Quilotoa Lagoon - Ecuador

Dates: March 26 - April 4, 2022

Price: 2790 EUR

30% deposit due to secure your reservation, remaining 70% due 60 days before the start of the tour. Full Money-Back Return Policy During Covid-19 (Click for details)

Ecuador: From the Andes to the Amazon
- with Elina Osborne

A tour that connects the Andes mountains and the Amazon jungle

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Elina Osborne, aka Tip Tap will be your creative guide on this journey. 

 

Elina is a storyteller, an adventure film-maker and an avid hiker. She created an award-winning series that documented her thru-hiking journey on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Elina Osborne is joining Vagabond Trails to explore the best of Ecuador.

This is a ten-day trip all-inclusive. A perfect tour to experience volcanoes, crater lakes, high mountains, virgin jungle, amazing animals, pristine rivers, hot springs, Ecuadorian food, culture and hospitality while you hike, raft and even horseback ride in amazing trails with breathtaking experiences.

Along the way, Elina will be sharing with you her tips and expertise on adventure filmmaking and thru-hiking. You will also have access to Elina´s online course in Adventure Filmmaking: Unscripted Stories with Meaning. 

We have chosen beautiful trails, which include amazing landscapes good elevation and technical terrain to challenge hikers 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 it!

Who can join?

Anyone with some experience in hiking and hilly terrain can join. The pace is unimportant on our adventures, but for several days we will be out for 3 to 6 hours. Some hikes are at altitude and will be challenging - the more prepared you are, the more fun you’ll have.

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

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Itinerary

Day 1 | Tumbaco (Quito)

  • Arrival and acclimatisation day (Quito is at 9,186ft / 2,800 meters)!

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

  • Welcome dinner: 6:30 pm

Day 2 | Quito – Sigchos – Isinlivi

Morning departure to the town of Sigchos (3h00), which will mark the start of a three–day trekking journey to “El Quilotoa”. The trail goes through the Andean mountains, valleys, epic landscapes, towns, over rivers and past genuine Quechua communities to ultimately end up at an epic sapphire-blue crater lake after three days!

The trails start at the humble town of Sigchos where we will be dropped by our support vehicle, which will continue with your bags to Isinlivi. After a light snack, we will make the same journey, except by smaller trails. It is a perfect route to acclimatise ourselves for the highs of the Andes, giving us the opportunity to get use to the altitude.

  • The route: 6.2m / 10km  - High gain/loss +1,476ft/430m | -1,410ft/450m approx.

  • Approximate time 3 - 5 hours

  • Highest point at  9,514ft /2,900m

  • Afternoon chill time with beautiful landscapes (needed for acclimatisation!). Yoga Studio

 

The cosy eco-lodge we have chosen for this night offers breath-taking views, delicious locally  sourced food, a warm stove and a small spa.

 

Day 3 | Isinliví – Chugchilán

 

The day’s hike is from Isinliví to the town of Chugchilán. From Isinliví the trail follows the Toachi canyon, offering amazing landscapes along the river, then climbs up to the plateaus and passing through small highland villages before arriving to Chugchilán.

  • The route: 7.45m / 12km  - High gain/loss +2,427ft/740m | -1,574ft/480m approx.

  • Approximate time 3 - 5 hours

  • Highest point at  10,498ft /3,200m

  • Afternoon relax –  Yoga Studio

The eco–lodge is located just outside of the small village of Chugchilán at an altitude over 3,200 meters. It is a beautiful and cosy place, with views of the Rio Toachi Canyon, fantastic food and spectacular mountain views.

Day 4 | Chugchilán – Quilotoa Crater – Cotopaxi

 

The day’s hike is at points steep, wild and at high altitude. It is the day to test what you’re made of! Following a wholesome breakfast at the eco-lodge, we will descent down the valley below us to cross a river before we can begin our climb up to 3900 meters, and the goal of this first adventure: El Quilotoa Lagoon. As we have had previous acclimatisation this should not be a problem, but be prepared to work for the reward - just imagine an azure-coloured crater lake surrounded by steep shadowy mountains and (most likely) deep blue skies overhead – this is Lake Quilotoa. The landscape along the route and the views from the crater rim, will make everything worth it! Following our arrival to the crater, we will jump into our support vehicle and drive over to El Cotopaxi National Park, which is centred around one of the world’s highest active volcanoes. We will arrive in the afternoon and head out exploring and get some time in for relaxing – the national park is considered one of the most beautiful places of Ecuador!

