Trail running - Ultimate Adventure Ecuador

13 days from the Andes to the Amazon

Price: 3300 EUR

A non-refundable deposit of EUR 500 is required at time of booking to secure space.

Deposit can be transferred to another trip. Full payment is required 60 days before departure date

2020

Jun 7 - Jun 19 (Cancel due to COVID 19)

2021

April

November

This is a dream trip that connects the Andes mountains, the highlands and the Amazon jungle

This is the perfect tour to experience volcanoes, crater lakes, high mountains, virgin jungle, amazing animals, pristine rivers, hot springs, Ecuadorian food, culture and hospitality while you run, hike, raft and even horseback ride in amazing trails with breathtaking experiences.

 

We have chosen exciting trails, which include beautiful landscapes good elevation and technical terrain to challenge runners of all abilities. We have selected exciting accommodation in small unique haciendas and eco-lodges. The entire trip has been planned and organised so that you can relax and just experience!

Who can join?

Anyone with some experience in trail running and hilly terrain can join. Pace is unimportant on our adventures, but for several days we will be out for 3 to 6 hours and switch between running, hiking and other activities. Some runs/hikes are at altitude and will be challenging - the more prepared you are, the more fun you’ll have and the further you’ll be able to go.

If for any reason you do not feel like running, there will always be alternatives to enjoy your day. For most of the runs, there will be a support vehicle with us in the case you need it.

General Recommendations

For this trip is recommended to arrive in Quito at least one day before. Take into consideration that you will be in the Andes at high altitude. We can organise your hotel and transportation for the earlier day/s.

Itinerary

Day 1 | Tumbaco (Quito)

  • Arrival and acclimatisation day (Quito is at 2800 meters)

  • Organised airport pick-up and hotel check-in throughout the day.

  • Welcome dinner

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Day 2 | Quito – Otavalo (Mojanda)

After breakfast, we will drive to Quito downtown where we will spend a couple of hours visiting the highlights of the historic centre which was declared World Heritage in 1978 by the Unesco. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite several earthquakes, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America.

After learning some history about Quito we drive to the north Andes to our first stop in a beautiful hacienda close to the town of Otavalo.

  • Highest point at 2900 meters

  • Approximate walki time 3 hours

  • Transfer to Mojanda (2h15)

  • Evening chill time with beautiful landscapes

  

Day 2 | Mojanda - Fuya Fuya,

 

After breakfast, we get ready to hike up Fuya Fuya (4270 meters), which is a short but steep climb in páramo terrain. On a clear day, the hike affords the most beautiful views of the Mojanda lagoon, the paramo and the surrounding countryside.

 

After lunch it’s time for some cultural and a touristic visit to Plaza de los Ponchos in Otavalo, a place of history and tradition. A colourful artisanal market for alpaca-wool sweaters, scarves, textiles, blankets and more. Moreover, here we will be able to get in touch with the indigenous Otavaleño people, who make up 50% of the town population. The scene at the market is one of contrasts, with traditionally dressed Otavaleño stallholders surrounded by a modern town centre. We spend a relaxed afternoon and night at the hacienda.

 

  • The route: 4,9 Km, 500+ 500-m

  • Highest point: 4275 meters/14,000 feet

  • Transfer to Otavalo (20 minutes)

 

Day 4 | Mojanda - Cuicocha Lagoon

 

Laguna Cuicocha - which is translated as the guinea pig lake - is a large caldera lake nearly 3 kilometres wide. The lagoon is part of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve. This is one of the most beautiful trail running routes in Ecuador. An undulating route at high altitude, with majestic views of different volcanos such as Cayambe, Imbabura and Cotacachi, sapphire-blue waters and vivid flora. While we run it is also interesting to appreciate the changes in vegetation due to the various micro-climates along the path.

After lunch we visit the town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather products. Then we drive back to our lodge and enjoy a free afternoon to relax, read a book or just enjoy the Japanese hot-tub of our hacienda.

 

  • The route: 13 Km - 600- ­ 600+

  • Highest point at 3485 meters

  • Cotacachi town

  • Free afternoon

  • Transfer to Cuicocha Lagoon (50 minutes)

 

Day 5 | Mojanda – Imbabura – Papallacta

 

Today we enjoy an early breakfast and we get ready to hike up to El Imbabura. We drive to the small village of La Esperanza – Chirihuasi where the trail starts. The long trekking to the summit will be one of the best souvenirs of the trip. It is a challenging route traversing polylepis forest and páramo terrain, if the weather allows the hike will offer fantastic views of the Imbabura province, Cayambe and Cotacahi volcanoes.

