With a choice of three traditional Ecuadorian haciendas or ranches that surround Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano on Earth you can enjoy the beauty and wilderness that is the Andes. Just south of Quito and around 1 hour from Quito’s new airport you can experience the Andes at their maximum intensity, discovering the charisma of the people, the diversity of the natural setting and the adrenaline rush of outdoor activity at its finest.
Personalized service in family owned and operated accommodations set in hundreds of hectares of working farmland these haciendas (El Porvenir, Santa Rita and El Tambo) offer the perfect standalone vacation experience or an exceptional opportunity to witness the stunning countryside of mainland Ecuador as an extension to our Galapagos trips. Relax and play in this incredible location while helping nature conservation and sustainable development in local communities.
Images & Videos
After a delicious hacienda breakfast, we will start our mountain biking adventure at Cotopaxi Volcano. The descent down the volcano to the “Canal de Agua” trail has stunning scenery, and will be followed by a cross-country ride right through the bed of an old landslide, formed where lava and mud flowed during past volcanic eruptions. Our exciting biking adventure continues when we reach Hacienda El Porvenir, as we then begin to bike through the gorgeous Andean forest filled with delightful and abundant vegetation, rivers, and steep ravines. After all that biking, we will return to the farmhouse to shower and relax before a delicious dinner.
Horseback Riding and Hiking
This morning after a traditional Andean breakfast we will meet with trainers for a short lesson on how to ride horseback and to get acquainted with the horses. Wearing the traditional “Chagra” attire of Poncho and Chaps, we will ride to the foothills of Rumiñahui volcano, alongside some herds of wild horses and fighting bulls – what a scene! Our local guides will share their knowledge with us, as they tell us of the area and the healing plants that are still collected and used here. This ride will take us about 3 hours. Afterwards, a delicious lunch of local cuisine awaits us at the farmhouse. Once we’ve eaten and rested, we will hike for 2 -3 hours arriving at the breathtaking Manto Blanco waterfall. Following the hike, we will enjoy dinner and lodging near the chimneys.
Trek to Pasochoa
Today our excursion will begin in the Hacienda Santa Rita Private Reserve, at an altitude of 3,300 meters (10826 ft). From here we will begin hiking up the Pasochoa Volcano. The trail travels through patches of native Andean forest and open “páramos,” which are a type of moorlands. We will trek through fields covered with high straw and we will enjoy the magnificent view of the adjacent mountains covered with snow such as the Antisana, Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Sincholagua ranges that tower over us as we climb. We will have a box lunch in the middle of the day, as we rest and recover our breath. Our hiking time is about 7 hour’s total roundtrip, but it is mellow hiking. Once more a wonderful dinner awaits us, and we can enjoy the serenity of the night and rest at the Hacienda El Porvenir.
Today we will up the difficulty of our hiking adventure and climb the Rumiñahui Volcano. We will get a very early start, crossing the spacious high ground that is often breezy due to the cool winds of the Andes. In one single panorama we can take in valleys, mountains and nearby volcanoes. On a clear day, we will even have the opportunity to regard in the distance Ilinizas peaks and Chimborazo, the highest snow-capped mountain of Ecuador. The hike will take about 7 hours total round trip, and the hiking difficulty is average. We will trek along with a native guide who will share all he knows about the mountains, the páramo and the local culture. We will take a box lunch with us on our hike, after which we will head back to Hacienda El Porvenir, a fireplace to warm our hands, and another delicious dinner.
Cotopaxi National Park
Our final full day will again serve up some serious hiking. After one last, wonderful and complete breakfast, we will make our way to, and arrive at, the Park. Once there, we will visit the interpretation center where we will find descriptions of the local vegetation as well as the history of the major eruptions of the world’s highest active volcano. After we’ve taken in that interesting information, we will begin our hike from the parking lot by climbing up to the refuge (4,800 m /15,744 ft.). This is a strenuous hike and will also be slow going as we are hiking at such a high elevation. After a short rest to catch our breath and to admire the incredible view, we will hike back down to the parking lot, join our transportation and continue on to Limpiopungo Lake, where we will enjoy a delicious and well-deserved box lunch. Our adventure continues in our vehicle as we travel through a stunning landscape where we can admire creeks and large rock formations where volcanic remains are still apparent. We will also pass the Pucará del Salitre, a strategic military fortress of the Inca Empire. Then, in the afternoon, we will return to Quito, to start our journey home.