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  • The route: 7m / 11km  - High gain/loss +3,280ft/1,000m | -1,148ft/350m approx.

  • Approximate time 4 - 6 hours

  • Highest point at 12,795ft/3,900m

  • Transfer to “El Cotopaxi” (3h00)

  • Afternoon relax

Day 5 | Cotopaxi  – Manantiales

Enjoy some early coffee with a fantastic view of El Cotopaxi, one of the world’s highest volcanoes (199.347ft/5.897m). 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, just amazing. A variety of wild animals live in the park such as wolves, pumas, bears, rabbits, Andean condors, horses, and foxes.

After breakfast, an exciting horseback riding adventure awaits us. Before the ride, our 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”, with spectacular views of the volcanoes el Pasochoa, Rumiñahui, Sincholagua, Antisana, Corazón and Cotopaxi. No experience necessary. 

  • The route: 3 hours horseback riding in Cotopaxi National Park

  • Highest point at 12,467ft/3,800m

  • Alternative activity: walk to the José Rivas Refuge situated at 4,810 m (15,760 ft)

Day 6 | Cotopaxi – Rumiñahui Volcano – Tena (Amazon)

After having spent some days at altitude, we are ready to hike 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 12,795ft/3,900 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.

After the hike, we will have a well-deserved lunch and continue our journey towards the Amazon.  

  • The route: 7m / 11km  - High gain/loss +2,526ft/770m | -2,460ft/750m approx.

  • Approximate time 4 - 6 hours

  • Highest point at 15,157ft/4,620 meters

  • Transfer to Tena (4h00)

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 observe tarantulas, insects, frogs, amphibians and more. The night walk allows us to get in touch with the most virgin and uninhabited jungle ever.

 

'Day 7 | Tena

This day is one for resting our tired legs but not our sense 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 adventure 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 walk around the island.   

  • Transfer to from Tena to Cando where the Rafting starts (40 min)

  • Safety briefing

  • Rafting all-day 25 Km

  • Highest point at 1,804ft/550m

  • Back to lodge

 

Day 8 | Tena

Walking day 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.  In the afternoon we will have  time to relax.

  • Trekking around the jungle (3 - 5 hours)

  • Lunch

  • Dinner

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Day 9 | Tena - Papallacta 

Having spent some memorable days in the jungle we head back to the Andes, to finish our adventure in great style. We will stay at one of the locals’ best secrets in Papallacta. This little town is famous for its landscapes and healing volcanic hot springs.

  • The route: 7.45m /12km  - High gain/loss +656ft/200m | -2,296ft/700m approx.

  • Highest point at 14,107ft/4300m

  • Hot springs

  • Lunch

  • Transfer to Papallacta (3h00)

Day 10 | Papallacta - Aeropuerto Mariscal Sucre 

We finish our adventure with a beautiful early hike in the Andes, taking the bear path. We will hike 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 hike, we will have our last lunch together and a relaxing - hot bath in the legendary hot springs pools in Papallacta.

We will be back at the International Mariscal Sucre Airport before 5 PM. If you have an earlier flight we can arrange a shuttle from Papallacta to the airport for you, or if your flight leaves the next day we will help you to arrange accommodation.

  • The route: 7.45m /12km  - High gain/loss +656ft/200m | -2,296ft/700m approx.

  • Highest point at 14,107ft/4300m

  • Hot springs

  • Lunch

  • Transfer to the Airport (1h10)

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 ?

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Medium effort. This is a hiking expedition where we can expect 3-6 hours of hiking per day, with up to 800 meters of hight gain. Previous hiking experience is recommended.

A note about fitness:  This adventure involves physical activity around 3-6 hours per day, some days has over 1000 m 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 of whether or not this is for you, you should consider yourself to be in good fitness, be accustomed to hiking, and be able to do it comfortably for at least 3 hours in a day. Please consult a doctor if you feel that this might be a challenge before booking.

Price and Details

The tour includes:

  • Everything described in the tour

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

  • All accommodation during the tour (9 nights)

  • Most lodges and haciendas are in double 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!)

  • Elina´s tips and expertise on adventure filmmaking and thru-hiking.

  • Free access to Elina´s online course in Adventure Filmmaking: Unscripted Stories with meaning

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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

  • Any accommodations for extra days in Ecuador

Price: 2790 EUR

30% deposit due to secure your reservation, remaining 70% due 60 days before the start of the expedition. Full Money-Back Return Policy During Covid-19 (Click for details)

​Participants: 

Min 6 - Max 14 

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