I will pick you up at the airport and transfer to our hotel. Rest of the day to recover from the flight. Hostal Sierra Madre (or similar)
After breakfast we will explore Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It is an old town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit the squares of La Independencia, Santo Domingo and San Francisco. These 3 places offer the most important monuments and churches from the colonial period. In the afternoon, we will leave Quito towards Machachi. Hosteria La Estacion (or similar)
After breakfast, we will drive to the famous Cotopaxi National Park, the first of our 3 trekking areas. First, we will stop at the Limpiopungo Lake (3,837 m). We can walk along the lake and enjoy the scenery. Then, we will continue to reach Jose Rivas hut at 4800 meters of height. It is the base for all the climbers of the the world who come to the ascend the Cotopaxi. It is not a very long trail but involves some difficulty due to the low Oxygen in the air. The hot cup of tea at 4,800 meters will be honestly deserved. The descent is faster. In the evening we will get to the guest house of Mama Hilda in the farming village of Chugchilan (3,100 m), where we will have a tasty dinner (B / L / D)
After breakfast we will walk from our lodge directly towards the crater lagoon of Quilotoa. The short but steep descent of the hike follows a long passage. The efforts will be rewarded: a breathtaking view of the valleys and the fascinating green Quilotoa Lake. In the afternoon we will reach our cozy Lodge (3,850 m). It is located near the crater and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.
This part is also possible by car to the Quilotoa Lake. You can meet the group in the Crater Lake Lodge. The luggage will be carried to the lodge so we only carry our day backpack. Alpaca Quilotoa Lodge (or similar) (B / L / D)
This day will be spent in the beautiful area of the volcano crater. We will walk around the crater of the Quilotoa (a diameter of 3 km) We can see lambs, piglets, goats or foals. In the afternoon we will arrive at our lodge, where we will spend a second night (B / L / D)
Saquisili is a great local market with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and more. We will then continue in direction to Riobamba. We will stop and rest in the Posada de la Estacion (Urbina), where we will visit the train station surrounded by a small garden with native trees. After having lunch there we will go to a workshop that shows how tagua is processed.
Then, we will move to Riobamba by bus until we are at our accommodation for the night: the cozy Abraspungo hotel.
After our breakfast we will drive to the Chimborazo National Park. The short hike takes us through the magnificent mountain scenery below the high peak of Chimborazo. By bus we will move now about 15 minutes further to the Carell hut (4,800 m). Depending on your condition we can go to the Whymper Hut (at 5,000 m). The climb will take us an hour and the descent 30 minutes. Later, we will continue our journey to Cuenca. Hotel Inca Real (or similar)
The region around Cuenca is an important center of arts and crafts. In the morning we will do a tour in the city center, visit a factory for Panama hats and a ceramic gallery. In the afternoon, you will go on your own, free time! Hotel Inca Real (or similar)
We will visit the Cajas National Park and do a short hike up to 3,600 meters. There are numerous rivers and streams in this area. The jagged rock forms the green tundra vegetation with the nicest colors contrasting with the blue lakes. Today we can observe some species of native birds like the Andean Condor and the Giant Hummingbird.
Finally, we will drive to the tropical Guayaquil. Gran Hotel Guayaquil (or similar).
** Optional: Galapagos is optional. If you want to go there we can fly the next morning. Or you can fly back home from Guayaquil as well.
From Guayaquil we will fly to the Galapagos Islands and then, we will take a ferry to Santa Cruz. We will interrupt the 1:30-hour drive in the South of the island and visit the twin craters of Los Gemelos. That trail leads us to a forest of endemic sunflower trees (Scalesia). Here are also some 300 ferns and numerous bird species. In the port town of Puerto Ayora, there is our hotel.
In the afternoon we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Probably, he was for many years the most famous resident of all Galápagos.
The North Seymour Island is a popular site of birds. The Island Plaza Sur, only 13 hectares, is located together with the island of Plaza Norte in the east coast of Santa Cruz. Although it is small, the island hosts an incredible number of plants and animals. Our focus is primarily the Land iguanas, distinguished by their size, its well-trained dorsal crest and the intense yellow color. On both islands they are found from February to July. In the afternoon we will return to Puerto Ayora. Mainao Hotel (or similar).
In the morning after a three-hour boat we’ll be in the island of Floreana. We will spend the night in the Hostal Wittmer at the Bahía Negra, a beautiful black beach. In the afternoon we will rest on a beautiful sandy beach, where there is also a sea lion colony. Here we can snorkel or simply relax (B / L / D)
Floreana is one of the few islands with freshwater sources. They are fed by the rains of Garúa-time. After breakfast we will drive to the Highlands of Floreana. Towards a Galapaguera, a sanctuary of giant tortoises, we will visit the pirate caves and the freshwater sources. After lunch at the Hotel Wittmer we will go back to Santa Cruz. Travel time by boat: 3 hours. Mainao Hotel (or similar).
The last day in this paradise has come. After a 30-minute canoe ride and a short hike we will be in the beach of Tortuga Bay, where we will spend a relaxing day and swim. At dinner, you will say goodbye to your group mates, the guide and of course this small versatile Ecuador. Mainao Hotel (or similar).
In the morning we will drive through the highlands of Santa Cruz on the island of Baltra, until we reach the airport and fly back to Quito. Connection in Quito with your flight. End of the program.
ASEGUIM Mountain Guides from Ecuador
We are a group of ASEGUIM certified guides (Association of Mountain Guides in Ecuador) with 20 years of experience in climbing adventures, trekking, rock climbing, cycling, rafting and kayaking in outstanding destinations of Ecuador, Argentina, Peru and Bolivia.
Our tours combine physical challenges with cultural experiences in the most scenic and wild places of South America. We aim to take you off the beaten tracks, exploring the best locations in a comfortable and safe experience.
We believe acclimatization is an essential factor when approaching high mountains like the Ecuadorian volcanoes. Because of that, we carefully design our programs to provide a good acclimatization through a series of gradual climbs and some training sessions between attempting big objectives.
Stay up-to-date on the best adventures!