This 8 day hiking experience combines the beautiful highlands with the subtropical zone of Ecuador. In the first 3 days you will hike until 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 bush walking 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 with your trekking at high altitudes. Surrounded by ones of the most beautiful mountains of 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 it’s 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 the altitude of 3000 meters and continues to the altitude of 1200 m with temperature ranging between 15 and 25 degrees.
At an altitude from 4,700 to 1,400 meters, (15,500 to 4,600 feet) the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano cover diverse ecosystems raging 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, rainforest with 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, bush walking, 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 3000m to 4000m and on clear days this will give us with 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 towards our first stop. There we will visit orchid fields and beautyful 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 rain forest and then settle in for the night.
Early in the morning we will have breakfast and then start trekking into the Cloud Forest sorrounding 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 a 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 beautyful Cloud Forest. At around midday we will have a delcious 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 villige near Papallacta where we will stay for the night in a charming Hostería.
El Tambo, a small village situated at 3400m 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 4100m. Until we reach the higher paramo, which consists of fewer tress 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, 4500m. 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, 3800m. 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/trail head to reach the Cotopaxi refuge. After a 45-minute climb up to the refuge “Jose Rivas” we ascend upon an altitude of 4800m. 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;
Gulliver Expeditions is a local operator that organizes Ecuador Tours to travelers that like to experience Unlimited Adventures like climbing to the closest point on earth to the sun in the Chimborazo Volcano or travel along the deepest landscapes in the Amazon Rainforest to the stunning sceneries of the Galapagos Islands.