ANDES (CLOUD FOREST)

Enjoy this enchanting Lake trail in the Andes as we visit a variety of ecosystems and microclimates: the Andean paramo (high barren plateau), primary Andean cloud and subtropical forests. This itinerary is a perfect combination of exploration, landscape and culture. Climb to the top of Imbabura volcano, bike through the picturesque paramo, raft through tropical rivers, visit indigenous communities and relax in hot springs.

ITINERARY (8 days/7 nights)

DAY 1 Arrive in Quito. You will be met at the airport by an ECOSPORT representative and escorted to Hostal Santa Barbara, a beautiful colonial house that has been converted into a charming bed and breakfast.

DAY 2 Cuicocha Lake. Start the adventure with a hike around the dormant crater lake Cuicocha meaning “Guinea Pig”, located in the foothills of Cotacachi (4,939 m/16,204 ft). Enjoy the half-day hike surrounded by the beautiful flora of Cuicocha and the protected Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserve.

DAY 3 San Pablo Lake. Wake up on the shores of San Pablo Lake after spending the night in a comfortable hotel. Bike through small remote towns and catch a glimpse of daily life in the Andes. Start from the Lake and bike across the town of Zuleta, where the women are known for their exceptional hand-embroidered works until we arrive to our small lodging (La Casa de Aída).

DAY 4 Imbabura. Early in the morning, head to our destination: the summit of Imbabura (4,630 m/ 15190 ft). Imbabura is sacred for the local indigenous communities and is regarded as ¨Taita Imbabura¨, which in Quichua means “father”. Overnight at an elegant hostelry.

DAY 5-6 Rio Mira. As we head northeast into subtropical vegetation zones, the air becomes warmer and the vegetation more luxuriant. At the edge of the cloud forest where the desert ends begin a 2-day river adventure down Rio Mira into tropical rainforest. End the adventure in a cozy hostelry with hot springs.

DAY 7 In the morning, observe the work of various indigenous artisans and then visit the famous Otavalo market in Ponchos Plaza. Farmers, artisans and peddlers from all over South America come here to sell their wares. A must-see, must-shop bazaar of people, animals, produce, and crafts that will overwhelm your senses. Farewell dinner in Quito.

DAY 8 Transfer out for international flight

Cost includes: Lodging, transportation, meals with a non-alcoholic beverage, equipments and specialized guides.
Cost does not include: extra meals or beverages.

Meeting point: Quito
Departure point: Quito
Difficulty: Easy