DAY 1: ARRIVAL – JOURNEY TO THE AMAZON RAINFOREST
Within 3 hours from Quito, finally, you will arrive in our exclusive Lodge. In the meantime, you will notice how the vegetation changes from the landscape of the Andes into the rainforest. After passing the gate to the Amazon Rainforest you will be in a mountain jungle paradise – Hakuna Matata is your private hideaway in the tropical forest. However, during your trip you came closer to sea level by about 7,200 feet and are located on about 2,000 feet now. There are different options to reach our Lodge, you can take a public bus or order a private transfer. However, the last one you will have the option to stop at the hot springs of Papallacta to relax in these famous thermal waters (optional, entrance fee not included).
Nevertheless, if you decide to skip the rest in the hot waters and arrive early in our jungle paradise you can add a tour by foot or by horse in the afternoon to your free day. Taking the horseback riding you will choose one of the hotel owned horses and take a tour through the forest and rivers. Otherwise, if you rather take a walk you can explore the area on different hiking paths. Your guide will explain the flora and fauna and share ancestral information about plants
that are used for medical reasons. However, you can also participate in our chocolate tour (all tours are optional, please let us know if you want to add this tour to your program when booking).
In the evening you will enjoy a delicious 3 course gourmet meal in an exclusive atmosphere surrounded by the sounds of the jungle.
DAY 2: JONDACHI CANYON HIKE – CAVING
You will start your day with a balanced breakfast with homemade bread, eggs, coffee and fruits or granola. Energized by a good night sleep and a nutritious breakfast, the pick up will be around 9 am and start your drive from the Lodge to the “Gran Cañón del Jondachi” which is found in the Sumaco Reserve. In this enchanted place there are a lot of rivers which descend from the Sumaco volcano, as example the big Jondachi River or its branch, the Hollin River. The intricate trail will lead you to an old-growth forest, then passing by the edge of the canyon to next bypass a confluent stream of the big Jondachi River. On this 1.5 hour hike you will see lots of small birds, waterfalls and vegetation that is influenced by the volcanoes and is only found around here.
When you arrived in the lowest part of the canyon you will see a setting that you have never seen before: huge, natural pools that are fed by many different small waterfalls, surrounded by periwinkle vegetation. Consequently, you have time to relax, enjoy the silence and enjoy a delicious snack surrounded by this idyllic setting. However, if you want to refresh yourself, just jump off some little rocks into the water!
But you also can be more adventurous and climb up the waterfall and explore a small cave!
Additionally, you will pass the impressive Jondachi River with its smoothen giant stones. When you finally arrive in Mondayacu you will continue until you reach the “Cavernas Templo de Ceremonias”. Finally, when you are there you will enjoy your delicious lunch before the adventure begins. Equipped with helmets and headlamps you are ready to start! The dark, partly narrow caves are inhabited with small critters like bats, fireflies and spiders…all waiting for you.
Now you can choose between two chalk-caves: either you discover the cave “Templo de Ceremonia” or the “Cueva de Elefante”. If you decide for the first one, you will be underground for about 30 minutes. This cave provides a lot of space and is comparatively easy to walk-on – in the most parts you are able to walk standing up, only in one part you have to crawl. Due to the packing list that you read beforehand, you have the clothes to get wet and dirty in the caves. The rewards are stalagmites and stalactites!
To exit the cave you will mobilize all your strengths and climb up a rock wall some feet. In case that is nothing for you, you are welcome to turn around and walk back out the way you came in. Nonetheless, if you decide for the second cave, you will be underground for about 45 minutes. This cave is a so-called “water cave” and has narrow aisles, cracks, small steps, belly deep water pools and even some sections where walking is not possible and you have to crawl. In a word, the highlights of this cave are the reliefs on the walls and the fragile formations of stalactites. If it was raining heavily beforehand, it is only possible to visit the first cave.
After exploring the caves, your guide shows you a rock-labyrinth close by and on a short walk you will discover the giant ceiba tree, the walking palm, a liana which is classified in the family of ayahuasca and the tree from which “sangre de drago” is made. For the most part, this is used to heal wounds or fight germs and fungi.
DAY 3: LEISURE – OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES AT THE LODGE
Today is your day! You can choose any activity that you prefer at the lodge. Horseback riding, taking a walk in the Amazon, chocolate tour, a day of rafting, or maybe just taking a free day to rest and enjoy in the swimming pool.
The most famous activity is the chocolate tour. There, you will learn to produce chocolate from the bean to the bar, starting with the pure fruit, the cocoa beans and ending up with the brown gold. You could also use your time differently and relax at the pool, in a hammock or just keep exploring the area.
DAY 4: DEPARTURE
After taking pleasure in a rich and flavorful breakfast, you can enjoy the last moments in the lodge. After that, comes the chack out.
You have two options, either you go back on the same road to Quito or you drive back to the Andes on an alternative route to the quaint town of Baños to keep on traveling from there.
*If you prefer a 3 days tour, the third will be deleted
Rafting is not included in 3 days tour