arriving at Napo Cultural Center, you have the outstanding chance to step onto the aboriginal territory of the kichwa Añangu community, whose members will welcome you with a traditional and refreshing ice cold “wayusa”, the local hotel manager will give quick instructions and immediately will take you to your comfortable room with views of the rainforest in order to get ready for the first activity in the afternoon.
Hike along “Playas” trail to experience amazon wildlife for the first time in the river islands and shores amidst of one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. Kayaking is also available as an optional activity for around 45 min. to enjoy an overwhelming and colorful sunset in the vastness of Napo River. Then head back to your cabin, rest a little bit and be prepared for a welldeserved dinner. After dinner sleep with the relaxing sounds of the amazon.
Accommodation: Napo Cultural Center
Meals: Box Lunch, Dinner
6
DAY 6: AMAZON PROGRAM
Early breakfast and then head in the motor boat to one of the highlights of Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, the parrot clay lick in the riverside of River Napo, bring your binoculars and camera lenses to see flocks of blueheaded, yellow-crowned parrots and even dusky-headed parakeets, from the boat.
Then walk around 30 min, through “pericos” trail to reach the blind in the forest with a direct view to the amazing parakeet clay lick, which brings visitors face to face with up to 11 species of parrots and parakeets (including parrotlets and macaws), sometimes even mammals like howler monkeys, tapir and peccaries come to this place to drink water and get vital minerals for their body. We end this morning with a visit to the intercultural interpretation center "Kuri Muyu" which means golden seed in native language, handled by the women of the community also knows as “mamakuna” learn about the kichwa culture, crafts, customs and traditional use of natural resources directly from the people of the aboriginal community.
We return to the center of the community to have lunch at the dining hall and take a break in the lodge before hiking one hour in order to climb up the observation tower reaching 35 meters above the surface with high chances to spot a variety of birds, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, toucans, parrots and sloths. Time for dinner followed by a unique activity at Napo river, onboard the ancestral catamaran to know more about their legends and traditional chants, while women grill some delicious snacks in the fire.
Accommodations: Napo Cultural Center
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
7
DAY 7: AMAZON PROGRAM
Enjoy the sunrise at breakfast, visit the sustainable community projects, talk about the worldview Kichwa Addition to medicinal and walk in the Mama Cuna road, excellent opportunity to see more wildlife, ceiba trees, strangler, bamboo cane, vines and shrubs endemic from Yasuní. In the afternoon after a delicious local lunch paddle around “Añangu” stream, a black water ecosystem where you can spot monkeys jumping from tree to tree, caiman and sometimes even giant river otters trying to catch fish.
Upon arriving you will have time to settle back and prepare for a traditional typical dinner to taste local flavors of the amazon, such as “maito” which is grilled fish wrapped in a “bijao” leaf and if you have an adventurous palate try the grilled worms of the “chonta” locally known as “chontakuru”. After dinner, prepare your flashlight for a night walk around the lodge to see different kind of insects, reptiles and even nocturnal mammals like the night monkeys.
Accommodations: Napo Cultural Center
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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DAY 08: DEPARTURE AMAZON – ARRIVAL TO QUITO
To close with a flourish, take part on the optional “wayusada” ritual, in which at dawn around 4:30 am is the time when the kichwa family share together the sacred “wayusa” and has been a way to past their ancient knowledge to the new generations, here you also share traditional chants and have the chance to “interpret dreams” with the wisest “mamakuna” at the community, a mystique experience indeed. Then head back for breakfast, while our staff pick you luggage for your return to Coca town, onboard our comfortable motor boats for the last chance to appreciate the Ecuadorian rainforest landscape, until you reach “La Mision” river port. Your guide will be waiting for you at the Quito airport to head towards the city of Lasso.
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DAY 09: COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK – BAÑOS
Early in the morning, we will start the trip to Cotopaxi. We will arrive at the main entrance of the National Park, a spectacular ecological reserve that covers 139 square miles (36,000 hectares). Within this area is the magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, which rises 3.66 miles (5,897 meters) above sea level. Your guide will then explain the culture and natural history of the Andean ecosystems here. After a few more minutes of travel, we will make our way to the edge of Lake Limpiopungo to admire a variety of birds and occasionally even wild horses. On clear days, you can spot the magnificent cone of Cotopaxi, which appears like a postcard-perfect sight. A short walk around the lake will also allow you to admire the Andean plant and animal life of the area. Later we will continue driving to the city of Baños
Accommodation: Volcano
Meals: Breakfast
10
DAY 10: BAÑOS CITY TOUR (WATERFALL ROUTE)
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer to Baños. Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, Baños has become a mecca for international travelers seeking year-round temperate weather, a small-town atmosphere, and a base for exploring the great Ecuadorian outdoors.
Pailón del Diablo Activities
Suspension bridge: this bridge was created by the inhabitants of the place from here you can see the riches of the place like abundant vegetation, beautiful landscapes surrounded by nature that will bring tranquility to your life.
Go through the Grieta del Cielo: To go through the place you must go halfway inclined, this crack is of natural origin and is crossed here to get to the balcony of Pailón del Biablo, once here you can take abreak and rest. Continuing you will appreciate some wonderful rock steps, thus reaching a second balcony, being this the best since from here you can touch the crystalclear water from the waterfall, get wet, feel the adrenaline that fills you when you feel so alive and surrounded by nature.
