Ecuador Tour: Hiking the Avenue of Volcanoes (6)

Tour/Activity in Quito, Ecuador

About this activity

Hike through in the Ecuadorean Andes, discovering challenging trails and magic landscapes

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Day 1

Arrival in Quito

Arrive individually in Quito. In the evening you will get to meet your nature guide and attend a briefing to prepare for the days ahead. Time and location of this meeting will be indicated in your travel document. Tonight, you will spend a night at a hotel of your choice (additional surcharge).

Day 2

Cotopaxi and Isinlivi

Heading south of Quito to Cotopaxi National Park for your first acclimation hike around Limpiopungo Lake at 13000ft (3,800m) above sea level. Wild horses, wild bulls and some bird species dot the incredible landscape and you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Cotopaxi volcano. Drive to Isinlivi where you will spend the night.

Hiking time: 2 hours on flat terrain around Limpiopungo Lagoon Accommodation: Hostal Llullu Llama or equivalent Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3

Trekking through the Toachi canyon to Chugchilan

Hike through the magic Andean mountain landscapes as you trek along the Toachi canyon for 13.5 km (8,4 miles), with stunning views of small villages and indigenous people working in the fields. You will hike down to the canyon of the Toachi River and then back up to the main road that will take us to Chugchilan, a small town located on the middle of the Quiltoa loop. Here you will find your Eco-lodge accommodation and in the afternoon you can explore the village with the fantastic opportunity to share a bit of the cultural experience with locals.

Trekking time: 2 hours downhill from 3,290m (10,810 ft) to the Toachi River at 2,900m (9,500 ft) and then 2 hours uphill to Chugchilán at 3,200m (10,498 ft). Accommodation: Hostal Mama Hilda or equivalent Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4

Chugchilan to Quilotoa

After breakfast, early in the morning, you will begin your hiking adventure for 11 km (6,9 miles) on small trails blazed by the mountain people and still used by locals to transport supplies and to reach neighboring communities. While hiking on this trail, you often see the traditional customs of exchanging goods. You will hike down across impressive canyons to later climb back up to the top of the crater rim, where you will be rewarded with beautiful views down to the Quilotoa Lagoon. The magic of this place will take your breath away. You will lodge in Quilotoa village and enjoy the local cuisine.

Accommodation: Hosteria Shalala or equivalent
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5

Trekking to Quilotoa Lagoon

Quilotoa Lagoon is your main goal today. After breakfast, you will take a hike down to the base of the crater for 1.2km (0,75 miles). Following this path, you will have an awesome view of the lagoon and many chances to take pictures of the turquoise waters of the caldera. On the shores of the lake you will have some time to explore the crater of this fascinating active volcano. If you wish, you can go for a swim in the volcanic waters or do some kayaking. For the way back up to the top, it is possible to rent a mule and ride the challenging steep trail. In the afternoon you get a transfer to the area of Riobamba, located in the central part of the Ecuadorian highlands.

Trekking time: 1 hour downhill from 3,960m (13,000 ft) to 3,660m (12,000 ft) 1 hour and 20 minutes uphill return. Kayaking time (optional): 1 hour

Accommodation: Chimborazo lodge or equivalent
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6

Chimborazo highest Volcano and Baños hot Springs

Early in the morning, you will drive through valleys and farming villages towards the Chimborazo volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an elevation of 6,310m, whose summit is the world's farthest point from the center of the earth. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometers. Your visit to this amazing national park includes a short 1 km hike (0.57 miles) to reach the elevation of 5,000m where the glacier begins. On the hike, you will spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic wonderland such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the timid wild Vicuñas. Once extinct in Ecuador, reintroduced and now protected, this beautiful animal is related to the alpacas and llamas. A delicious picnic will be organized at the base camp before you leave the moon-like landscape of Chimborazo and drive on to the tropical town of Baños. In the evening you will soak in the famous hot springs of Baños and experience the thriving night life of this town.

Trekking time: 1.5 hours uphill from 4,800m (15,748 ft) to 5,100m (16,732 ft) 45 minutes downhill return.

Accommodation: La Floresta Hotel or equivalent Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 7

Hike to Ruta de las Cascadas and return to Quito

Baños is one of the most popular and important tourist spots in the country and you will find many Ecuadorian families vacationing here. One look to this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. The town is very well known for its spectacular location right on the foothills of the Tungurahua active volcano, and is the perfect setting for outdoor adventure activities, including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing and rafting. This morning you will hit the Ruta de las Cascadas - Banos's popular chain of waterfalls. The first stop will be at the Bride's Veil waterfall, where you will take the Tarabita (cable car) to get across the Pastaza River. Then you will hike down for one hour to the Pailon del Diablo waterfall, the second highest in Ecuador. After a day full of adventures in the cloud forest, enjoy the scenic ride returning us to Quito City.

Trekking time: 45 minutes downhill from 1,600m (5,249 ft) to 1,500m (4,950 ft). 1 hour uphill return.

Accommodation: Fuente de piedra or equivalent
Meals included: Breakfast

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