Hiking in Ecuador: Quilotoa Loop & Cotopaxi

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    Ecuador is pure heaven for hikers | Travel Nation
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    Hike to the little-visited Cuicocha Lagoon in Ecuador | Travel Nation

    Hike to the little-visited Cuicocha Lagoon in Ecuador

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    Take the cable car to your trekking start-point in Quito | Travel Nation

    Take the cable car to your trekking start-point in Quito

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    Cycle the Route of the Waterfalls in Ecuador | Travel Nation

    Cycle the Route of the Waterfalls in Ecuador

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    Hike sections of the Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador | Travel Nation

    Hike sections of the Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador

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    Add on a zip-lining adventure in Baños | Travel Nation

    Add on a zip-lining adventure in Baños

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    Stop at stunning viewpoints while you're hiking in Ecuador | Travel Nation

    Stop at stunning viewpoints while you're hiking in Ecuador

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    Scale the Rucu Pichincha volcano outside Quito | Travel Nation

    Scale the Rucu Pichincha volcano outside Quito

Trip ideas

Duration(in days): 7

From: Quito

To: Quito

From

£1,580

Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing)

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See more ideas for: Ecuador

    Ecuador is a land of contrasts dominated high altitude mountains and volcanoes. If you love being outdoors and active when you travel, it is paradise on earth. Ecuador’s scenic trails are less famous than those of neighbouring Peru but they are some of the world’s best walks, hikes, treks and climbs. There are fewer trekkers too, so hiking in Ecuador is perfect if you’re after an off-the-beaten-track adventure. During this itinerary, you will scale snow-tipped Cotopaxi and follow a part of the Quilotoa Loop. Along the way, you’ll climb active volcanoes, hike to crater lagoons and explore Andean forests filled with waterfalls. Your last stop will be Baños, the adventure capital of Ecuador, where there will be all kinds of ways to get your adrenaline pumping. 

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

    Highlights

    • Take the TeleferiQo cable car to enjoy spectacular views of Quito  
    • Hike to the little-known Cuicocha Lagoon near Otavalo
    • Trek the most scenic sections of the Quilotoa Loop
    • Mountain bike at the foot of the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano  
    • Meet your adrenaline wishes in the adrenaline capital of Baños!
    • See the bright emerald waters of Quilotoa Lagoon


    Itinerary in brief:

    • 3 nights in Quito
    • 1 night near Cotopaxi     
    • 1 night Baños    
    • 1 night Quito     

    Day 1: Arrive in Quito   

    You will arrive in Quito, where your English-speaking driver will greet and drive you to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.  


    Day 2: Morning hike to Rucu Pichincha volcano and afternoon city tour        

    This morning, after breakfast, you will be picked up by your trekking guide and driven to Quito’s TeleferiQo. Here, you’ll hop on the cable car and ascend to the starting point of the hike up to volcano Rucu Pichincha, an active stratovolcano that towers over Quito.

    The hike is around 10km and should take 3 to 4 hours to complete. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of Quito and the neighbouring Cotopaxi. At lunchtime, you’ll stop to enjoy a packed lunch, and early in the afternoon, you will head back to Quito for a tour of the historical city centre. The evening will be at leisure for you to relax.     


    Day 3: Cuicocha crater lagoon hike   

    After breakfast, your trekking guide will pick you up at your hotel in Quito and drive you north to Cuicocha crater lagoon. Less well-known than the famous Quilotoa, Cuicocha is equally stunning, making it one of Ecuador’s best-kept secrets. It lies at the base of an extinct volcano and provides fantastic views over the mountainous region surrounding Otavalo.

    The trail will last around 4 to 5 hours and take you on a stunning circuit around the rim of the crater. You will stop to enjoy a packed lunch and explore the National Park with the help of a local guide. You will arrive back in Quito in the afternoon, where you will have free time to spend as you wish.       


    Day 4: Cotopaxi     

    After breakfast, you will be picked up and driven south towards Cotopaxi. Meaning the neck of the moon in an ancient indigenous language, this is of the world’s highest active volcanoes, a superb and classic conical stratovolcano which soars above the surrounding landscape. Cotopaxi is a truly special volcano: its snow-capped peak is visible for miles, making it one of the most iconic volcanoes in the world.

    Your local guide will take you on a visit to this stunning National Park. You will follow some of the hiking trails around Cotopaxi and even try mountain-biking at the base of the volcano. After an active morning, you’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Then, in the afternoon, you will be driven to your hotel, a historic hacienda in the small village of Lasso.


    Day 5: Quilotoa and Baños  

    After breakfast, you will start the drive towards Quilotoa Lagoon, one of Ecuador’s true natural wonders. The glossy emerald green lake was formed when, after several violent eruptions, the volcanic crater filled with water. The rim of the caldera stands at around 3,800 metres above sea-level with dozens of canyons radiating from it. The rugged area is characterised by a maze of valleys and gullies carved into the soft volcanic rock.

    Today you will trek the fascinating 5-hour circuit around the rim of this extraordinary caldera. You will make a scenic stop en route to enjoy a packed lunch. Afterwards, you will drive on towards your next stop, Ecuador’s adrenaline capital, Baños! Dinner is also included tonight.              


    Day 6: Baños 

    Baños is the adventure capital of Ecuador, and there are plenty of ways to get your pulse racing! Today, we’ve included a thrilling mountain bike ride through the famous Ruta de las cascades (Route of the Waterfalls). However, if you’re feeling ultra-intrepid, you can add on other activities, such as waterfall canyoning, white water rafting and bungee jumping. In the afternoon you will drive north on the Panamericana back to Quito, where you will spend your last night.              


    Days 7: Quito departure

    After breakfast, you will be driven to the airport for your onward flight.     


     

    This itinerary can be enjoyed all year round. However, you’ll find the clearest skies in Ecuador between June and September.

    Please note that most of the hikes ascend to a high altitude, so it’s advisable to extend your initial stay in Quito, adding an extra day to acclimatise.

    We've done a similar trip...

    If you'd like to get a feel for this trip, read our blog post, ‘Visit Ecuador: why you should extend your trip beyond the Galapagos’, written by one of our consultants who's been there.

    This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements. Please contact us with your dates, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

    What's included
    • Accommodation for 6 nights
    • 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
    • All transfers       
    • Excursions as mentioned with English speaking guides
    Not included
    • All flights            
    • Meals not mentioned          
    • Excursions not mentioned            
    • Tips and personal expenses

    6 nights in 3* standard accommodation.

    • Hotels in this category include:

    • Vieja Quito

    • Hacienda La Cienega

    • Hotel Floresta Baños