Are you wondering how to get to the Amazon Rainforest from Quito? The most popular destinations in Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon Rainforest, Otavalo, and Baños.
As noted by travel Gringos Abroad travel blogger Dena Haines, ‘The Ecuadorian Amazon (el Oriente) is home to one of the most bio diverse places on the planet.’
If you consider how to get to each of these destinations from Quito it’s all pretty straightforward. To get to the Galápagos Islands you usually fly to Guayaquil then to Baltra or San Cristóbal Island. To get to Baños or Otavalo you (obviously) take the Wanderbus but the question is…how to get to the Amazon Rainforest from Quito?
Why should you visit the Amazon Rainforest?
Planning a trip to Ecuador is tricky business. There’s SO MUCH to see and do and, if the Galápagos Islands is on your itinerary, which is usually the case, your two or three week vacation suddenly feels much too short. (That said, when is vacation ever long enough?)
Just to stress you out even more while you’re planning, you really can’t miss visiting the Amazon Rainforest, and here’s why:
- The Amazon Rainforest won’t be around forever. (You might argue the same thing with the Galápagos Islands, and that’s why you should combine the two when you come visit. But don’t just skip out on the Amazon!)
- From Quito, the Amazon rainforest is closer than you think.
- You’ll see wild life. I’m talking some crazy nature.
If that hasn’t convinced you yet, how about I tell you you can get to the amazon rainforest from Quito with an all-inclusive 2 night, 3 day package for as little as $260 per person?
Many of our Wanderbus passengers expressed interest in accessing extra tours, apart from our hop-on hop-off bus service. They asked and we supplied. Among the extra tours we offer are two Amazon rainforest tours, guaranteed to show you the most, and the best, of the Ecuadorian rainforest at affordable rates and within a very reasonable timeframe. All the while, maintaining all the essential elements of convenience.
How far is the Amazon Rainforest from Quito and how to get there?
Up until now we’ve talked about the Amazon Rainforest as if it’s one destination, but really it’s an entire region of the country, and there are innumerable places to visit in the Amazon Rainforest. So when travelers ask us, how do I get to the Amazon from Quito?, you might imagine that it’s a little tricky to provide one clear answer.
The short answer: From Quito, the Amazon Rainforest is only 3.5 hours away, by car, bus, taxi, motorcycle, horse… (actually that last one might take a bit longer).
In 3.5 hours, you’ll reach the city of Tena, which is a gateway into the deeper Amazon, but is still considered part of the Amazon Rainforest. Tena is actually a convenient destination if you don’t have many days left on your travel itinerary.
In fact, one of the extra tours we offer at Wanderbus is close to Tena for that very reason. On this tour, you’ll visit the Amazon Rainforest, more specifically the Ahuano area near Misahualli, on a 2 night / 3 day or 3 night / 4 day tour.
Though Tena and Misahuallí are officially within the Amazonian region, some might argue that it’s not the real Amazon. For that, you would have to travel deeper inland by boat, entering territory that is thick with foliage and where the rainforest canopy reaches new heights.
You can either do this through a lodge and their tour package, or you can go a really adventurous route, jump on a bus or plane to Coca, and then get on a river boat that will take you pretty much as far into the Amazon as is possible within Ecuador. Nueva Rocafuerte is a small town bordering Perú and from here, you can hire a local guide to take you into Yasuní National Park.
How many days should I spend in the Amazon Rainforest?
As many days as you can. There are an infinite number of things to experience in the Amazon, from piraña fishing, to anaconda spotting, and even ayahuasca ceremonies at an indigenous community.
Normally, I would recommend you spend at least 2-4 nights at your chosen destination, which will ensure you have enough time to see some of the harder-to-spot wildlife. This does not include the journey to get to the Amazon Rainforest from Quito.
Keep in mind that the weather in the Amazon Rainforest is generally….rainy. Even during the dry season, the sky might darken and DUMP on you for days at a time. This doesn’t mean you can’t hike along the trails or go on a canoe tour, but 1) it’ll be miserably cold and wet and 2) most of the animals will be hunkering down in their nests and dens until the rain stops. That said, oftentimes rainy weather invites other animal species out to play, like amphibians!
If you’re planning to head deeper into the Ecuadorian Amazon to Yasuní National Park, for instance, try to stay at least 4 nights. It’s a magical place and though you might start to get tired of the bugs, humidity and lack of internet access (not always an issue), you’ll be giving otherworldly creatures like the Pink River Dolphins more of a chance to be seen.
What to do next?
There’s really only one thing you can do after an Amazon trip: die happy. You’ve seen one of the world’s natural wonders that is disappearing at an unfathomable rate. Literally, no one will understand that rainforest destruction is real until the rainforest is gone, which seems inevitable at this point. It’s not pessimism, it’s reality!
Okay, okay, back on topic. Once you’ve spent a few days in the Amazon, if you have some time to spare, AND if you aren’t already heading to the Galápagos (also disappearing – too bad, so sad), you should spend some time in the Ecuadorian Andes.
After the often unbearable humidity of the jungle, the dry, cool air of the Sierra, its magnificent views and starry skies, may be just what you need.
One cool route, if you’re starting from the Tena area, would be to continue to Baños and then explore the southern Ecuadorian Andes, though Riobamba, Ozogoche, Cuenca and Cajas National Park. You can follow this exact route on the Wanderbus Colibrí Pass.
Or, if you prefer to see some of the sights closer to Quito, head back with the Wanderpass Express, which stops through Papallacta and the Santa Rita community, where you can visit a cacao farm and make your own chocolate. If you have a few days left in your trip, there are numerous day trips from Quito to choose from.
Do you feel like you have a better grasp of how to get to the Amazon Rainforest from Quito, plus a lot of other relevant information about visiting the Ecuadorian jungle? I hope so! If not, we’re happy to respond to more specific inquiries in our comments section.