AUGUST 2017 ANDES/AMAZON RELIEF RIDE
*Pricing above is based on 10 riders. Pricing will vary if group size less than 10. Please enquire for more information.
** We welcome novice riders, slower riders can ride alongside the caravan. Riders may choose to finish any segment by riding in our accompanying jeep. If you have a member of your party who would like to join the trip but is not a rider, RRI can make provisions for him/her to accompany us in the jeep.
August 11th through 23rd, 2017
Day 1: August 11th
Arrive in Quito and check in for the night at a boutique hotel in Puembo on the outskirts of the city.
Day 2: August 12th
Early morning, we will depart from Quito to the Northern Highlands of Ecuador (approx. 2 hrs drive). This stunning drive will take us through arid valleys into Imbabura Province, also known as "Land of the Lakes," to Otavalo. Mid-morning, we will embark on a easy ride to get to know our horses. We will follow trails past hamlets of adobe huts and through patchworks of quinoa and maze fields onto the slopes of the now extinct and sacred Imbabura Volcano. The ride ends at a hacienda in the Zuleta Valley. Overnight at Hacienda.
Day 3: August 13th
Early morning, we will leave on horseback to San Pablo through the breathtaking landscape of the Andes surrounding Zuleta Valley. The ride will culminate with a visit to San Pablo's extraordinary "Condor Park," a German foundation created to save endangered or injured rare birds. The park cares for a wide diversity of eagles, including the harpi eagle, as well as hawks, owls, and condors. Following our park visit, we will drive to Hacienda Pinsaqui, once a historical weaving center, owned by the same family for eight generations. Overnight at Hacienda Pinsaqui.
Day 4: August 14th
We will drive north-west from Hacienda Pinsaqui across the valley to meet the local Criollo horses at Cochapata (60 minutes, dependent on track conditions). There we will begin our ride across the vast paramo to the remote highland village of Piñan. Condors sightings, as well as caracaras, eagles and large hawks, are frequent. Altitudes on the ride up will reach 12,000' but will decrease to 8,000' again after we crest the mountain. Overnight at the lodge in Piñan.
Day 5: August 15th
We will spend the day engaged in purposeful and meaningful work as we conduct our Red Cross Dental Care and Obstetrics Programs for the people of Piñan. The camp will open its doors at 10:00 am and will close by 4:00 pm or until the last patients have been screened and/or treated. Overnight at the lodge in Piñan.
Day 6: August 16th
The day starts out with an early morning ride out of Piñan through the paramo and into the tropical cloud forest. This new and distinct flora and fauna, boasting mountain bamboo, passion fruits and coffee trees, vastly differs from the paramos of our other morning rides. We will dismount at a coffee plantation in the Intag Cloud Forest known for it's phenomenal beans. The Riyo Lindo Coffee Plantation also serves as a lodge, with comfortable rooms surrounded by coffee and banana trees. Enjoy a walk down to the river and a dip in the swimming hole. Overnight at the Riyo Lindo Coffee Plantation.
Day 7: August 17th
Our morning begins with a tour of a fair trade coffee plantation. Afterwards, we will set our sights on the Amazon, heading mid-morning to Hacienda La Cienega in the low lying cloud forest. On the way, we will stop in Otavalo for lunch and a walk through the market, known for its traditional handicrafts and textiles. Back on the coach, we will drive through the high cloud forest towards the Equator and "Avenue of the Volcanoes," which includes seven peaks more than 17,000 ft. high. That evening, we will check in to Hacienda La Cienega, one of Ecuador's oldest haciendas. Many famed explorers, including Von Humboldt, Whymper and Condamine, have also rested their heads here. Overnight at Hacienda La Cienega.
Day 8: August 18th
The morning starts off with a drive to Shell (approx.3 hrs.) where we will board a light aircraft Cessna 206 (45 mins)to Llamchamacocha, home of the Sapara tribe. The Sapara people are known as "the hippies" of the Amazon for their interest in spirituality and healing over warfare. They are also master healers with incredible knowledge of plant medicine. Upon arrival, we will be given a traditional welcome and have the opportunity to meet with the matriarch of the Sapara, Mukasawa. Afterwards, we will all take part in a cleansing ceremony and be given a Sapara name. A short canoe ride will bring us to our stunning riverside encampment, Naku. Overnight in Naku: Indigenous Healing Center.
Day 9: August 19th
Upon waking we will have another cleansing ceremony with the Sapara people, enhancing our connectedness with the surrounding forest. Later that morning, we will help our Red Cross team organize and perform a Dental and Obstetrics Camp to treat the people of Llamchamacocha. Overnight in Naku.
Day 10: August 20th
After a delicious breakfast, we will canoe downstream with Manari, the shaman and Sapara leader, who is also a very keen fisherman. He will share the Sapara cosmovision, way of life, and worldview. Our lunch, rest and swimming time will be on a beach by the river before hiking back to camp. On the way back, Manari will explain the traditional shamanic ceremony which will take place that evening. We will also spend time reflecting individually in a beautiful place in the forest before returning to Naku. Overnight in Naku.
Day 11: August 21st
Morning begins with a ceremony with Manari and other elders to help us understand our dreams and experiences from the previous night's ritual. After lunch, we will travel to village to support the work of the Red Cross' Dental and Gynecological Program. The late afternoon will be at your leisure to journal, reflect and relax, or swim in the river. Overnight in Naku.
Day 12: August 22nd
We will gather to say goodbye to our hosts and have the chance to buy Sapara artisanal gifts to take home with us. Upon arrival to Shell via Cessna, we will board the coach and drive up through the Andes to Luna Runtun. Enjoy the rest of the day with a relaxing massage, a soak in one of the thermal pools or hike the cliffs surrounding Baños. Overnight in Luna Runtun, Adventure SPA.
Day 13: August 23rd
Mid-morning, we will visit the renowned spa town of Baños, located in the shadow of Volcano Tungurahua and the site of many miracles performed by the Virgin of the Holy Water. Here we will have lunch and time to explore the market. We will then board the coach and drive from Baños to Quito (approx four hrs.). In Quito, we will have our farewell dinner before heading to the airport for our night flights home.
THIS ITINERARY IS FLEXIBLE AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY POINT.