Farther down the Road: Macas -- Macas is the southernmost major town in the Oriente. It's a small jungle town on the banks of the Río Upano with very little in the way of tourism infrastructure. Indeed, it's really only for those looking to get as far away from it all as possible.

There are a handful of budget lodgings around the small downtown area. Of these, I recommend the Hotel Heliconia (tel. 07/2701-956), in the heart of downtown on Avenida Soasti and 10 de Agosto. You can't miss this six-story building, the tallest in Macas.

If you want to arrange any tours or adventure activities out of Macas, check in with Planeta Tours (tel. 07/2701-328; planeta_ms@hotmail.com), on Calle Domingo Comin and Avenida Soasti.

You can get to the town by bus from Quito, Cuenca, or Puyo, but the ride involves taking one bus as far as a narrow footbridge over the Río Puyo, and then transferring to a waiting bus on the other side. Another option is to fly to Macas on Tame (tel. 02/3977-100 central reservation number in Quito, or 07/2701-978 in Macas; www.tame.com.ec), which has one flight Monday through Saturday from Quito to the Aeropuerto Coronel Edmundo Carvajal (tel. 07/2700-258; airport code: XMS). The flight takes 40 minutes and costs $80 (£53) each way.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.