 

Once we are back at Chirihuasi we have a well-deserved packed lunch. The North Andes are over, and we drive to Papallacta where hot termal springs and spa will be waiting for us!! 

 

  • The route: 10 Km - 100- ­ 1000+

  • Approximate time 6h00

  • Highest point at 4630 meters – 15190,26ft

  • Transfer to La Esperanza (1h10)

  • Transfer to Papallacta (3h30)

 

Day 6 | Papallacta – Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve - Tena

 

After breakfast, we will have a beautiful run in the Andes taking the bear path. We will run along the Sucus, Mantala and other small lagoons. Be prepared, because even if it is not raining you may get wet! The route is part of the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve and it is surrounded by imposing mountains and beautiful landscapes. After the run we will have lunch and time to relax the legendary hot spring’s pools in Papallacta.

  • The route: 12 Km - 200+­ 450-

  • Highest point at 3859 meters

  • Hot springs

  • Transfer to Tena (3h30)

Day 7 | Tena – Rafting

 

This day is one for resting our legs but not our senses of adventure as we will be rafting the Jatunyacu river, which is a majestic, friendly, fun, warm and pristine river. This is a once in a lifetime experience and for sure one of the highlights of our journey.

 

Before starting, our experienced guides will give us a safety briefing, train the team in paddling techniques and fit you with a life jacket and helmet. Here is where the adrenaline begins, and you will be submerged in this magical experience. During the trip, we’ll stop on a beach by the side of the river for a delicious picnic lunch provided by our guides, to later continue our journey on the river back to Tena, arriving around 5PM. The rest of the late afternoon, you can just enjoy of the sunset in the basins of the river, read a book or if you are not exhausted go for an easy run around the island.   

 

After dinner, we will go for a night walk which is an extraordinary experience! what can be observed in the day, in the night changes totally. We will be able to see tarantulas, insects, frogs, caimans and other amphibians. The night walk allows us to get in touch with the most virgin and uninhabited jungle ever.

 

  • Transfer to Cando (1h00)

  • Safety briefing

  • Rafting all day 25 Km

  • Highest point at 550 meters

Day 8 | Tena - Baños

 

After breakfast we will spend on a 2 hours excursion in the virgin jungle. We will hopefully see animals in their wild state, large trees and beautiful landscapes that allow us to feel the vastness of the Amazon. After spending some amazing time in the jungle, we will drive towards Baños. On the way we will make a quick stop in The Pailón Del Diablo, or in English “Cauldron of the Devil” is a magnificent waterfall in the Rio Verde area, about half an hour from Baños. The Pailon Del Diablo is about 80 meters high and it’s one of the most spectacular waterfalls to visit in Ecuador. We continue our travel to Baños where we will just on time for dinner. 

 

  • Highest point at 430 meters

  • Jungle walk  (2 - 3 hours)

  • Transfer to Baños (3h30)

  • Stop in Pailón del Diablo

Day 9 | Baños

 

After breakfast, we have a steep uphill that offer beautiful views of Baños, Tungurahua volcano and all the green mountains around. Eventually we will reach the top and visit “La Casa del Árbol” and its famous swing, one of the main attractions of Baños. We will run downhill and have a well deserved lunch. During the afternoon you can walk around town, enjoy the thermal springs or just relax.

  • The route: 12 Km - 700+­ 700-

  • Highest point at 2646 meters

 

Day 10 | Baños – Cotopaxi Area

 

After an early breakfast we drive to the little parish of Ulba where the trail for the day begins. This is a steep and wild route. After an hour hiking up, we will arrive at the first peak called "Cabeza de Perro" while we enjoy breathtaking views of the Pastaza River, Baños and the Agoyán dam. We will continue our way through a sector called the saddle, at times exposed but beautiful. Once we start the descent, we will reach “La silla del amor” or the chair of love in English and take the left-hand side descending to the suspension bridge which crosses the Pastaza River in a large canyon reaching the town of San Vicente and then Baños. We have lunch and then drive towards the North Andes in Cotopaxi Province.

 

  • The route: 12 Km - 1000 +­ 1000-

  • Highest point at 2450 meters

  • Transfer to Cotopaxi 3h30

 

Day 11 | Cotopaxi Area 

 

Enjoy some early coffee with fantastic views of Cotopaxi National Park where Cotopaxi volcano is located, one of the world’s highest volcanoes (5.897 meters). A volcano with such a beauty that it leaves you speechless. Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by mud flows around the volcano, making the surroundings of El Cotopaxi a special place.

