Hacienda to Hacienda Trek

Experience the raw beauty of a country full of treasures

DURATION 11 days

STARTING FROM $ 1980

DIFFICULTY Easy

TRIP OVERVIEW

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 “Devil’s 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!

Arrive/Depart: Quito

Group Size: 2-10 Guests

Pre-requisites: Good physical condition

Difficulty Levels: Easy: Walks from 4 to 6 hours per day
EXPLAIN DIFFICULTY LEVELS

Accomodation: 10 nights Haciendas and Mountain Lodges VIEW LODGING

Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Wildlife & Natural History, Cultural Exploration

Seasons: All year round

Equipment: Lodge to Lodge Expedition Gear List
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ITINERARY

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DAY
01

Explore the Pita River Waterfall [3.000 m / 9,840 ft]

We leave Quito and after a short drive of 1 hour we arrive high above “Los Chillos Valley” 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 up to the Condor Machai waterfall, 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 lightning etched the figure of the Virgin Mary on a large rock. Local people came to worship it regularly, as several miracles have been attributed to this holy shrine.

Activity: Short drive / 4 hours hiking

Accommodation: CotopaxiPungo Hotel

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Lunch, Dinner

DAY
02

Hike to Hacienda El Porvenir (or los Mortiños) [3.500 m / 11,480 ft]

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 4-5 hours.

Activity: 4-5 hours hiking

Accommodation: Hacienda El Porvenir

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
03

Hike to Pucará Salitre and Tambopaxi [3.700 m / 14,060 ft]

From Hacienda El Porvenir we follow an ancient dirt road of about 2 km /1.2 miles 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 Pucarás 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 iconic volcano. Today’s hike will take approximately 4-5 hours.

Activity: 4-5 hours hiking

Accommodation: Tambopaxi Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
04

Hike up to Rumiñahui’s Central Summit [4.500 m / 14,750 ft]

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.

Activity: 5-6 hours trekking

Accommodation: Tambopaxi Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
05

Visit Saquisilí Indian Market / Hike to Insiliví [2.900 m / 9,515 ft]

According to the local people, for many years, Saquisilí 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 (4.150 m / 13,615 ft) from where we will do a 3 hour downhill walk to the small village of Insiliví. Overnight at Hostal Llullullama.

Activity: 2-3 hours hiking / Sightseeing / Driving

Accommodation: Hostal Llullullama

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
06

Hike to Chugchilán [3.300 m / 10,496 ft]

From Insiliví we take a trail that leads down to the Cumbijín 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 Chugchilán 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’s Lodge.

Activity: 5-6 hours trekking

Accommodation: Mama Hilda’s Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
07

Hike to Quilotoa [3.800 m / 12,464 ft]

From Chugchilán 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 of Quilotoa. This is a mystical volcanic crater-lake with a diameter of 3 km / 1.85 miles. 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 de Tigua. Today’s hike will take 5 to 6 hours.

Activity: 5-6 hours trekking

Accommodation: Samay Quilotoa Lodge or Posada de Tigua

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
08

Drive to Chimborazo Lodge / Afternoon Hike [4.000 m / 15,200 ft]

Today we start with a small drive for 1.5 hours to the city of flowers and fruits, Ambato. From there we will continue, following the scenic route “via Flores”, which was the first road that went from the central sierra (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 4.000 m, we will pause for a while at the high altitude hot springs of Cunuyacu, run by the local indigenous community. We arrive at Chimborazo Lodge in the afternoon and will do a short hike. The lodge is located at 3.900 m / 12,795 ft at the base of Chimborazo. It is owned by Marco Cruz, who is known to be the first official mountain guide in Ecuador. In the lodge you will see wonderful old pictures that explain the history of Ecuadorian mountaineering.

Activity: Drive / Relax at hot springs / Short hike

Accommodation: Chimborazo Lodge

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
09

Chimborazo trek to Whymper’s Needles [5.250 m / 17,220 ft]

At 08:00 am, we take a very short drive to the Carrel Hut of Chimborazo at 4.800 m / 15,748 ft. From there we walk first to the upper hut named after Edward Whymper (a British mountaineer who did the first ascent of Chimborazo) at 5.000 m and then to the Whymper’s Needles. Here you will reach your highest altitude at 5.250 m / 17,220 ft! Chimborazo’s summit is known for being the nearest point to the sun on the planet. Later on we drive down to La Casona de Alausí for the night.

