Ecuador Tours with Above the Clouds!

Let Cheryl lead you to the best of Ecuador

The Sacred Waters of Ecuador Retreat!

Come tour Ecuador, one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. Join your hosts Cheryl Reed and Jay Stailey in experiencing Ecuador’s treasured bodies of water including oceans, crater lakes, waterfalls, and hot springs.

Start at Pacific Ocean waters surrounding the enchanted Galapagos Islands where you can swim with sea lions and sea turtles. Float in the glorious blue water born from the mixture of an underground river and ocean water while surrounded by tall rock cliffs.

Visit the coastal waters of Puerto Lopez to observe the majestic humpback whales that have migrated there for the summer.  Soak in the sulfur waters at Agua Blanca and in the healing waters of the hot springs of Nangulvi.

Take a boat ride on Lake Cuicocha viewed as sacred by the Indigenous and watch the bubbles coming up from the floor of this active volcanic crater lake.  Feel the spray from the Peguche Waterfall used by the locals for a special ceremony at the summer solstice each year.

Visit the Sacred Swimming Pools of Tulipe left behind by the Yumbo Indians and walk to the petroglyphs at the Gallo de la Pena waterfall in Pacto.  Swim in the green waters of the Mashpi River deep in the Cloud forest and watch how cocoa is processed.

Let a Shaman cleanse your energy during a special ceremony.  Enjoy labyrinth walks at the beach alongside the ocean waves and inside a Yumbo pyramid in the mist of the cloud forest.

 

Choose from three different itineraries between July 24 and August 8, 2020.

Quick Glance at the tours.  For in depth descriptions and photos click on the Itineraries further down. 

July 24 to August 1 :  Five days in Galapagos and three days on the Coast.

July 24: Arrival in Guayaquil.

July 25: Fly to Baltra/Santa Cruz:  El Chato Tortoise Reserve and Las Greitas.

July 26: Boat Ride to Pinzon Island to observe Sea Lions, reef sharks and hopefully penguins! Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center.

July 27:  Highlands Tour.  Coffee and Sugar Cane tour, highest point of Island and Garrapatero Beach.

July 28: Santa Fe Island Boat trip to see Blue Footed Boobies and Yellow Iguanas.

July 29: Bahia Tour.  Sea Lion Colony, sharkes and views of the Island./ Fly to Guayaquil.

July 30: Drive to Puerto Lopez.  Visit Frailes Beach, one of the pretties in all of Ecuador.  Spot monkey’s along the way.

July 31:  Isla de la Plata boat ride to see Blue footed boobies and Whale Watching.

August 1:  Agua Blanca Community with Sulfur Lake.  Return to Guayaquil. Fly home in the evening.

 

July 24 to August 5, 2020

Note:  You will fly into Guayaquil and home from Quito.

July 24: Arrival in Guayaquil.

July 25: Fly to Baltra/Santa Cruz:  El Chato Tortoise Reserve and Las Greitas.

July 26: Boat Ride to Pinzon Island to observe Sea Lions, reef sharks and hopefully penguins! Visit Charles Darwin Research Center.

July 27:  Highlands Tour.  Coffee and Sugar Cane tour, highest point of Island and Garrapatero Beach.

July 28: Santa Fe Island Boat trip to see Blue Footed Boobies and Yellow Iguanas.

July 29: Bahia Tour.  Sea Lion Colony. sharks and views of the Island. Fly to Guayaquil.

July 30: Drive to Puerto Lopez.  Visit Frailes Beach, one of the pretties in all of Ecuador.  Spot monkey’s along the way.

July 31:  Isla de la Plata boat ride to see Blue footed boobies and Whale Watching.

August 1:  Agua Blanca Community with Sulfur Lake.  Fly to Quito in the afternoon.

August 2:  Equator and Agave Harvest Tour, Picnic at Oldest Hacienda in Ecuador.

August 3:  Peguche Textile Tour, Music Workshop and Waterfall.

