The three highest summits of Ecuador
- Climbing of Cayambe 5,790m, Cotopaxi 5,897m & Chimborazo 6,310m
- Optimal height acclimatization
- Qualified mountain leaders
- Overnight accommodation in wonderful haciendas and hotels
- Ride on the Andean train and visit of Indian markets
- Expedition to the Amazon jungle
Across the equator and over the road of the volcanoes our journey leads us to the highest summits of Ecuador. After trekking in the Pasochoa timber forest, around the crater lagoon of Quilotoa and in the Paramo el Angel we will begin to acclimatize for the climb of the Cayambe (5,790 m). Then onto the higher peaks of the Cotopaxi (5,897 m) and the Chimborazo (6,310 m). Between our expeditions we will rest in delightful haciendas and visit Indio markets.
As a contrast to the many experiences in the Ecuadorian high country we will visit the Cuyabeno National Park in the Amazon basin at the end of the trip and become acquainted with the fauna and flora of the jungle.
Extension possibility: The Galápagos Islands.
Framed by the low-blue ocean, these enchanting islands are considered a real life paradise with a unique singular animal and plant life. They were the key- influences for Darwin in the forming of the Evolution Theory.
You will fly 1.000km from Ecuador to the Galapagos archipelago. On board of a Motor yacht you will travel from island to island and an experienced guide will show you all of the diverse elements that Galapagos has to offer.
Day 01: Arrival in Quito
Arrival in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, which lies at 2.800m above sea level. We pick you up from the airport and take you into the luxury hotel Dann Carlton in the modern centre of the city. After a short break you get to explore this big city and learn something about its turbulent history. You will get to experience the new section of the city in the North with its many parks and tall modern buildings, the Avenida Rio Amazonas, the Plazas Santo Domingo, Independencia and San Francisco which are in the colonial section in the South of the city. Due to its many historical architectural monuments the UNESCO declared the old part of town a world heritage site in 1978. In the evening all details of the tour will be discussed while having a welcome cocktail at the bar. -/-/-
Day 02: Acclimatization in the nature park Pasochoa
Today we make a trip to the national park of Pasochoa, which is roughly 50km south of Quito. Here you get to acclimatize as the timber forest is at an altitude of 2.700m and the paths, boasting a collection of orchids, bromeliads and rare types of cedar, lead up to a height of over 3.500m. The Cerro Pasochoa reaches a height of 4.200m and is covered with lush paramo-vegetation. More than 120 types of birds live here and you have an opportunity to observe hummingbirds and even see condors. We return to Quito In the late afternoon. Overnight accommodation in the Hotel Dann Carlton. B/L/-
Day 03: Acclimatisation Calderon and crater lagoon Cuicocha
Driving north through the village of Guayllabamba where you will see avocados and the chirimoya fruit growing, along the high street we come to the small village of Calderon. This town is known for its small dough ornaments. The cultivated fruits from Guayllabamba are used as offerings at the Laguna de Cuicocha. The beautiful lagoon is in the crater of the extinct Vulcan Cotacachi (4.939m) at the edge of Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi Cayapas, which is a protected area at 3.200m. It will take us about 3-4 hours to walk around the lake and we will get to see a lot of pretty flora. After this we drive to the Hacienda Chorlavi, where we spend the night. B/L/D
Day 04: Acclimatization in the El Angel Nature Reserve
A trek over the area El Angel takes us through a beautiful mountain landscape at an altitude of 4.000m. Here there are wonderful lagoons in the cloud forest and hummingbirds populate the area. The endemic Frailejones Giants (these trees have the shape of a monk=frailejon) is particularly famous, achieving a height of over 3 metres. Overnight accommodation in the Hacienda Chorlavi. B/L/D
Day 05: Acclimatisation in Mojanda, Fuja Fuja and Cayambe hut
The lagoons of Mojanda are approx. at an altitude of 3.500m. The three crystal-clear lagoons (Mojanda Grande, Negra and Chiquita) are situated in the crater of the extinct Vulcan Mojanda. From here we drive on bumpy roads to the village of Cayambe and further to the refuge on the southwest flanks of the Cayambe (5.790 m). As the equator runs crosswise through the Cayambe, it is not only the highest point on the Equator, but also the only place at this altitude that has snow. Overnight accommodation in the Refuge. B/L/D