Activity: Drive / Trekking

Accommodation: La Casona de Alausí

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY
10

Drive to Alausí / Devil’s Nose Train Ride / Drive to Baños

In Alausí we catch the 8:00 AM train for the well know Devil’s 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 500 m / 1,640 ft over a course of 2 km / 7.5 miles. The Devil’s Nose crossing is made with 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. After the train ride we drive to the town of Baños 1.900 m / 6,232 ft.

Activity: Driving / Train ride / Sightseeing

Accommodation: Hotel in Baños

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY
11

Day in Baños / Drive back to Quito in the afternoon

Baños is a nice town (tourist resort) located at 1.900 m / 6,232 ft in a subtropical climate, known as the jungle gate, we will spend the morning visiting the hot springs and water falls. Arriving in Quito at 6 PM our journey will end.

Activity: Driving / Hot springs / Sightseeing

Accommodation: In Quito

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

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

HIGHLIGHTS

  • An off the beaten track expedition
  • Hike towards Cotopaxi National Park
  • Visit the largest Indian market of Ecuador, Saquisili
  • Hike through the remote region of Quilotoa
  • Visit Chimborazo Reserve
  • Enjoy the comforts of Haciendas and lodges
  • Do the historic Devil’s Nose train journey

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.

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DATES & PRICING

Scheduled Dates

* A “CONFIRMED DEPARTURE” is when we have at least 2 participants booked!

Sunday JUN 07 - Wednesday JUN 17, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday JUL 05 - Wednesday JUL 15, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday JUL 19 - Wednesday JUL 29, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday AUG 02 - Wednesday AUG 12, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday NOV 01 - Wednesday NOV 11, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday NOV 15 - Wednesday NOV 25, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday NOV 29 - Wednesday DEC 09, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday DEC 06 - Wednesday DEC 16, 2020

AVAILABLE

Sunday DEC 27 - Wednesday JAN 06, 2021

AVAILABLE

Sunday JAN 10 - Wednesday JAN 20, 2021

AVAILABLE

Sunday JAN 24 - Thursday FEB 04, 2021

AVAILABLE

Sunday FEB 07 - Wednesday FEB 17, 2021

AVAILABLE

Sunday MAR 07 - Wednesday MAR 17, 2021

AVAILABLE

Sunday APR 04 - Wednesday APR 14, 2021

AVAILABLE

Sunday MAY 02 - Wednesday MAY 12, 2021

AVAILABLE

Sunday MAY 23 - Wednesday JUN 02, 2021

CONFIRMED
DEPARTURE

2019 Prices

2 pax - USD 2.400 per person in double occupancy
3 pax - USD 2.100 per person
4+ pax - USD 1.980 per person
Single Room Suplement - USD 620

Trip Cost Includes

  • All transport by private vehicles during the program
  • Support vehicle to transport bags
  • One English speaking guide
  • All accomodation: in double basis (depending on availability)
  • All the food on the trek
  • Permits and park fees
  • Train fee

Trip Cost Does Not Include

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Accomodation in Quito
  • Meals while in Quito
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Extras, laundry, tips
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WHY TAKE THIS TRIP WITH US?

It is a unique opportunity to discover the beautiful Ecuadorian countryside. Our team is formed by the best Ecuadorian hiking guides. Our guides are an integral part of Andeanface because they understand and share our principles. The quality of our guiding staff is what makes us stand out from other companies. The accomodation used during this expedition gives it an added value, some nights are spent in Haciendas, which are traditional fams houses converted into mountain lodges.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

We stronglly recommend spending in Quito one day at 2.800 m / 9,000 ft before the start of the trek, as the frst nights of the program are spent at CotopaxiPungo at 3.200 m / 10.496 ft. During this trek our large bags get transported in a 4x4 jeep, so our clients will only need to walk with a day pack. We try to limit the use of a 4x4 jeep on the trek, however there will be some driving involved on some days.

Because of Ecuador’s location on the equator, weather patterns do not change very much during the year, Cotopaxi has the larfest number of clear days amongst the high peaks of Ecuador.

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