August 4: Lake Cuicocha Boat Ride and Cotachachi Leather Town.

August 5: Fly home or take Quito tour if you have an evening flight.

 

August 1-8. 2020:  Four days in the Otavalo Area and three days in the Cloud Forest.

August 1: Arrival in Quito.

August 2:  Equator and Agave Harvest Tour, Special Picnic and tour of the Oldest Hacienda in Ecuador.

August 3:  Peguche Textile Tour, Music Workshop and waterfall hike.

August 4:Crater Lake Boat Ride and Cotachachi Leather Town.

August 5: Drive to Cloud Forest with stop at Nangulvi Hotsprings.

August 6: Trip to Mashpi with Chocolate tour and swim in river.  Shaman Energy Cleansing in the evening.

August 7:  Cock of the Rock Bird watching, Tulipe Sacred Swimming Pools, Pacto Waterfall and Petroglyphs.

August 8:  Fly home or take Quito Tour if you have an evening flight.

 

What an amazing experience you have led me through! Everything  about my days here have been filled with joy and beauty. You are a special host, guiding us with love and care so that we see the absolute beauty of Ecuador and understand that which we did not know.

Nancy

Retreat Attendee

“What a wonderful retreat in all ways– leaving the worries and concerns of city life behind–meeting new friends with no concern of making an impression and fully in love with the beauty, music and people of Ecuador. Muchas Gracias Charito por un bueno tiempo y maravillosa casa.”

Patty

Retreat Attendee

Itinerary 1: Galapagos Islands and Whales July 24-August 1, 2020

Day 1.  Friday, July 24. Arrive in Guayaquil.

Day 2: Fly to Baltra/Santa Cruz.  Stop at El Chato Reserve where you can observe Giant Tortoises in the wild.  You can also walk through Lava Tubes. We will lunch there and then head to Puerto Ayora to check into the hotel.  Afternoon trip to Las Grietas where you pass salt mines and then float in the most glorious blue water born from the mixture of an underground river mixing with ocean water.

[Las Grietas, Santa Cruz, Galapagos 

Las Grietas path, Salt Mines, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Galapagos giant tortoise on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos National Park

Day 3:  Sunday, July 26.  Today we will take a boat ride to Pinzon Island where you can snorkel with sea lions and reef sharks and observe Frigate birds, sea turtles and possibly Penguins.  In the afternoon, we will tour the Charles Darwin Research Center and learn about conservation efforts.

Swimming with Sea Lions on Pinzon Island, Galapagos Frigate Bird, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Penguin, ,Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Day 4:  Monday, July 27.  Visit the Highlands.  First stop at El Trapiche farm where Don Jose will show you how to make Panela, pure sugar cane alcohol and process coffee.  View the entire Island from Cerro Mesa, the highest spot on the island.  We will then visit Garrapatero Beach, a wonderful secluded white sand beach where you can observe Iguanas sunning themselves and go for a swim.

Learning how to make Panela, El Trapiche, Galapagos    Cerro Meza, highest point on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos    Marine Iguanas, Ecuador

Day 5: Tuesday, July 28.  Visit Santa Fe Island where you can observe Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds and hopefully spot a Yellow Iguana. You will stop for snorkeling where you may observe reef sharks and sea turtles.

Yellow Iguana, Ecuador  Blue Footed Boobies, Isla de la Plata, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

Day 6:  Wednesday, July 29.  Bahia Tour.  Boat ride along the coast with a stop at La Loberia where you will see a colony of sea lions.  Next stop is shark channel which was formed by the swelling of the magma chamber and here you can observe reef sharks.  From an overlook, you will have a great view of the Port and the mountains of the highlands.  In the afternoon, we will fly back to the mainland with overnight in Guayaquil.

Sea Lions, Galapagos, Ecuador  Reef sharks, Galapagos Islands

Day 7: Thursday, July 30.  Visit the Parque Nacional Machalilla where we can spot monkeys and walk along the perfect white sand beach of Los Frailes.