Day 06: Summit of the Cayambe
Cayambe is the third highest mountain in Ecuador and is a Quechua word meaning "high ice summit". We begin our ascent to the peak at midnight. On a course that takes around 7-8 hours, we will pass over stunning snow and ice fields to reach the top. The return journey will be roughly four hours. When get back we will drive to the Hacienda Guachala where we stay for the night. B/L/D
Day 07: Indio-market in Otavalo
Otavalo is famous for its Indio market. Here you can buy textiles and lots of other things. The people are very friendly and if you barter then there is a chance to get some real bargains. We drive south, pass Quito and continue our way on the so-called "Street of the volcanoes", which got its name by the German explorer Alexander Von Humboldt. While on this street we will pass the Antisana, Pichinchas, the Pasochoa, Corazon, Rumiñahi, Sincholagua, the Illinizas and the Cotopaxi until we get to the 400 years old Hacienda la Cienega the Hacienda particularly impresses with the luxurious colonial main building, its flowering gardens with stunning old trees and a small colonial chapel. In this nostalgic atmosphere we will enjoy our dinner and stay for the night. B/L/D
Day 08: Cotopaxi National Park - José Ribas Refuge
Today we arrive at the Cotopaxi National Park. The serene pine forest leads us up to a paramo plateau and the Limpiopungo Lagoon at 3.800m. From here we drive on zig zags-roads up to 4.600m and go by foot 200m up to the José Ribas Refuge, which is at 4.800m. We will spend the night here. B/L/D
Day 09: Climbing Cotopaxi
At midnight we begin the ascent to the crater of the Cotopaxi, which rises 5.897m above sea level. At 5.000m we come to the boundary of the glacier and then onto a rocky point after several upswings. After a steep slope we will be at the edge of the crater. Depending on the physical conditions of the participants, this journey takes about seven hours.
At the summit there are spectacular views over the Antisana, the Illinizas and our next target, the Chimborazo. In an approx. three hours descent we are back again at the refuge and in the afternoon we drive to the Hacienda Leito by Patate valley. B/L/D
Day 10: Relaxing day at Hacienda Leito
Today is for recovery and relaxation! The Hacienda is on the edge of the Llanganates Nature Reserve and here there are facilities for riding, walking in the park or simply doing nothing. Enjoy the spectacular view of the Tungurahua and surrounding corn and tree tomato fields. B/L/D
Day 11: Beginning of Chimborazo climb
Today we drive via Ambato to the highest mountain in Ecuador, the Chimborazo (6.310m). We will pass the Carihuayrazo on our way to the beautiful highlands at the foot of the Chimborazo and we will drive through beautiful landscapes on curved roads, which are winded through ravines. There are many llamas, which are still used by the locals on their farms. There are also animals such as vicuñas and alpacas. We drive up to the Hermanos Carrel hut; the lower of two refuges and ascend from here to the Edward Whymper hut at approx. 5.000m. The hut was named after the first climber of the Chimborazo, Edward Whymper and his name has also been given to the normal route up the mountain and the highest summit of the Chimborazo. B/L/D
Day 12: Chimborazo Summit - Riobamba
Shortly after midnight we start the ascent to the summit of the volcano, which is the furthest point from the centre of the earth. First the ascent is quite tough over loose rubble, but soon we reach a small rock latch plate, cross a slope and reach a glacier flank. From here we ascend steeply over a waffle pattern formed glacier, a large column and later a flatter area and arrive after approximately 9-10 hours over the veintimilla summit to the Whymper summit (6.310m). In approximately 4 hours we descend again to the hut and drive to Riobamba to celebrate our mountain experience. Overnight accommodation in the Hosteria Abraspungo. B/L/D
Day 13: Spectacular Andean train ride
From the province capital Riobamba we drive from the Turi plateau at 2.754m height in an adventurous course travelling down to Chanchan at approx. 1.800m height. On our journey we pass by the famous devil nose (Nariz del Diablo), a distance that is so steep that it can be mastered only on a tightly winding railroad. >From Chanchan we drive back to Quito. Overnight accommodation in the Hotel Dann Carlton. B/L/-
Day 14: Quito - jungle
