Cloud Forests, Chocolate and Coffee
Day 1: Travel from home and arrive to the capital of Ecuador and the best preserved Spanish Colonial city in South America, Quito.
Day 2: Tour the historical sites of the city of Quito and also get a taste of modern urban life with a salsa dance class.
Day 3-4 From Quito we venture north, deep into the Andes Mountains. Here we will stay in a small mountain village consisting of 50 families who have self-organized to create a massive nature preserve and community based micro-businesses. We will participate in various service projects depending on the needs of the community at the time of our visit, and will have the opportunity to help make fresh cheese and marmalades from milk and fruit that we harvest ourselves.
Day 5: We will then descend to the altitude sweet spot for coffee cultivation and tour a picturesque coffee farm where we will participate in every step of the coffee production process.
Day 6-7: We will finish our journey in the small cloud forest town of Mindo where we will tube down a rushing river, go on a chocolate tour, and interact with thousands of exotic butterflies–amongst other activities.
Day 8: Say goodbye to Ecuador and head back home.
Lush, green mountains shrouded in mysterious mist makes for a dramatic and breathtakingly beautiful backdrop for the adventure of a lifetime. GATA’s Cloud Forest tour itineraries span from the colonial city of Quito, deep into the temperate Northern Andes and tropical Western Slope.
Besides the rich cloud forest ecosystem, these adventure tours offer a truly authentic community experience. Living, working, and playing with local families who have organized themselves into a productive and sustainable community dedicated to conservation and environmental stewardship has been a life changing experience and favorite destination for many of our travelers.
- Tour colonial Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and best preserved colonial city in South America.
- Learn how to salsa dance like a local by taking a class with a local latin dance instructor.
- Learn how to cook traditional Ecuadorian food with a private cooking class.
- Work alongside locals on a variety of community projects such as:
- Organic farming
- Cheese & marmalade making
- Get up early to milk cows and then enjoy fresh milk for breakfast.
- Visit the highest point of the cloud forest reserve with a 360 viewpoint of spectacular mountains and volcanos.
- Play soccer and other games with the community members.
- Experience rural Ecuadorian family life by staying in beautiful homes and having family time.
- Hike along an ancient, pre-Incan trail that, over the course of over a thousand years, has been worn down into a tunnel-like pass more than 15 feet deep.
- Tube down a rushing river through looming forested mountains.
- Zoom across a green mountain valley on a cable line and hike through the tropical cloud forest to a breathtaking waterfall.
- Hold and feed thousands of giant, exotic butterflies at the Mindo Butterfly Pavilion.
- Learn the process of making chocolate from cultivating cacao trees to enjoying a delicious chocolate bar at a small scale chocolate factory.
Itineraries from 1 week to 1+month