Adventure in Ecuador far exceeds the size of the small country. In an area roughly twice the size of New York City or one half that of France, there are activities that take your breath away in the jungle, the Galapagos Islands, the Andes, the cloud forest, and along the coast. Keep reading for active adventure tours in Ecuador and the activities that you can dive into while here.
Rafting in Ecuador finds you running Class III, IV, and IV+ rapids down swiftly moving currents that lead into the jungle and the hills and valleys of the countryside. Rafting season is between September and March when the water is high during the wet season. Tena, southwest of Quito, is the whitewater rafting hotspot with a dozen rivers within an hour of the small town known as the gateway to the jungle.
The Anzu, Napo, Pano, Tena, Jatunyacu, Piatua, Jondachi, Misahualli, Hollin, Huataracu, and Pucuno rivers offer world-class stretches of water for all levels of boaters. These trips take you into the jungle to canyons and rapids along the tributaries of the Amazon River. For more information about adventure tours in Ecuador that include a day spent rafting the rivers of Tena, check out this itinerary.
Kayaking in Ecuador takes many shapes and sizes, from navigating the rivers of both Tena and Banos, exploring the nooks and crannies along the shore in the Galapagos Islands, to escaping the ordinary and venturing into the deep jungle along winding rivers in the Yasuni National Park.
Yasuni National park, located a few hours from the river hub city of Coca, is arguably one of the most bio-diverse national parks on the planet. The number of species of plants, animals, insects, reptiles, and birds combined number in the millions.
The Tiputini River is a tributary of the Napo River, which in turn flows into the Amazon River in Peru. The Triputini winds its way through the 3,800 square mile reserve-snaking into pristine swathes of jungle where nature holds court.
Those who take the five-day journey find themselves in the company of monkeys swinging overhead, pink river dolphins surfacing in the river, and hundreds of birds in the sky like oropendola birds, caciques, kingfishers, macaws, and toucans.
This is an adventure for those who want to explore far away from the modern world-part of the time is spent visiting Kichwa communities who have survived for centuries along the bends of the river. For more information about taking a journey by kayak that immerses you in the deep jungle.
For a more leisurely paced white water adventure, tubing the Río Mindo in the cloud forest is an adventure through the lush cloud forest of northwest Ecuador.
The Mindo River gets moving during the rainy season, and white water rapids kick things up a notch.
For those looking for an unforgettable jungle adventure on the water, tubing down the Rio Napo in Tena takes deep into the canopy where monkeys swing from the trees and colorful birds fly overhead.
Biking and adventure tours in Ecuador go hand in hand-the country’s landscape, and that of the Galapagos Islands are full to the brim with steep inclines and declines, gentle rides through lush rain forest, wide open spaces of national parks, and areas where the Inca once called home.
Ecuador is one the circuit of serious sport and distance peddlers who are traveling the continent on two wheels. The rugged terrain, combined with the compact size of the country, make for adrenalin-filled days at the foot of towering volcanoes, traversing through lush forests, and in the midst of flora and fauna that changes as rapidly as you can travel.
Puenting is a fun rush that takes you over the edge of bridges in Banos, swinging by two ropes above rushing rivers after taking the plunge. There are two main bridges- the Rio Blanco and the San Francisco, which overlook river gorges and the stunning scenery of the valleys in the distance.
Banos is also popular for canyoning-rappelling down the cascading waterfalls of the nearby rivers. After a safety demonstration trips begin in earnest, taking you to scenic overlooks that drop off into rushing pools of water below.
Two of the places where zipline courses give way to fun afternoons and mornings soaring high in the sky through the forest are Mindo and Banos.
Glide over rivers, valleys, cliff tops, and miles of green forests before short treks to the next line-a great group activity that refreshes and invigorates.
Diving in Ecuador, more specifically the Galapagos Islands, is one of the many adventure day tours that put other experiences into perspective. The Galapagos Marine Reserve is home to diving sites where you find schools of Hammerhead sharks, like Gordon Rocks. Off the shores of uninhabited islands, are waters suitable for beginners, which are home to sea turtles and lions, sharks, schools of ballooning reef fish, different kinds of impressive rays, and endemic marine iguanas.
For more experienced divers, live-aboard dive cruises take you to the more advanced sites surrounding Darwin and Wolf Islands in the northwest of the Archipelago. The areas around these small islands have the most sharks on earth in their waters and are home to whales, dolphins, and the enormous whale shark during their season between June and November. These tours are limited to the restrictions of the Galapagos National Park. For more information about your options for diving, bookmark this page.