Our journey goes far into the northeast of Ecuador into the Cuyabeno National Park, which has approx. 675.000 hectares of rain forest. This park is the home to many types of ape, river dolphins and also homeland for a third of all bird kinds of the entire Amazon basin, more than 650 bird species will be find here. Travelling via Lago Agrio we reach the Cuyabeno River, where we start our boat trip and jungle expedition. In a motor canoe it goes down the Cuyabeno River to the Cocha Grande (large lake), where we move into our 'pile dwelling'. B/L/D
Days 15 and 16: Jungle Cuyabeno National Park
In these two days we will explore the jungle by canoe and short tracks. We will get to see and experience its flora and with some luck see tapirs, giant armadillos, apes, parrots or hoatzins. In the evening we will try to discover some lurking caimans. B/L/D
Day 17: Return flight to Quito
In our motor canoe we go back to El Puente. In order to fly back to Quito we will go to Lago Agrio, which is a small city with the typical flair of an oil city. In Quito we still have time for a last city stroll, in order to find some nice souvenirs. Overnight accommodation in the Hotel Dann Carlton. B/-/-
Day 18: Return flight home
Transfer to the airport and return flight home. B/-/-
Prices 2010:Ask for our last minute prices
Surcharge for single room: USD 280,-
In the price included:
All transfers from arrival to departure, national flights Quito-Jungle-Quito, tour in a comfortable bus, accommodation in fist class hotels, comfortable Haciendas, mountain refuges and jungle camps; full board as mentioned in the itinerary (B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner), in Quito only breakfast, all excursions according to program, English speaking guides, mountain guides, national park entrance fee.
Not included in the price:
International flight, meals in Quito except breakfast, beverages, tips, individual excursions, personal expenses, international airport tax (USD 25.-) when leaving the country.
The mountains are technically quite simple but an excellent condition, a good elevator compatibility as well as a sufficient ice experience are nevertheless necessary for this route. You should be experienced in handling an ice pick, rope, crampons and have a good slip resistance. Besides that each participant should be able to walk with ropes and also be able to handle protection and column salvage methods independently. The large difference in height as well as the fast change of climate opposes a large load for the body. Your heart and your circulation must be completely healthy and you should have good fitness.
You need the best high mountain equipment: Jacket from 3-layers-Goretex, over trousers, sweater, fleece, cap, gloves, backpack. A very good sleeping bag (high bay warehouse temperatures to -20°C) is particularly important. You need strain-capable trekking shoes with good rubber soles like crampon proof mountain boots. Adapted crampons, chest seat belt combination, carbines and ice screws are necessary for the climbing. Ropes are locally placed. Please prepare also against the intensive equator solar radiation with coverage for your head, glacier glasses and cream with a high protection factor.
Although situated in the tropical zone, Ecuador does not have a standardized climate. The Sierra, the actual Andean environment, is situated on 2,000-3,000 m height. The climate is considered as moderate, the rainy season is from November to May. The temperatures are almost the whole year constant (annual average temperature in Quito 12,5°C). Strong variations in temperature, between 8° and 28°C are often happening several times a day. The east slopes of the Andean and the jungle area are damp and very warm. The volcanoes stand freely and unprotected near the Pacific, therefore strong storms can occur at each season. The summer is considered as somewhat stormier. In the end of January until March there is the most precipitation.
Extension possibility Galápagos:
You have the possibility to add to the "Avenida de los Volcanes"-program an extension week on the Galápagos islands. Here you can choose between different boat types with different routes and route lengths (usually 5 or 8 days). The possibility also exists to undertake diving travels, where the yacht has the appropriate equipment and a trained diving guide. We are more than happy to design a tour according to your interests and your time schedule. Your extended vacation program would start from the 19. Day with the flight to the Galápagos.
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