Ecuador is perhaps the easiest and most pleasant of South American countries to travel in. Its capital city, Quito, has a beautifully preserved colonial character architecture, an altitude of 2.800 mt, it enjoys an invigorating spring-like climate. During the expedition, we will have time to explore Quito and its enchanting Indian markets.
After arrival, pick-up for the first night in the hotel. We will spend 16 days in Ecuador including day visiting the Indian market of Otavalo (one of the most famous in South America). Other days of rest will include in Banos a tranquil and relaxing city store up our energy after reaching the highest peaks.
The tour will begin in Ecuador with a climbing acclimatization of Guagua Pichincha 4.794m (15.724ft) or Rucu Pichincha 4.627m (15.176ft). We propose the three following mountains to begin the "real" adventure: Cayambe 5.790m (18.991ft) is the third highest mountain, Cotopaxi volcano 5.897m (19.342ft), it is the world's highest active volcano and Chimborazo 6.310m (20.696ft).
Day 1: We suggest you arrive in Quito on a Friday, our staff will meet you on arrival and give you an initial program orientation.
Day 2: The first full day in Ecuador we drive north to Otavalo, the market town just on this day gives you a very nice opportunity for a look at the population Indians sale products on the market, our visit is timed for market day because this population don't like to be photographed, for this reason you need to take the picture very discrete. The Otavaleno Indians come down from their small villages in the surrounding mountains to sell their agricultural products and weaving for the life. After a morning exploring and photographing as well as shopping, we hike one hill above the town of Otavalo and San Pablo lake, the biggest lake in Ecuador, and very nice view around us, after one half hour we stop for our lunch in one of the typical restaurant. For sure we have a typical meal from Otavalenos and of course from Ecuador cuisine, too. Afternoon drive back to Quito, of course we stop briefly at the Equatorial Monument or Equatorial line, for a nice remember and pictures at the latitude 00,00. After the pictures we continue driving to Quito.
Day 3: We take our acclimatization ascent on the Guagua Pichincha or Ruco Pichincha Volcano at 4.800m (13.773ft). We drive from Quito for one half hour to the Cruz Loma area at 3.900m (12.792ft). Quito is nestled on the slopes of this active volcano. Our primary goal here is to help each team member begin, testing his or her response to higher elevation and to give our bodies a chance to get used to altitude acclimatization, we hiking from the Cruz Loma for a very nice Paramo Barley, we cross and hike a sand slope and rock climb for a short while and easy climb, too. All this road we use for 4 hours up to arrival to our summit, lunch rest, photos etc.! We come down, in 2 hours we arrive at the park car lot, in this way if the weather conditions will be nice while enjoying the many photographic opportunities from Quito and more beautiful scenic areas! After summit hiking down to the parking lot. Afternoon drive back to Quito.
Day 4: We offer a scenic tour of Quito, a city of contrast between the Spanish colonial displays, pre-Colombian art and Inca culture. We also visit the national ethnological museum, which provides a good introduction to the history of Ecuador, several of the city's most interesting colonial churches, and the busy and traditional central market. Free afternoon.
Day 5: Depart Quito at 9:00am, and arrive at the Cayambe Volcano refuge by 3:00pm (4.700m/15.416ft). Located northeast of Quito on the eastern ridge of the Andes, Cayambe is Ecuador's third highest peak and stands at 5.790m (18.991ft) The glacier of this mountain is large and among the most active of all equatorial ice flows, and its varied glacial terrain here provides an excellent training ground and a rewarding summit climb. Overnight at the refuge. Includes: (L).
Day 6: Cayambe Glaciers School day. Wake up at 7:00am for breakfast. We continue adjusting to altitude acclimatization. We go on the glacier at 8:30am. We engage on the moderate glacier section, a good activity. Where will be familiarize ourselves with the various climbing techniques, equipment work for climbing. Our guide get to you on a glacier skills all of techniques necessary for climbing the high peaks like Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo and others mountains, too. We'll be learning and practicing rope-handling, glacier travel snow climbing and basic crevasse rescue skills and safety techniques, the general procedures for high peak mountains. After 6 hours training we are back to refuge for delicious lunch and resting afternoon, Of course we Prepare a good teams for a midnight departure for Cayambe day summit. Early dinner and early to bed, usually by 6:30pm.
