Exploring the Andes - trail running in Ecuador

A hight altitude adventure tour

Price: EUR 2200

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

Feb 29 - Mar 7 (Sold Out)

May 24 - May 31 (Cancel due to COVID-19)

Nov 8 - Nov 15 (Spots available)

2021

May

October

High altitude, volcanoes, Ecuadorian culture 

This 8-day trail running trip to the high Andes of Ecuador is a short trip that gathers our favourites places in the North and Central Andes of this amazing country. We will be staying at two wonderful locations with great access to the routes we have chosen for this trip. You will experience high mountains, run around crater lakes, discover the paramo life, enjoy Ecuadorian food, culture and hospitality while you run and hike on amazing trails with breath-taking views.

We have chosen exciting trails, which include beautiful landscapes good elevation and technical terrain to challenge runners of all abilities.

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: 6:30 pm

Day 2 | Quito – Fuya Fuya – Otavalo

 

We start our day early and drive towards Imbabura Province. We take this day easy and start our adventure for the day driving towards the pristine Mojanda lagoon, a volcano that has been extinct for more than 200,000 years. We will start hiking to the short but steep summit of Fuya Fuya, perfect for acclimatisation; from the top we can observe the beautiful paramo landscapes of the surrounding Andes.

  • Distance 4.5km/2.8mi single trail. Optional adding 8km/5 miles on a gravel road

  • Elevation +/- 500m/1640ft

  • Route highest point at 4275m/14,000ft

  • Estimated time 2 hours

  • Sleeping altitude 2800m/9186ft

  • Transfer to Mojanda Lagoon (1h50)

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

 

Day 3 | Otavalo – Cuicocha Lagoon

 

We begin our day with an Andean breakfast and then we will depart to Cotacachi volcano foothills where the beautiful Cuicocha lagoon is located. The lagoon is a large caldera of nearly 3 kilometres wide and 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 volcanoes such as Cayambe, Imbabura and Cotacachi, and of course the crater’s sapphire-blue waters and vivid flora. After a well-deserved lunch we will enjoy the charm of Cotacachi town famous for its leather products. In the afternoon we return to our hacienda and enjoy of a relax afternoon and dinner.

  • Distance 13km/8mi

  • Elevation +/- 600m/1968ft

  • Route highest point at 3485m/11433ft

  • Estimated time 2.5 hours

  • Sleeping altitude 2800m/9186ft

  • Transfer to Cuicocha Lagoon (50 min)

  • Afternoon chill time with beautiful landscapes

 

Day 4 | Mojanda – Imbabura  –  Machachi

 

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 and the the North Andes are over with this challenging hike. We will drive towards the Central Andes to a small cosy hacienda privileged located on the Avenue of the Volcanoes our next base camp.

  • Distance 10km/6mi

  • Elevation +/- 1250m/4101ft

  • Route highest point at 4630m/15190ft

  • Estimated time 5 hours

  • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft

  • Transfer to La Esperanza (1h10 min)

  • Transfer to the Central Andes from La Esperanza (3h40

 

Day 5 | Machachi – Pasochoa

 

After breakfast, we drive towards Pasochoa. The zone is part of Ecuador's National System of Protected Areas. It has an extraordinary biological value as it holds several vegetation zones, but much of the plant-life is Andean forest with approximately 240 plant species, it is home to some 10 mammal species like deer, rabbits, pumas, skunks and bats, and 127 bird species, among them 16 hummingbird species, condors, huirac-churos, and more. The special shape of Pasochoa is the result of the eruption of the volcano some 100 000 years ago, creating as a consequence the large crater; as the mountain was difficult to access and is not suitable for agriculture the forest is relatively untouched and is one of the few remaining native forests of the Ecuadorian Andes. After the run, we drive back to our base camp for a deserved rest and dinner.

  • Distance 8km/5mi

  • Route highest point at 4275m/14000ft

  • Elevation +/- 500m/1640ft

  • Estimated time 4 hours

  • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft

  •  Transfer to Pasochoa (1h20)

Day 6 | Machachi – Quilotoa Lagoon

 

After some early breakfast we head towards the Quilotoa lagoon at 3800m/12467ft. One of the most beautiful and impressive lagoons in Ecuador, an azure-coloured crater lake surrounded by steep shadowy mountains and (most likely) deep blue skies overhead. 

  • Distance 10km/6.2mi0-

  • Route highest point at 3932m/12900ft

  • Elevation +/- 465m/1526ft

  • Estimated time 3 hours

  • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft

  • Transfer to Quilotoa Lagoon (2h45)

Day 7 | Machachi - Limpio Pungo Lagoon (Rumiñahui Central – Quito

After having spent some days at altitude, we are ready to run/hike el Rumiñahui. This is one of our favourite routes, it offers a panoramic view of the Cotopaxi National Park, an encounter with Cotopaxi one of the highest active volcanoes in the planet. Close to reach the summit the sand becomes heavy on our feet and the Rumiñahui gets imposing. If we are lucky, we will be able to observe Andean Condors that live in the area. On the way down the sand makes you fly with an incredible feeling of joy. After the run, we will have a well-deserved lunch and drive towards Quito.

  • Distance 11.5km/7.2mi

  • Route highest point at 4620m/15157ft

  • Elevation +/- 800m/2674ft

  • Estimated time 4 hours

  • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft

  • Transfer to Limpiopungo Lake Lagoon (1h)

  • Transfer to Quito (Tumbaco) (2h)

 

Day 8 | Quito (Tumbaco)

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

  • Transfer to Mariscal Sucre International Airport (30 minutes)

A note about fitness:  This adventure involves physical activity around 5 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 whether 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 least 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 Condition

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, guides

  • All accommodation during the tour (7 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 (8 breakfast, 5 packed lunch, 2 lunch, 7 dinners)

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

​​

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: EUR 2200

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 5 - 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

  • Instagram
  • Facebook Social Icon