Expeditions

 

Lodge to Lodge Trekking

Introduction

On this incredible trek we combine 3 different mountain regions of Ecuador: Cotopaxi, Quilotoa and Chimborazo. You will be trekking into Cotopaxi National Park of which Cotopaxi is the centrepiece. Then you will enjoy the hilly region of Quilotoa, where you will visit the colourful market of Saquisili and lastly you will trek in the Chimborazo Reserve, where Ecuador´s highest volcano, Chimborazo is located. You will end this multiday trip with an exhilarating ride to the Devils Nose on a beautifully refurbished train, before return to Quito.
We start hiking towards Cotopaxi National Park visiting spectacular waterfalls and graceful haciendas along the way. During your hike the scenery will change from the humid Andean forests to the wonderful “paramo” where you will walk through the grassland, feel the wind and enjoy sightings of wild horses. On day 5 the scenery will change again, entering the rugged Quilotoa region with its lovely traditional villages. You will visit the colourful market of Saquisili and enjoy a short, windy drive to the mountains above the small village of Insilivi. The Quilotoa region is a highly remote area, famous for its impressive crater lake, with its aquamarine colored waters, shimmering in the clear Andean light. On the last part of our trek we visit the Chimborazo reserve, concluding with the famous “Devils Nose” train journey known as “Nariz del Diablo” in Spanish. We will encounter small indigenous settlements along the way and learn about their traditional way of life and customs.
Trekking in Ecuador not only offers you breath taking views, diverse and unusual fauna, interactions with friendly locals, but also you will enjoy staying in some historical, colonial haciendas in between the hikes. These magnificent haciendas are large Spanish farm houses converted into lodges. We have included some of these gems in this itinerary, which will give you a great feeling for the rural life in our country and at the same time enjoy a luxurious rest while getting the taste of Ecuadorian hospitality!


1. COTOPAXI REGION

Day 1Rio Pita
Rio Pita waterfall 3.000m/ 9,840ft. Overnight at CotopaxiPungo

We leave Quito and after a short drive of one hour we arrive high above “el valle de los Chillos” where we will start our hike from a village called Rumipamba. Rumipamba is located at the base of Pasochoa, one of Ecuador´s extinct volcanoes. First we will follow a smooth cobble stone road along the Pita River. This cold, fast moving river originates from the glaciers of Cotopaxi and offers breath taking resting spots. We walk through a humid, tunnel like, Andean Forest, with more than 80 bird and 25 tree species. Strolling down to the Condor Machai water fall, we will cross eleven small bridges. On the way to our lodge we pass in front of a Shrine, where locals come to worship the “Virgen de la Piedra”, the Virgin of the Rock. The legend states that lightening etched the figure of the Virgen Mary on a large rock. Local people came to worship it regularly, as several miracles have been attributed to this holy shrine.
Today’s hike will take around 5 hours. You will spend your first night at Cotopaxi Pungo located at 3.100m .

 

Day 2Hacienda el Porvenir
Hike to Hacienda El Porvenir 3.500m/ 11,480ft. Overnight at Hacienda el Porvenir

Today we will hike to the rustic Hacienda el Porvenir. Part of the hike goes through the lush humid Andean Forest where there is a chance to see a variety of colorful hummingbirds. The terrain will change dramatically as, close to el Porvenir, you will enter the wide open “Paramo”. In the past el Porvenir was one of the largest working farms in Ecuador. It was built with local materials such as brick, straw, wood and adobe that have been used for centuries. Surrounded by four volcanoes, Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasachoa and Rumiñahui, you will enjoy the rustic ambience of this traditional, comfortable and beautiful casa de Hacienda (farmhouse). Today’s hike will take approximately 6 hours

