Ecuador - Trail Running & Adventure

This 11 - days trip all-inclusive is inspired by the highlands of the Andes, the humid cloud forest and the jungle. Run in epic forests surrounded by hundreds of birds and orchid species, experience volcanos, crater lakes, high mountains, pristine rivers and hot springs. There will be ziplines connecting the cloud forest, rafting and tubing in the jungle and horseback riding in the Andes, wait... of course, Ecuadorian food, culture and hospitality.

As an Ecuadorian runner and as a woman, I wanted to create a dream trip to run in Ecuador to share the beauty of my country. This is a special trip created only for women.  We want to inspire and empower women through trail running and adventure. 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!

WHY ECUADOR?

Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in the Americas, however one of the most biodiverse in the world. Ecuador gives you the opportunity to visit both the Andes and the Amazon wilderness within just a few hours. You will be amazed by the landscapes, the people and the diversity that the country has to offer, each of them with special weather, flora, fauna and food culture. All this together makes of Ecuador a hidden jewel and it is not surprising that Ecuador has several consecutive World Travel Awards.

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. Most of the routes have been selected to give the runners the possibility to enjoy at their own pace, joined by a leader. 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. Also, if the kilometres and the altitude are not enough for you, there will be opportunity to extend your run.

Trail Running & Adventure Ecuador

Itinerary

Day 1 | Tumbaco (Quito)

Transfer from Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport to our hotel. It is a long flight and we arrive to altitude, so this day we do a short run in the surroundings of the lodge.

A welcome dinner is served tonight!! 

Day 2 | Tumbaco – Tandayapa

We start our journey early this day to the orchid reserve El Pahuma. Here, we start our running/hiking to Tandayapa. The reserve is home of different species of hummingbirds and other spectacular fauna are often visible. Climbing up, the forest clearly changes, becoming even more humid, and bathed in dense clouds.  At the top of the ridge, we will find the Yumbo trail, which is a steep canyon worn deep into the earth by thousands of footsteps over centuries of indigenous use. Once in Tandayapa, we will have a rewarding lunch and spent a relax afternoon in the cloud forest. You will be able to extend your running or if you prefer an easy hike around the beautiful trails of the lodge, home of hundreds of birds.

  • The route: 8 Km – 800+ ­ 800-
  • Highest point at 2620 meters
  • Transfer to Pahuma (2h)

Day 3 | Tandayapa – Mindo – Tandayapa

After breakfast, we start the day with a beautiful run in the cloud forest. We will be able to observe different species of orchids and birds surrounded by majestic landscapes and vistas that can only be found in the cloud forest. After lunch, we will arrive in Mindo, a little village in the middle of a green valley. Here, we will experience our next adventure, 2600 meters of ziplines in the forest! During this expedition, the guides will show us the diversity in flora and fauna that exists in the cloud forest such as toucans that fly from one side to another during the tour. We will go back to our lodge to spend the night and relax.

  • The route: 10 Km – 350+ ­500-
  • Highest point at 1780 meters

Day 4 | Tandayapa – Isinlivi

In the morning, we continue our journey to the Northen Andes, to a little town called Isinlivi. In the afternoon, you can relax and enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine with amazing vistas of the Andes. The lodge also offers a small spa with bubble pool, dry sauna and a turkish bath. If you feel like running there is plenty of safe trails and paths.

  • Highest point at 2900 meters
  • Transfer to lodge (4 h)
  • Afternoon relax – sauna and hot tub

Day 5 | Isinlivi – Chugchilán

Isinlivi is where we will start our trail running journey to “El Quilotoa Lagoon”. 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 blue-sapphire crater lake!

The day’s run is from Isinlivi to Chugchilán. From Isinlivi 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: 12 Km - 740+ 480-
  • Highest point at 3220 meters
  • Afternoon relax – sauna, hot tub, ziplines and yoga

Day 6 | Chuchchilán –  Quilotoa – Cotopaxi

This 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 volcanos. 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!

