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4.8
| 14 reviews

Trek Across the Ecuadorian Andes

8 nights
Moderate

An unforgettable hike through the volcanic peaks and paramos of the Andean mountains

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with certified, English-speaking local guides

All accommodation

You'll stay in a combination of hotels, hostels, mountain lodges and haciendas

Meals

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners

Transfers

Arrival transfers from the airport to your hotel in Quito

Equipment

Hiking poles, if you need them

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.8
| 14 reviews
The whole trip was great!
February 2024
Ben B.
The whole trip was great!
February 2024
Ben B.
The whole trip was great!
February 2024
Ben B.
The whole trip was great!
February 2024
Ben B.
The whole trip was great!
February 2024
Ben B.
The whole trip was great!
February 2024
Ben B.
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...
August 2023
Amy
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...
August 2023
Amy
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...
August 2023
Amy
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...
August 2023
Amy
Beautiful country with lovely places, frien...
December 2022
Manjari
This was my first ever group trip, normally...
November 2022
Jess
This was my first ever group trip, normally...
November 2022
Jess
This was my first ever group trip, normally...
November 2022
Jess
This was my first ever group trip, normally...
November 2022
Jess
This was my first ever group trip, normally...
November 2022
Jess
A fantastic experience, both mentally and p...
November 2022
Rachel
A fantastic experience, both mentally and p...
November 2022
Rachel
A fantastic experience, both mentally and p...
November 2022
Rachel
A fantastic experience, both mentally and p...
November 2022
Rachel
A fantastic experience, both mentally and p...
November 2022
Rachel
I loved each day and everything we did on t...
March 2022
Stephen
I loved each day and everything we did on t...
March 2022
Stephen
I loved each day and everything we did on t...
March 2022
Stephen
Ecuador is such a gorgeous country! The hik...
March 2022
Kimberly
Ecuador is such a gorgeous country! The hik...
March 2022
Kimberly
Ecuador is such a gorgeous country! The hik...
March 2022
Kimberly
Ecuador is such a gorgeous country! The hik...
March 2022
Kimberly
Ecuador is such a gorgeous country! The hik...
March 2022
Kimberly
This was a great week and a bit exploring t...
February 2022
Jamie

Hike crater to crater over the famous Avenue of Volcanoes, peepers open for Andean condors and wild vicuñas

Trek to the glacier under the Chimborazo Stratovolcano - the furthest point from the centre of the Earth

Follow paths through remote communities, past turquoise lagoons and by thundering waterfalls before soaking your muscles in natural hot springs

Key Information

Day 1

Touch down in Quito

Welcome to Quito! The largest, best-preserved colonial city of South America - declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is located on the equator, in a valley at the foothills of the Pichincha volcano. Depending on your arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area, shaking off any jet lag. Your host can help you to organise a day trip (please request this in advance). There will be a group meet up at 18:00 to get to know your guide and fellow adventurers.

Day 2

Trekking Agua y Vida

Hiking

5-6hrs · 12km · 600m up · 600m down

Driving

1hr

After breakfast, there's a short drive to the village of Papallacta. You’ll then lace up your boots and head off into the Cayambe Coca National Park, an ecological reserve where you’ll trek past lagoons and waterfalls with incredible views along the way. Your hike ends at the Papallacta Hot Springs, a natural hot spring where you can soak the evening away. You will be walking at altitudes of between 3700m to 4300m today.

Day 3

Trekking from Sigchos to Isinlivi

Hiking

5-6hrs · 12km · 300m up

Fuel up on breakfast and start your hike towards the southeast part of town. Navigate trails through farmland, along cornfields and slowly descend towards the river. The views from the valley are stunning and most of the people who live in the villages along the route have lived in the region their whole life, maintaining traditional practices. You'll end the day at an eco mountain lodge surrounded by impressive volcanoes, breathtaking views and traditional highland villages. You will be moving at altitudes of between 2600m and 2900m today.

Day 4

Hike Toachi Canyon to Chugchilán

Hiking

4hrs · 13km · 300m up · 400m down

Today you’ll trek through the awesome Andean mountain landscape towards the Toachi Canyon and catch glimpses of small villages and indigenous communities working in the fields. Hike down to the canyon of the Toachi River and then on to Chugchilán, a small town located in the middle of the Quilotoa Loop. In the afternoon you can explore the village and mingle with the locals. You will be walking at altitudes of between 2896m to 3295m today.