Los Frailes Beach, Ecuador Monkey, Jungle, Ecuador

Day 8:  Friday, July 31.  Trip to Isla de la Plata which they often refer to as the Mini-Galapagos as you can see Frigate Birds, Blue Footed Boobies and Sea Turtles.  Observe the majestic humpback whales that have migrated to Puerto Lopez for the summer.

Blue Footed Boobies, Isla de la Plata, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador Sunset Puerto Lopez Ecuador Humpback Whales, Ecuador

Day 9:  Saturday, August 1.   Visit the community of Agua Blanca.  We can cover ourselves in the healing muds of the sulfur lake and then swim in the warm waters. You can visit the small museum to see remnants that date back 500+ years.  Head back to Guayaquil and fly home in the evening.

Agua Blanca, Parque Nacional Machalilla, Ecuador agua blanca museum, Ecuador agua blanca sulfur lake, Ecuador

Itinerary 2: Galapagos, Coast, High Sierras July 24 to August 5, 2020

NOTE:   You will fly to Guayaquil from the U.S. and fly home from Quito.

Day 1.  Friday, July 24:  Arrive in Guayaquil.

Day 2: Saturday, July 25:  Fly to Baltra/Santa Cruz.  Stop at El Chato Reserve where you can observe Giant Tortoises in the wild.  You can also walk through Lava Tubes. We will lunch here and then head to Puerto Ayora to check into the hotel.  Afternoon trip to Las Grietas where you pass salt mines and then float in the most glorious blue water born from the mixture of an underground river mixing with ocean water.

[Las Grietas, Santa Cruz, Galapagos 

Las Grietas path, Salt Mines, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Galapagos giant tortoise on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos National Park

Day 3: Sunday, July 26:  Today we will take a boat ride to Pinzon Island where you can snorkel with sea lions and reef sharks and observe Frigate birds, sea turtles and possibly Penguins.  In the afternoon, we will tour the Charles Darwin Research Center and learn about conservation efforts.

Swimming with Sea Lions on Pinzon Island, Galapagos Frigate Bird, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Penguin, ,Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Day 4: Monday, July 27.  Visit the Highlands.  First stop at El Trapiche farm where Don Jose will show you how to make Panela, pure sugar cane alcohol and process coffee.  View the entire Island from Cerro Mesa, the highest spot on the island.  We will then visit Garrapatero Beach, a wonderful secluded white sand beach where you can observe Iguanas sunning themselves and go for a swim.

Learning how to make Panela, El Trapiche, Galapagos    Cerro Meza, highest point on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos    Marine Iguanas, Ecuador

Day 5: Tuesday, July 28. Visit Santa Fe Island where you can observe Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds and hopefully spot a Yellow Iguana. You will stop for snorkeling where you may observe reef sharks and sea turtles.

Yellow Iguana, Ecuador  Blue Footed Boobies, Isla de la Plata, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

Day 6: Wednesday, July 29.  Bahia Tour.  Boat ride along the coast with a stop at La Loberia where you will see a colony of sea lions.  Next stop is shark channel which was formed by the swelling of the magma chamber and here you can observe reef sharks.  From an overlook, you will have a great view of the Port and the mountains of the highlands.  Fly to the mainland with overnight in Guayaquil.

Sea Lions, Galapagos, Ecuador  Reef sharks, Galapagos Islands

Day 7: Thursday, July 30. Visit the Parque Nacional Machalilla where we can spot monkeys and walk along the perfect white sand beach of Los Frailes.

Los Frailes Beach, Ecuador Monkey, Jungle, Ecuador

Day 8:  Friday, July 31. Trip to Isla de la Plata which they often refer to as the Mini-Galapagos as you can see Frigate Birds, Blue Footed Boobies and Sea Turtles.  Observe the majestic humpback whales that have migrated to Puerto Lopez for the summer.

