Otovalo and Cotopaxi Lodge to Lodge Trek - 6 days
Day 1: Quito - Otavalo
Private transportation from Quito to Otavalo.
Night at hotel Las Palmeras Inn
Included: transportation , accommodation and dinner
Day 2: Cultural Immersion at Otavalo
We pass the Quichinche community on their traditional pathways connecting to the city of Otavalo and make our first stop at the food market. What better way to understand a culture than by learning about their food! We will explore the market and learn about the different crops which are produced in the surrounding farmlands which we will be exploring over the next few days. Our expert guides will inspire you with information on the colorful, tasteful fruits and vegetables while interacting with the “caseras”.
From the food market, we head into the heart of this bustling city market - the Plaza de Ponchos, the biggest Indian market famous for its craft work. Our recommendation: wander and explore it on your own, interact and get a feeling for it. Our guides will be there to assist you in your exploration.
After Otavalo, we will travel back in time to the small communities that surround this big busy commercial town and whose farmers, ranchers and craftspeople make the Otavalo market what it is.
First we will explore the community of Peguche and then continue along the path to a a beautiful 50 ft. (18 m) waterfall which is also an Indigenous Ceremonial Site due to the purification baths held here a couple days prior the Inti Raymi celebration.
Then the hike continue to the town of Agato where we will be hosted by an incredible family that preserves the tradition of weaving on a backstrap loom. Sadly, this art form is slowly dying so be inspired and help us support the conservation of this art! The quality of the items produced at the workshop is clearly superior to many of the machine-woven products you may find in the market and your purchase goes direct into the efforts of this community to revive this ancient art.
In the second part of the day we will explore a more rural area as we hike above these communities learning about small-scale agriculture, an important part of life in the valley. Meet people that continue to farm their land and learn about the products you saw earlier in the market, especially grain crops, like quinoa.
The scenery is gorgeous and from this vantage point in the foothills of Imbabura, you can see all the places we hiked through in the morning. If it's a clear day you can even see Cotacachi Volcano.
At the end of the trail, our supporting vehicle will be waiting for us.
Start of the trail: 2605 m.s.n.m
Otavalo Market: 2582 m.s.n.m
Peguche Waterfall: 2612 m.s.n.m
Highest Point Trekking: 2832 m.s.n.m
Night at Medina del Lago (Standard)
Included: breakfast, transportation ,english speaking guide , excursion , box lunch , accommodation and dinner.
Day 3: Otavalo-Zuleta-Cotopaxi
We leave towards another indigenous valley with an interesting story of a Hacienda that became a community.
After a quick transfer to the beginning of our trail, we will trek for around 4-5 hours, witnessing what a son of a liberal reformer and a wealthy, land-owning mother did during his lifetime that no landowner in Ecuador had ever done before and perhaps has never done since. Our guide will teach us about the amazing and inspiring Plaza family story and our work with the local community of Zuleta to help develop one of the best ecotourism destinations in the northern Andes of Ecuador.
This agricultural area is famed for its traditional embroidery, dairy products, alpaca farming and highland crops such as wheat, maize, potatoes, lentils and quinoa. “Zuletenos” and “Zuletenas” are known to keep their culture and traditions - keep an eye out for the way the locals dress here and how different it is from the traditional Otavalo clothing.
• Start of the trail: 3044 m.s.n.m
• Highest Point: 3115 m.s.n.m
• Zuleta Community: 2892 m.s.n.m
Lunch will be prepared in a local’s home that kindly accepted to share his home and life with us and give us a cooking class! We will be using the different ingredients we have been learning about for the past few days.
Private transportation from Otavalo to Cotopaxi
Night at the Hacienda La Alegria (Standard)
Included: breakfast, english speaking guide , excursion , lunch , transportation , accommodation and dinner.
Day 4: Hike Pasochoa
At 4,200 meters this is a challenge that will get our engines revving in anticipation of the second part of our adventure. Access is not difficult, and our hike to the peak will take about 3 hours over grassland trails. From Pasochoa you will get a spectacular view of the mountains surrounding Quito, the inspiring scenery of the volcano’s crater, as well as the impressive surrounding mountain crests: Antisana, Sincholagua, Quilindaña, Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Corazón and the twin Iliniza peaks.
The second part of our day consists of the descent to the Pedregal Valley, a downhill walk of about 3 hours through grassland, ending at cozy Chilcabamba Lodge, situated at about 3,200 meters above sea level.
Maximum Altitude: 4,200 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 7 Hours.
Type of terrain: Grassland trails.
Transportation: Vehicle to the foot of Pasochoa, and walking.
Night at Chilcabamba Lodge (standard room)
Included: breakfast, transportation , english speaking guide , excursion , box lunch, accommodation and dinner.
Day 5: Cotopaxi Trail
Today we head to Cotopaxi National Park, one of Ecuador’s most beautiful protected areas. On a clear day it is possible to see Cotopaxi’s peak from parts of Quito, but its majesty can only be truly experienced from within the borders of the park. When the weather cooperates, views of its snow-capped, almost symmetrical cone like summit are awe-inspiring. Our hike starts at the Pita River which provides essential drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Quiteños (as Ecuador’s capital city residents are known); its source is the pristine glacial melt water of Mt. Cotopaxi. The Pita’s rushing waters will accompany us throughout much of our adventure.
