Cultural and traditional tour in the Andean Nature


Itinerary

DAY 1:
  • Transfer from airport or hotel in Quito to the Cotopaxi Campground.
  • Breakfast in the cabins
  • Tour to the Cotopaxi National Park
  • Lunch in the cabins
  • Use of all facilites
  • Dinner
DAY 2:
  • Breakfast in the cabins
  • Hiking to the Cunuyacu waterfall and thermal baths of the Ilinizas volcano south peak. Here you can take a relaxing natural bath.
  • Box lunch
  • Visit the local businesses of the town San Juan de Pastocalle. Here you can experience the nearby rose plantation, see the production of artesanal brooms, the making of artesanal ice creams and much more.
  • Dinner in the cabins
DAY 3:
  • Breakfast in the cabins
  • Transfer to the famous Quilotoa Lagoon. Here we can walk down to the crystal blue waters of the lagoon where there is the option to rent canoes and explore the crater even more.
  • Depending on the day of your tour we can also make a visit to a local indigenous market. These markets are open only on Thursdays and Saturdays and we have the option to visit the Saquisili, Pujili or Zumbahua market.
  • Transfer to Quito.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Cotopaxi Day Tour
According to the pre-arrange pick up time and location you will be picked up in either a Quito hotel or the Mariscal Sucre Airport. You will be picked up in a private car, driven by a Spanish and English speaking guide, who will then drive you 1.5 hours in order to arrive in the entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park. It is one of the most visited parks in Ecuador and Cotopaxi itself rules as one of the highest and most active volcanos in the world, the summit having an altitude of 5897m. The name Cotopaxi is a word from the local language ‘Kichwa’ meaning ‘El Cuello de la luna’ in Spanish and ‘The throat of the moon’ in English. We will enter the park and head to the lagoon ‘Limpiopungo’, formed by the glacier of the volcano itself. Here you can appreciate local birds like the Andean coot, gull and fascinating Ecuadorian star hummingbirds who are able to minimise their metabolism on cold nights, so much they’re almost dead. This in order to save their energy and be able to survive the night; without a doubt this a great example of natural adaptation to the environment.

After the short walk around the lagoon we will venture up to the refuge that is located at an altitude of 4800m. In car we can reach the car park at 4500m but the challenge of the day is we must then tackle the last 300m walking more or less an hour to reach our goal of arriving in the refuge Jose Rivas. Possibly the highest you’ve every been in your life! If you would like there is also the option of renting bikes (with an additional cost) and having the chance to bike inside the National park. It is always an incredible experience. Once we have taken the time to embrace what an achievement we have accomplished and the beautiful scenery we will start to head back to the Cotopaxi Campground cabins for a well deserved lunch. For later on, all the facilities are there at your dispense, including the climbing wall where you can practise your extreme sports skills. In the evening we offer dinner and finally you will have the chance to take the night to relax in your mountain cabin.