Blue Footed Boobies, Isla de la Plata, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador Sunset Puerto Lopez Ecuador Humpback Whales, Ecuador

Day 9:   Saturday, August 1. Visit the community of Agua Blanca.  We can cover ourselves in the healing muds of the sulfur lake and then swim in the warm waters. You can visit the small museum to see remnants that date back 500+ years.  Head back to Guayaquil and Fly to Quito.

Agua Blanca, Parque Nacional Machalilla, Ecuador agua blanca museum, Ecuador agua blanca sulfur lake, Ecuador

Day 10: Sunday, August 2.  Cayambe Sundial Equator. Stop at the equator monument that sits in front of Cayambe Mountain. Listen to an interesting description of how the world could be viewed.  Watch Ingigenous women harvest the Agave plant followed by a special picnic called Pamba Mesa at the Oldest Hacienda in Ecuador.

Pamba Mesa Ecuador Agave Honey Harvest, Cayambe, Ecuador Paula Pant on the equator, Ecuador

Day 11:  Monday, August 3. Peguche Wasi Textile tour. See how the famous Otavalo Indigenous weave their tapestries.  Visit with Ali and his family in their music workshop as they sing and direct us in music. Feel the mist from the Peguche Waterfall used by the locals for a cleansing ceremony at the summer solstice each year in a tradition called Inti Raymi.

 

Peguche Wasi Weaving demonstration, Otavalo, Ecuador Indigenous Musician Workshop Otavalo, Ecuador Peguche Waterfall, Ecuador

Day 12:  Tuesday, August 4.  Take a boat ride on Lake Cuicocha viewed as sacred by the Indigenous and watch the bubbles coming up from the floor of this active volcanic crater lake. Stop at Cotocachi town of leather goods.

Laguna Cuicocha, Imbabura Province, Ecuador Lago Cuicocha Boat Ride, Otavalo, Ecuador

Day 13:  Wednesday August 5.  Head to the airport if you have a flight before 8 p.m.  if you have a later flight (after 8 p.m.) take our Quito tour. Visit the Historic Center of Quito.  View the Virgin of Ecuador, climb the towers of the Basilica Church and tour the Plaza Grande. Fly home in the Evening.

Panecilla, Virgin of Quito Basilica, Quito, Ecuador Plaza Grande Quito

Itinerary 3: High Sierras and Cloud Forest August 1-8, 2020

Day 1. Saturday, August 1.  Arrival in Quito

Day 2: Sunday, August 2.  Cayambe Sundial Equator. Stop at the equator monument that sits in front of Cayambe Mountain. Listen to an interesting description of how the world could be viewed.  Watch Indigenous women harvest the Agave plant followed by a picnic at the Oldest Hacienda in Ecuador.

Pamba Mesa Ecuador Agave Honey Harvest, Cayambe, Ecuador Paula Pant on the equator, Ecuador

Day 3:  Monday, August 3.  Peguche Wasi Textile tour. See how the famous Otavalo Indigenous weave their tapestries.  Visit with Ali and his family in their music workshop as they sing and direct us in music.  Feel the mist from the Peguche Waterfall used by the locals for a cleansing ceremony at the summer solstice each year in a tradition called Inti Raymi.

 

Peguche Wasi Weaving demonstration, Otavalo, Ecuador Indigenous Musician Workshop Otavalo, Ecuador Peguche Waterfall, Ecuador

Day 4:  Tuesday, August 4.  Take a boat ride on Lake Cuicocha viewed as sacred by the Indigenous and watch the bubbles coming up from the floor of this active volcanic crater lake. Stop at Cotacachi town of leather goods.

Laguna Cuicocha, Imbabura Province, Ecuador Lago Cuicocha Boat Ride, Otavalo, Ecuador

Day 5:  Wednesday, August 5. We will head down to the subtropics by winding through the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve from 10,000 feet above sea level to 2,000 feet.  We will arrive in Nangulvi, a peaceful setting next to Rio Intag, where you can soak in six different healing pools of varying temperatures.  We will then continue on as you experience an amazing 2-hour drive on the back roads of Ecuador through cloud forest mountains, rivers and sugar cane farms where they process 100 proof alcohol.  We will then arrive at Above the Clouds Guest House.