Today we have a short but extraneous hike up to the Jose F. Rivas refuge  The refuge is one of the most frequented refuge in Ecuador. It is located on the northern flanks of Volcán Cotopaxi at 4800 m (15,744 ft). If the conditions allow we will continue towards the glacier line located at an altitude of 5000 m (16404). The moon landscape is worth the effort plus the reward of probably being the highest you have ever been.

We will have a delicious locro de papa, a traditional soup from the highlands to recover some energy. In the afternoon you have the option to relax or as an extra activity you can enjoy an exciting horseback riding around the park. Before the ride, the guide will offer a quick lesson in riding, but don’t worry, the horses are gentle and the trails easy, it’s a great place to have fun. This is an opportunity to rest our legs and the perfect way to explore the unique Andean landscape of the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, and if the weather allows with spectacular views of the volcanoes el Pasochoa, Rumiñahui, Sincholagua, Antisana, Corazón and Cotopaxi. No experience necessary. 

 

  • The route: 2.3 km -440 +440

  • Highest point: 5000 meter (16404)

  • Horseback riding in Cotopaxi National Park (extra activity)

  • Highest point at 3800 meters

 

Day 12 | Cotopaxi Area – Rumiñahui Volcano

 

After previous days at altitude, our next adventure will be hiking/running el Rumiñahui. This is an extinct volcano named after the loyal general of the last Inca Emperor, Atahualpa. After the Spaniards murdered the Emperor, Rumiñahui hid the famous treasure of gold that was to be paid for Atahualpa's freedom, and led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In the local language Quichua, the name means "stone face". We start the hike from Limpiopungo lake located at 3900 meters. Technically, it is a hike with some easy scrambling at the end. The mountain offers epic views of El Corazón, Los Ilinizas, Sincholagua, and Cotopaxi. The run downhill is fast, beautiful and for sure one of the highlights of the trip.

 

After the hike, we will have a well-deserved lunch and drive back to Quito for our final night together.

 

  • The route: 11 km - 850+ ­ 850-

  • Highest point at 4720 meters

  • Transfer to Quito (Cumbayá) (2h45)

Day 13 | Quito (Cumbayá)

We enjoy a last breakfast together and then time to pack all the memories back home. 

A note about fitness: This adventure involves physical activity around 5 hours per day, some days has over 1000m of ascent, at altitude up to 4,600 meters above sea level. To participate comfortably in the tour, you will require a certain level of fitness. To make a self assessment wether or not this is for you, you should consider yourself to be in good fitness, be accustomed to running/hiking, and be able to do it comfortably for at leats 3 hours in a day. Please consult a doctor if you feel that this might be a challenge before booking.

The entire tour is done in English.

*We reserve the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather conditions, National Parks regulations or notifications and unforeseeable circumstances

This tour is governed by the Terms and Conditions

How Challenging ?

Medium effort. This is a trail running expedition where we can expect 3-6 hours of running per day, with up to 800 meters of hight gain. Previous trail running experience is highly recommended. More info about effort levels here.

Price and Details

The tour includes:

  • Everything described in the tour

  • All of the scheduled activities: trail running, hiking, rafting, guides, yoga

  • All accommodation during the tour (13 nights)

  • Most lodges and haciendas in shared rooms (single occupancy room option available for an extra price in some lodges)

  • All meals during the tour 

  • All transport during the tour (except for those by feet!)

  • Tips! We pay our people well

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The tour excludes:

  • Transport to Quito (e.g. flights)

  • Insurance. All participants are required to have their own insurance appropriate for outdoor sports; such as health, accident, mountain rescue, repatriation, cancellation, personal liability, etc.

  • Trail snack to eat on the go -  dried fruit, nuts or energy bars to last you throughout the entire runs (further info in the packing list)

  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages

  • Tips

  • Expenses for extra activities, such as; massages, spas, sauna, hot tub

  • Any accommodations for extra days in Ecuador

Price: 3350 EUR

A non-refundable deposit of EUR 500 is required at time of booking to secure space.

Deposit can be transferred to another trip. Full payment is required 60 days before departure date

​Participants: 

min 4 - max 12 

Start: Quito (Mariscal Sucre International Airport)

End: Quito (Mariscal Sucre International Airport)

We reserve the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather conditions, and unforeseeable circumstances.

 

This tour is governed by the Terms and Conditions

© by Vagabond Trails Handelsbolag

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