When Caitlin and I decided to make the trip to Ecuador, I knew one thing we had to tick off the ole’ bucket list- The Amazon Rainforest. When we visited Peru a few years ago, the Amazon somehow just didn’t make the cut. In 10 days, we just didn’t have enough time in such a large country where it took FOREVER to get anywhere. Well, we were not about to miss out on our second trip together to South America. I immediately started researching 2 Day Amazon Rainforest Excursions. I didn’t want to wait until we got to Banos to look into companies because, well, when we did that in Peru for Rainbow Mountain…things got a little…interesting. You can read that story here. We extensively researched tours. One of the top-rated companies on the internet and recommended by Lonely Planet showed GeoTours, and I am so glad we picked them.
If you are planning to travel to Ecuador, I would love to give you a free quote for your vacation! I am a registered travel agent through Explorateur Travel and I would love to plan a completely custom itinerary for your travels. If you are intrested all you need to do is fill out this Inquiry Form and I will be in contact soon!
You may wonder if it is worth to do the 2 day overnight amazon or just the 1-day amazon excursion. I layout our entire itinerary for you below, but I will say the overnight amazon tour is definitely worth it. I’ll explain why.
We traveled with GeoTours, what we didn’t know when we booked? Our overnight tour was totally Private. $140 per person, overnight, all-inclusive. It could be totally personalized to what you want to do as well! I came down really sick the morning we departed to the Amazon from what I believe a parasite (I’m going to the doctor this week to figure out WHAT is wrong with my stomach as it’s been a month since I left Ecuador and my life is still not the same). I told our driver I hadn’t been feeling well and had stomach issues all morning and he was great about it. He made sure to stop a lot so I could get out and walk, we even stopped for some Pan de Yuca, which is sort of like cheese bread, which surprisingly really helped me out!
If you have the time definitely make your amazon jungle experience an overnight one. You won’t regret it.
GeoTours did not sponsor this post, but I really enjoyed the services they provided. I highly recommend you book with them, and can do so here!
As always, I totally recommend you purchase the Lonely Planet book for Ecuador – it will help you as you are traveling and give you important game time info when you don’t have access to the internet.
What to pack for an Amazon Rainforest Excursion
I have linked some of the exact ones that I use and love!
- There may not be lights/good lighting at night if you want to read/see
- Microfiber Towel
- Bathing suit
- I get all of my bikinis from Whiskini Bikinis! They’re all handmade, customizable and reversible so its like 2 bikinis in 1~
- Rain jacket
- Camera & Wide Angle Lens
- 3 pairs of socks
- 2 pair of dry fit/running shorts
- 2 quick-dry shirts
- Adventure pants
- a dress if ya wanna take some artsy photos (I opted for a leopard print to get into the Amazon spirit)
- A hat
- Portable charger
- Basic toiletries
- Toothpaste & brush
- Contact solution & case
- Baby wipes
- Basic makeup you may want to wear for photos – remember, you WILL sweat
- reusable FILTERING water bottle
- Bug spray
Your 2 Day Amazon Rainforest Excursion Itinerary – What to Expect in the Amazon Rainforest
Amazon Rainforest Overnight Trip – Day 1
Getting to the Amazon Rainforest from Banos
Day one is supposed to be the chill day, but because we departed on a Sunday, we rearranged a few things to avoid the crowds. You leave from Banos at about 8:30/9 – it was great our tour was private since due to my tummy we were running a little behind. The drive is about 2 – 2.5 hours and a really lovely view the whole way. If you get carsick, I recommend taking ginger tablets. I use these ginger tabs by The Ginger People and I love them. They also have a kid-friendly version for those who don’t like ginger and the zest that goes with it. I really recommend packing these for any vacation, because you never know what sort of food is going to do something to your stomach.
On the drive you stop at a few viewpoints – we stopped at more than usual, again because of my tummy issues. We also stopped at a roadside stand for pan de yuca – which was INCREDIBLE – currently trying to figure out where I can get it here in America.
Amazon Rainforest Animals Refugee Center
Once in Puyo you visit animal refugee center. This is not a zoo. They rehabilitate the animals here before they are released back into the wild, but it is still really cool to see them all. Some of the animals were were able to visit include:
The saddest story is the tale of these two Lions saved from some bad men. These sick men kept the lions in 2×4 foot cages.. Thankfully, they found them and they can live more freely now in the refugee center. They don’t know if they will ever make it back to Africa, or released into any wild because of their background.
After visiting the animal refuge you carry on for another 45 minutes by car and arrive in the Amazon in a small village near Puyo. Here we ate lunch – there are literally two options for food, so you really are in the middle of nowhere.
Amazon Rainforest two Day Excursion – Hiking on day 1
Since it was a Sunday, we swapped our itinerary around a little bit and decided to do the long hike Day 1 instead of the short hike, both which lead to different waterfalls. The parking lot for both hikes was CRAZY full and you could see loads of people coming off the short hike trail. I am so glad we went the long trail on Sunday because there was not a SINGLE other person we ran into – albeit I’m not even sure we were even on a trail.