Nangulvi Hot Springs, Ecuador Nangulvi Hot Springs, Ecuador River in subtropics of Ecuador

Day 6: Thursday, August 6.  Visit the Mashpi Cloud Forest. Take a step back in time where they harvest hearts of palm by hand and carry it to the farm by horse on special saddles.  Visit a cocoa farm and see how it is processed from pod to chocolate bar.  Swim in the magical blue green waters of the Mashpi River. In the evening we will enjoy a magical experience of an energy cleansing by an Ecuadorian Shaman.

chocolate pod, mindo, Ecuador  Subtropical Ecuador harvesting hearts of palm

Shamanic Energy Cleansing, Ecuador Shaman Energy Cleansing Ecuador Tsachila Indian Shamanic Cleansing

Day 7:  Friday, August 7.  Early morning trip to see the fantastic Gallo de la Peña Lek.  Here 14 male birds will put on quite a show vying for the affection of the 2 females.  Samuel, Cheryl’s farm hand, will take you through the process of how that morning cup of Java comes to be.  Just fifteen minutes from the farm, we will visit a museum featuring the Yumbo Indians who lived in this area and left behind hundreds of pyramids and sacred swimming pools and we will even make a labyrinth inside of one.  We will drive up the road to visit Pacto Waterfall, a gorgeous setting of blue and green rocks giving the water a special glow. If you are feeling adventurous, you can hike through the river to see the petroglyhs.

Cock of the Rock, Gualea, Ecuador Gallo de la Pena Waterfall Pacto, Ecuador Petroglyphs, Pacto, Ecuador Sacred swimming pools Gualea Ecuador Coffee plantation, Cheryl Reed Learning about Andean coffee growing; Gualea, Ecuador

Day 8:  Saturday, August 8.  Quito tour. Visit the Historic Center of Quito.  View the Virgin of Ecuador, climb the towers of the Basilica Church and tour the Plaza Grande. Fly home in the evening.

Basilica, Quito, Ecuador Plaza Grande Quito Ecuador;

 

Cheryl Reed

Cheryl is owner of Above the Clouds Ecuador and Above the Clouds Guest House in the subtropics of Ecuador.  She first visited Ecuador in 1997 as a volunteer spending two weeks working with disabled children in Quito. She was humbled by the poverty, awed by the beauty  and warmed by the hearts of the Ecuadorian people.  It made such an impression on her that in 2002,  Cheryl purchased a farm in Ecuador initially spending six months a year there and has now transitioned to full-time.

Cheryl started hosting retreats to share the beauty of Ecuador with others and to give people time to unplug from the world.  She holds the retreats at various hotels around Ecuador and also at her guest house. Cheryl’s main goal is for people to immerse themselves in the culture, the sounds, the tastes and the abundant nature to truly experience all that Ecuador has to offer.  

Jay Stailey

As Jay Stailey prepared for his departure from a quarter century of work as a school administrator in Houston area public schools, he inadvertently stumbled upon the labyrinth at St. Thomas University. As his walks became regular events in his busy life, he discovered the power of the labyrinth as a tool to focus his thoughts, clear his mind, and tune his inner being. His curiosity and interest broadened as he became a Veriditas trained and certified labyrinth facilitator and eventually led him to become Houston’s first labyrinth coach. He has emerged as a fixture in the Houston labyrinth community, facilitating monthly labyrinth walks at the Historic Freedmen’s Town Labyrinth, guiding Houstonian’s on discovery walks and bicycle tours, and facilitating the construction of temporary and permanent labyrinths with Houston Area churches and schools abroad on the Fourviere in historic Lyon, France and on the equator in the cloud forests of Ecuador.