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Manaus to Quito - Itinerary

Week 1: Manaus is far inland, though a port for ocean going ships and is the city in the heart of the amazon and its fortune was originally built on rubber. The city itself is worth an explore, and from this Amazon base you can take an adventure trips to the rainforest.

We head north from Manaus to the Waimiri Indian Reserve. We follow the jungle roads; they are rough, not well maintained. We take a break at Boa Vista on the Rio Branco River, where you can visit the Parque Anaua, take a boat on the river Serra Grande and go walking.

Into Venezuela at Santa Elena, from this town you can leave the trip for a few days and climb Mount. Roraima; the mountain is actually a massive flat topped plateau, which is accessible by just one route, a walk which takes five days– this includes a couple of days exploring the uninhabited plateau. If you climb the plateau, you can catch up to the truck at Ciudad Bolivar.

Week 2: In Venezuela we enter the Great Savannah, with wide open grassland. We pass by and you can explore the Tepuis Mountains, which rise up into the clouds beside us – though only when its cloudy, with waterfalls pouring over their sides.

To Ciudad Bolivar on the Rio Orinoco. We base our selves here to visit Angel Falls; at a kilometre high it is the highest in the world. The falls are not named after the angles in heaven but after the discoverer; a flying gold prospector from USA, named Jimmy Angel, he landed his plane on top of the falls and walked for 11 days to get out of the region as he could not take off again. To get to the Falls is a three day side trip by either flight, boat or small vehicle to see the Falls in Parque Nacional Canaima.

To get to the falls is complex, as they in an isolated in a remote area, deep in the rainforest. You fly from Ciudad Bolívar to reach Canaima camp; the starting point for river trips to the base of the falls. River trips generally take place from June to December, when the rivers are deep enough. During the dry season, which is the first 3 months of the years, there is less water than other months, so to get by boat to the falls is difficult, but clear skies for flying.

We pass the wetlands Llanos on the edge of the Orinoco, where you can take a 4 days side trip into the park. On to the town of Guanare, here a Coromoto Indian saw the Virgin Mary almost 500 years ago, and so the town has become a place of pilgrimage. Onto the beaches of the Caribbean and see Henri Pittier National Park; a coastal park with beaches, waterfalls and birds.

Week 3: To Merida in the mountains, where you can go walking in the hill as well as paragliding, canopy tours, zip-lining, canyoning and white water rafting, good nightlife and lots of restaurants.

From Merida you can take a three day trip to the wetlands of Los Llanos where you can see caiman, capybara, anaconda snakes, anteaters, tapirs and the secretive jaguar.

Week 4: In the west of Venezuela is San Cristobal, the last city before we cross into Columbia to Bucaramanga and to Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast. Go snorkeling, hang out on the beach and visit Tayrona National Park

Week 5: we spend a few days in Cartagena, an old city surround by stone walls, they were built mainly to defend the city against British and American raids – which it successfully withstood. It’s the first Spanish colonial city built in South America and one of the most visited and is very well preserved with; cobbled streets, old churches, town squares and balconied building.

On to Medellin; the home of Pablo Escobar, a quieter city with his passing. Up into the mountains to Manizales in the coffee growing region where you can visit a coffee plantation and try the freshest roast coffee. Visit Parque Los Nevados, to walk in the mountains.

In the peaks of the Andes is Bogota, another old city with good food, museums and churches. Take a bird’s eye view of the city from Monserrate Hill and church.

Week 6: We cross the Tatacoa Desert, with ocher and gray arid eroded cliffs surrounded by mountains. We take the Pan American Highway to Parque Purace; with giant condors, the active Volcano Purace, with hot springs and a Sulphur Mine. 

Week 7: The white city of Popayan is a colonial town worthy of a film set high in the Andes make a small stop to admire the chalk white facades and stock up on supplies, before following the Andes south towards Pasto. Our last stop in Colombia is Ipiales, with the Santuario De Las Lajas – [Sanctuary of the Rock] a unique church suspended above a beautiful river gorge, with a waterfall below.

During the last few days of our trip we cross over the border to Ecuador, visiting Otavalo, a mainly Indian town surrounded by mountains before we reach Quito and the end of our trip.

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