Andean Hikes and Cotopaxi Volcano

Andean Hikes and Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi - Otavalo
8 Days 7 Nights

Cotopaxi is an active volcano in the Andes Mountains located about 50 km (31 miles) south of Quito. It is the second highest summit in the country, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft) and is one of the world’s highest volcanoes. Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times resulting in the … Continued

WHAT TO EXPECT

Inspired by our Cotopaxi Adventure Trails program that explores Ecuador famous valley of (active) volcanoes and magnificent views, our Northern Andes extension of this program explores another element that makes Ecuador a mega diverse country: its diverse and beautiful culture! The lakes district in the Northern Andes is a beautiful area to explore, not only for its scenic beauty and interconnected valleys but also for the worldwide famous indigenous market of Otavalo and its fascinating community of local entrepreneurs. Here, under the watchful gaze of the majestic Mount Imbabura, visitors will find the quiet and harmony typical of this primarily Quichua speaking region.

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Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1:  Quito – Machachi

Arrive in Quito. Transfer to countryside hacienda in the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

Transfer (90mins) from Quito 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.

 

Night at the Hacienda La Alegria (Standard room)
 

Dinner included

Included: english speaking guidetransportbedroom and dinner

Day 2: Machachi

3hr gentle acclimatisation walk.

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.

 
Box Lunch included

Night at the Hacienda La Alegria (Standard room)
 
Included: breakfast, english speaking guidetransportexcursion,box lunch, bedroom and dinner

Day 3: Quilotoa Lagoon

 
Excursion Indigenous Markets and Chugchilan


Today you will visit an Indigenous market in the tiny villages of Saquisilí, Pujili or Latacunga. It depends on days that these markets take place.
For instance, Saquisili Market only takes places on Thursday. These markets are as authentic and non-tourist as you can find in Ecuador today. They are important for the local indigenous people because the markets are the center of their social and economic worlds. You will find pig parts, green bananas (used to feed cattle), all kind of fruit, yarns, ropes, ceramics, heaps of used clothing, pails and stacks of shovels and axes for sale. Ceramics are particularly common in these markets (there is a lot of clay in the surrounding hillsides).
 
Lunch included

Night at the Mama Hilda (Standard Room)
Included: breakfast, english speaking guidetransportexcursion, lunch, bedroom and dinner

Day 4: Quilotoa Lagoon

Trek Quilotoa to Chugchilan


After breakfast, we will meet for the first time the impressive volcanic crater of Quilotoa with a serene mysterious looking green lake inside. The volcano’s bowels 400 m down head towards a deep ascending cut in the rim of the volcano right of the car park.

The 5 hour hike back to Chugchilan is one of the best in Ecuador with stunning views of the Crater Lake, passing through the indigenous village of Guayama and crossing the Rio Sihui Canyon, a tributary to the Rio Toachi. Going the other way (from Chugchilan to the lake) is certainly possible, but because the hike is mostly uphill, you should budget an extra 2 hours or more (6 to 9 hours total).
Later you will have time to relax at our hotel.

Box lunch included

Night at the Mama Hilda (Standard Room)
Included: breakfast, english speaking guidetransportexcursion, box lunch, bedroom and dinner

Day 5: Quilotoa – Machachi

Excursion Quilotoa crater exploration


Today you will visit the volcanic crater of Quilotoa with a serene mysterious looking green lake inside. The volcano’s bowels 400 m down head towards a deep ascending cut in the rim of the volcano right of the car park or we can walk around the total circumference of the rim (3 hours approximately).
 


Box lunch included

Night at the Hacienda La Alegria (Standard room)
 
Included: breakfast, english speaking guidetransportexcursion, box lunch, bedroom and dinner

Day 6: Pasochoa – Cotopaxi

First peak, Pasochoa
Climb the Pasochoa peak. At 4,200 meters this is a challenge that will get our engines revving in anticipation of the second part of our adventure. Access is not difficult and our hike to the peak will take about 3 hours over grassland trails. From here you will get a spectacular view of the mountains surrounding Quito, the inspiring scenery of the Pasochoa crater, as well as the impressive surrounding mountain crests: Antisana, Sincholagua, Quilindaña, Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Corazón and the twin Iliniza peaks.
The second part of our day consists of the descent to the Pita river canyon, a downhill walk of about 3 hours through grasslands and low ‘Chaparro’ forests, ending at the Lodge, situated at about 3,200 meters above sea level.

Mountain: Pasochoa.
Maximum Altitude: 4,200 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 7 Hours.
Difficulty– Type of terrain: Grassland trails – Moderate.
Transportation: Vehicle to the foot of Pasochoa, and walking.

 

Box Lunch included


Night at Chilcabamba Lodge (standard room)
Included: breakfast, english speaking guide, transport, excursion, box lunch, bedroom and dinner

Day 7: Cotopaxi

THE COTOPAXI TRAIL


Today we continue our journey along the Pita river canyon. But now the scenery changes: we enter the flatlands on the Eastern side of Cotopaxi where we will see the foothills of Mt. Sincholagua and the majestic Eastern side of Cotopaxi, crossing an arid plain.
The journey will take about 5 hours, through a landscape that varies between grassland and stony plain. Along the way we may see the wild horses that run in the area, as well as some of the better know birds such as the Curiquingue and, with a bit of luck, the giant Andean Condor.
Mountain: —-
Maximum altitude: 3,700 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 5 Hours.
Difficulty– Type of terrain: Grassland / easy.
Transportation: Walking.

Box lunch included
 

Night at the Tambopaxi (Standard Room)

 
Included: breakfast, english speaking guidetransportexcursion, box lunch, bedroom and dinner

Day 8: Cotopaxi – Quito

ON THE SNOW LINE

From the lodge we will drive in our private vehicle to the parking area of the Cotopaxi mountain refuge. We will then walk for approximately an hour before reaching the mountaineers’ lodge, and hike from there to the edge of the glacier, a walk of approximately two hours. From here, the northern side of the mountain offers a spectacular panorama. You will be able to identify (with the help of our guide) all the ground we have covered since the first day of our adventure: Quito, its valleys, the distant mountains in the north, and the road from Pasochoa, through the Pita canyon, to el Pedregal, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and the magnificent Limpiopungo valley. The descent, which will take approximately 2 hours, takes the same route back to the parking lot and we head back to Quito.

Mountain: Cotopaxi (Glaciers on the snow line).
Maximum altitude: 5,100 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 4 Hours. Difficulty – Type of terrain: Sandy ground – Glacier / Moderate.
Transportation: Vehicle from Tambopaxi to Cotopaxi parking area and walking and back to Quito


Lunch included

Private transportation back to Quito
 
Included: breakfast, english speaking guidetransportexcursion, box lunch, bedroom and dinner

Hiking

$2,547

price per person

Book Tour 8 Days / 7 Nights



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