Day 7: Wake up at midnight. Breakfast and final equipment check. We leave the refuge at 1:00am and climb with headlamps for the first four hours. We have an easy glacier climb to a saddle and then continue onto steeper and exciting grounds. We'll traverse around large crevasses and pass some spectacular seracs. Climb 40 degree slopes with occasional short, steeper sections. The final Cayambe summit is reached at about 9:00am. You will have a view of photogenic lines and spectacular mountains. Return to the refuge around 2:00pm. In the afternoon we driving down to Guachala Hacienda and overnight. Old hacienda from the colonial architecture is very good for a relaxing night.
Day 8: From Guachala: Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Depart from the this hacienda to the hot spring of Oyacachi swim at the hot water pat. This area is on the East cordillera of Ecuador at 3200m. After relax time we drive to la Cienega hotel near of the Volcano Cotopaxi. This is an old hacienda which will serve us as restful night for our body and to prepare for our climb of the Cotopaxi volcano.
Day 9: Today we leave this fertile and rich green valley at 10:00am and drive east into the Cotopaxi National Park where our driving destination ends at the Cotopaxi car park, situated at 4.203m (13.787ft.). From here we have a forty-five minute hike with full packs up to the Jose Rivas Refuge on the flank of Cotopaxi at 4.795m (15.729ft.). After arrival at the hut, we will enjoy a hot tea and a short rest before heading out to the glacier for an afternoon review of technical training and equipment preparation. Supper late in the afternoon and then early to bed at 6:30pm.
Day 10: Wake up at midnight. Breakfast and equipment check-up. We leave the refuge at 1:00am. We will pass a group of uniform slopes and ice ramps of 30 and 35 degrees before reaching a glacier platform. We enjoy one of the most spectacular color displays in the Andes. From this point we see the valley below us where the morning sunrise welcomes us with incredible colors. Our route will pass under a base of rock 400 feet wide called Yanasacha. The quichua name says it all, its a black wall of impressive size. The Indians called it the route of the moon. Here we start climbing glacier slopes of 35 and 45 degrees, at the top of which we will only have 15 more minutes climb to emerge onto Ecuador's second highest summit: Volcano Cotopaxi at 5.897m (19.427ft.). Our approximate climbing time will have been 7 hours. Return to the refuge around 9 or 10:00am. Rest and hike back down to the 4 x 4 and then return to the Hostería La Cienega for a restful night before our Chimborazo adventure.
Day 11: Depart from la Cienaga at 10:00am. Drive south of Cotopaxi passing the agricultural towns of Latacunga and Ambato. Five hour drive crossing agricultural and indigenous areas where a picture or two may attract you. We will arrive at the Carrell refuge of Chimborazo at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Dinner and sleep.
Day 12: Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Relax mid morning, and then we take off for a forty minute walk, with full packs which will lead us up to the Whimper hut on the Chimborazo west flank situated at 5.000m (16.400ft.) rest afternoon. Dinner supper early and early to bed (6:30pm).
Day 13: Chimborazo is Ecuador's highest peak and is a massive glaciated volcano that consists of five summits. Rise at midnight for breakfast and equipment check-up. Leave the hut at 1:00am. We move immediately to the huge glacier on Chimborazo's southwest face where we first traverse moderately angled ice slopes, climb through a series of ice falls and up the steep ice ramps. Climbing simultaneously on moderate grounds belaying up the steep pitches. Our team will rope together in order to cross crevasses and finally make it to the summit. This is the highest point of the Andes and from here we have a magnificent view of the emerging volcanoes that form the eastern and western Cordillera. The mentioned volcanoes seem to emerge from the clouds below our feet. Our approximate climbing time is 8 to 9 hours up and 3 or 4 hours coming down to the refuges. Return to the refuge around noon. Lunch and travel to Baños (arrival in Banos at 6:00pm).
Day 14: We relax in the valley town of Banos, where the lush vegetation is home to an unusual variety of orchids, mountains, worm temperature, flowers, bird, many butterflies, hummingbird and more species to look at. We have a full day activity for visiting the very nice waterfalls on the way to the jungle, on this road it is possible to drive by bicycle for watching at marvelous nature, awesome waterfalls in our way. We will be walking on the Pailon del Diablo waterfall for 2 hours and look at the jungle forest. We visit the Inez Maria waterfall on the Pastaza River and of course our last visit to the Zoo too. We will enjoy the natural all day long, back to town. Here you may choose to hike or relax in the town.
Day 15: Drive back to Quito. Departing from Banos at 10:00am and arriving at your hotel around 2:00pm. Free afternoon. In the night celebration dinner, for saying bye bye to the group.
Day 16: Departure transfer to your international flight home.
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