  • The trail: 11 Km - 1000+ ­ 350-
  • Highest point at 3900 meters
  • Transfer to “El Cotopaxi” (2h30)

Day 7 | Cotopaxi – Horseback Riding

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

This day, 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: horseback riding (3h)
  • Highest point at 3800 meters
  • Afternoon, easy run to Limpiopungo Lake

Day 8 | Cotopaxi – Rumiñahui – Tena

This will be the highest point in our route. After having spent some days at altitude, we are ready to run/hike el Rumiñahui. This, is an extinct volcano named after the loyal general of the last Inca Emperor, Atahualpa. Once 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.

After the hike, we will have a well-deserved lunch and continue our journey to the Amazon jungle, to a beautiful cosy eco-lodge close to El Tena.

  • The route: climb to el Rumiñahui 11 Km - 770+ ­ 750-
  • Highest point at 4620 meters
  • Tansfer to Puerto Misahuallí (4h30)

Day 9 | Tena – Rafting

This day is one for resting our tired 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 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, have a pisco sour or if you are not exhausted go for an easy walk around the island.  After dinner, we will go for a night walk which is an extraordinary experience! We will be able to observe tarantulas, insects, frogs, caimans, amphibians and snakes. The night walk allows us to get in touch with the most virgin and uninhabited jungle ever.

  • Transfer to the river (1h20)
  • Rafting all day 25 Km
  • Highest point at 550 meters
  • Night walk in the jungle (1h30)

Day 10 | Tena – Tubing – Papallacta

 The last morning at Tena will be spent on a 2-3 hours excursion in the virgin jungle that surrounds this mystical island. We will hopefully see animals in their wild state, large trees and beautiful landscapes that allow us to feel the vastness of the Amazon. Later we will return to the lodge by tube floating on the Napo River and have a delicious lunch.

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

  • Trekking in the jungle
  • Tubing to go back to the lodge
  • Transfer to Papallacta (2h30)
  • Hot springs!

Day 11 | Papallacta – Tumbaco (Quito)

We finish our adventure with a beautiful run in the Andes. 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 a relaxing - hot bath in the legendary hot springs pools in Papallacta. We pack and go back to Tumbaco - Quito, where we finish our journey.

  • The route: 8 Km - 200+­ 200- 
  • Highest point at 3500 meters
  • Transfer to Quito (1h30)

If you want to stay longer in Ecuador, we will be happy to guide you or to help you with reservations and transfers.

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 due to weather conditions, National Parks regulations or notifications and unforeseeable circumstances. 

This tour is governed by the Terms and Conditions of Vagabond Trails

 
 

Tour Details

Dates: November 3 - November 13, 2018

Price: EUR 2,895 (50% deposit due to secure your reservation, remaining 50% due 30 days before the start of the tour).

Send us an email for any enquires or contacts us to make a booking - we will confirm that we have available places in an email or over the phone, and provide you with a payment code so that you can proceed to secure online payments via Stripe, paypal or bank transfer.

Start and end city: Quito - Ecuador

Airport: Mariscal Sucre International Airport

Participants: 6 -12

The price includes:

  • Transfer from and to the airport
  • Everything described in the tour
  • All of the scheduled activities: horseback riding, ziplines, rafting, tubbing, guides
  • All accommodation during the tour (10 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 (10 breakfast, 4 packed lunch, 6 lunches, 10 dinners)
  • All transport during the tour (except for those by feet!)
  • Tips! We pay our people well

The price 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 - we recommend that you bring dried fruit, nuts or energy bars to last you throughout the entire runs (further info in the packing list)
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Expenses for extra activities, such as; massages, spas, sauna, hot tub
  • Any accommodations for extra days in Ecuador

 

Ready to book your adventure?

Use the form below to send us a booking request (don't forget to tell us which expedition), we will then confirm that we have available places.

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