Lodge to Lodge Trekking

Introduction

On this incredible trek we combine 3 different mountain regions of Ecuador: Cotopaxi, Quilotoa and Chimborazo. You will be trekking into Cotopaxi National Park of which Cotopaxi is the centrepiece. Then you will enjoy the hilly region of Quilotoa, where you will visit the colourful market of Saquisili and lastly you will trek in the Chimborazo Reserve, where Ecuador´s highest volcano, Chimborazo is located. You will end this multiday trip with an exhilarating ride to the Devils Nose on a beautifully refurbished train, before return to Quito.
We start hiking towards Cotopaxi National Park visiting spectacular waterfalls and graceful haciendas along the way. During your hike the scenery will change from the humid Andean forests to the wonderful “paramo” where you will walk through the grassland, feel the wind and enjoy sightings of wild horses. On day 5 the scenery will change again, entering the rugged Quilotoa region with its lovely traditional villages. You will visit the colourful market of Saquisili and enjoy a short, windy drive to the mountains above the small village of Insilivi. The Quilotoa region is a highly remote area, famous for its impressive crater lake, with its aquamarine colored waters, shimmering in the clear Andean light. On the last part of our trek we visit the Chimborazo reserve, concluding with the famous “Devils Nose” train journey known as “Nariz del Diablo” in Spanish. We will encounter small indigenous settlements along the way and learn about their traditional way of life and customs.
Trekking in Ecuador not only offers you breath taking views, diverse and unusual fauna, interactions with friendly locals, but also you will enjoy staying in some historical, colonial haciendas in between the hikes. These magnificent haciendas are large Spanish farm houses converted into lodges. We have included some of these gems in this itinerary, which will give you a great feeling for the rural life in our country and at the same time enjoy a luxurious rest while getting the taste of Ecuadorian hospitality!


1. COTOPAXI REGION

Day 1Rio Pita
Rio Pita waterfall 3.000m/ 9,840ft. Overnight at CotopaxiPungo

We leave Quito and after a short drive of one hour we arrive high above “el valle de los Chillos” where we will start our hike from a village called Rumipamba. Rumipamba is located at the base of Pasochoa, one of Ecuador´s extinct volcanoes. First we will follow a smooth cobble stone road along the Pita River. This cold, fast moving river originates from the glaciers of Cotopaxi and offers breath taking resting spots. We walk through a humid, tunnel like, Andean Forest, with more than 80 bird and 25 tree species. Strolling down to the Condor Machai water fall, we will cross eleven small bridges. On the way to our lodge we pass in front of a Shrine, where locals come to worship the “Virgen de la Piedra”, the Virgin of the Rock. The legend states that lightening etched the figure of the Virgen Mary on a large rock. Local people came to worship it regularly, as several miracles have been attributed to this holy shrine.
Today’s hike will take around 5 hours. You will spend your first night at Cotopaxi Pungo located at 3.100m .

 

Day 2Hacienda el Porvenir
Hike to Hacienda El Porvenir 3.500m/ 11,480ft. Overnight at Hacienda el Porvenir

Today we will hike to the rustic Hacienda el Porvenir. Part of the hike goes through the lush humid Andean Forest where there is a chance to see a variety of colorful hummingbirds. The terrain will change dramatically as, close to el Porvenir, you will enter the wide open “Paramo”. In the past el Porvenir was one of the largest working farms in Ecuador. It was built with local materials such as brick, straw, wood and adobe that have been used for centuries. Surrounded by four volcanoes, Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasachoa and Rumiñahui, you will enjoy the rustic ambience of this traditional, comfortable and beautiful casa de Hacienda (farmhouse). Today’s hike will take approximately 6 hours

