Help Me Plan an Ecuador Rainforest Trip for 2-4 days this December!
November 12, 2018 11:05 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are heading to Ecuador for the holidays this year, and want to explore the Amazon rainforest in an adventurous/physical activity-centric manner. We want to do it for 2-4 days, without much luxury and without 'extras' like "learn to use a blowgun" type of activities. Can you help?

I've read previous threads in AskMe re: Ecuador exploration, but none seem to cover the specifics of how to do a tour of the rainforest, much less one that is both less than seven days and not on a $$$ luxury cruise. We're really looking for more of a small boat/canoe/raft or walk through the jungle, with less emphasis on "bird sanctuaries" or "learn how to use a blowgun" parts of such tours that take up valuable wandering/physical activity time. No need for built-in "naps" or people carrying our baggage or anything -- it's hard to find tours that aren't geared towards rich retirees!

Any idea of a 2-4 day tour that departs from Quito (and is available around December 21-26ish?) where we'll really get the best of being in the jungle? Would LOVE to hear your thoughts if you have any first-hand experience in this.

(Also, if this the kind of thing that's better to arrange when in Quito, can you point towards advice on how to efficiently and safely do this?)

Any and all help is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
posted by knownassociate to Travel & Transportation around Ecuador (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a tour operator who specializes in Ecuador. Quito is not anywhere near any decent rainforest. You're up in the Andes. The closest you'll get from Quito is cloudforest - Mindo or Bellavista would be good choices for easy access.

For true rainforest experience, you'll need to fly to someplace like Coca and pick a lodge that is accessible from there. The problem is that the cheapest lodges are located in secondary rainforest - not exactly prime for wildlife viewing. For the best rainforest experience, you'll have to fly to Coca, then get on a boat for a few hours to a remote area where the best eco-lodges are; they have great guides and are very aware of human impact on the fragile ecosystem.

Please don't trade a cheap holiday break for one that isn't environmentally responsible. Feel free to PM me if you have other questions.
posted by HeyAllie at 11:57 AM on November 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

We went to the Bellavista Cloud Forest as an extension to a trip to the Galapagos several years ago and it was really beautiful. Some of the van ride from Quito was really rough, but we went on some amazing hikes and had a wonderful time. We stayed here.
posted by ceejaytee at 2:57 PM on November 12, 2018

To clarify, I'm not looking to do a suburban-style excursion to Quito -- I will absolutely fly to the proper rainforest, and want to! Looking for specific tour operators that you have experience with, and/or how you booked your excursion -- through the hotel? Through some other means?

And of course environmentally-responsible ones are my priority -- Just need advice on how to find those.

posted by knownassociate at 6:40 AM on November 13, 2018

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