Day 3Tambopaxi
Porvenir – Pucará Salitre- Tambopaxi 3.700m/ 14,060ft. Overnight at Tambopaxi
From Hacienda el Porvenir we follow an ancient dirt road of about 2 km /1.2miles until we arrive at the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. From the entrance we will start hiking, following a winding trail towards the ruins of a hill fort named Pucará Salitre. In general the Pucaras were used for military observation and monitoring. Due to its elevated position, the Pucará Salitre was a strategic military fortress of the Inca Empire, which was used to control the passage of armies, resistance groups and migration within the conquered territories of the northern Andes. After our hike we will spend the night at Tambopaxi lodge, which is at the base of Cotopaxi and offers incredible views of this conic volcano .
Today’s hike will take approximately 6 hours

Day 4Rumiñahui
Rumiñahui hike 4.500/ 14,750ft- Overnight at Tambopaxi
Rumiñahui is a long extinct volcano, located just 13 km / 8 miles west of Cotopaxi. It is named after the last leader of the Inca army, which fought against the Spanish in 1530. In Quichua the name means “stone face”. From Tambopaxi we start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. Technically, it is a hike with some easy scrambling at the end. The views from the summit, overlooking the vast paramo are unforgettable. We spend another cool Andean night next to the warm fire at Tambopaxi.



2. QUILOTOA REGION

Day 5Saquisili Indian
Saquisili Indian market hike to Insilivi 2.900m/9,515 ft. Overnight at Llullullama
According to the local people, for many years, Saquisili has been the largest indigenous market of Ecuador. It is famous for the way it’s seven “plazas” and most of its streets become packed with people. Many of them from nearby villages, but also from other provinces: all attracted by the variety of products and low prices. After lunch we drive to Cerro Guingopana (4150 – 4200 mts) from where we will do a 3 hour downhill walk to the small village of Insilivi. Overnight at Hostal Llullullama


Day 6 Chugchilan
Hike to Chugchilan 3.300m/ 10.496ft. Overnight at Mama Hilda

From Insilivi we take a trail that leads down to the Cumbijin river. We cross a hanging bridge towards the village of Itualó. The road leads through little villages where you will feel time has stood still for centuries. You will enjoy the peaceful ambience of this area, and perhaps interact with the friendly and welcoming locals. In Chugchilan we will stay at Mama Hilda’s Lodge. It is a very friendly, basic and clean hostel where you will be welcomed by Doña Hilda, a very warm hearted Indigenous woman. The hike today takes 5-6 hours. Overnight at Mama Hilda




Day 7 Quilotoa
Hike to Quilotoa 3.800m/ 12,464ft.

From Chugchilan we follow a path that goes to the Sigui River and up to the modest village of Guayama. The hike will get steeper as we get to the rim of the crater, Quilotoa. This is a mystical volcanic crater-lake with a diameter of 3 km. Its emerald waters span two kilometers. The local legend claims it is connected to the ocean and therefore it is salty and sulphuric. On top of the rim, there is a 280 m / 918 ft drop down to the lake. The hike down normally takes 40 minutes and one hour to climb up. At the crater you will have an opportunity to admire and perhaps purchase the famous native leather Tigua paintings and carved wooden masks. The night will be spent at Samay Quilotoa lodge or Posada del Tigua. Today´s hike will take 5 hours.

 


3. CHIMBORAZO RESERVE

Estrella del Chimborazo Day 8
Drive to Estrella del Chimborazo / hike in the afternoon 4.000/15,200ft.
Today we start with a small drive for 1.5 hours to the city of flowers and fruit, Ambato. From there we will continue, following the scenic route “via Flores”, which was the first road that went from the sierra central (central mountain region) of Ecuador to the coast. The road follows the canyon of the Ambato River, which is graced by small groves of pear trees. When we reach 4.000m, we will pause for a while at the high altitude hot springs of Cunuyacu, run by the local indigenous community. We arrive at Estrella del Chimborazo in the afternoon and will do a short hike. The lodge is located at 3.900m at the base of Chimborazo. It is owned by Marco Cruz, who is known to be the first mountain guide in Ecuador. In the hotel you will see wonderful old pictures that explain the history of Ecuadorian mountaineering.



