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Active Ecuador: Andean hikes and Cotopaxi volcano

Day 1

Arrive in Quito. Transfer to countryside hacienda in the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
 
Chimborazo, Ave of the Volcanoes
Transfer (90mins) to your hotel in the Avenue of the Volcanoes. This famous route passes an imperial guard of conical snow-draped volcanic cones, surrounded by lush pastures studded with colonial market towns and tiny indigenous villages. You’ll be staying in the countryside at Hacienda La Alegria.  
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Chimborazo, Ave of the Volcanoes

Day 2

3hr gentle acclimatisation walk.
 
Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic
You'll start your trekking adventure with a gentle warm-up hike into the mountains heading to La Viudita at 3,770m. This is an acclimatisation trek which takes you across rolling upland terrain and lasts around 3 hrs. You'll return to the horse-centred working family farm where you are staying to enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
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Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic

Day 3

By road to a rural inn via a traditional market. Overnight at mountain lodge.
 
Saquisili Market
You’ll be driven south to Chugchilán, stopping off at a traditional indigenous market in Saquisili, Pujulili or Latacunga along the way (the choice of market will be made according to the day of the week).

These vivacious rural markets are a far cry from the tourist-focused ones to be found in the large cities. They are an important focal point for the indigenous community, representing the centre of their social and economic worlds. 

The markets are fit to burst with a variety of products, from fresh meat and fruit stalls to yarns, ropes, clothes, buckets and stacks of shovels. Ceramics are particularly ubiquitous owing to the presence of clay in the surrounding hills. Overnight at friendly Hostal Mama Hilda deep in the countryside.

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Saquisili Market

Day 4

Walk from Quilotoa to Chugchilán, 3,900m, 7hrs Overnight at mountain lodge.
 
Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic
Take a short drive to Quilotoa, an impressive volcanic crater filled with a serene, bright green lake. From here, you'll begin the spectacular 5-6hr trek back to Chugchilán (3,900m): it is one of Ecuador's most remarkable hikes. You'll enjoy views of the crater lake; pass through the indigenous village of Guatama and cross the Sihui river canyon, a tributary of the Toachi river.

If you are seeking more of a challenge, there is the option to hike the other way, from Chugchilán to the Quilotoa crater, however since the route is mostly ascent, it would take longer (8-9 hrs). Overnight at the same lodge.

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Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic

Day 5

Trek around the Quilotoa volcano’s crater, 6hrs. Overnight on countryside hotel.
 
Hike the Quilatoa Loop
Head back to the Quilotoa crater to walk the total circumference which takes 3-4hrs; this is a stunning and visually rewarding trek. Alternatively you can choose to descend 400m down into the inside of the caldera to get up close to the ice-cold, brilliant green volcanic lake. Total trekking 6hrs. After lunch, you'll be taken back to the Hacienda La Alegria to enjoy a well-earned soak in a hot tub.
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Hike the Quilatoa Loop

Day 6

Climb to Pasochoa volcano summit 4,200m, 7hrs. Overnight at mountain lodge.
 
Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic
In the morning you'll set off for the Pasochoa Reserve as you prepare yourself to climb the 4,200m Pasochoa mountain - it is a challenging trek. On arrival you'll hike across a barren, wind-scarred landscape (3 hrs approx.) to reach the summit. From there, you can catch sight of the Andes surrounding Quito, the Pasochoa volcanic crater and the chain of snow-tipped volcanoes. 

In the afternoon you'll gradually descend, passing by the Pita river canyon along scrubland and through an oak forest which leads you to your rustic, homely accommodation, Chilcabamba Lodge.
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Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic

Day 7

Hike the Cotopaxi Trail.
 
Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic

Today's beautiful hike tackles untamed mountain forests as you follow the Pita river, which is fed by snowmelt from the Cotopaxi National Park. Your quest is to reach Cotopaxi itself. It is an enjoyable 5hr hike with a gradual ascent through humid Andean cloud forest until you reach the barren, scrubby lower slopes of Cotopaxi.

From here, you'll make your way to your warm and friendly accommodation, Hosteria Tambopaxi which is astride an arid Andean plateau - a magical setting. En route you might spot wild horses roaming the land, and, if luck is on your side, the largest flight bird in the western hemisphere, the condor.  Accommodation here is fairly basic, dedicated to the needs of hikers and climbers, but the new rooms are cosy with private facilities.

