Ecuador Challenge 2020

In support of Boots on the Ground

Peer Support Line for First Responders


Boots on the ground logo

Go on an adrenaline-pumping, small group adventure in support of Boots on the Ground. Explore the natural beauty of Ecuador while pushing yourself to the limit. White water raft in the Amazon River, zip line across canyons, trek a Volcano and all while discovering the beauty of Ecuador.

Challenge yourself while supporting Boots On the Ground, a grassroots organization run by volunteers who provide a peer support line for First Responders.

Speed is the word for this high-adrenaline active tour around Ecuador. Across nine action-packed days, you’ll bike around Cotopaxi (an Andean stratovolcano), raft down rushing rivers in the Amazon rainforest, trek the lush foothills of Baños, Zipline across canyons and much, much more.  Best of all, you’ll be travelling  with an experienced and passionate Chief Experience Officer (CEO) who knows the area as a local. You’re here for a great time, not a long time; slather on that sunscreen, strap on your helmet, and hit the ground running.

When you sign up to join us on this adventure we ask that you go back to your communities to raise donations and awareness for Boots on the Ground.  Let your coworkers, family and friends know why having a service where First responders can receive 24 hour peer to peer support is so important. BOTG has received over 250 phone calls since December 2018.

Day 1 - Quito

Arrive in Quito. Relax at the hotel or go out and explore the vibrant city.  Meet with the local CEO in the evening to discuss tour & meet the other first responders in the group.

Day 2 - Quito/Tena

Travel by bus into the Amazon Basin and enjoy the incredible scenery en route to the jungle town of Tena. Watch as it changes from towering mountains to lush jungle, passing by waterfalls and deep river valleys.

Day 3 - Tena

Navigate the wild Jatunyaku River on a full day rafting experience. Take on class 3 rapids.  The cool water and air make this an excellent change from the tropical Amazon climate. Return to Tena for the night.

Day 4 - Tena/Baños

Travel by bus to Baños, a town surrounded by lush cloud forest. Buckle up your harness, put on your helmet, and prepare to launch. Glide along a zipline suspended 850m above the canyon below, dare to let go and reach top speeds as you zip past stunning scenery. Forget your fear as you cross the Tibetano Suspension Bridge above Pastaza River. Rock climb up to a second zipline to finish off this adrenaline-filled adventure.

Day 5 - Baños/Llanganates National Park

Transfer by private vehicle to the start point of the trek into Llanganates National Park. Embark on an exhilarating trek famous for its amazing landscapes and storied mystery. Legend has it that the Inca General Ruminahui has a large sum of gold hidden somewhere in the Tungurahua mountain range. Start the hike at 3,200m (10,498 ft) above sea level and travel upwards to 3,800m (12,467 ft). See a variety of changes in vegetation while trekking to higher elevations. Expect stunning views of the Tungurahua Volcano and the Sangay Volcano (if visibility is good). Spend a night camping out under the stars at a local trout farm in the National Park with the opportunity to catch and prepare fresh trout.

Day 6 - Llanganates National Park/Baños

Continue trekking and return by foot to the entrance of Llanganates National Park to take a transfer back to Baños. Enjoy a delicious lunch waiting for you upon your return. Opt to visit local hot springs to relax and rest aching muscles.

Day 7 - Baños/Cotopaxi

Enjoy a free morning in Baños to explore the area on foot.  After lunch, travel by public bus through spectacular Andean scenery arriving at a hacienda, near the base of Cotopaxi Volcano. Take part in a biking excursion through Polilepys forest enjoying views of the volcano.

Day 8 - Cotopaxi/Quito

First thing in the morning, travel by private van into the national park to start the 1.5 hour trek up to the refuge. Take in changing park scenery, and keep an eye out for wildlife along the way. Visit Limpiopungo lake for a boxed lunch. Enjoy lunch and catch your breath before transferring back to the capital city for a night out on the town.

Day 9 - Quito

Take the day to explore the vibrant city of Quito.  Rest up for your departure the next day.