Day 9 Chimborazo
Chimborazo hike to Whymper Needles 5.250m/ 17,220ft above the hut. Overnight at Intisisa

At 08:00 am, we take a very short drive to the Carrel hut of Chimborazo at 4.800m. From there we walk first to the upper hut named after Edward Whymper (a British mountaineer who did the first ascent of Chimborazo) at 5.000m and then to the Whymper needles. Here you will reach your highest altitude at 5,250m / 17220 ft! Chimborazo’s summit is known for being the nearest point to the sun on the planet Later on we drive down to Guamote for the Night at Inti Sisa. Inti Sisa means sun flower. It is a lovely and very comfortable hotel, run by a foundation that works closely together with the local community.



Day 10 Tren Ecuador
Devils Nose train journey trenecuador Overnight in Guamote or Riobamba

From Guamote we drive to Alausi to catch the train for the well know Devils Nose ride. The Devil's Nose has always been the most popular section of Ecuador's train track: a trip down the rocky slopes of the Andes through stunning scenery. The elevation of the tracks drops 500m over a course of 12 km. The Devils Nose crossing is made by the use of switchbacks: the train rumbles ahead past a junction, then backs downs the next section, before going forward again. It was the only way to get the lumbering trains down the hill. You will enjoy astounding views.



Day 11
Transfer to Quito, arrive in Quito at 1 pm

We leave in the morning for a 4 hour scenic drive to Quito. Arriving in Quito our services will end.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

lodge to lodge map

 

Cotopaxi Challenge

Cotopaxi Challenge

Cotopaxi is without a doubt one of the most beautiful peaks in the world. A perfect conic volcano.
It is the most popular mountain of Ecuador and perhaps the most frequently climbed in all the Andes. Being there, so many times, made us think of an alternative way of approaching the mountain.


Itinerary

Unlike all the commercial mountain tours to Cotopaxi in which you drive to the mountain refuge, we would like to offer a different way of approaching this spectacular volcano. We propose a challenging trekking all the way up to the refuge. This offers you a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the beautiful, peaceful countryside around the mountain, whilst putting yourself to the test.
We will hike for 4 days until we get into the Cotopaxi National Park. On the way we will climb Pasochoa 4.200 m / 13,776 ft and hike along the grasslands of the Andean "paramo". Once we are in the park we walk up to the Central Summit of Rumiñahui at 4.600 m / 15,088 ft, have a rest day and later continue towards the Jose Rivas Refuge on Cotopaxi at 4.800 m /15,744 ft.

 

Santa Rita CampDay 1
Hike to Hacienda Santa Rita
- 3.280 m / 10,758 ft
After a short drive of only one hour, we start hiking from the village of Santa Clara located in the Valley of Los Chillos at 2.750 m / 9,020 ft. The trek follows cobble stone roads on the side of the Pita River, which comes from Cotopaxi National Park.
Close to the Hacienda Santa Rita we pass in front of a Shrine, where locals come to worship the "Virgen de la Piedra", the Virgin of the Rock.
Today’s hike will take around 5 hours. When you get to the Hacienda the camp will already be set up. You will spend your first night at an altitude of 3.280 m / 10,758 ft.

 

Day 2Pasochoa
Hike to Pasochoa - 4.200 m / 13,776 ft

Today we leave in the morning around 8 a.m. for a 6 hours hike to the Pasochoa volcano. We will be crossing the fields of Hacienda Santa Rita.
Pasochoa is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last ice age. If the weather permits, from the summit, we will be able to take a good look at the crater. Inside you will see the Pasochoa Protected Forest Reserve, a humid Andean Forest with more than 110 species of birds and 45 species of trees, located between 2.700 m / 8,856 ft and 4.200 m / 13,776 ft. On a sunny day you can normally see condors. We return to Santa Rita camp site for the night.