Day 3Tambopaxi
Porvenir – Pucará Salitre- Tambopaxi 3.700m/ 14,060ft. Overnight at Tambopaxi
From Hacienda el Porvenir we follow an ancient dirt road of about 2 km /1.2miles until we arrive at the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park. From the entrance we will start hiking, following a winding trail towards the ruins of a hill fort named Pucará Salitre. In general the Pucaras were used for military observation and monitoring. Due to its elevated position, the Pucará Salitre was a strategic military fortress of the Inca Empire, which was used to control the passage of armies, resistance groups and migration within the conquered territories of the northern Andes. After our hike we will spend the night at Tambopaxi lodge, which is at the base of Cotopaxi and offers incredible views of this conic volcano .
Today’s hike will take approximately 6 hours

Day 4Rumiñahui
Rumiñahui hike 4.500/ 14,750ft- Overnight at Tambopaxi
Rumiñahui is a long extinct volcano, located just 13 km / 8 miles west of Cotopaxi. It is named after the last leader of the Inca army, which fought against the Spanish in 1530. In Quichua the name means “stone face”. From Tambopaxi we start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. Technically, it is a hike with some easy scrambling at the end. The views from the summit, overlooking the vast paramo are unforgettable. We spend another cool Andean night next to the warm fire at Tambopaxi.



2. QUILOTOA REGION

Day 5Saquisili Indian
Saquisili Indian market hike to Insilivi 2.900m/9,515 ft. Overnight at Llullullama
According to the local people, for many years, Saquisili has been the largest indigenous market of Ecuador. It is famous for the way it’s seven “plazas” and most of its streets become packed with people. Many of them from nearby villages, but also from other provinces: all attracted by the variety of products and low prices. After lunch we drive to Cerro Guingopana (4150 – 4200 mts) from where we will do a 3 hour downhill walk to the small village of Insilivi. Overnight at Hostal Llullullama


Day 6 Chugchilan
Hike to Chugchilan 3.300m/ 10.496ft. Overnight at Mama Hilda

From Insilivi we take a trail that leads down to the Cumbijin river. We cross a hanging bridge towards the village of Itualó. The road leads through little villages where you will feel time has stood still for centuries. You will enjoy the peaceful ambience of this area, and perhaps interact with the friendly and welcoming locals. In Chugchilan we will stay at Mama Hilda’s Lodge. It is a very friendly, basic and clean hostel where you will be welcomed by Doña Hilda, a very warm hearted Indigenous woman. The hike today takes 5-6 hours. Overnight at Mama Hilda




Day 7 Quilotoa
Hike to Quilotoa 3.800m/ 12,464ft.

From Chugchilan we follow a path that goes to the Sigui River and up to the modest village of Guayama. The hike will get steeper as we get to the rim of the crater, Quilotoa. This is a mystical volcanic crater-lake with a diameter of 3 km. Its emerald waters span two kilometers. The local legend claims it is connected to the ocean and therefore it is salty and sulphuric. On top of the rim, there is a 280 m / 918 ft drop down to the lake. The hike down normally takes 40 minutes and one hour to climb up. At the crater you will have an opportunity to admire and perhaps purchase the famous native leather Tigua paintings and carved wooden masks. The night will be spent at Samay Quilotoa lodge or Posada del Tigua. Today´s hike will take 5 hours.

 


3. CHIMBORAZO RESERVE

Estrella del Chimborazo Day 8
Drive to Estrella del Chimborazo / hike in the afternoon 4.000/15,200ft.
Today we start with a small drive for 1.5 hours to the city of flowers and fruit, Ambato. From there we will continue, following the scenic route “via Flores”, which was the first road that went from the sierra central (central mountain region) of Ecuador to the coast. The road follows the canyon of the Ambato River, which is graced by small groves of pear trees. When we reach 4.000m, we will pause for a while at the high altitude hot springs of Cunuyacu, run by the local indigenous community. We arrive at Estrella del Chimborazo in the afternoon and will do a short hike. The lodge is located at 3.900m at the base of Chimborazo. It is owned by Marco Cruz, who is known to be the first mountain guide in Ecuador. In the hotel you will see wonderful old pictures that explain the history of Ecuadorian mountaineering.



