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Ecuador 8 Day Andean Highlander
Andean Region, Ecuador
Prices From: $3,328 per person
Cultural tour through Ecuador's underrated and majestic Andes Mountains.
This responsible holiday was formed to advance the goals of sustainable travel and offer the engaged traveler the very best of Ecuador, a small country with a truly astounding variety of cultural and natural attractions and resources. Let us take you on an amazing journey - from high Andean volcanoes, terraced farms, pueblos and markets, to lush bird-filled cloud forests. You will have the opportunity to experience up close and personally the beauty and diversity of Ecuador and its peoples, as you learn about their very real aspirations and the challenges they presently face. Our gently and expertly guided journey will take you through most of our planet's biological zones as well as diverse indigenous cultures. You will have a chance to meet friendly locals as well as like-minded travelers from all over the world, to enjoy rich cross-cultural exchanges, outdoor adventures, as well as quietly commune with nature.
Day 1 - Arrival in Quito
Our travel leaders will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. A brief get-together, orientation talk and discussion will follow over beverages and light snacks.
Overnight: Anahi Boutique Hotel
Day 2 - Quito - Otavalo
We will leave early in the morning from Quito for a 90 minute drive over 2000 meters above the sea level, this region is surrounded by majestic mountain ranges only 40 miles wide, the Ecuadorian Highlands: these are a chain of fertile valleys with unimaginable scenic beauty inhabited by kind people with distinct customs and heritage. Enjoy your stay at our mountainside inn, eco-resort and organic farm located above the town of Otavalo in the foothills of Mount Mojanda. After you have settled in, we will take a short hike to the Taxospamba waterfall, on our way we will discuss about medicinal herbs and plants, local fauna and birds, and current conservation issues. After lunch we will hike at the Mojanda lakes, after a 20 minute scenic drive our group will climb Fuya Fuya (14,200 feet) which is a non-technical but steep climb from the lakes up Fuya Fuya. There is an option to take a two- hour scenic but less strenuous hike around the lakes and for those who do not wish to climb we can arrange a plan to fish, or just relax at the lake.
Overnight: Mountainside Inn (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)
Day 3 - Otavalo
Today we will head to the famous Otavalo market, first to the general (crafts) market where as little or as much shopping can be done as suits the interests of the group members. We will have lunch in a local indigenous-owned restaurant and an afternoon guided tour to a local artisan workshops and villages followed by a visit to a raptors conservation project. After dinner, dance the night away or simply enjoy the traditional music of the local Andean folk band.
Overnight: Mountainside Inn (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)
Day 4 - Otavalo - Mindo
Our ecolodge goal just outside the town of Mindo is to help preserve and protect the natural beauty of Mindo, one of the most biologically diverse and endangered Cloud Forests in the world. Enjoy world-class birding, hiking in lush cloud forests replete with orchids and bromeliads, river tubing, as well as hikes to a primary forest reserve. Our local guide will help us find exotic birds and also explain about medicinal plants and their local uses.
Overnight:Cloud Forest Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)
Day 5 - Mindo
Today we will visit our cock of the rock lek! After breakfast we will have a 5-hour nature walk (up and back) on the Cordillera San Lorenzo. Our guides will explain about the flora and fauna along the way with good possibilities to see such highlight bird species such as the Golden- Headed Quetzal, Choco Toucan, Crimson Rumped Toucanet… among others. We will be back at the lodge for lunch and after that another short walk in one of our paths or whitewater tubing down the Rio Mindo.
Overnight: Cloud Forest Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)
Day 6 - Mindo - Cotopaxi
Our next stop is one of the most beautiful areas of Ecuador near the volcano Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. We will enjoy diverse activities and adventures with expert local guides as we learn about the traditional 'chagra' (Ecuadorian cowboy) history and culture, and help support the sustainable development of the region. Today we will visit the Cotopaxi National Park as our first activity in this region: the interpretation center show us the most interesting descriptions of the local flora and fauna and also the ancient Cotopaxi eruptions. Other highlights include: the Limpiopungo lake and the ruins of El Salitre, formerly an Inca pucara (fortress).
Overnight:Mountain Lodge, Cotopaxi (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)
Day 7 - Cotopaxi
After breakfast we will have a horse-riding lesson provided by an expert ‘chagra’ who will also be our local guide. Our ride starts at the skirts of the Rumiñahui volcano during our ride our local guide will share with us his ancient knowledge and stories about the region. In the afternoon we will visit the enchanting Manto Blanco waterfall.
Overnight: Mountain Lodge, Cotopaxi (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)
Day 8 - Cotopaxi - Quito
Today we will head to the private ecological reserve called Santa Rita on the skirts of Pasochoa. During this walk we will pass native forest until we get to the open grassland locally know as paramo. From this exclusive route we will be able to admire the panoramic views of the Ecuadorian andes; mountains like Antisana, Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Sincholagua will be our guardians all the way while we ascend the extinguished Pasochoa Volcano, here we will have a picnic. In the afternoon we will head back to our hotel in Quito.
Overnight: Anahi Boutique Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner included)
Anahi Boutique Hotel
Anahi Boutique Hotel in Quito is a charming and stylish boutique hotel, guided by the prestige value of traditional hospitality service, catering to the most discerning travelers. It is modern and stylish yet distinctively Ecuadorian at the same time.
Cloud Forest Lodge
What makes our Cloud Forest Lodge so special is its small size and personal touches. The lodge has 3 cabañas and a total capacity of 6 to 10 people, and first started receiving guests in 1998. It sits on 44 hectares (110 acres) of land... the lodge and its garden and cabañas take up about 1 hectare (2.5 acres). The rest of the land is yours to use for nature walks, bird watching or just enjoying the surrounding forest.
At the Ecolodge you will be able to immerse yourself in a splendid natural setting -- and learn about the area´s thriving indigenous culture. Walking, riding a horse or biking along mountain trails you will be able to see the beautiful patchwork quilt of local farms, gorges humming with birds, the humid high mountain cloud forests, as well as waterfalls and the cool clear mountain lakes of the Mojanda region. Here you will literally be on top of the world. And you won't want to miss the fascinating markets in Otavalo, the country´s foremost indigenous city and a bustling commercial centre populated by people of the Quichua nationality. Otavalo is only ten minutes by vehicle or a very pleasant hour's walk, and once there you will be able to buy colourful, well made handcrafts directly from families of craftspeople, or arrange a visit to a Yachac or shamanic healer who will explain the rites and methods of his art. The Lodge´s eight guest cottages are built in traditional style, with compacted earth, wood and other natural materials. Each cottage has a garden and a private terrace with spectacular mountain vistas. The Lodge´s kitchen is a major attraction: here you will enjoy home cooked meals based on traditional Ecuadorian and international recipes, prepared with fresh organic products and grains directly from the farm.
Mountain Lodge, Cotopaxi
Mountain lodge has its own magical, ecosystem and distinctive climate. The haciendas reflect their colonial and even pre-Hispanic history - one was even an Inca refuge - and offer comfortable lodging in one of the most pristine regions of the Andes. You will enjoy the relaxing, inviting facilities with the spirit and essence of Andean buildings: large buildings constructed with local materials such as wood, adobe and sun-dried brick.
Region: South America