Day 5

Trekking to Quilotoa

Hiking

5hrs · 11km · 975m up · 200m down

Up bright and early today, you’ll hit the small trails used by the mountain people who traverse the canyons to reach neighbouring communities, where it’s common to see the traditional custom of exchanging goods. Venture down into the canyon then climb back up to the top of the crater rim, where you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Quilotoa Lake, a water-filled volcanic crater. Enjoy a beautiful picnic with the best views from the volcano before jumping into the van and transferring to a magical hacienda in the foothills of the Chimborazo volcano. You will be walking at altitudes between 2987m and 3962m today.

Day 6

Trek to Chimborazo Basecamp

Hiking

2-3hrs · 9km · 200m up · 200m down

Early in the morning, drive through valleys and farming villages to reach the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador (6310m). Its summit is the furthest point from the centre of the earth on the entire planet. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometres. Visiting this spectacular national park includes a short hike to reach the elevation of 5000m, where the glacier begins. Keep your eyes peeled for the animals that inhabit this volcanic climate - such as Andean condor, caracara birds, hummingbirds, and timid vicuñas. Once extinct in Ecuador, vicuñas were reintroduced into the wild and are now protected; they are a relation of alpacas and llamas. In the evening, soak in the famous hot springs of Baños and experience the thriving nightlife of this town - well known for its spectacular location right at the foothills of the active Tungurahua volcano.

Day 7

Llanganates National Park

Hiking

5hrs · 11km · 400m up

Head out for a hike in the Llanganates National Park, famous for its beautiful landscapes as well as its intriguing stories (legend has it that the Inca General Ruminahui had a large sum of gold hidden somewhere in the Tungurahua mountains). The vegetation changes as you increase elevation, before reaching stunning views of the Tungurahua Volcano and the Sangay Volcano. Following the hike, return to Baños to spend a last night in this magical town. You will be moving at altitudes between 3200m and 3600m today.

Day 8

Chasing waterfalls

Hiking

2hrs · 2km

Head out of the mountain town of Baños this morning, and hit the road of the waterfalls. Stop at the Bride's Veil waterfall to take the Tarabita cable car across the Pastaza River. Then, hike down to the Pailon del Diablo waterfall, the second highest in Ecuador. After a day full of adventures in the cloud forest, enjoy the scenic ride back to Quito.

Day 9

Bid farewell to Quito

Your adventure ends today as you enjoy a final breakfast at your hotel in Quito. You're free to head to the airport in time for your onward flight, or the bus station if you are travelling on to other parts of Ecuador.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Hostel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5 – Day 7

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Throughout the adventure, you'll be fuelled by delicious Andean food, such as traditional Ecuadorian potato soup, meat and vegetable dishes utilising local grains such as quinoa and beans and plenty of local fresh fruits. Lunch usually consists of a variety of sandwiches and dinner is always a warm and filling meal after a big day of hiking.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this in advance by mentioning any requirements on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Quito

During your time in Quito, you'll stay at the Hotel La Quinta by Wyndham. Offering a variety of facilities and services, the property provides all you need for a good night's sleep.

Papallacta

You'll spend one night at the 4-star Termas de Papallacta, a hot springs spa resort nestled in a majestic valley of the high Andes. Decorated with wooden walls and gabled roofs, rooms at Termas de Papallacta are fitted with wooden furnishings. You can relax in the thermal pools or try some of the treatments that are available at the spa.

Isinlivi

You’ll spend one night at LluLlu Llama Mountain Lodge, a small family lodge situated right on Ecuador’s most famous trekking route, the Quilotoa Loop. Hot showers and good food are available, and it's surrounded by impressive volcanoes, breathtaking mountain views and traditional highland villages.

Chugchilán

Mama Hilda is a cosy countryside hostel located in Chugchilán, which is the oldest settlement in the area and home to only 30 full-time residents. The rooms are basic in terms of décor and amenities but cosy, with some having an open fireplace. Food is home-cooked and served in a communal dining room, with most dishes created on the premises. Fresh pasta and desserts are provided by the Italian monastery just down the road.

Chimborazo

Haciendas are a highlight of any trip to Ecuador. Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate, these are generally traditional ranches or homesteads based in rural areas. You’ll spend three nights at La Andaluza Hacienda, located on the slopes of the most beautiful volcano in the Inter-Andean Valley. The rooms are distributed in four sectors, all of them connected. One sector is the historic hacienda house, and within the other three wings you'll find the rest of the facilities, some with a view of the gardens, others with a view of the majestic Chimborazo Volcano.

Baños

Casa de Luis is a rustic 4-star hotel, located in Baños de Agua Santa. The hotel has comfortable, cosy rooms with a homely atmosphere. Here you will be able to enjoy delicious dishes of Ecuadorian cuisine.

