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Hiker approaching Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi Trekking

Example 7 Day Tour
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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.
Hikers near CotopaxiHikers near CotopaxiCamping near the base of the Cotopaxi VolcanoHacienda El Tambo near Cotopaxi VolcanoThe main common area at Haceinda El TamboHiking in EcuadorTake in the breathtaking views from Hacienda El TamboHikers near CotopaxiRiders on horsebacklooking up onto Cotopaxi\'s summitOn the shores of Laguna de Limpiopungo, with Cotopaxi in the backgroundExplore the area surrounding Cotopaxi on horseback while at Hacienda El TamboHiker approaching Cotopaxi Volcano
  • 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
Activity Level: Challenging
Requires high-intensity physical efforts that push the limits of one's fitness. May include tours with multiple days in a row of strenuous physical activity or single requiring more than 7 hours of activity. Recommended for travelers maintaining a demanding fitness level.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Quito

Arrive Quito and overnight.

Day 2: Hacienda Santa Rita Ecological Reserve

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A private transportation and bilingual guide will pick you up early in the morning from your Hotel in Quito, we will do a quick stop at El Porvenir for a hot canelazo and then we will drive you from El Porvenir to Pasochoa Reserve, crossing the paramo plains. Our hike will begin in Hacienda Santa Rita Private Reserve, at an altitude of 3,300 meters, (10826 ft), begin climbing Pasochoa Volcano. The route crosses patches of native Andean forest and open “páramos” a type of moorlands. Trek through fields covered with high straw and will enjoy the magnificent view of the neighboring mountains covered with snow such as Antisana, Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Sincholagua watch over us during this climb. Have a box lunch in the middle of the day.
Hiking time is about 7 hours total round trip. Hiking difficulty is low. Hike to your campsite, and relax and enjoy the comfortable camping in the Andes. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3: Pedregal Village and Hacienda El Porvenir

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

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

Welcome to Hacienda El Porvenir
Hacienda El Porvenir
Hacienda El Porvenir

Hacienda El Tambo

Take in the breathtaking views from Hacienda El Tambo
Wander the grounds at Hacienda El Tambo
The main common area at Haceinda El Tambo

Quito - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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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, 4 Dinners
  • 6 Nights Accommodations
  • 5 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Cotopaxi Patente Fee
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Park Entrance Fee


When to Go

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


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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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