This is a special and beautiful hike, but it’s about more than just the beauty and activity. By hiking here, we are working to conserve the Pita River. The hike is designed to raise awareness for both locals and visitors alike about the importance of this body of water, how conserving it is important, and how melting glaciers will impact our population.
The hike enters Cotopaxi National Park and we head towards an archeological site called Pucara de Salitre, where we can see a variety of migrant and resident Andean birds. On the way, we might see some of the wild horses, deer or llamas that make the park their home, as well as gorgeous seasonal mountain wildflowers and breathtaking scenery. We will spend time at the water’s edge of the Pita and the Park’s natural springs, admiring classic views of Cotopaxi Volcano or perhaps the reflection of Mt. Rumiñahui Mount in the waters. During our adventure, we will stop to enjoy a picnic in the crisp alpine environment.
We will finish our exploration at Limpiopungo Lake where our transportation will be waiting for us to drive us to our next mountain lodge.
Maximum Altitude: 3,755 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 5 Hours.
Type of terrain: Forest– grassland trails.
Night at the Tambopaxi (Standard Room)
Included: breakfast, transportation , english speaking guide , excursion , lunch , accommodation and dinner
Day 6: Cotopaxi - Quito - ON THE SNOW LINE
From the lodge we will drive in our private vehicle to the parking area of the Cotopaxi mountain refuge. We will then walk for approximately an hour before reaching the mountaineers’ lodge, and hike from there to the edge of the glacier, a walk of approximately two hours. From here, the northern side of the mountain offers a spectacular panorama. You will be able to identify (with the help of our guide) all the ground we have covered since the first day of our adventure: Quito, its valleys, the distant mountains in the north, and the road from Pasochoa, through the Pita canyon, to el Pedregal, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and the magnificent Limpiopungo valley. The descent, which will take approximately 2 hours, takes the same route back to the parking lot and we depart.
Lunch at a typical ecuadorian food restaurant. After lunch we will drive back to Quito.
Maximum altitude: 5,100 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 4 Hours. Difficulty – Type of terrain: Sandy ground - Glacier / Moderate.
Transportation: Vehicle from Tambopaxi to Cotopaxi parking area and walking and back to Quito
Included: breakfast, transportation, english speaking guide, excursion and lunch.
2020 price per person in US$:
1 person = $2988
2 people = $1799
3 people = $1504
4-6 people = $1340
single supplement = $213
Hacienda La Alegria is a family-run organic farm in the heart of Ecuador's "Avenue of the Volcanoes". They are situated one hour south of the historic colonial city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
They offer traditional hospitality with a touch of luxury at their beautiful hacienda. They cater for independent travellers and larger groups and can tailor a package for most requirements. Above all, at La Alegria they specialize in horseback vacations amid the majesty of the high Andes of the Equator.
The valley has a perpetual spring climate (day 65-75 F / 17-21 C, night 55-60 F / 11-14 C). The sun sometimes rises Cotacachi covered with snow (4,939 m / 16,298 ft) and fixed in the sacred Imbabura (4609 m / 15,210 ft).
From such tranquility, it is a brief descent to the bustling indigenous markets of Otavalo. The earth walls with a tile roof contain an ever-blooming perennial garden with hibiscus, bougainvillea, orchids, cholan, eucalyptus, etc., which attract an abundant variety of birds including hummingbirds, robins, vermilions, etc.
Some units feature a private bathroom with a spa bath, while others have bathrobes and slippers. Certain rooms have a seating area where you can relax. Some rooms include views of the mountain or lake. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. Hotel Medina Del Lago features free WiFi throughout the property. A flat-screen TV with satellite channels is available. There is a 24-hour front desk at the property.
Built from local materials, Chilcabamba is cozy, unpretentious and charming. The lodge lies in a gentle valley circled by the rugged peaks of four towering mountains. The lodge is the perfect base for getting to know the magnificent surrounding countryside – on foot, horseback or bicycle. Here travelers can explore a natural wonderland, sipping its crisp, refreshing air and taking in its magnificent vistas.
Lodge rooms are equipped with a wood burning stove to keep you warm at night, along with cozy ponchos and thick duvets to keep off the mountain chill. Views from every room are beautiful and make the most of the lodge’s incredible setting. The main lodge is welcoming, with cozy nooks to relax, books to curl up with, and stunning views of Cotopaxi on a clear day. At night, you can sit by the campfire and gaze at the stars.
Our chef prides himself on his creative and varied cuisine. One thing is certain – you will be fueled for your adventures! Coming back to the lodge after a long day of adventure and being welcomed by a piping hot bowl of Ecuadorian soup is the perfect way to warm up and excite your taste buds for the upcoming meal.
Capacity – 24 people
7 independent rooms equipped with private bathrooms with showers
3 familiar bungalows equipped with 2 rooms and 1 private bathroom with shower
Tambopaxi is the only ecotourism resort and acclimatization center situated at an altitude of 3.720 meters above sea level in the heart of the Cotopaxi National Park, which has a pleasant restaurant, rooms with private bathroom and camping area. It enjoys a spectacular landscape, not only the Andean plateau with all its flora and fauna, but also the largest volcanic area of Ecuador, making it the place chosen expert geologists, mountain climbers, sportsmen, families and tourists of all ages.