Day 3El Porvenir
Hike to Hacienda El Porvenir - 3.600 m / 11,808 ft

Today we hike towards the hacienda El Porvenir. Part of the hike goes through humid Andean Forest where there is a chance to see hummingbirds.
El Porvenir is one of the largest farms in Ecuador. It can be used as a base for excellent hikes within the Cotopaxi Park. Located at 3.600 m / 11,808 ft, El Porvenir is surrounded by four volcanoes: Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasochoa and Rumiñahui. Here you will be able to enjoy your stay in a comfortable, functional and beautiful traditional Andean hacienda. The "casa de hacienda", or farmhouse, is built with materials such as brick, straw, wood and adobe that have been used for centuries. If Porvenir is not available we will use Hacienda Los Mortiños

Day 4
Central Summit of Rumiñahui - 4.600 m / 15,088 ft
From Hacienda El Porvenir we start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. The rock on this mountain can be a bit loose underfoot, so we have to take care, but the views from the summit are really worth it. The volcano is located only 13 km North West of Cotopaxi and it is named after Atahualpa’s general, who was the last Inca Emperor. After the emperor was murdered, Rumiñahui led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In Quichua his name means "stone face". We spend the night at Tambopaxi.

Cotopaxi From TambopaxiDay 5
Hike to José Rivas Refuge - 4.800 m / 15,744 ft
www.tambopaxi.com
After breakfast we start hiking towards Cotopaxi Volcano. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world and its refuge is as high as the highest mountain in Western Europe. The hike will take 4 hours uphill until we reach the refuge at 4.800 m / 15,744 ft. The hut stands at the highest altitude reached during our trip. With luck we will be able to enjoy the sun setting over the surrounding peaks. Later we return to Quito.

 

Important Note: Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

Cotopaxi Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quilotoa Trek

Quilotoa Trek

The highlands and the rocky peaks around the local villages in the Western part of the Cotopaxi Province, are an undiscovered treasure that have maintained their distinctly Andean and indigenous character. Indigenous, remote, high and dry are four words that perfectly define this unique area of Ecuador. Andeanface offers you a four days Trekking Expedition with moderate hiking through this beautiful scenery. 


Itinerary

Girl From QuilotoaYou will find a beautiful crater lagoon, patches of cloud forest and a very defined dry highland vegetation. The people who inhabit this area are very warm-hearted local Indians who live very simple but rough lives, fighting against the harsh conditions of their environment.
The Quilotoa region has stayed untouched by the massive visits of tourists, which has kept the area and its people basically unchanged since the last centuries.

Day 1
Drive and Hike to Posada Tigua - Visit the Town of Tigua
After an interesting journey along the Pan-American Highway we get to the city of Latacunga. From here we start heading towards the western range of the Cotopaxi Province. We will pass the little village of Pujilí, known for its colourful Indian market that takes place on Wednesdays and Sundays. After Pujilí we will follow a dusty road climbing up the Eastern "cordillera", or mountain range. There will be fantastic views of the Inter-Andean Valley and the Andean highlands.
On the way there we will have a chance to visit the Tigua Painters' Gallery. The indigenous artists of the small village of Tigua are famous for their colourful paintings depicting their life in this particular area of the Andes.
The paintings made on sheep leather reflect the history, festivals and legends of a people whose traditions date back to pre-Inca times. Living much as they have lived for centuries, families herd sheep and llamas, and cultivate a variety of potatoes and grains in small communities perched on the windswept slopes of the mountains. Their language is Quichua, the language of the Inca Empire. We stay the night at Posada Tigua, a farmhouse that was converted in a B&B hostel.

Day 2 Walking Down to the Quilotoa Crater
Walk from Tigua to Quilotoa Crater at 3.800 m /12,464 ft

Today we walk five hours to Quilotoa. From Tigua there is trail that leads to the crater, passing through the fields of small private farms. On the way we will see some little "chozas", very basic Indian huts, where the local families live. Children will follow us and try to make conversation!
The objective of today would be to reach the crater early in the afternoon. Quilotoa is a beautiful volcanic crater-lake 3 kilometres in diameter. Its emerald water spans two kilometres. Local legend claims it is connected to the ocean and is therefore salty and sulphuric. Once there, we will see a 280 m / 918 ft drop down to the water. The hike down normally takes 40 minutes and one hour to climb up.
At the crater you will have an opportunity to buy the famous naive Tigua paintings and carved wooden masks. The night will be spent in a basic Indian lodge.