Day 2: Hike to the Cunuyacu waterfalls and thermal baths. Tour of the San Juan de Pastocalle local community and their businesses.
In the morning we will enjoy a delicious breakfast in the Cotopaxi Campground before beginning the trek towards the Iliniza Volcano moorlands where we will find incredible Andean routes with a huge variety of flora and fauna. Within 2 hours we will arrive in the mythical waterfall ‘Cunuyacu’ that is found at an altitude of of 4000m above sea level. From there we will then continue on for about 15 minutes until we find the thermal baths. These thermal pools contain water from right inside this volcano therefore the water contains many beneficial properties. Here is the perfect place to take a relaxing bath in the middle of nothing but absolute nature at 4100m altitude, also it’s an ideal spot to enjoy our prepacked box lunches. Shortly after we will begin the hike back so we have plenty time in the afternoon to visit the local community.
  • Production of artesanal brooms
    The town of San Juan de Pastocalle is known for the production of brooms, handcrafted with natural fibre, these products are distributed all around Ecuador. We will visit the workshops where they hand make these products so you can learn and get to know the procedure of this laborious work that is the only income for many families. And with our visit we contribute towards so that they can keep alive this tradition.
  • Rose plantations
    Thanks to the high quality of the soil and water underneath our moorlands, this is the optimum place for growing and exporting roses. In this area there are many rose plantations, always producing an extremely high quality product, grown organically with many being exported abroad. We are going to visit and get to know the cultivation process and why the Ecuadorian rose is considered the best in the world.
  • Making Artesanal Ice cream
    The Cotopaxi province is characterised by the production of ice cream, in this area there is a small factory where they hand craft delicious ice creams with fruits, it is well worth the visit. We will learn the procedure of making ice cream and of course get the chance to try some fresh flavoured ice cream.
  • Cheese production
    The cheese factories that exist in this area have been making fresh cheese for many years, and now they are managing their business with local people, collecting milk everyday from the small family farms all around the town. The cheese factory is a huge part of their economy! For just a small price anyone can visit the factory and watch the complex process of making cheese right infront of them. The best time to visit is the early hours of the morning, when the milk is almost pasteurised and ready to be poured into the rectangular cheese mold. The cheese we use in the Cotopaxi Campground is of course from our local cheese factory and couldn’t be more fresh and delicious.
Once back in the Cotopaxi Campground we offer a yummy local dinner and the chance to rest in your cosy cabin.

Day 3: Full day Quilotoa hike and visit to the indigenous market
Starting the day off with another tasty breakfast in the Cotopaxi Campground, before heading west to the Zumbahua region where we will find the Volcanic Crater Quilotoa at 3914m altitude. This lagoon crater is famous for its bright turquoise colour and its catastrophic eruption that occurred more than 800 years ago. Depending on the day of your tour we can also make a visit to a local indigenous market but unfortunately these markets are open only on Thursdays or Saturdays. We have the option to visit the Saquisili, Pujili or Zumbahua market. Additional to this we will have the chance to visit a real indigenous family from the area and you will be able to see the most traditional way of living. Here far, far from the city, in the the Andean Highlands are beautiful colours and in the Tingua community you will find workshops of local painters. These painters were instructed in their painting techniques by an English art enthusiast. This English painter guided them and over time together they developed a very colourful art that speaks their culture and traditions. In the afternoon we will enjoy lunch in the restaurant Chuquiragua that is located pretty much on the rim of the crater. Therefore afterwards we can start the hike down towards the bottom of the crater, normally only taking about half an hour from the viewpoint to the lagoon itself.
It is optional to rent a canoe once at the water so you can continue to explore the lagoon even more. On the way back it is all steep uphill for 280m, in high altitude so will usually take 1.5 hours to climb back up. It is possible to rent a horse or mule to go back up. Another option instead of walking down to the lagoon, is to walk to entire crater rim which is a hike of 4-6 hours. The town Quilotoa is culturally very interesting and an important artesanal centre.

The crater lagoon will literally take your breath!

After this extraordinary tour, we return to the capital Quito and say our goodbyes as that will be the end of our services.

Services :

THIS PACKET INCLUDES:
  • All accommodation
  • Unlimited water
  • Native guide, fluent Spanish and English speaking
  • Entrance fees and transport to tours
  • Use of facilities in Cotopaxi Campground
  • All tax
  • Transfer in and out
NOt INCLUded:
  • Alcoholic or soda drinks

Additional information:

Notes:
  • The tour must have a minimum of 2 people.
  • The tours are also offered individually as Full a Day Tours.
  • If you would like to visit other touristic places we would happily design a personalised tour.
  • The prices displaced are per person in a single, double or triple room.
  • Children between 4-12 years old get 50% of the price but would share the room with their parents.
  • The activities can change order depending not the weather.
  • The time it takes to complete some of the hikes can vary depending on the clients physical condition.