Photography: For photography lovers this is a great option since in one place you can find a million beautiful things to capture through your camera lenses.
Casa del árbol The tree house is a must see in Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador, located in the Runtún farmhouse at 2600 meters above sea level. Here we will have the opportunity to swing on a rock, on the famous “end of the world” swing, which is over 7 meters high. It is the best place to observe the Tungurahua Volcano and the landscapes of the Cordillera.
The tarabitas and the canopy. The tarabitas are “big baskets” that, through a cable, will bring you up to the Manto de la Novia waterfall. It is an experience that is done in a group together with other travelers and leaves you suspended for a few seconds so that you can take as many photographs as you can. The extreme version of the tarabitas is the canopy, known as zip line in many countries. It is one of the most fun things to do in Baños, as it takes you across the river at full speed, more than 100 meters high, and past an imposing waterfall.
Accommodation: Volcano Meals: Breakfast
11
DAY 11: BAÑOS TRANSFER TO RIOBAMBA
Today after breakfast we will go to the city of Riobamba. We will go to the city of Riobamba (2754 masl), we will pick you up from your hotel. We start with an optional acclimatization activity: Visit to the Urbina Station (3600 masl) where we will visit the ice train museum, walk through the botanical garden and if we are at the site on a weekend, we will see the last ice machine. of Chimborazo.
Accommodation: HACIENDA ABRASPUNGO
Meals: Breakfast
12
DAY 12: CHIMBORAZO RESERVE – CUENCA
In the morning we will go to Urbina, after acclimatizing in Urbina (the highest train station in Ecuador) we move to the Chimborazo Fauna Production Reserve (During the entire tour we make stops to take pictures and enjoy them).
We arrive at the first refuge of Chimborazo located at 4851 masl, from where the 1 km walk (optional) begins to the Cóndor Cocha lagoon (5080 masl) passing through the Whymper Refuge. Later we will go to the city of Cuenca.
Accommodation: Carvallo
Meals: Breakfast
13
DAY 13: CUENCA CITY TOUR – GUALACEO – CHORDELEG
Your tour of the city of Cuenca will start at 09:00 We will walk through the old town, which includes the Museum of Modern Art, the New Cathedral and the famous local flower market, followed by a visit to Turi for incredible panoramic views of the city and a visit to a hat factory from Panama. After this, you will be taken to enjoy a delicious traditional lunch before spending the afternoon tailored to your interests, such as a guided tour of the Central Bank, an artists' workshop, markets, gallery or museum. In the afternoon, you will then enjoy a leisurely lunch before heading to visit Gualaceo and Chordeleg, two of the most important artisan towns located near Cuenca. Visiting Chordeleg (from jet gold meaning waterfall of gold) you will learn about the production of fine filigree jewelry as well as hand-made pottery. While in Gualaceo, you'll have the opportunity to wander through the local fruit and vegetable markets brimming with fresh produce, as well as learn about (¡and taste!) delicious fruits grown only in Ecuador. Due to the high altitude, Ingapirca is 3180 meters above sea level, the weather can change quickly. Check with our office prior to departure regarding appropriate attire.
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DAY 14: CAJAS NATIONAL PARK – GUAYAQUIL
We will pick you up at 08:00 from your hotel, to go to the city of Guayaquil. During the trip we will visit the Cajas National Park. The walk in the Cajas National Park, depending on the group, can last up to three hours. We recommend a moderate hike around a glacial lake, among tundra vegetation and a polylepis forest. Alternatively, you can choose to take a shorter walk and combine it with a visit to the Virgen del Cajas. Depending on the weather and your particular schedule, your guide will take you to enjoy the panoramic views at Tres Cruces. Then we will continue our trip to the city of Guayaquil, we will leave you at your hotel.
15
DAY 15: TRANSFER HOTEL – GUAAYQUIL AIRPORT
After breakfast your guide will pick you up and transfer to the airport to take your flight at Galapagos Islands. Different options are available for your Galapagos Experience as :
- Intense Diving Cuise itinerary during 8 Days. - Intense Naturalist Cruise Itinerary during 8 Days. - Mixed interests Cruises for 5 or 6 Days.
Ask for more details about our cruises options, all depends on how much time you have and your different interests.

Tour Location

Quito is the capital city of Ecuador, nestled in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of over 9,000 feet. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage with a mix of Spanish colonial and indigenous influences evident in its architecture, cuisine, and traditions. Quito’s old town, also known as the Historic Center, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest and best-preserved colonial centers in Latin America. The streets are lined with colorful buildings adorned with intricate balconies, and the plazas are filled with lively markets, street performers, and artisanal crafts. Visitors can explore the city's many museums and art galleries, which showcase Ecuadorian history and culture, including the Museo del Banco Central, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Casa del Alabado museum, which highlights pre-Columbian art and culture. Quito is also the gateway to many natural wonders of Ecuador, including the nearby Cotopaxi volcano and the Mindo Cloud Forest, which offer opportunities for hiking and wildlife observation.