Quilotoa Landscape with CanionDay 3
Hike from Quilotoa to the Village of Chugchilán
Hiking from Laguna Quilotoa to Chugchilán we will have beautiful views of the canyon of Toachi River. First we will walk by the crater edge with impressive views of the lagoon inside, until we descend to the plateau where lies the small indigenous village of Huayama. As we descend the switch back trails down to the Toachi River Gorge, the climate and scenery changes dramatically. Soon we will be surrounded by the canyon walls and hike along the river banks. The hike ranges from 4 to 5 hours and is moderately challenging.
We will be staying at Mama Hilda’s Lodge. It is a basic, but friendly and clean hostel run by Doña Hilda, a warm hearted Ecuadorian lady. Chugchilán is a well known destination for hikers. This little town is a typical village of a mountain region in Ecuador. It has a small plaza, a church and a school, and most of the people still use a horse or donkey as transport. Here we will feel like a few hundred years back in history.

Day 4Market of Zumbahua
Walk around Chugchilán and Drive to Quito

There are a couple of options for half day hikes around Chugchilán that you can discuss with your guide; either visiting the local cheese factory, hiking towards the town of Sigchos or simply exploring the surroundings by yourself.
Or if you prefer, you can enjoy the quietness and peacefulness of the village from the hammocks at Mama Hilda's. After lunch we drive back to the central valley and head to Quito.

Important Note: Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

Quilotoa Trek





 

Lodge to Lodge Trekking

Introduction

Without doubt, Antisana is considered one of the most beautiful peaks of Ecuador. Due to its eastern location, it has one of the largest glaciers and in its region we still find native Andean wild life such as wolfs, deer, spectacle bears and the majestic condors. At the same time Antisana is one of the less visited peaks. The region has been untouched by time and well preserved due to the fact that for many years the only road that reaches the mountain used to be privately owned by the Delgado family. However in 2010 the Ecuadorian government created the Antisana Reserve and the access to the mountain became easier. Most climbers that attempt Antisana normally drive into the reserve, climb the mountain and leave again. But…Antisana and its surrounding areas offer much more, including excellent acclimatisation opportunities.

So we would like to offer you Antisana in a different way…

Instead of the normal Antisana climbing tour, driving in and out, you will be hiking towards the mountain during a couple of days. In this way, Andeanface offers you a fantastic chance to enjoy and experience the wonderful landscape of the remote Papallacta- Antisana region also known as the “lake district of Ecuador”.
During this trip you will enjoy the combination of camping in remote areas where the only sounds you will hear, will come from nature & relaxing in comfortable hotels. You will get inspired and reenergized in Ecuador´s most beautiful spa hotel where you will enjoy the hot springs.

Itinerary

After a five day hike in which we trek to the Volcano lake 3.500 m /11,480ft, hike up Chusolongo 4.600m / 12,300ft you will be well acclimatized to climb & summit Antisana. This itinerary has proved to be excellent for acclimatisation. It provides the best chance to summit Antisana 5.740m / 18,827ft in a short period whilst minimising the amount of driving.

 

Day 1Papallacta
Drive to Papallacta hot springs - 3.280m / 10,758ft. Night at the lodge

We leave Quito driving east, following the main road that goes into the jungle.  While crossing the Andes from the west to the east, at its highest point of 4.000m, we will stop to enjoy the wonderful view of the forest of Antisana. We will descend to Laguna Papallacta and will arrive to the hot springs where we visit the interpretation centre, have lunch and do a short walk in the afternoon. During the rest of the day we enjoy & relax in the hot springs of Papallacta. www.termaspapallacta.com.






