Ecuador nestles at the northern end of the South-American Andes and the western end of the Amazon. This tour takes us up mountains, along volcanoes, through beautiful valleys and indigenous settlements where time stands still. Experience the humid jungles, colourful markets, stunning beaches and buzzing cities Ecuador has to offer.
Travelling with the correct travel documentation is your own responsibility. Please ensure your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond the finish date of your trip.
For Ecuador, a visa is not required for stays of less than 90 days for many nationalities. Please check this information in good time before your trip commences as this information is always subject to change. You can check this information through a site such as this one
Accommodation and transport
During the tour you have access to a good quality private bus, which offers the possibility of stopping at beautiful spots along the way (if time permits). The transfers to and from the airport are not included. Any additional transportation costs of optional excursions are not included.
In a group of 8 persons (and above), the entire trip will be carried out with private transport (except the route Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez, this is by public bus). In a group of fewer than 8 people you will be travelling the following routes by public transport: Otavalo - Chota Valley - Quito; Banos - Jungle; Jungle - Riobamba; Cuenca - Guayaquil; Guayaquil - Puerto Lopez.
With a group of fewer than 8 people private transport will be available only for the following routes: Quito - El Chaupi - Baños and Riobamba - Cuenca
Naturally, the tour leader takes care of the ticket arrangements for any public transport sections.
During the tour you'll stay in simple but comfortable hotels in double rooms with private bathrooms. Most hotels have their own restaurant, and sometimes a garden or terrace. During the jungle part you will sleep in wooden bungalows with double/twin beds, again with private bathrooms. There is bed linen provided in the jungle, but no mosquito net is present. The rooms are well sealed though, with fine mesh. Single rooms are not possible in the jungle. There is no electricity in the jungle so bring a flashlight!
Travellers who, as many do, book alone, will share a room. We keep in mind that of course you should share with someone of the same sex. If you want a room to yourself, you can do so. You would then pay a single supplement.
During the (optional) Galápagos arrangement: the boats we use are motor yachts featuring a number of double cabins, sometimes a triple cabin, often with private shower and toilet. Singles will share a cabin with a fellow passenger (this is not looked at by sex, it may happen that a man shares a cabin with a woman). A single room/cabin during the Galápagos extension is not possible.
Our tours are led by trained, local English speaking tour leaders. We know that our travellers appreciate being accompanied by these local tour leaders who, compared to their counterparts (living outside of the destination) have more detailed knowledge of their country. He/she knows the area well, can provide background information and ensure that the trip goes smoothly. He/she knows what to do if something were to go wrong, but is not a "walking encyclopedia". Therefore we would like to refer you to study a good travel guide (book) in advance of travel.
Your tour leader understandably expects a tip at the end, if she/he has completed the job well. Shoestring pay the tour guides a wage which is higher than that of most adventurous travel companies. Our guideline for tipping is between € 1, - and € 2, - per passenger per day (the equivalent thereof).
This tour is classified as Category C.
The difficulty of our travels varies greatly. In addition to this there is the fact that difficulty is a very personal perception. To give an impression of the difficulty of a particular holiday we have developed a classification system.
Category A: Light travel for everyone to do. Short distances, good hotels, travel at a slow pace.
Category B: For everyone to do as well. Sometimes long distances. Good hotels and camping facilities, sometimes an adventurous overnight experience, travel at a normal pace.
Category C: Good to do for anyone who prepares themself well and is flexible. There are tougher parts of the journey, such as longer distances or walking tours. Several nights can be spent in basic accommodation.
Category D: A relatively difficult journey, travelling long distances, often primitive accommodation or tents, and challenging walking tours.
The Ecuador tour falls into Category C. Any reasonably fit person can make this journey. There are quite some days with long hours of travelling, sometimes on bad roads. Keep in mind the journeys will pass through developing countries, with a much lower standard of living than you are used to at home. It is possible the weather or a lack of proper road maintenance causes a road to be inaccessible and we will have to take an alternative route. This makes a flexible and positive attitude more important than physical fitness.
Nature of the trip
Ecuador is the most relaxed country in the South American Andes. The journey takes us along snow-capped volcanoes, through valleys you can view from the roof of a train and along Indian villages where time has come to a halt. We spend the nights in attractive local hotels. You will alternate between the heights of the Andes and the steaming jungles of the Amazonian region, where our journey takes us on a jungle tour. You will visit the country’s largest and most colourful markets and you will stay on the coast, where you can enjoy marvellous beaches, islands teeming with birds and splendid nature areas. If you want, you can extend your trip to visit the world-renowned Galàpagos islands.
We know that travelling to remote corners of this planet has its effects. At Shoestring we really try to make an effort to keep our impact to a minimum. We try to avoid the use of plastic water bottles on our treks through Nepal and we do not dump our litter during our trips through Africa. All of our staff have been trained to take special care to ensure we make as little impact on the environment as possible.
Furthermore we support a lot of local projects which are mostly related to clean drinking water or making sure that children get vaccinated against illnesses such as tuberculosis. On most tours you will be able to visit some of the projects we support through our local agents. Find out more about the different projects Shoestring are involved with, how you can make a difference and our environmental policies here
Travel insurance, including medical repatriation insurance, is mandatory. It is not included with our packages and it is your responsibility to purchase suitable travel insurance. Make sure that it covers all the activities that you are likely to undertake, such as rafting and trekking. Many ‘free’ insurances that come with banking packages, credit cards etc, are quite often inadequate to cover you on our tours, so make sure you check the policy before you travel. You should enter your travel insurance details via your my.shoestring account and you are required to give a copy of your insurance policy to your tour leader upon arrival. Without proper insurance like this, you will not be allowed to join the tour as we will not be able to respond adequately in case of an emergency if you do not have the right insurance.
1114 AA Amsterdam-Duivendrecht, The Netherlands.
You can call us on number +31 20 6850203 or +44 (0)1306 744797 and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening hours Monday to Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM (Local times in Netherlands).
More country information about Ecuador
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about Ecuador