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ECUADOR: NATURE AND HIKING

ECUADOR: NATURE AND HIKING

ITINERARY

Day 1: Otavalo Market
We escape the busy life of Quito and leave early in the morning to head north. With our private vehicle, we will pass through the most stunning landscapes and remote villages that would have been otherwise hidden from us. We visit the famous handicraft market of Otavalo and have lunch in Cotachachi, a village famous for its leather handicrafts. Later we visit some afro-Ecuadorian villages near Ibarra. We will have dinner and spend the night in the eco-lodges of the Natural Reserve ‘El Angel’, 4000 meters above sea level.

Day 2: Paramo, Guallupe
After breakfast we walk to the ‘El Angel’ Ecological Reserve where we will be able to view the rare ‘frailejones’. These soft tropical plants grow only in this unusual páramo ecosystem and are unique to Ecuador.  From one of the viewing points we can observe the entire valley of Moran.  We continue our hike in the Polylepis reserve where you can see very ancient swamp trees and we may be able to see condors, white deer, woodland rabbits, many birds, and orchids.  After the hike we have lunch and continue our journey to Guallupe, where we will spend the night.

Day 3: Trek in the cloud forest

A private pick-up truck brings us from the little village of Guallupe (1000m) to the community of Las Juntas from where our trekking begins.  On the way there we will visit a local school where children receive nature-education.  In Las Juntas we set off by foot (or by horse if you prefer) for about a 1½-hours through secondary cloud forest.  Our first stop will be at the Santa Rosa cabin (1650m) where we will eat lunch and visit the demonstration sites where native plants on the edge of extinction are reproduced, and training courses are offered to farmers, students and visitors.  In the afternoon, we continue our hike for two more hours into the Cerro Golondrinas Reserve.  Our destination is a very spacious cabin (2200m) with magnificent views over the cloud forest.  Here, our local guides will prepare hot drinks while you get comfortable and relax.  Dinner will be prepared with fresh organic vegetables.  While we enjoy our meal with a glass of rum or wine, we can plan activities for the next day.

Day 4: Trek in the cloud forest
Today we follow our local guides with their machetes through the forest to see the different species of plants, insects, birds, and with any luck, monkeys and toucans.  This is a short walk that allows time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds the cabin and the views that it offers.  We can take a dip in the Chorro Blanco River, which is fed by waterfalls and borders the Reserve.  This is a unique environment of fantastic views and gorgeous landscapes.  We return to the cabin for lunch and the rest of the afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the beauty of the ecosystem that surrounds us.

Day 5: Hike in the cloud forest
After a typical local breakfast, we depart from El Corazon and hike for approximately 3 hours back to the community of Las Juntas where juices, beers and great trout dishes will be awaiting us.  All the way down you will enjoy the magnificence of the forest.  Once at Las Juntas, a pick-up truck will take us back to Guallupe.  Here you have the option of visiting a model farm that uses unique techniques of agriculture and soil recuperation, or stay by the open air swimming pool with bar.

Day 6: Quito
After breakfast we take a local bus via Ibarra, back to Quito.  Here you can explore a bit more of the colonial capital, do some shopping, visit a museum or make a visit to a social project for kids.  You can also make a trip to Mitad del Mundo where you can stand right on the Equator.  There, by doing some fun experiments the “equator” will be clearly explained.

Day 7: Departure (or start Galapagos trip)

DISCLAMER
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described above, we reserve the right to make changes to the program itinerary without prior notice, due to changes in climate conditions, river water levels, bus or flight arrivals or departure times or any other reasons relevant to the best development of the trip. Such changes will only be done for the comfort, safety and well-being of the group. The dossier is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.
 



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