Here is a little bit about the “long hike”. It took us approximately 3-4 hours. It wasn’t too challenging in terms of steepness, but the ground changed a lot, so it wasn’t like you were going uphill the whole way there and downhill the whole way back. The forest was absolutely beautiful, you truly feel DEEP in some nature. You’re hiking in big ‘ole rainboots, and when they tell you that you need them, you will. Make sure you follow your guide STEP BY STEP, if you don’t and misstep like Caitlin did, then you may just end up in some waist-deep mud.
After 1.2-2 hours of hiking, you arrive at a little stream. At the stream, you will strip down and put everything (minus your swimsuits) in your bags. Keep your boots on because the pebbles on the stream are slick and can hurt, but if you brought your Tevas (these are the exact ones I own that I LOVE) or booties (also the ones I own and love) in your bag, you can also put those on instead! Once you get to the end of the stream you will leave behind everything that isn’t waterproof. Here your dry bag, waterproof phone case and GoPro will come in handy because to get to this waterfall, you will literally swim upstream.
Just jump on in, because the reward is so so worth it! We swam a short distance and came around the bend between two cliffsides, the passage opened up to a beautiful waterfall flowing from above. The water was cold but felt good after sweating so much in the humidity during our hike. We spent a while here, splashing, diving (terribly) and taking such fun photos. My dry bag, of course, broke right as I went to go swim with it (here is the one I got as a replacement, and I like!) We used my iPhone with a waterproof case to take photos, and I am not one bit disappointed. I also used my go pro to film the entire experience (I WILL LINK THIS HERE ONCE I FINISH VIDEO EDITING).
The hike back was shorter and just as unique. We finally made it back to the carpark and headed to our next mini hike up to the viewpoint to watch the sunset.
The viewpoint was amazing! There was nobody else there. On the deck were lots of hammocks to relax on and soak in the amazing view. I flew my drone here a little bit and also managed to capture some amazing footage.
Starved, we headed to the same restaurant as before for dinner. Still equally as delicious.
The Amazon Rainforest Overnight Cabins
After a long day, came bedtime. The cabins expose you to ALL of the elements. You can literally hear EVERYTHING that is going on outside. It’s like camping, but there is no closure anywhere. Prepare for a LOT of bugs. I mean they are everywhere. The beds have mosquito nets on them, but that couldn’t help me from thinking of the worst as I crawled under the covers. The bugs are very attracted to the light, so they swarm near it. After we turned the light off it seemed that they went away, but I’m not sure if that’s because we couldn’t see them, or the fact they actually went away.
After dinner though, there is not much to do. You’re in the middle of nowhere and there aren’t many people around. I thought it would be similar to when we visited the Sahara Desert in Morocco, and we were able to do a drum circle and chat with the nomad tribes (Read about that experience here!) – but there were not even any other tourists where we were staying. There was no bar, no common area, nothing. This is partially because we chose to travel during the shoulder season, but it was still quite strange.
Bring a book with you and bring cards as well. It surprised me that the cabin had outlets in it, so don’t think you need to bring several portable chargers! But, most importantly, BRING YOUR TRIPOD – the stars were absolutely incredible! Having zero knowledge of astrophotography except the little I learned before heading to Iceland to capture the Northern Lights. My photos turned out amazing, and pleased me greatly. I forgot my tripod, so I just set up my camera on the ground (this gave me limited angles to shoot from). Here is a link to an awesome lightweight travel tripod that I absolutely love! And then here is the link to a cheaper tripod that is similar.
Amazon Rainforest Overnight Trip – Day 2
Artisinal Cacao Farm
On day 2 I woke up around 6:30 in the morning and hiked back up the same hill as we watched the sunset to watch the sunrise and fly my drone. From there we left the cabins at 8:30 to head to nearby El Paradiso artisinal cacao farm. Here we met the family who ran the farm and learned about how they grow the cacao and coffee and create amazing chocolate to be sent all over the world. We even peeled, roasted, and ground the cacao ourselves, which was pretty cool.
The family cooked us an amazing breakfast that included:
- Tortilla de yuca (with egg)
- Coca tea
- Hot chocolate
After visiting the family we booked it for the second short hike that had originally been intended for yesterday. This actually ended up being not much of a hike, but a 30-minute trail through the jungle. No need for knee-high boots, the Tevas worked just fine. I am so glad we ended up switching the hikes because on this trail there was nobody there our second day when if we had decided to go the first day, would have been PACKED! The end result rewarded us with a waterfall that stretched to the sky, misting us as soon as we walked near the lagoon it created. We swam, took photos, and flew the drone as high as it would allow in the canopied area. The water was freezing cold, and the scenery was incredible. You truly believe you are alone in the world in this place.
After the hike, we ate lunch at our little restaurant once again and it was time to head the indigenous communities.
The Quechua Indigenous Tribe and Canoe Ride
The indigenous tribe, Quechua, and their children greeted us as soon as we walked into their village. They showed us how they hunt, about some of their traditions, and the little girls even painted our faces with natural berries they harvest in the forest. A little monkey named Juanito played with us and caused some mayhem, and was actually the most adorable little guy I’ve ever seen.
From there we canoed down a river in the rainforest. It was a magical experience that I will never forget. The wooden canoes were stable, and we even had life jackets, which I was surprised about.
After our 45-minute canoe ride, it was finally time to say goodbye to the Amazon, and head back to Banos.
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