This trip has been rated as Moderate

Much of the trek is within the capabilities of people with good fitness who are keen trekkers. Still, it is important to note that trekking at altitudes above 3000m is more demanding on the body than walking at low elevations. Some training beforehand will help and we advise doing at least one weekend of walking back-to-back days. The guide will set the pace and as with all altitude treks, ensure that you adjust to the altitude. This means that there are plenty of hours factored into each day to ensure it is completed by all. You only need to carry a day-pack each day. The views along the way make the journey more than worthwhile!

There really is no 'best' time to visit the Andes, any time of year offers a great chance to experience the area. However, December and January are great months due to low rainfall and far less wind. June and July are the driest months, although they can be very windy. The Andes are also blessed with the highest number of clear days per year in the Ecuadorian Andes.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito

Before 18:00 on Day 1

Ends

Hotel La Quinta by Wyndham, Quito

Morning on Day 9

Transfers

Arrival transfers are included, provided you have shared your arrival flight details in advance with the host. Your welcome meeting is at 18:00 on Day 1, when your host will meet you in the lobby at Hotel La Quinta by Wyndham, Quito.

On the final day of the trip, you can depart independently after checking out of the hotel. The airport is around a 45min journey away from downtown Quito. You can request a private transfer from the host to take you to the airport, or arrange your own taxi or bus.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Quito from major airports across the UK, Europe and North America.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All camping equipment
    Hiking poles

What do I need to bring?

BAGS
Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
Daypack (25+ litres)

CLOTHES
Waterproof jacket
Lightweight down jacket
Waterproof trousers
Breathable wicking layers
Thermals (top and bottom, merino ideal)
Fleece or warm mid-layer
Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
T-shirts
Underwear and socks
Swimwear
Sunglasses
Sunhat
Winter hat
Gloves
Something to sleep in
Waterproof hiking boots (worn-in)

OTHER
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel insurance documents
Earplugs
Insect repellent
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Quick-dry towel
Alcohol hand-gel
Headtorch or torch
Reusable water bottle (x1 litre)
Biodegradable wet-wipes
Energy bars and snacks
Water purification tablets/treatment system

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Single)

Per Night

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Twin/Double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre-trip accommodation in Quito (Twin/Double)

Per Night

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Per Person

Quito additional airport transfer (1 person)

Payable Before Departure

Quito additional airport transfer (1 person)

Quito additional airport transfer (2 or more people)

Payable Before Departure

Quito additional airport transfer (2 or more people)

Per Person

Ben B.(February 2024)
The whole trip was great!
The whole trip was great!
The whole trip was great!
The whole trip was great!
The whole trip was great!
The whole trip was great!
The whole trip was great!

The whole trip was great! The hiking was well planned for different fitness levels with amazing views and great food throughout. The accommodation was also excellent! Everywhere we stayed was very welcoming with comfortable rooms and great amenities. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone looking to get outside and see some amazing sights throughout Ecuador.

Burcu(December 2023)
This was an amazing trip

This was an amazing trip to see the highlights of Ecuadorian Andes. Our local guide Giovanny and driver Ivan were excellent, and certainly made the trip more fun.

Ellen(December 2023)
This was a great trip,

This was a great trip, good hiking (elevation made it really challenging) and really nice accommodations. Local guide was great!

Craig(December 2023)
Excellent itinerary with some challenging

Excellent itinerary with some challenging hikes across spectacular scenery

Michael(August 2023)

This was a fantastic trip seeing some of the highlights of the Ecuadorian Andes. The guide (Jorge) was excellent: very experienced and knowledgeable, and very friendly and helpful. The hikes take you through some stunning landscapes and were really enjoyable. The accommodation was well chosen and we stayed in some lovely places. We were lucky to have a lovely group of like-minded people on the trip. For information (it was not clear to me from the website): this is a series of hikes with some minibus travel in between (there is one three day hike). The minibus takes your overnight bag from place to place so you only need to take a day pack. The hikes themselves are not that long and are easily manageable for someone with reasonable fitness who is used to walking. The altitudes are very high, so it is worthwhile acclimatizing in Quito first. I didn't need all of the kit on the list, but you do need warm clothes, waterproof clothes and comfortable walking shoes. Overall, a wonderful experience. I would recommend this trip.

Amy(August 2023)
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...
The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler...

The trip was fantastic! As a solo traveler I felt in very safe hands with our guide, Jorge who had superb local knowledge and was enthusiastic throughout! The 3 day Quilotoa loop hike was a highlight for me. Would highly recommend.

Abner(July 2023)

Overall an excellent experience with a nice exposure to a variety of beautiful Ecuadorian trails. Our guide and driver were very attentive and safety-conscious. I would happily travel on other Much Better Adventures trips in the future.

Manjari(December 2022)
Beautiful country with lovely places, frien...

Beautiful country with lovely places, friendly group and guide/driver, nice accommodations!

Jess(November 2022)