Day 9 Chimborazo
Chimborazo hike to Whymper Needles 5.250m/ 17,220ft above the hut. Overnight at Intisisa

At 08:00 am, we take a very short drive to the Carrel hut of Chimborazo at 4.800m. From there we walk first to the upper hut named after Edward Whymper (a British mountaineer who did the first ascent of Chimborazo) at 5.000m and then to the Whymper needles. Here you will reach your highest altitude at 5,250m / 17220 ft! Chimborazo’s summit is known for being the nearest point to the sun on the planet Later on we drive down to Guamote for the Night at Inti Sisa. Inti Sisa means sun flower. It is a lovely and very comfortable hotel, run by a foundation that works closely together with the local community.



Day 10 Tren Ecuador
Devils Nose train journey trenecuador Overnight in Guamote or Riobamba

From Guamote we drive to Alausi to catch the train for the well know Devils Nose ride. The Devil's Nose has always been the most popular section of Ecuador's train track: a trip down the rocky slopes of the Andes through stunning scenery. The elevation of the tracks drops 500m over a course of 12 km. The Devils Nose crossing is made by the use of switchbacks: the train rumbles ahead past a junction, then backs downs the next section, before going forward again. It was the only way to get the lumbering trains down the hill. You will enjoy astounding views.



Day 11
Transfer to Quito, arrive in Quito at 1 pm

We leave in the morning for a 4 hour scenic drive to Quito. Arriving in Quito our services will end.


Map

Also see our Interactive Map.

lodge to lodge map

 

Hacienda to Hacienda Trekking - Departures

 

- Sunday 10-12-2017 till
    Wednesday 20-12-2017

- Sunday 07-01-2018 till
    Wednesday 17-01-2018

- Sunday 21-01-2018 till
    Wednesday 31-01-2018

- Sunday 11-02-2018 till
    Wednesday 21-02-2018

- Sunday 10-06-2018 till
    Wednesday 20-06-2018

 - Sunday 01-07-2018 till

    Wednesday 11-07-2018

- Sunday 22-07-2018 till
    Wednesday 01-08-2018

 - Sunday 05-08-2018 till

    Wednesday 15-08-2018

- Sunday 04-11-2018 till
    Wednesday 14-11-2018

 - Sunday 18-11-2018 till

    Wednesday 28-11-2018

- Sunday 16-12-2018 till
    Wednesday 26-12-2018

 


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Hacienda to Hacienda Trekking - Logistics

Duration: 11 days

Leader: Qualified bilingual guides

Pre-requisites: Some hiking experience preferred not essential

Equipment: Ttrekking Expeditions Gear List
Please download the Pdf

Accommodation: Mountain Lodges and Haciendas

 

Difficulty Levels:

Daily hikes of 4-6 hours



Hacienda to Hacienda Trekking - Prices

 Prices (2018)

2 pax USD 2.400 per person in double occupancy
3 pax USD 2.100 per person 

4+ pax USD 2.000 per person


Single room USD 620,00 extra.

What the price includes

      • All transport by private vehicles during the program.
      • Support vehicle to transport bags
      • One English speaking guide
      • All accomodation: in double basis (depending on availability)
      • All the food on the trek
      • Permits and park fees.
      • Train fee

The price does not include

      • International flights.
      • Travel insurance.
      • Airport transfers
      • Accomodation in Quito
      • Meals while in Quito.
      • Alcoholic drinks.
      • Extras, laundry, tips



Hacienda to Hacienda Trekking - Highlights

      • An off the beaten track expedition.
      • Hike towards Cotopaxi Park
      • Visit the largest Indian market of Ecuador: Saquisili
      • Hike through the remote region of Quilotoa
      • Visit Chimborazo Reserve
      • Enjoy the comforts of Haciendas and lodges
      • Do the historic Nevil´s Nose train journey

Why Hacienda to Hacienda?

After having led several times the so-called “tea house” treks in Nepal, together with Andeanface, I decided to develop a similar program here in the Andes of Ecuador based on the same concept: “Ecuador: lodge to lodge trek”. The lodges we use are amongst others “Haciendas”, Spanish for farm houses, that nowadays are converted into lodges. Our clients will be able to walk only with a day pack

Javier Herrera
Andeanface head guide and manager