Trek in the Ecuadorian Andes while you discover an incredible world of stunning landscapes, hidden communities, indigenous cultures and massive volcanoes. These features and more come together to shape the famous Avenue of Volcanoes in the Ecuadorian highlands. This trekking adventure through the narrow trails used by the local mountain people will take you deep into the heart of the Andean culture and their lifestyle. The highlights include Cotopaxi volcanoe trek, jiking Quilotoa Lake, hiking in the cloud forest, trekking Chimborazo Volcano, encounters with vicunas, trekking in Llanganates National Park, visiting the waterfalls and hot springs near Banos, a salsa lesson, Pujili indigenous authentic market and experiences with local people.
Why book with Tours of Exploration?
- We specialize in customized, personalized tours that can suit your needs, interests, and hobbies. Want an active adventure? We can cater to your preferences. Love photography? We can make sure we slow down and have ample time at each location for photo-taking.
- We choose to work with local partners, not only to guarantee an immersive, culturally and naturally authentic experience; but also to economically support the area's local population. We carefully choose those we work with, to ensure that local wildlife conservation efforts are being valued.
- Book with confidence as deposits are risk-free and refundable.
2022 Departure dates and costs
Small group departures every Saturday from Quito: $1,710 USD
Prices are based on twin
Single supplement $ 470 USD
Estimate for meals not included $ 120 USD
Day 1: Quito Arrival
Welcome to Quito! The largest, best-preserved colonial city of America - declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and is located on the equator in a valley at the foothills of the Pichincha volcano. Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel’s lobby for a welcome briefing at 18:00 hours. At this time, we will discuss the details and questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an acclimation and information day. (Optional day trip can be requested for this day with advance notice.)
Accommodation: Wyndham Garden Quito or similar.
Day 2: Trekking Cotopaxi National Park (B,L,D)
We begin this adventure driving south on the pan American highway for about 2 hours, this area is known as The Avenue of Volcanoes, it was named like this by the famous German Explorer Alexander Vond Humboldt, on the way you might be able to enjoy views of volcanoes like Cayambe, Antisana, Pichincha, Illinizas, Pasochoa and Corazon. Begin by hiking the sierra climate around the Limpiopungo lagoon (13000 ft/3800 m) on the foothills of the Rumiñahui volcano. From here, we have the best views of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. There is also the possibility to see wild horses, wild bulls and some bird species. If the weather conditions permit, we will attempt to trek to the basecamp at 16000 ft. (4876 m). 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, elevation gain 1,000 feet, distance 5 miles, total steps 15,345.
Accommodation: Llullu Llama Lodge or similar
Day 3: Trekking Toachi Canyon to Chugchilan (B,L,D)
The charming Andean mountain landscapes will inspire us today on a trek along the Toachi canyon for 13.5 km (8.4 mi). Experience 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 Chugchilán, a small town located on the middle of the Quilotoa loop. Here we will find our Eco-house accommodation, and in the afternoon, we can explore the village with the great opportunity to gain a bit of cultural experience with the locals.
Trekking time: 2 hours downhill from 10,810 ft. (3295 m) to the Toachi River at 9,500 ft (2896 m) and then 2 hours uphill to Chugchilán at 10,498 ft. (3200 m) Total steps: 25,481
Accommodation: Mama Hilda Lodge or similar.
Day 4: Trekking to Quilotoa (B,L)
Early in the morning after breakfast we will start our hiking adventure for 11 km (6.9 miles) on small trails blazed by the mountain people and still used by locals to transport products and to travel across the canyons to reach neighbouring communities. While trekking on this trail, it is common to see the traditional custom of exchanging goods with one another, bartering is still being utilized today. We will venture down into impressive canyons to later climb back up to the top of the crater rim, where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Quilotoa Lake. The majesty of this place will take your breath away. Enjoy a beautiful picnic with the best views from the volcano and transfer 2,5 hours to lodge in a magical hacienda in the foothills of Chimborazo volcano.
Trekking time: 1 hour downhill from 10,498 ft. to the Toachi River at 9,800 ft. and then 2 and a half hours uphill to 13,000 ft. After, 1 hour and a half on flat terrain. Total steps: 27,518
Accommodation: Andaluza Hacienda or similar
Day 5: Trek to Chimborazo Basecamp (B,L)
Early in the morning, we will drive through valleys and farming villages to reach the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an elevation of 6310 m (20702 ft) above sea level; whose summit is the furthest point from the center of the earth on the entire planet. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometers. Visiting this spectacular national park includes a short hike for 0.9 km (0.57 mi) to reach the elevation of 5000 m (16404 ft) where the glacier begins. On the hike, we will try to spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic climate such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the timid wild Vicuñas. Once extinct in Ecuador, they were reintroduced into the wild and are now protected; this beautiful animal is related to the alpacas and llamas. A delicious picnic will be organized at the base camp before we leave.
Trekking time: 1.5 hours uphill from 15,748 ft. to 16,732 ft. and then 45 minutes downhill same way back. Total steps: 14,974
Accommodation: Casa de Luis or similar
Day 6: Trek in Llanganates National Park (B,L)
Trek in Llanganates National Park for 6 hours, famous for its amazing landscapes and storied mystery. Legend has it that the Inca General Rumiñahui has a large sum of gold hidden somewhere in the Tungurahua mountain range. Start the hike at 3,200m (10,498 ft) above sea level and travel upwards to 3,600m (12,024 ft). See a variety of changes in vegetation while trekking to higher elevations. Expect stunning views of the Tungurahua Volcano and the Sangay Volcano (if visibility is good). After this beautiful trek return to Baños to spend the lasts night in this magical town. Good opportunity to join the neighbor spa and get a nice massage after a day of trekking moon-like landscape of Chimborazo and drive on to the tropical town of Baños. In the evening we can soak in the famous hot springs of Baños and experience the thriving nightlife of this town.
Accommodation: Casa de Luis or similar
Day 7: Hike to the road of Waterfalls / Return to Quito (B)
Baños is a town well known for its spectacular location right at the foothills of the active Tungurahua volcano and is an excellent place for outdoor activities including horseback riding, canyoning, hiking, mountain biking, climbing and rafting. It is one of the most popular and important tourist spots in the country, you will find many Ecuadorian families vacationing here. One look to this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Surprisingly, it is pleasant and unspoiled. This morning we will hit the road of 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 in Ecuador. After a day full of adventures in the cloud forest, you will enjoy the scenic ride returning us to Quito City.
Trekking time: 45 minutes downhill from 5,249 ft. to 4,950 ft. and then 1-hour uphill same way back. Total steps: 13,000
Accommodation: Wyndham Garden Quito or similar.
Day 8: Departure day (B)
Today our trip will end and you will have your International departures. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!