Trek in the Ecuadorian Andes while you discover a magical world full stunning landscapes, rural-hidden villages, local indigenous communities, and massive volcanoes. These treasures, among others, shape the famous Avenue of Volcanoes located in the Ecuadorian highlands. This trekking adventure through the narrow trails, used by the local mountain inhabitants, will take you deep into the heart of the Andean culture, enabling you to experience the local way of life.
Trek for 3 days to reach Quilotoa volcano, hike down the base of the Quilotoa crater-lake and swim in the volcanic waters. Hike up to the 5000 m glacier of Chimborazo, the highest volcano in Ecuador. Discover the legends and secrets of the Gods’ ¨volcanoes¨ through the local knowledge of the people, and finally enjoy volcanic hot springs and multiple outdoor adventures in Baños town.
- Duration: 8 days
- Arrival: Daily
- Departure: Daily
- Destinations: Quito, Cotopaxi, Chugchilan, Chimborazo, Otavalo
|Day 1||Arrival in Quito||—||Quito|
|Day 2||Trekking in Cotopaxi||(B)||Cotopaxi|
|Day 3||Trekking in Chugchilan Volcano||(B) (L)||Chugchilan|
|Day 4||Trekking in Chugchilan / Quilotoa||(B) (L)||Chugchilan|
|Day 5||Trekking in Quilotoa Crater||(B)||Chimborazo|
|Day 6||Hot Springs Otavalo||(B) (L)||Otavalo|
|Day 7||Waterfalls / Return to Quito||(B) (L)||Quito|
|Day 8||Flight to your Next Destination||(B)|
Day 01: Arrival in Quito
Welcome to Quito! The biggest, and best-preserved colonial city of the America’s that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire.
Depending on arrival time, you may spend your day exploring the town of Quito and the surrounding area. If you desire, Advice Peru can help organize a day trip for you.
In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel for a welcome briefing where there will be plenty of time to discuss the details of your trip, and answer any questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an informational and acclimation day.
Day 02: Trekking in Cotopaxi
We will begin our day by heading south of Quito to visit Cotopaxi National Park. Here we have our first hike which will take place around Limpiopungo Lagoon at 13000 ft (3800 mt) above sea level. We will see wild horses, wild bulls and unique bird species. From here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Cotopaxi Volcano. Concluding our day, we will drive to Isinlivi where we will spend the night.
Trekking time: 2 hours on flat terrain around Limpiopungo Lagoon, elevation: 12,631 ft.
Day 03: Trekking Through the Toachi Canyon to Chugchilan
The magic Andean mountain landscapes inspire us on today’s 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. We 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 in the middle of the Quiltoa loop. Here we will find our eco-house accommodations and in the afternoon, we can explore the village with the fantastic opportunity to learn more about the locals’ cultural.
Trekking time: 2 hours downhill from 10,810 ft to the Toachi River at 9,500 ft and then 2 hours uphill to Chugchilán at 10,498 ft.
Day 04: Chugchilan to Quilotoa
After breakfast, early in the morning, we will begin our hiking adventure for 11 km (6.9 miles) on small trails created by the mountain people and still used by locals to transport products as well as to travel across canyons to reach neighboring communities. While trekking on this trail, you will often see the traditional custom of exchanging goods with one another still being utilized. We will hike down across the impressive canyons to later climb back up to the top of the crater rim, where you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the Quilotoa Lagoon. The magic of this place will take your breath away. We will lodge in Quilotoa village and enjoy the local cuisine.
Trekking time: 1 hour downhill from 10,498 ft to the Toachi River at 9,800 ft and then 2 and a half hour uphill to 13,000 ft After, 1 hour and a half hours on flat terrain.
Day 05: Trekking to the Quilotoa Crater Lake
Quilotoa Lagoon, a crater lake, is our main goal today. After breakfast, we will take a hike down to the base of the crater for 1.2 km (05 miles). Following this path, you will have an amazing view of this crater lake and many chances to take pictures of the turquoise water-filled crater. Once at the bottom of the lake, we will have some time to explore the crater of this mythical, active volcano. If you wish, you may 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 we will drive to the area of Riobamba, located in the central part of the Ecuadorian highlands.
Trekking time: 1 hour downhill from 13,000 ft to 12,000 ft and 1 hour and 20 minutes uphill same way back.
Kayaking time (optional): 1 hour.
Day 06: Chimborazo Highest Volcano and Baños Hot Springs
Early in the morning, we will drive through valleys and farming villages towards the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an elevation of 6310 meters above sea level, whose summit is the world farthest point from the center of the earth. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometers.
The visit to this amazing national park includes a short hike for 0.9 km (0.57 miles) to reach an elevation of 5000 meters where the glacier begins. On the hike, we will spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic wonderland, such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the shy wild vicuñas.
The vicuñas, once extinct in Ecuador but reintroduced and now protected, is related to the alpacas and llamas.
We will have a delicious picnic at the base camp before we leave the moon-like landscape of Chimborazo and drive on to the tropical town of Baños. In the evening we 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 15,748 ft to 16,732 ft and then 45 minutes downhill same way back.
Day 07: Hike to the Road of Waterfalls 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 at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know exactly why. Surprisingly, it is pleasant and unspoiled. The town, very well known for its spectacular location right on the foothills of an active volcano called Tungurahua, is the perfect setting for outdoor activities, including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing and rafting.
This morning we will hit the road to the waterfalls. The first stop will be at the Bride’s Veil Waterfall, where we will take the Tarabita (cable car) to get across the Pastaza River. Then we will hike down for one hour to the Pailon del Diablo Waterfall, the second highest waterfall in Ecuador. After a day full of adventures in the cloud forest, enjoy the scenic ride as we return to the city of Quito.
Trekking time: 45 minutes downhill from 5,249 ft to 4,950 ft and then 1 hour uphill same way back.
Day 08: Departure & End of Services
International departures, and end of services. Take with you memories and photos, and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador as soon as possible to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a “buen viaje”!
- Transportation: Private and comfortable land transportation
- Accommodation based on double occupancy
- Meals: 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
- Activities: Trekking in Isinlivi, 3-day trekking to Chugchilan and Quilotoa, hiking to the Quilotoa crater lake, hiking to the glaciers of Chimborazo highest volcano in Ecuador, watch vicuñas (camel similar to llama or alpaca), hiking the road of waterfall in Baños, soak in volcanic hot springs, cable-car ride in Baños, hike to Pailon del Diablo waterfall, salsa lesson, cultural experience with the local people, Pujili indigenous authentic market
- Gear: Hiking sticks
- Trip Leader: Certified expert, English-speaking adventure trip leader and local guides
- Your own room supplies: $495 USD estimate
- Airport transportation (international flights)
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
- Meals not described in the itinerary – estimated budget: $120 USD