Hiking in Ecuador's Highlands

Hiking in Ecuador’s Highlands 11D/10N

Our 11- day Hiking in Ecuador´s highlands tour is an excellent combination of Low to Moderate Hikes, Culture, and time to relax and rest.

You will stay for 10 nights in different locations in Mainland Ecuador while Hiking the Ecuadorian Andes and enjoying the most amazing views and Indigenous Culture on the way.

Highlights

  • Visit the historical center of Quito, which is believed to be one of the best-preserved colonial centers and one of the most important across Latin America, which is why in 1978 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.
  • Hike La Mica Lagoon in the Antisana National Park
  • Hike Extinct Pasochoa Volcano
  • Hike Rucu Pichincha Volcano
  • Hike to the First Refuge at Cotopaxi Volcano
  • Quilotoa Crater Lake Hike
  • Hike Fuya Fuya
  • Cuicocha Lagoon Hike
  • Otavalo town which features one of the biggest indigenous markets in South America
  • Papallacta Hotsprings

Piano di viaggio

Giorno 01
Hola Ecuador! Welcome to The Middle of the World
Private Transfer Quito Airport - Quito Hotel

Our private transportation will be waiting for you at International Arrivals and take you from Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Tababela to your hotel in the city of Quito.

The drive will be approximately 45 minutes long.

Welcome to Quito, the capital of Ecuador!

Arrive at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), at 2,850 meters (9,350 ft) above sea level, Ecuador’s dramatic capital city is the second highest in the world after Bolivia’s La Paz. Built on the ashes of the northern Inca capital following the 1533 Spanish conquest, Quito is nestled in a valley surrounded by majestic Andean peaks, among them the restless Volcán Pichincha.

The entire city of Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, standing at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m). It welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas situated between mountain peaks. The city has an abundance of market stands, shamanistic healers, and fourth-generation hat makers, as well as a vibrant and sophisticated culinary and nightlife scene.

Your private driver will meet you for approximately a 45-minute transfer to your accommodation in the city center. Along the way, you'll get a short introduction to Quito´s history and a quick briefing on the next day's activities.

Pasti inclusi: -

Overnight:  Quito

Giorno 02
Colonial Quito City Tour & Middle of the World

Private group

Today, after breakfast, your English-speaking guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you on a morning walking city tour of Quito and in the afternoon, you will defy gravity by visiting the Middle of the World (Mitad del Mundo).

The colonial center of Quito was already named world cultural heritage by UNESCO in 1978 and is home to many beautiful, historic buildings and squares. You will visit the Plaza Grande and the beautiful churches La Compañía and La Basílica and walk down the oldest street of Quito—La Ronda.

After lunch, you will visit the equatorial monument, Mitad del Mundo, located just 26 km (16 miles) north of Ecuador’s capital city, Quito.

Here, French scientists determined the position of the central line many years ago. Ecuador is the place to come to stand on the Equator line, nowhere else on the planet is it easier to visit the Equator line or strike a pose with one foot in each hemisphere. Even Ecuador’s name was born of its location at latitude zero. You will visit the museum exhibits including a planetarium, ethnographic museum, art exhibits, a small-scale model of Quito city, an old train station, a beer museum, cocoa & chocolate exhibits, and a small chapel, for an unforgettable experience today.

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Quito

Giorno 03
Quito

Hiking La Mica Lagoon at Antisana National Park

Private group

After breakfast, you will visit La Mica Lagoon.

La Mica Lagoon is in the eastern mountain range of Ecuador, between the provinces of Pichincha and Napo, is at the foot of the Antisana Volcano and belongs to the Antisana National Park and has impressive and wonderful landscapes.

La Mica is a 700 meters long lagoon, being a glacial type of lagoon, its name is due to the phenomenon that happens on its coldest days, because when temperatures are extremely low a small layer of ice forms along the lagoon. This hike is ideal for beginners or people who want to venture into the world of hiking and get to appreciate a variety of wildlife such as rabbits, condors, and deer.

Late afternoon you will return to Quito.

Maximum Altitude: 3900 mt.

Difficulty level: Low

Hike Duration: 2-3 hours

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Quito

Giorno 04
Quito

Hiking the Extinct Volcano Pasochoa

Private group

After breakfast at the hotel in Quito, you will be picked up by transportation to travel toward Pasochoa Volcano.

The Pasochoa volcano is beautiful, you will be reaching an altitude of 4,199-meter (13,776 ft). The highlight of the Pasochoa hike will be its humid cloud forest, which lies inside an extinct volcanic crater near Quito. You will find over one hundred species of birds and fifty species of original Andean trees.

During the hike, which will be for approximately 5 to 6 hours, you will have the opportunity to see the stunning Andean wildlife, including bulls, horses, hummingbirds, the Viridian Metaltail, the Mountain- Tanager, the Red-crested Cotinga, and the occasional Andean Condor.

You will return to Quito for a well-earned rest.

Maximum Altitude: 4199 mt.

Difficulty level: Moderate-High.

Hike Duration: 5-6 hours

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Quito

Giorno 05
Quito

Hiking Rucu Pichincha Volcano

Private group

Today you will hike your first peak, the Rucu Pichincha volcano (4.690 m)! In the morning you will take the cable car Teleferico to get up to approx. 4.000 m from where you will start the hike. Enjoy the great view over the city. The first part of the hike brings you through páramo (typical andean landscape), whereas the last part until the summit is a steeper climb. On the summit, enjoy the feeling of having climbed this volcano, take some pictures and start your way back to the Teleferico, which brings you back down to the city. The complete hike takes about 6 hours.

Maximum Altitude: 4690 mt.

Difficulty level: Moderate- High.