Dates & Rates
Our Sample 5 Day Itinerary starts at $1089 per person in Traditional Double rooms.
Daily Departures, Year-Round (Starting at $419 per person for a 2 day / 1 night stay)
CUSTOM BUILT COTOPAXI TRAVEL PACKAGES
Create your own tailor made trip (sample itinerary), whether you have 2 days or 7 days we can accommodate your needs – fully inclusive packages built around the three haciendas are available all year round!
COTOPAXI ACTIVITIES TO CHOOSE FROM
Crossing the Andes on horseback is one of the best ways to become part of the local culture. Chagras our Andean Cowboys have been working on this land for hundreds of years and El Porvenir has the longest tradition of the Chagra culture in this area and this is why they specializes in horseback rides, doing it chagra style wearing a Poncho and zamarro (chaps). You can choose between riding through farm land or up the volcano for a couple of hours, or going on longer, more specialized expeditions that can last a whole day.
Vast plains, dirt roads, trails and small paths are the perfect setting for playing around on your bike and enjoying this adventure. This coupled with the best fleet of mountain bikes in Ecuador make for the perfect experience. Our German built bikes, with front suspension and hydraulic disc brakes, are perfect for exploring the rugged terrain and unique scenery.
With trails for beginners, intermediate and the most advanced rider there is something for everyone.
Cotopaxi High Ropes Adventure Park
The rope course is an experiential adventure program which offers groups or individuals the opportunity to participate in a series of activities involving mental, physically and emotional challenges in a controlled environment.
As a family or group challenge, participants discover that through healthy, exciting and meaningful experiences where strong relationships are built.
Zip-lining in the Andes
Consisting of five zip lines ranging from 600 to 1600ft long, crossing the canyon of El Salto River. This is a high adventure activity with low environmental impact; letting people with little or no knowledge of climbing techniques have a unique, unbeatable experience. The 5-zipline tour takes 2 to 3 hours.
All three haciendas operate hikes, perfect for the adventurous guest. With over 10 miles of signposted paths covering a variety of routes within the properties, you can explore untouched, mesmerizing nooks and crannies of the Cotopaxi region. With different levels of difficulty and a mixture of dazzling landscapes there is something for everybody. Ideal for acclimatization or just to get away from it all, our offer you a myriad of options: dense Andean woods, pristine páramos, rivers and waterfalls, viewpoints, conservation areas, birdwatching and wildlife.
For our most intrepid visitors to get their share of excitement and adventure we have a rapelling option. We combine natural, vertical rock faces with harnesses, ropes and expert guides; we aim to get that adrenaline pumping!
In Hacienda Santa Rita Ecological Reserve, there are some enticing walls up to 150ft. high. We also have a small rappelling, child-friendly wall.
Our haciendas have paths through native woodland, water basins, wetlands and other important areas for bird conservation. Santa Rita, at just 90 minutes from Quito, offers you a one-off experience, with plenty of easy paths for spotting birds from the valley and the páramo ecosystems. This secluded area has a special micro-climate that many birds choose as their nesting place.
In Hacienda El Porvenir, various Andean birds of prey can be spotted, as well as those typical of the páramos of Cotopaxi National Park. Condors, in danger of extinction, are being monitored with very encouraging results.
Hacienda El Tambo, declared a Protected Woodland in 1992, has an interesting variety of birds that are either threatened or in danger of extinction, such as the bandurria ibis and the silvery grebe.
FAQ & More
All packages include:
- All Meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on your final day
- All Activities (1 per day)
- Guides (bilingual and local depending on the activity)
- All equipment required for the chosen activity
Transportation to and from Quito