- Walk through ancient, pre-spanish mountain cultures
- Summit five volcanoes over 13,000 ft elevation
- Optional summit of Cotopaxi
- Combine exotic and alpine adventures with comfortable travel and historical touring
- 13 Days
- Activity Level
- Trip Type
Ecuador’s capital city bears two interesting distinctions: it is the highest above sea level (9,350’) and also the closest to the Equator. Upon arrival, you will be met by our representatives and escorted to your hotel in the historic center of Quito. The rest of the day is free to explore the city.
Our journey begins in Colonial Quito, a city of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city’s many historic churches. Quito has one of the best preserved colonial centers in all of South America; its integrity was assured in 1978 when Quito became one of the first two cities in the world (along with Krakow, Poland) to be declared a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site.
After a brief ride on a Teleferico (cable car) from Quito to an elevation of 12,900’, we take a straightforward climb of 4-6 hours to Rucu Pichincha, a 15,696-foot volcano visible from Quito. This will be a good acclimatization day to prepare us for our coming adventures in the Andes, and if the weather is clear we will have world-class views of the famous “Avenue of Volcanoes”, a stretch of seven peaks above 17,000 feet in elevation. We overnight in a lodge just outside Otavalo, a small town around 8,000 feet elevation, famous for the textiles made by the indigenous people and sold at a local market we will visit.
We start with a scenic 20-minute drive from the lodge to the trailhead, located at the beautiful Mojanda Lakes, a caldera of three lakes formed by the collapse of two ancient volcanoes some 165,000 years ago. The climb from the lakes up to Fuya Fuya (13,986’) is a straightforward 1.5-2hr ascent After the hike, we return to the lodge for the afternoon and evening.
We descend from our lodge with views of surrounding peaks, past the Mojanda community and make our first stop at the local food market, where our expert guides will inspire us with information on the colorful, tasteful fruits and vegetables produced in the surrounding farmlands we will be exploring over the next few days.
Next, we explore Plaza de Ponchos at the Otavalo market, the large Andean market famous for its craft work. Our guides will be there to assist you in your exploration, but mainly we explore on our own, diving into whichever section of the market intrigues us. After shopping in the market,we hike away from the crowded city and hike through the small community of Peguche before arriving at a beautiful 50-foot waterfall, which is also an Indigenous ceremonial site due to the purification baths held here every year prior to Inti Rami celebration. Our hike continues up to the small town of Agato, where we will be hosted by a family that preserves the tradition of weaving on a backstrap loom- an art form which is sadly dying. The quality of the items produced at the workshop is clearly superior to many of the machine-woven products you will find in the market.
Dates & Pricing
Jan 11Jan 22$3,795 USD
Jun 21Jun 30$3795 USD
Above Costs Include:
- All international and domestic airport transfers
Cost Does Not Include:
- Lunch and dinner in Quito