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Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic

Day 8

Climb to the snow line on Cotopaxi volcano, approx. 5,100m. Return to Quito.
 
Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic

The culmination of your trekking adventure begins with a drive from your lodge to the mountain refuge at the base of Cotopaxi. Here, you'll walk for about an hour to the casa de montañistas (mountaineers' house), from which you'll make for the edge of the glacier which smothers the peak of Cotopaxi.

As you near the fringe of the ice sheet, prepare yourself for stunning panoramic views of the extraordinary scenery - with the help of your guide you'll arrive at the lookout point to marvel at a bird's eye view of your journey all the way from Quito: the valleys, the distant mountains, Pasochoa, the Pita river canyon, el Pedregal, Silcholagua, Rumiñahui and the beautiful Limpiopungo valley.

You'll be driven back Quito in private transport. Your hotel is right in the centre of the beautiful refurbished historic quarter, which shows off Spanish colonial architecture at its best. 

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Lodge to lodge trek Ecuador Tropic

Day 9

Transfer to Quito airport for flight home.
 

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Active Ecuador: Andean hikes and Cotopaxi volcano

  • Ecuadorian Amazon 4 days from £1,073pp

    The rainforest of the Amazon of Ecuador, whence spring rivers which flow down to the Amazon proper, is conveniently accessible from Quito. Following a short flight and canoe trip you arrive at Sacha Lodge to begin your jungle adventures.

    Day 1: A 35min flight takes you over the snow-capped Andes to Puerto Francisco de Orellana, known locally as Coca. Please note that luggage is restricted to 20kg.

    On arrival, it is a short transfer to the docks where motorised dugout canoes are waiting to take you down the Río Napo, the largest river in the Ecuadorian Amazonia. Head deep into the rainforest - with opportunities to spot an array of wildlife along the riverbanks – to the reserve where Sacha Lodge is situated (2.5hrs). You’ll then set off on a guided expedition along a raised boardwalk through dense flooded palm forest to Lake Pichicocha (30mins) before crossing the motionless black-water lagoon by canoe to arrive at the lodge.

    Day 2: There’s a varied menu of activities and excursions to choose from at the lodge. They are conducted in small groups led by an English-speaking naturalist guide, and take place in the early morning when the wildlife is at its most active, in the afternoon as the sun sets leaving a mellow glow draped over the forest, and at night when the nocturnal insects and frogs join in a melodious chorus.

    Day 3: Waterborne adventures include a trip to a parrot lick, where the colourful and agitated birds gather to feed. There’s also a 300m canopy walkway suspended 30m above the jungle floor, giving you a canopy-level view of the wildlife which inhabits the trees, while an overall panoramic view is available from the top of the observation tower. Go fishing for piranha, and at night, set out on the dark waters in search of alligators.

    Breakfast daily, full board days 1-3.

  • Galapagos on land - Finch Bay 4 days from £645pp

    How do you round off a busy holiday in Ecuador, Peru or Colombia? You might think a trip to the Galápagos Islands a trifle ambitious – not to say costly. And a cruise may well be. But if you have a few days to spare you can stay at a congenial hotel on one of the larger, more interesting and varied islands, Santa Cruz, where in addition to a wide array of the famous trusting Galápagos wildlife, you can experience the verdant volcanic highlands, the white sand beaches and the shops and restaurants of the laid-back capital Puerto Ayora.

    The property has a beautiful setting at Punta Estrada, across the bay from the town.

    Day 1: Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. Transfer to your hotel Finch bay, on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora.

    Days 2,3: You have two full days where your wishes are catered for individually. The hotel organises an impressive choice of activities and excursions including snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and day trips by boat to surrounding islands. We recommend a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station which is home to 11 species of tortoise.

    Day 4: Depart for the Ecuadorian mainland and connect with your international flight.

    Breakfast only.
    NB: the cost of flights from Ecuador, Peru or Colombia to the Galápagos Islands are not included in the price.

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Active Ecuador: Andean hikes and Cotopaxi volcano

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Active Ecuador: Andean hikes and Cotopaxi volcano

9 days from £3,224pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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