This trip is a mini-expedition of Ecuador's most spectacular volcanoes and accessible craters for Andean adventurers and volcano enthusiasts alike. The peaks have intrigued and enticed many famous explorers over Ecuador's history and it easy to see why as sublime views and immense snow-capped summits dominate Ecuador's Andean range.
This week-long trip visits 6 different volcanoes, both active and dormant, giving a fascinating insight into Ecuador's destructive past history and it's present beauty and calm:
- Rucu Pichincha (4680m) - overshadowing the city of Quito
- Cotopaxi (5897m) - with picture-perfect snow-capped dome
- Corazon (4788m) - an easily-accessible volcanic summit trek
- Quilotoa (3854m) - stunning emerald-coloured volcanic crater-lake
- Chimborazo (6310m) - the furthest point from the centre of the earth
- Tungurahua (5016m) - currently Ecuador's most active and destructive volcano
To climb all peaks in a week would be impossible so instead we combine a range of gentler activities to get to know each volcano, and to polish the trip off you will also stay at some fine historic colonial haciendas in the valley of the volcanoes.
||Arrival Quito - our driver will meet you in airport arrivals and transport you to Hotel Sierra Madre - a charming colonial-style hotel close to the new town part of the city. Free time to relax and acclimatise to your new surroundings.
||Rucu Pichincha - a gentle start to the tour with a ride on the teleferico cable car to the top of Cruz Loma for spectacular views of the city of Quito below - here we are very close to the peak of the recently active Guagua Pichincha Volcano which last erupted in 1999 sending an 18km ash cloud high above the city. The afternoon is free to rest or explore Quito.
||Cotopaxi - a memorable day in the National Park surrounding Ecuador's most picture-perfect volcano. Cotopaxi boasts an extremely violent past but has been quiet for many decades now, nonetheless it remains an awe-inspiring sight and the Andean grassland scenery in the surrounding parkland make for a beautiful daytrip. This day is all about exhilarating downhill mountain-biking action, whilst of course enjoying the views as you go. Overnight an elegant hacienda on the border of the National Park where an open-fire and centuries of history await your arrival.
||Corazon - a memorable day of trekking on one of the most easily-accessible peak climbs in the Ecuadorian Andes. It is a strenuous but non-technical trek to the top of this extinct volcano. Overnight at the hacienda.
||Quilotoa - the crater lake is a real highlight of the tour that will literally take your breath away! An emerald green laguna inside the crater of an extinct volcano with steep jagged cliffs and views straight down the entire valley of volcanoes. It is possible to trek into the crater to the lake shore (with optional mule ride out for those with tired limbs), and there are also many other fine trekking opportunities in the local area sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon of Ecuador, as well as a chance to buy local handicrafts. Overnight in Baños.
||Chimborazo - this old, giant peak is famed as both the highest peak in Ecuador and the furthest point from the centre of the earth (due to the equatorial bulge). Visiting options include hiking up to the second refuge at 5000m, or visit to the nature reserve where over 800 wild vicuña roam (the vicuña is a small relative of the llama). Overnight in an attractive hacienda.
||Tungurahua - today we begin the return journey north to Quito, but the trip would not be complete without a glimpse of Ecuador's most currently active volcano, Tungurahua. This volcano, meaning "little hell" in local tongue, has been on almost constant orange alert since 1999 since when it has caused many evacuations of local towns as well as its fair share of destruction. Our driver will try to find you some of the best views of its smouldering peak during the drive. Overnight at Quito.
||Tour end - after breakfast our driver will transfer you to the airport for your flight out.
This tour is designed to run starting on any day of the week.
Past Clients Feedback
"A charming little tour that went at a perfect relaxed pace and was very well organised. Being in our older years we took the trekking option at the Cotopaxi Park instead of biking which I would recommend, other than that every visit as listed was just as we liked it. Our photos throughout are among the best of our entire 6-month trip, and the comfortable hacienda stays were perfect after the days of activity. Recommended!" (Donald and Vera Little, UK)
AVAILABILITY: This tour is available throughout the year.
START DATES: flexible to start on any day of the week that you prefer to travel.
- Accommodation in double rooms, or triple for odd-numbered groups who prefer not to pay a single supplement
- Transport with local driver throughout tour
- Meals as listed in itinerary
- Activities as listed in itinerary
- English-speaking guide at Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Corazon and Chimborazo
- International flights
- Meals and activities not listed as part of itinerary
- Local entry fees (Cotopaxi National Park $10, Chimborazo National Park $10, Quilotoa village $1.50)
- Single supplement (applies for a single room for somebody travelling within a group). If you are travelling alone then please ask our staff for a solo traveller price quote.
Recommended Add-on Tours
Clients on this tour may also be interested in the following add-on trip options:
Cotopaxi climb - for those with energy to spare at the end of this trip it is easy to add on a 2-day climb of the Cotopaxi Volcano. The trip takes you up to the crater at 5897metres on a non-technical but extremely strenuous climb equiped with ice-pick and crampons. The altitude makes this a tough expedition that not all aclimbers complish, but for those that do hit the peak it is a memorable victory of willpower and endurance.