Ecuador Kayak and Explore
Kayak in seaside national parks and enjoy enchanting coastal villages
Come with us to the town of Ayampe and enjoy an enchanting diversity of natural and cultural sights and sounds. Kayak along traditional fishing villages, visit national parks, and view a plethora of wildlife—from seabirds to dolphins. After daily paddles or walks on the beach, enjoy delicious Ecuadorian fare at a variety of restaurants and cafes.
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
DAY 1: Arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s vibrant port city and gateway to tremendous ecological and cultural diversity. Check in to your accommodation and explore the area before dinner together to discuss the week’s itinerary.
DAY 2: Enjoy a traditional breakfast before driving to the tranquil town of Ayampe. Located where the jungle meets the sea, your accommodations provide endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Enjoy a nature walk along the ocean before dinner together at Hosteria Meson del Quijote.
DAY 3: Head to the small fishing village of Puerto Lopez for a day of kayaking. Explore the coast along Parque Nacional Machalilla before resting for lunch. Make your way to “Ecuador’s Most Beautiful Beach” at Playa Los Frailes. Finish the afternoon with a stop at the Valdiva Aquarium before returning back to the lodge.
DAY 4: Spend the day circumnavigating Salango Island via sea kayak. You'll be amazed by the diversity of bird and aquatic species. Whales frequent the area and can sometimes be spotted in groups along the coast. The afternoon is yours to relax by the sea or the pool before dinner as a group.
DAY 5: Take a boat ride to Isla de la Plata, often referred to as the “Poorman's Galapagos.” Stop in at the visitor’s center and learn about this unique ecosystem, which is home to boobies, sea lions, and dolphins. Enjoy lunch along the beach and take in stunning vistas.
DAY 6: Spend the morning enjoying the tranquil ocean scenery along Puerto Lopez and snorkel with green sea turtles. Enjoy lunch together on the beach before returning back to the lodge. You'll have the night free to relax near the beach or wander around town.
DAY 7: Enjoy your last breakfast in Ayampe and make your way back to Guayaquil. Pick up your last minute souvenirs at small shops and markets on the way back. You'll stop for lunch at the beach town of San Pablo. Enjoy your last dinner in Ecuador in Guayaquil.
DAY 8: Enjoy one last tropical breakfast and then drive to the airport for your flight home. Say goodbye to the wonderful country of Ecuador.
Travel, Terrain, Etc...
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: The primary activity will be sea kayaking. Walking will be along beaches and through towns.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: Travel is primarily in a large passenger van, but also by boat, foot, on bicycle.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: This trip does involve some potential hiking and kayaking, but no previous experience is necessary to complete this trip. This is an accessible itinerary, but if you use a wheelchair and are interested in going please call to discuss with us.
WEATHER: Weather in Ecuador will vary depending on ecosystem. The average temperature in along the Ecuadorian coast is 80-90 F during the day and 70-80 F at night. The dry season lasts from June to November in the mountains and from May to December on the coast, with less humidity and temperatures more comfortable.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 8 to 12 participants, plus 1-2 Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Throughout the trip we will be staying in small, local hotels and lodges. The accommodations are simple yet comfortable. Typically there are 2-4 people per room, matched by gender or requests to room together. In most rooms, solo travelers have single beds and couples share beds. As always, WI staff will assist participants who require additional help in every way possible. We make every effort to ensure privacy and cleanliness.
MEALS: Kick back and relax while all meals are made for you. You'll indulge in typical local fare, including lots of seafood and fruit, as well as meat and potatoes. We recommend bottled over tap water in Ecuador and will have it readily available. We'll enjoy happy hours and such, but the purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: If you are new to outdoor activities, you need not spend a lot of money on gear. All you need to provide is your personal gear, such as clothing, including footwear to hike in and rain gear, and a water bottle. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation. If you need to borrow personal gear that can usually be arranged.
SINGLE TRAVELERS: If you are traveling alone, you will feel at home with a welcoming group. When rooms are shared, we match same gender solo travelers. If you would like to have your own room throughout the trip, you may purchase a single supplement for an additional fee. Please email or call us if you would like this option.
PASSPORT/VISA: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Ecuador, and it must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned departure. One blank passport page is typically required for entry stamp. No tourist visa is required for U.S. citizens for stays under 90 days per calendar year, though a return ticket may be requested. We encourage you to check the State Department website for the most up-to-date entry requirements: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/ecuador.html
Additional information on entry and customs requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Ecuador at their web site http://www.ecuador.org.
