The Galapagos Island is probably the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Ecuador. But what if I told you there are plenty of other fun, and exciting activities you can do in this beautiful country?
Here are 3 major Amazon adventure activities that individuals of any level of expertise can enjoy:
Mountain Biking in Llanganates National Park
Expect to be surrounded by lush greenery and an amazing view of the valley as you speed down bumpy cobblestone paths and dirt roads.
I did my biking trip as part of a 7 day multisport tour with Ecuador Purelife, a company based in Quito that specializes in adventure travel within Ecuador. Signing up for an organized tour is a decision I will not regret. When you are zipping down slippery, windy rocky path, you will want to know your bike doesn’t fail you.
Luckily, Ecuador Purelife is huge on safety. Safety briefings and equipment checks are mandatory with every exciting new activity we were about to try. With mountain biking, we were given brand new mountain bikes, complete with a helmet and gloves. In addition, a second driver was brought in in case our bikes needed repair, or if we were too fatigued from biking uphill and choose to hitch a ride instead.
Their commitment to provide us with a fun, yet safe experience really gave me a peace of mind. I was able to enjoy every thrilling turn of the road without worries!
Trekking and Canyoning
While the Amazon rainforest is famous for its diversity in wildlife and plantlife, did you that it is also home to some of the best hiking trails in Ecuador?
To help us understand Ecuadorian culture better, Ecuador Purelife arranged for us to spend a night in the jungle with a local family, who expanded their home to welcome tourists like us! Our accommodation is a simple, two storey wooden building. We really got a taste of jungle life as our building is a short hike away from the kitchen, and has no electricity!
During the afternoon, we put on our rubber boots and traversed through the jungle. We climbed up waterfalls, and over slippery logs, getting soaked in the process. Standing under a rushing waterfall is a unique experience that I recommend everyone to try. It might seem daunting to have to stand under cold water, but it’s actually quite refreshing especially since the jungle is so humid.
Cuicocha Crater Lake
Cuicocha Crater Lake is located in the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve. The constant up and down 9 mile climb is no easy task, but one that is absolutely worth it! The path itself is well maintained, but when you reach an altitude as high as 11880 ft, you are going to be out of breath.
Because you are hiking around the lake, you are guaranteed to get an amazing view of the lake and the island in the middle. It’s a neat experience to be able to look back and be able to see the visitors centre, which is also the starting point. Knowing how far I’ve trekked kept me motivated to continue as I trudged up every steep incline.
Make sure you bring at least 2 litres of water, and plenty of sunscreen for this adventure!
Cotopaxi National Park
Another great hike we did was up Cotopaxi volcano, one of Ecuador’s still active volcanoes. This was one of the shortest hikes, only lasting 45 minutes from start to the shelter, but this was one of the most challenging ones! The high altitude of nearly 16,000 ft made it hard, but the ever changing mountain weather made it even harder! It consistently windy, then it rained. At one point it hailed but the sun came out and disappeared almost instantly. It’s a strange experience but one that everyone should have!
White Water Rafting in the Jatunyacu River
Whether you are a non-swimmer, a beginner or a water sport enthusiast, Ecuador Purelife is able to accommodate everyone during this segment of our tour.
I have never gone white water rafting, and Karen can’t even swim and is terrified of water. But we had a great time paddling the the waves of Jatunyacu River.
Even though we boarded the raft suited for beginners, our trip down the river wasn’t boring. It was actually the perfect mix of excitement and relaxation. After thorough safety briefing, we hiked down to the river, where we were given further instructions by our rafting guide Toby, so we know when he wanted us to paddle.
It was so intimidating the moment we had to paddle the first wave. Karen took a direct hit to the face as we splashed through our first wave, and I was soaked from head to toe instantly! But after experiencing our first wave, our eagerness grew and we had an amazing time.
During calmer parts of the river, we had an opportunity to float in the river for a bit to see what it felt like. At one point, our guide even encouraged one of us to sit in front of the raft, right on the edge. All that was used to stabilize us was a tiny piece of rope. It looked as if you’re about to ride the mechanical bull, except you’re on the river!
For those with more experience and looking for “wilder” ride on the Jatunyacu, there is a raft designed you! Expect a bumpier ride and more risky stunts!
Karen and I had a wonderful time with Ecuador Purelife, and were glad to have them as our choice of tour operator. They were professional, entertaining and knowledgeable!
We’d like to thank Ecuador Purelife for inviting us to check out their multipsort tour. As always, all opinions are our own.
Looking to take a trip to Ecuador? Our friends at Ecuador Purelife have offered a special discount to readers of Living the Dream for upcoming tours including fifty $500 off coupons for select Galapagos tours and fifty $300 off coupons for select Ecuador tours! Head over to Ecuador Purelife to claim your discount today! Discount available for a limited time and while supplies last.