Ecuador is a country both rich in heritage and nature reserves. This tour takes you on exciting places through varied landscapes including the Avenue of the Volcanoes, the Andean Highlands and the gateway to the Amazon! You have the opportunity to discover the diversity of Ecuadors’s flora and fauna while learning about the cultural variety of this multifaceted country. Discover the magnificent Cotopaxi up to the edge of its glacier and descent through the high plateau, ending at the peaceful Limpiopungo Lagoon at the foot of the Rumiñahui volcano.Descent to the impressive Quilotoa Lagoon with the snow-covered mountains peaks in the background and experience the life o an indigenous family. Get to know the high biodiversity of the Mindo cloud forest and take a refreshing dip in the waterfalls of Baños. This tour goes to a height of 4,810 m, it is important that you are prepared for this kind of altitude. We recommend acclimatizing at least two days around 3,000 m.
As one of the highest active snow-caped volcanoes in the world, Cotopaxi’s (5,897m) symmetric cone rises up from a vast plain that is home to llamas, condors and herds of wild horses. Cotopaxi National Park tour is an exciting day that begins with spectacular views of the unique Andean landscape in the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Inside the national park we hike up to the refuge, which is situated at 4,810m on the Cotopaxi snowline.
Depending on conditions we will then hike up to 5,000m where it can be possible to see the glacier.This tour goes to a height of 4,810m, it is important that you are prepared for this kind of altitude. We recommend acclimatizing at least two days around 3,000m.
Ever growing in popularity and understandably so, Quilotoa is a must-see when visiting Ecuador. This volcanic crater is filled with crystal-blue water and holds a special place in local indigenous mythology for being bottomless. Along the drive to reach the crater you will pass by local markets in Saquisili (Thursdays) or Pujilí (Sundays) where you will gain an appreciation for the indigenous way of life. You’ll also pass through the canyon of Zumbahua which makes for a great photo opportunity and close to there you will visit an indigenous family. When you reach Quilotoa itself you can walk down from the rim to the water’s edge and appreciate it´s beauty up close for yourself. The hike back up is rather steep however there is always the option of renting a mule for a few extra dollars.
Our guide will pick you up from your hotel. Prepare to be amazed by the colorful Mindo. We will visit spectacular waterfalls tucked inside the lush cloud forest and then head to a butterfly farm where you will have the chance to encounter hundreds of different species of native butterflies.
Our first stop will be in Cayambe where we will taste the town’s famous bizcochos, traditional biscuits cooked on an open fire. From there we head toward Otavalo whilst admiring the beautiful scenery of San Pablo Lake. Once in Otavalo you will discover the most famous indigenous artesian market in Ecuador. You will have free time to explore and purchase local handicrafts and the guide will provide an explanation of the local indigenous culture. We continue to the town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather goods then onward to the beautiful Cuicocha lagoon.
**Please note: The schedule of this package will vary depending on which days we are running the two included tours. The meeting point on the first, second and third days is “Q Restaurant”, Quito (6:45am)