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Hiker approaching Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi Trekking

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Hike in the shadows of the Cotopaxi Volcano and follow the ancient roads of the Incas during our 5 day/4 night trekking trip. Enjoy full day hikes, tasty food, stories around the fireplace, and a good night's sleep each night. This trip is fully-supported - you just carry a daypack, and we carry the rest! Experience the hacienda culture of the Andean highlands and explore Inca sites during an active trekking circuit near the Cotopaxi National Park and in the Condor Biosphere (a 5.4 million acre conservation project consisting of public and private land).

For travelers with additional time to spend in the Condor Biosphere, we invite you to combine your trekking trip with our Ecuador service projects that promote conservation and community development in the region.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Quito
Day 2 : Hacienda Santa Rita Ecological Reserve
Day 3 : Pedregal Village and Hacienda El Porvenir
Day 4 : Cotopaxi National Park
Day 5 : Hacienda El Tambo
Day 6 : Return To Quito
Day 7 : Return Home


  • Catch breathtaking views of the Avenue of the Volcanos
  • Hike Santa Rita Reserve one of the last areas of native Andean forest
  • Visit a Chagra (Andean Cowboy) community to experience local culture
  • Walk along Inca roads and discover major sites along the way

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Hiker approaching Cotopaxi Volcano Hikers near Cotopaxi Hikers near Cotopaxi Camping near the base of the Cotopaxi Volcano Hacienda El Tambo near Cotopaxi Volcano The main common area at Haceinda El Tambo Hiking in Ecuador Take in the breathtaking views from Hacienda El Tambo

Day 1 Arrive Quito

Arrive Quito and overnight.

Day 2 Hacienda Santa Rita Ecological Reserve

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, depart Quito and travel south along the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" towards Cotopaxi National Park. You arrive at the Hacienda Santa Rita Ecological Reserve to start the acclimatization hike with an easy 8 km hike at around 3,200 meters (10,500 ft). Santa Rita has a fantastic circuit of trails crossing both native forests and grazing pastures with views of six surrounding volcanoes, Cotopaxi, Antisana, Cayambe, Rumiñahui, Sincholagua, and Pasochoa. The area preserves one of the last remnants of high Andean native forest and is a protected habitat for hummingbirds and other Andean birds. Hike to your campsite, and relax and enjoy the comfortable camping in the Andes.

Click here to watch Youtube video to learn more about the Tierra del Volcan's area near Cotopaxi.

Duration of trek: 4 hours
Total distance trekked: 8 km (5 mi)
Maximum altitude: 3,200m/10,500ft

Day 3 Pedregal Village and Hacienda El Porvenir

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today's hike starts on native forest trails and will take you to the the cobalt stone roads of the village of Pedregal, a Chagra (Andean Cowboy) community where we will have the chance to experience the local culture of the area before continuing to Hacienda El Porvenir, a fully-functioning hacienda set high in the Andean paramo with spectacular views of Cotopaxi. Lunch awaits you, and in the afternoon, visit Manto Blanco Waterfall and some lookouts with nice views of the mountains and surrounding landscape.

Duration of trek: 5 hours
Total distance trekked: 15 km (9.5 mi)
Maximum altitude: 3,600m/11,800ft

Day 4 Cotopaxi National Park

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today hike to Pucará Del Salitre, a strategic military fortress of the Inca Empire that was used to monitor the roads that led to the Amazon Rainforest and Latacunga Valley.  The old road or “incañan” will lead into the Cotopaxi National Park.  Explore this area before arriving to Santo Domingo Lake, the campsite for the evening.

Duration of Trek: 8 hours
Total distance trekked:  24 km (15 mi)
Altitude: Flat hike at 3,700 meters

Day 5 Hacienda El Tambo

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Today we trek to Hacienda El Tambo, a pre-colonial Inca refuge and stockyard that hosted and supplied the Inca travelers that moved through the area on the road to the jungle.  Along the way, you will cross hills and valleys underneath Quilindana, a peak resembling the Matterhorn that has been blocked on the previous days.  Overnight  at the hacienda that has the original handcrafted stone floor of the Inca tambo.  This magical place is surrounded by volcanic sand and has fantastic views of Cotopaxi.

Duration of Trek: 7 hours
Total distance trekked:  22 km (16.5 mi)
Altitude: from 3,700-4,000 meters

Day 6 Return To Quito

After breakfast in Hacienda El Tambo, trek through an area that was flooded with lava during the last Cotopaxi eruption. Today’s trek will be exciting as this area has fighting bulls, and a Chagra (a local cowboy) will accompany us.  Don't wear red (just kidding)!  Meet up with your transportation in the afternoon for the drive back to Quito.

Duration of Trek: 7 hours
Total distance trekked:  24 km (15 mi)
Altitude: Flat hike at 3,850 meters

Day 7 Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast

Hacienda El Porvenir

Hacienda El Tambo

Quito - Hotels

Per person starting at


Please note that the circuit for this trip is relatively flat with gradual ascents and descents, but it is at an elevation of 3,000-4,000 meters above sea level. An extra night in Quito or in the highlands is advised to acclimate, and we can help make extra arrangements.


  • 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 3 Dinners
  • 5 Nights Accommodations
    • 2 Nights Hotel
    • 3 Nights Lodge
  • 4 Days Private Guide Service


  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $50 Meals not Included
  • $10 Park Entrance Fee
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Callie W

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin

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Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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