Day 2Laguna Tumiguina
Hike to Laguna Tumiguina known as “Laguna Volcan” 3.400m / 11,152ft. Night camping

Today we leave in the morning around 9am. After a short drive on the main road we arrive at a location called el Tambo, where we meet the rest of our team and our horses. It is here, where our trek starts. Along the trail we need to cross a couple of small rivers and pass a small water fall. The hike to Laguna volcan takes 4 to 5 hours. Laguna Volcan is located at the beginning of a massive lava flow that descended from Cachaco Volcano a long time ago.
Once we get to the camp, the tents will already be there and during the rest of the afternoon we explore the lake and it´s north side, where the ancient lava flow starts.

Day 3Santa Lucia
Hike to Santa Lucia - 4.300m / 14,432ft. Night camping
We start the hike at 9am. Today´s hike is steep, especially during the first two hours. We walk through an amazing polilepis forest and some of the vegetation we will see are Chuquiraguas, Pumamaquis and Achupallas. There is a chance you will meet spectacle bears as they are fond of Achupallas.
The last part of the trek is easier as we get into the plateau, where we can appreciate the majestic of Antisana. The hike of today takes 6 hours. Once we get to the camp the tents will already be there and you will enjoy your well deserved rest.


Day 4Chusolongo
Hike to Chusolongo grande 4.600m / 12,300ft. Night camping
From Santa Lucia camp we start hiking towards Chusalongo Grande, also known as “Antisanilla”, a hill that stands out on the plateau in front of Antisana. We will hike as high as 4.650m and descent via a lake to our next camp on La mina camp 4.075m. This hike takes normally 5 hours.




 

 




Day 5Antisana
Hike to the Glacier of Antisana at - 5.000m / 16,400ft. Night at Hacienda Guaytara
We meet our driver and our 4x4 transport in the morning. After a short drive today we do a gentle 2 hours hike to 5.000m on Antisana to increase our acclimatisation and to enjoy good views of the surrounding peaks such as Sicholahua, Cotopaxi, Pasochoa and the Ilinizas. Afterwards we drive down to Hacienda la Guaytara at 3.500m for the night. Guaytara is a comfortable hacienda converted into a hotel, located at the base of Antisana. It is an excellent location to rest at a lower elevation before our summit push.
www.hosteriaguaytara.com


Day 6 Antisana
Antisana drive and hike to camp - 4.600 m / 15,088 ft. Glacier Practice

From Guaytara we drive one hour to the base camp on Antisana. After we set up our camp and have lunch we walk to the glacier where we will do some glacier skills review prior to the ascent. Also you will be briefed about the technical aspects of the ascent. Night camping.








 

Day 7 Antisana
Antisana Summit - 5.740m / 18,827ft - Return to Quito.

The long awaited day is there… we will be climbing Antisana. We leave the camp around 1am for a six hours climb. Along the way we will walk over complex crevasse patterns and snow bridges. Route finding makes the climb very interesting. After passing through a crevassed area, we reach the final summit slope. Here a challenging section of 38-45 degrees snow leads to the abrupt finish of the climb on the main summit of this beautiful mountain.
From the top of Antisana we hope to see most of the peaks of Ecuador and towards the east a sea of clouds over the amazon jungle. The view from the summit is one of the most spectacular one´s in Ecuador.
Technically the normal route is not difficult, but special care has to be given to potential hidden crevasses. The descent usually takes around two hours.

Important Note:
Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

lodge to lodge map

 
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Complimentary Extensions

Our Complimentary Extension Packages offer great opportunities to explore some of Ecuador's most dramatic scenaries, which have earned the country a reputation as one of the most bio diverse and unique regions on the planet.

We work with carefully selected tourism operators, which will offer the same quality and high standards of service that our clients expect from us.

You can choose from a selection of various (active) outdoor activities in the Galapagos, the Cloud Forest or Amazon Jungle. We highly recommend to extent your trip with a rafting experience.










Other Adventures

Andeanface offers four "other adventures" extensions:
Galapagos – Darwin’s enchanted Islands
Cloud Forest – birdwatcher’s paradise
Amazon Jungle – fabulous biodiversity
Rafting - unrivalled white-water destination