Canyoning or canyon descent also known as waterfall rapelling involves descending a river canyon through its stages of formation before becoming navigable by any type of boat, combining mountaineering techniques, spelunking and swimming. Ecuador with its many waterfalls and rivers offers many opportunities to practice this new adventure sport.
Below is a sample itinerary with several canyoning opportunities in the Andes and the Amazon.
Arrival in Quito, transfer in to your Eco lodge.
Canyoning and trekking through San Jorge Botanical Reserve, Native Medicinal Plants tour in the Highlands Forest. Overnight at Eco lodge.
Early in the morning we set out to our Canyoning adventure in the river gorge of Rio Blanco. Driving by jeep to El Bucal, we descend to the origin of the canyon and struggle then a few miles downstream. Leaving the gorge we hike back to the jeep and return to our Eco lodge.
After lunch we visit the Equator line monument at middle of the world. In the afternoon we return to our Eco lodge to enjoy the in house spa or hike nature trails within the San Jorge botanical reserve.
Today we visit downtown Quito on a brief city tour and head south on the Panamerican highway traversing the Volcanoe avenue formed by the eastern and western Andes corridor. We have impressive views of Cotopaxi, Illinizas, Corazon, Rumiñahui amonst other volcanos. We will make a short stop to visit the Salasaca indigenous market and the textile workshops of local artisan weavers.
We arrive in Baños, the spa town of Ecuador, here we get to enjoy fresh made taffy, a bohemian atmosphere and hot thermal baths to relax.
Tonight we will stay at the hilltop mountain spa Luna Runtun to enjoy a majestic view of the Andes and the Amazon rainforest lowlands.
Hot springs . Breakfast. Tour of the avenue of waterfalls, including several cascades: Manto de la Novia, Pailón del Diablo and a cable car tour across the gorge.
After lunch we visit another waterfall to practice canyoning. A trip that will involve rappelling down waterfalls up to 150 ft high and hiking through the cloud forest. We will start by practicing at 2 metre waterfalls until we reach the last waterfall of the day an almost vertical descent of around 45 metres!
Return to Luna Runtun, opportunity to enjoy a Spa treatment and relax.
From Baños we descend into the Amazon lowlands passing several waterfall on the way. We will then reach the Amazon gateway city of Puyo and visit the Omaere botanical garden and ethno-museum where we will learn about medicinal plants and the Shuar indigenous tribe.
After lunch, we continue our travels until we reach the upper Napo Amazon region, here we will check in at our Eco lodge and enjoy the rainforest sound as the sun sets. Overnight at the lodge.
After breakfast you will depart on a 3½ hour walk, during which you will learn about the plants that are of particular traditional and medicinal importance to the Quichua people. Sample the unusual taste of lemon ants and learn about jungle survival and the making of traps. Your walk leads you onwards to a chain of spectacular jungle canyons where you are sure to see butterflies, hummingbirds and large bats.
After lunch you will raft down the Rio Anzu (in inflatable tubes) to the Rio Napo, where you will rendezvous with a support vehicle that will take you back to the lodge in time for dinner.
Transfer to the village of Cando (2hrs) for a 4-hour canyoning expedition up a chain of 5 cascades, followed by a swim in a crystal lagoon. (This rather strenuous option is recommended for people with a reasonable level of fitness and strength).
After breakfast we depart our Amazon lodge on the road that will take us through the the lowlands up to the Andean highlands. We will enjoy the amazing views on the way, after a few hours on the road we will enjoy lunch and continue on to Termas de Papallacta hot springs. Here we will soak in the warm pools and relax.
After our well deserved dip in the thermals we continue on to Quito arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight at our eco lodge.
The above is a sample itinerary prepared with a focus on canyoning and adventure travel. It can be customized to fit the needs and special interests of your travellers.