Hike Duration: 6 hours

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Quito

Giorno 06
Quito to Cotopaxi

The Adventure Continues - Hiking Day at Cotopaxi National Park- Overnight at a Hacienda.

Private group

You will wake up early, and after breakfast, you will say goodbye to the beautiful Hacienda and head to the Cotopaxi National Park, about 10 - 20 minutes' driving distance.

Upon your arrival at Cotopaxi National Park, you will see the volcano towering at 5897 meters, whose peak boasts a perfectly symmetrical snow-capped cone, and picturesque surrounding parkland. Located south of Quito, the Cotopaxi volcano is the second highest summit in Ecuador (19,347 feet). But there is more than meets the eyes. It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes! Its dome, which form is almost perfect, is covered with eternal snow.

Once there, you will start at Lake Limpiopungo, here you may find a variety of birds, and occasionally even wild horses. A short walk around the lake will allow you to admire the Andean plant and animal life along the way.

You will explore the rugged surroundings and stunning scenery of Cotopaxi National Park and Cotopaxi Volcano and enjoy heading ever-higher into this sky-high region, stopping at the 15,800-foot (4864-meter) Padre Rivas Refuge, here, you will have a spectacular view of Cotopaxi Volcano's gigantic cone, The distance is short and the hike presents no technical difficulty. but make sure to stay hydrated to avoid the effects of altitude, and bring warm clothes (hat, scarf, gloves, warm upper layers, wind/rainproof jacket).

This will be an excellent way to discover the mythical Andean landscapes in a truly unique way. Ovenight at Hacienda in the Cotopaxi area.

Jose Ribas Refuge Altitude: 4864 mt.

Difficulty Level: Low- Moderate.

Hike duration: 1- 2 hours approx.

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Cotopaxi Area

Giorno 07
Cotopaxi to Quito

Quilotoa Lagoon - Quito

Private group

Today you will visit the picturesque volcano lagoon Quilotoa. You have the option to walk along the crater’s rim to enjoy the splendid view or hike down a path to the crater lake. The return can become a bit longer, so you have the option to rent a mule for the uphill hike. In the afternoon, you return to Quito.

Altitude: 3878 mt.

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Hike Duration: 1 hour down/ 2 hours going up Approx.

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Quito

Giorno 08
Quito to Otavalo

Hiking Fuya Fuya Volcano - Otavalo

Private group

Today, you will climb the beautiful Fuya Fuya Volcano, located not far from Otavalo! You will start the hike at Laguna Mojanda, from there the trail leads up through knee-high grass vegetation and achupallas (andean tall pineapples). The climb gradually becomes steeper as you gain altitude. It takes around 2-3 hours to get to the top. Once on top of the summit, you can enjoy the view of surrounding mountains (if the weather permits). After descending the volcano, you will head back to the hotel in Otavalo.

Altitude: 4290 mt.

Difficulty Level: Low-Moderate.

Hike Duration: 2-3 hours.

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Otavalo

Day 09
Otavalo to Quito

Cuicocha Lagoon Hike & Otavalo Market

Private group

In the morning, stretch your legs with a hike around the crater lagoon of Cuicocha. On the trail, your guide will explain the high-altitude flora and fauna and the history of the once-active volcano. Alternatively, enjoy a short walk, take some photos, or ride in a boat around the two islands.

In the afternoon, return to Otavalo. The city is the home of a well-known indigenous market where artisans come to sell colorful textiles and other traditional goods. Snack on fruits and other snacks while you browse the stalls for paintings, carvings, handpainted bowls, and much more.

Altitude: 4944 mt.

Difficulty Level: Low- moderate

Hike Duration: 4-5 hours.

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Quito

Day 10
Papallacta

Papallacta hot springs

Private group

Today you will enjoy the Termas de Papallacta, you can relax and enjoy its pools, naturally heated by the volcanic hot springs. Also, if we are lucky, you will be able to see the giant Antisana Volcano (reaching a height of 5,758 meters) looming above.

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight:  Quito

Day 11
Transfer to Quito Airport for Departure
Quito → Quito Mariscal Sucre Int. Airport (UIO)

It is time to say goodbye to Ecuador and continue to your next adventure. A representative will pick you up at your accommodation and take you to the airport in Quito for your flight.

Pasti inclusi: Colazione

Overnight: -

Activities

Day 2: Colonial Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo – Middle of the World (private group)

Day 3: Hiking La Mica Lagoon at Antisana National Park (private group)

Day 4: Hiking the Extinct Volcano Pasochoa (private group)

Day 5: Hiking Rucu Pichincha Volcano (private group)

Day 6: The Adventure Continues – Hiking Day at Cotopaxi National Park- Overnight at a Hacienda. (private group)

Day 7: Quilotoa Lagoon – Quito (private group)

Day 8: Hiking Fuya Fuya Volcano – Otavalo (private group)

Day 9: Cuicocha Lagoon Hike & Otavalo Market  (private group)

Day 10: Papallacta hot springs  (private group)

Transportation

Day 1: Private Transfer Quito Airport – Quito Hotel

Day 6: Private Transportation on Ecuador’s Mainland

Day 7: Private Transportation on Ecuador’s Mainland

Day 8: Private Transportation on Ecuador’s Mainland

Day 9: Private Transportation Otavalo- Quito

Day 11: Private Transfer Quito hotel – Quito Airport (Departure)

Alloggi:

• Your travel advisor will select hotels with availability for your travel dates, according to the category of your preference.

  • Voli internazionali
  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance, and repatriation insurance
  • Optional excursions, activities, and optional tours
  • Any services not mentioned
  • Reservations marked as “reserved by traveler” are reservations that the traveler is responsible for directly.

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