This 8-day hiking experience combines the beautiful highlands with the subtropical zone of Ecuador. In the first 3 days, you will hike to the beautiful Mindo cloud forest. You will have the chance to observe interesting birds and to participate in some adventures. Challenges like crossing narrow bridges and bushwalking are just one of the activities that are waiting for you. Once you arrived in Mindo, you have the chance to get to know the great biodiversity the cloud forest offers. Beautiful butterflies, curious Kolibris, and a lot of activities that push your adrenaline like Canopy or Tubing.
After that, you go back to the highlands and start your trekking at high altitudes. Surrounded by one of the most beautiful mountains in Ecuador, you will enjoy the quiet, varied trail through the Andeans. You have the chance to observe several kinds of animals like foxes and the famous Andean Condor. Furthermore, the trail offers you the chance to learn a lot about the paramo Ecosystem and its diversity of plants.
Be adventurous and get inspired by the wonderful nature and the amazing, powerful volcanoes. Joins us to experience the unique Andean area in the heart of Ecuador and go on an adventure you won`t forget easily.
The Lloa – Mindo trail is a great remote hiking route, which takes you from the Andean humid high forest into the evergreen rain forest. This trek starts at an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,842 ft) and continues to an altitude of 1,200 meters (3,937 ft) with temperatures ranging between 15 and 25 Celsius degrees (59 to 77 °F.
At an altitude from 4,700 to 1,400 meters, (15,419 to 4,593 feet) the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano cover diverse ecosystems ranging from the cloud-high, treeless Plateau called “Páramo” through the subtropical forest to the Amazonian tropical rain forest
Lloa-Mindo fits both, bird watchers and adventurous types. On this hike, you will enjoy the views of, great waterfalls, colorful Orchid fields, rainforests with a wide range of plants, diverse types of butterflies, Birds, and even big Mammals like the black spectacle bear.
This trek will also challenge you by crossing rivers over narrow wooden bridges, bushwalking, and passing the big river of Cinto on a small Tarabita.
This is a high-altitude trek that consists of 5 magnificent days. It is designed for a wide array of people given we take packhorses with us, but being in good condition is highly recommended, as well as, a tough mental condition for challenges due to harsh weather. The climate changes frequently and can consist of intermittent rain, cold and foggy conditions, strong winds, and occasional snow
The trek begins near Papallacta, leading past the high Andes region of Antisana, and finishing at the one and only Cotopaxi National Park. During the trek, we will consistently be at heights of 3,000m to 4,000m (9,842 ft – 13,123 ft) and on clear days this will give us fantastic views of the snow-capped volcanoes. It will also offer a great opportunity to study the high alpine vegetation of the paramo ecosystem and the spectacular wildlife found within it such as the famous condor that can be found on many of its stretches.
After arriving at our starting point we will begin hiking through the forest toward our first stop. There we will visit orchid fields and beautiful waterfalls. Then we will cross the river by Tarabita and have a tasty lunch. After the break, we will head to the camping site. Before having a healthy warm dinner we will take part in a lecture about the rainforest and then settle in for the night.
Early in the morning, we will have breakfast and then start trekking into the Cloud Forest surrounding Mindo. Having arrived there we will have a hearty lunch in town. For dinner, you can choose between a variety of delicious local foods (not included). You can also choose if you want to stay in a shared or private room for the night.
Soon after an early breakfast, we will look for birds as they are more active in the morning. After that, we will go for an exciting canopy adventure flying over the treetops of the beautiful Cloud Forest. At around midday, we will have a delicious lunch in town and then head to the Chocolate Artisanal Factory for a guided visit. After that, we will travel back to Quito by public bus and go on to Tambo, a small village near Papallacta where we will stay for the night in a charming Hostería.
El Tambo is a small village situated at 3,400m (11,154 ft) and close to Papallacta. After breakfast at this point, we will load up our packhorses with our equipment and begin the trek which will take around 4 hours.
The trail will primarily be muddy and consists of crossing small rivers where rubber boots are essential. We will set up camp near a small lagoon, called Laguna del Volcan.
After a scrumptious breakfast, we begin our ascent toward the foot of Antisana at 4,100m (13,451 ft). Until we reach the higher paramo, which consists of fewer trees and drier land, we will trudge through some muddy areas and small forests. During the trip, we will view the striking and impressive Antisana and the Santa Lucia Lagoon. After this 4-hour hike, we will set up our second camp sheltered in the valley with a refreshing small creek that runs through.
Waking, and shortly thereafter, leaving the foot of Antisana we continue our trek toward the foot of the Sincholagua mountain. This hike is much drier and leads us through high paramo regions, crossing a few roads, and leading up to the valley of La Mica Lake, a water reservoir for the city of Quito. This hike takes around 7 hours and is the most exhausting of the 5-day trek.
We will leave early in the morning and begin the steep portion of the hike which will lead us to the highest point of our tour, 4,500m (14,763 ft). The pass over Sincholagua leads us into the Cotopaxi National Park.
Continuing from there we descend to our last camp, the River Pita, which is located at the base of Cotopaxi National Park, 3,800m (12,467 ft). This last stretch of the trek will be on solid and dry ground and will take all together roughly 5 hours.
Around 10 am we will have transportation pick us up. From here we will visit the Pre-Inca site of El Salitre and continue up to the parking lot/trailhead to reach the Cotopaxi refuge. After a 45-minute climb up to the refuge “Jose Rivas,” we ascend to an altitude of 4,800m (15,748 ft). After having lunch at the refuge we will head back down in our transportation and return to Quito with an optional stop at Laguna Limpiopungo, a small lagoon famous for its nesting birds.
Please note: In case of problems or difficulties during the days of trekking, we can provide help through cars, bikes, or horses.
Necessary Equipment not included;
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Gulliver Expeditions is a tour operator that offers unique Ecuador and Peru tours. Specialized in adventure travel such as climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding. We offer both pre-planned packages as well as tailor-made tours that can include the Amazon rainforest, once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos cruises and expeditions to Machu Picchu.
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