The South American country of Ecuador ranks among the most biologically diverse nations in the world. The coastal lowlands, Andean highlands, and Amazon Rainforest distinguish the land stretched between Colombia and Peru on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Each distinct region offers spectacular physical and cultural wonders rivaled by few places on earth.
According to Conservation International, Ecuador is one of the 17 “megadiverse” countries, harboring the majority of the earth’s species. It provides habitat for 1,600 bird species, 16,000 species of plants, 106 reptiles, 138 amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterflies. Many of these species are endemic, or found nowhere else in the world, like the Galápagos Sea Lion, Warbler Finch, and Lava Cactus.
The ecological diversity that distinguishes Ecuador is largely determined by the four distinct geographical regions within the country—La Costa (the coast), La Sierra (the highlands), La Amazonía (the Amazon), and Región Insular (Galápagos Islands). It’s a wonder that a country roughly the size of Nevada can harbor volcanoes, tropical jungles, deserts, fertile valleys, calm or rough seas, rivers, waterfalls, and the Galápagos Islands.
Bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador boasts 1,452 miles of coastline. Stunning beaches that offer some of the best surf on the South American Pacific coast stretch along this shore dotted by small ports and picturesque fishing villages. The coast and low-lying land in the western part of Ecuador generally have a humid subtropical climate largely determined by the ocean currents. This allows travelers to experience all the coast has to offer—surfing, kayaking, bird watching, fishing, horseback riding and hiking.
The highlands run north to south through the center of Ecuador. The region is dominated by two Andean mountain ranges standing parallel with a chain of fertile valleys folded in between. From the scenic high peaks to colorful low valleys, villages with distinct customs and heritages dot the region. Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, lies at 9,000 feet within the highlands region. UNESCO declared this historical city a World Heritage Site in 1978 for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in Latin America. Just south of Quito is the city of Guayaquil, which features one of the world’s highest active volcanoes—Mount Chimborazo. It is also considered the closest place to the sun on earth given its proximity to the equator.
The largest known Incan ruins in Ecuador, Ingapirca, are located in the highlands just outside of the city of Cuenca. The site offers a historical glimpse into two of the most prominent ancient civilizations in Ecuador – the Incas and the Cañari. The ruins of the temple of the sun, which was constructed to align with the solstices, still remain at the center of the site.
The Amazon basin covers just under half of the country’s entire surface area. Spreading over 6 of the eastern provinces, the jungle-covered plains harbor howler monkeys, sloths, and toucans and parrots. The Napo River runs through the Amazon and is a major life source and method of transportation for the tropical forest. The river’s many islands provide ample nesting areas for a wide variety of bird species. The Amazons waterways also support over 600 species of fish and 250 species of amphibians and reptiles.
Ecuador became the first nation to legally recognize the rights of nature in 2008 when they wrote the National Plan of Buen Vivir (Good Living) into the constitution. It became a clear national priority to conserve and manage the abundant natural heritage alive throughout the land and waterways of Ecuador. Currently 11 national parks, 10 wildlife refuges, 9 ecological reserves and other areas are protected areas in Ecuador. The Cajas National Park was declared in 1996 and protects about 270 lakes and lagoons. The cloud forest in the lower parts of the park is distinguished by sharp and deeply forested mountains that are carved out by powerful waterfalls and meandering streams. The most impressive waterfall in the region is Pailon del Diablo Waterfall. Its beautiful turquoise water falls approximately 100 feet.
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Standard Meetings Places and Times
Start: Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport at 5:00 PM (local time)
End: Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport at 1:00 PM (local time)
This trip officially begins at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) or a nearby hotel, where your group leader will meet you the evening of the first day. The trip ends when your group leader takes you back to the airport at approximately 9:30am on the last day. We strongly recommend booking your return flight for at least two hours after your anticipated arrival at the airport to allow enough time to go through security and customs, and to find your gate. If you need assistance with your travel arrangements or wish to purchase travel insurance, we recommend Travel One, Inc. Inform Travel One that you are going on a Wilderness Inquiry trip, as they are familiar with our itineraries. You can reach Travel One at (800) 247-1311 or www.traveloneinc.com. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.