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Hiking group near Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi Group Service Project

Example 5 Day Tour
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Our Cotopaxi group service project supports conservation initiatives in the Cotopaxi National Park and on private reserves within the Condor Biosphere. Help with reforestation efforts by planting and tending to saplings and spread the knowledge of conservation efforts by creating signage to be posted through out the park and on adjacent reserves. But it's not all work! Stay at classic haciendas exploring the grounds and enjoying the multisport activities of horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking tours in the Ecuador highlands. This is an Ecuador trip that offers excitement and provides an opportunity to help with conservation efforts.
Volunteers in CotopaxiRolling around Ecuador on a guided bike tourService Project in Cotopaxi during Ecuador tourHave the opportunity to participate in service projects in CotopaxiStudents at school in EcuadorService Projects near Cotopaxi Volcano during Ecuador tripHikers near CotopaxiService Projects near Cotopaxi Volcano during Ecuador tripCamping at the base of CotopaxiService Projects near Cotopaxi Volcano during Ecuador tripHiker approaching Cotopaxi VolcanoHorseback riding in EcuadorTaking a brief break from our rideHiking group near Cotopaxi
  • Plant and tend saplings as part of the reforestation efforts
  • Bike the trails of Cotopaxi National Park to place conservation signage
  • After enjoying trails around the park, participate in maintenance efforts
  • Take a leisurely horseback ride through the foothills of Rumiñahui Volcano
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Cotopaxi Horseback Riding and Hiking

We leave Quito early in the morning (07h30) and reach Hacienda El Porvenir, a fully-functioning hacienda set high in the Andean paramo with spectacular views of Cotopaxi.
a brief riding lesson from our guides before we set out on our horses. Wearing the typical dress of the chagra (Ecuadorian cowboys), we ride out across the slopes of the dormant volcano, Rumiñahui. A legendary chagra from the area will come with us and share some of his deep knowledge of the country life. The ride lasts for approximately 4 hours. Back in the farmhouse, a tasty local lunch will be ready on our arrival. In the afternoon we will go on a walk to through the Red Trail. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 2: Tree Planting and Conservation

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, we will hike to the conservation designated areas to support the One million native tree reforestation program. This program, which began early on the 90’s has achieved so far the reforestation of more than 1,000.000 native trees for conservation purposes to restore the native coverage of the soil, protect the natural habitat and the water sources. Amongst the activities that the groups will participate on are: nursing the trees and planting new species. Return to the hacienda house for lunch. After lunch, design and paint interpretive signs that will be placed in the Cotopaxi National Park or in adjacent reserves the following day. The topics include conservation, Leave No Trace ethics, waste management, and warnings against illegal hunting and fishing. Staff will be there to provide Spanish translations and determine the topics based on the current needs of the Cotopaxi National Park service and the private reserves in the area. Overnight at Hacienda El Porvenir.

Day 3: Cotopaxi National Park Mountain Biking

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a delicious Hacienda Traditional breakfast, our car will drive towards the Cotopaxi National Park, the entrance is just 4 kilometers from the farmhouse. The drive to the hike starting point takes about 1H30 hour. We pass by Pucara del Salitre and Old Inca fortress where we stop for a short visit. We continue to Santo Domingo Lake where we start the trek. Following the Incañán (Inca path) eastwards, we enter Bosque Protector Hacienda El Tambo on the eastern flanks of the Andes, led by a local Spanish speaking guide and a bilingual certified National Guide. We cross hills and valleys, guarded over by Quilindaña, a peak hard to see from the Central Andean Valley and which looks very much like the Matterhorn seen from the Italian side. The average altitude that we walk at today is 3,800m. Although we get as high as 4,200m. on one mountain pass. We reach the farmhouse, an old  Inca Tambo that has been a mountain refuge for centuries. Now rebuilt and rehabilitated it offers simple luxuries such as a warm bed, hot shower, great food, and a crackling fireplace. Today our trek lasts approximately 7 hours. We will have a box lunch in the middle of the day. The terrain is mainly flat but there are a few steep hills. By the end of this day, we will have covered 32km. (20 miles). A safety vehicle will be available next to the hiking paths. Dinner and overnight Hacienda El Tambo. 

Day 4: Hiking in the Paramo

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, we trek the circuit around Hacienda El Tambo,  a private conservation area, part of a major conservation project Condor Bioreserve, that connects several National Parks and that serves as a conservation corridor. We reach 4,300 meters of altitude and reach Verde Cocha and Yuraj Cocha two beautiful lakes on the slopes of this remote volcano. Good possibilities of watching native fauna such as whitetail deer, Andean teals, Andean fox, and endangered species as the Black-faced Ibys, condors, pudus and silvery greebs. The trek takes about 6 hours. After the hike, we return to the Hacienda El Porvenir where dinner is waiting. After breakfast, we will start our trek to Quilindana Volcano on the Eastern Andean Cordillera. On a clear day, we can see the less known sides of Cotopaxi and Antisana Volcanoes. We will trek towards Yurac Cocha (White Lake) and Verde Cocha (Green Lake). This area is part of the Condor Biosphere, a 5.4 million acre conservation project consisting of public and private land. After our five hour hike, we return to the Hacienda El Porvenir where dinner is waiting.

Day 5: Morning Adventure and Trail Maintenance - Return to Quito

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
In the morning after breakfast, we get ready for our high rope course adventure. This is a high adventure activity with low environmental impact, letting people with little or no knowledge of climbing techniques have an unforgettable experience. Guests traverse ladders, nets, tightropes, swinging logs, wobbly bridges, and more fun surprises at 20 ft from the ground (6m). In the afternoon we will enjoy lunch and then test our bike and receive a short briefing of how to handle the bikes, we start riding on the hacienda trails. This single track of 7 km pass through native woods that have been planted for habitat restoration and conservation. The trail zigzag uphill with a pretty good gradient between 5 and 8 degrees. In the afternoon we will return to Quito.



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

Dates & Prices

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Please note there is a minimum group size of 6 travelers for this service project. Please inquire for custom quote
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 4 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gear Rental: Mountain Biking & Horseback Riding Gear 
  • Supplies for service projects
  • 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)
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
  • Airport Departure Tax


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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