  • 8 nights in comfortable tourist class accommodations. 1 night of camping.
  • Whitewater rafting excursion on the Jatunyaku River in the Amazon Jungle (full-day).
  • Trekking & Camping in Llanganates National Park (1 night).
  • Mountain bike excursion.
  • Baños Zip-line Adventure Bundle.
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
  • Private local guide.
  • 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 1 Dinner
  • Arrival and departure transfers.
  • Dinner at a local restaurant before the trip to meet the group.
  • $100 Donation to Boots on the Ground matched by Inspired Travel Adventures. A minimum of $200 per person will be donated to BOTG.

$1899 CND per person based on double occupancy. Includes all taxes and fees.  Flights, gratuities, beverages and additional meals are extra. Non-Refundable Deposit of $600 due at time of booking. Final Payment Due February 17, 2020.

Direct return flights, Toronto to Quito, are available through Inspired Travel Adventures at a group rate of $499 CND per person.  Price is subject to availability at time of booking and a group minimum of 10 people.   

Boots on the Ground was started by Dave McLennan, a dedicated Police Officer who, on the verge of retirement, felt called to continue to serve his community in a new way. He had become passionate  about the impact that exposure to trauma was having on police officers and other first responders and he believed that he could bring together a group of dedicated volunteers to help make a difference.

Each team member has received peer support training, suicide prevention training and has been oriented to the procedures and protocols established by the Boots on the Ground steering committee.

This dedicated team provides confidential Peer Support 24/7 to First Responders across the Province. The Boots on the Ground team is also in a unique position to be able to provide in person peer support 24/7 in the GTA. (This will expand across the Province in the future)

They offer our services to retired and serving Police Officers, Firefighters, EMS and Corrections Officers across the Province.

Boots On The Ground is a non-profit organization completely run and staffed by volunteers.

For more information or to donate please visit:

Mark Gaudet is a volunteer Fire Fighter in the Niagara Region.  With 5 years in the department,  he is an acting captain at his hall and works as a training instructor with new recruits. Mark has been the president of his firefighter association for the last 2 years.  Mark also works as gas fitter by trade.

Michelle Gaudet is a TICO certified travel advisor, and the owner of Inspired Travel Adventures.  Michelle’s agency focuses on experiential and small group travel. 

Mark and Michelle are avid world travellers with backpacking across Peru and Bolivia for 4 month with their 2 kids, Sydney and Luc being their greatest adventure to date.

Community Fundraising Event

Date – TBA

Monday February 17th, 2020

Final Payment is due. 


Do I have to be a First Responder to join the Challenge? No, the challenge is open to all those who support first responders that are at least 18 years of age.

Who is the tour operator? G Adventures is a small-group adventure travel company founded in Toronto.  It offers more than 700 different tours in more than 100 countries, and carries 200,000 travellers from 160 countries each year. G Adventures is known for its responsible approach to travel, and created a non-profit partner, Planeterra. Together, G Adventures and Planeterra have built 75 social enterprise projects into G Adventures itineraries with the aim of supporting local people and economies in the destinations they travel to.

Is airfare included? Airfare is not included in the price of the trip.  Group airfare is available for purchase through Inspired Travel Adventures for $499 RT including 1 checked bag. You can also choose to purchase your own airfare.

Can I sign up for the challenge as a single traveller?  You can sign up as a single traveller but all rooms are double occupancy.  You will be paired up with a member of the group who is the same gender as you.

Do I need gear? All non clothing and foot wear gear you will need for rafting, cycling, camping and trekking are included.  Walking sticks can be rented for $5 USD a day.

Do I need a passport?  You will need a current passport to travel to Ecuador.  Passport cannot expire less than least 6 months past travel dates.  If you are a Canadian Passport holder, you do not need a visa to enter Ecuador.  If you hold a passport from another country please contact us for more details.

Do I need travel medical Insurance? Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our group trips. You will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

You can read group travel clients reviews of Inspired Travel Adventures here or on the Canadian Travel Agents website.

Ready to join us? Click the button below and fill out your info.  You’ll hear from us as soon as possible.