3 Day Avenue of the Volcanoes

Adventure
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    This tour is provided by

    Takiri Travel

    Takiri Travel is a mix of the experiences and passions of its founders Stephanie, Marco and Adriana. They are always looking to discover new experiences off the beaten path, not with the eye of a tourist but with the love of a local.

    We in Takiri strongly believe that sustainable is the new way to travel that is here to stay, and our values are the description of the effort we put in every experience!

    We give you the best, while doing our best!

    • 3 Days
    • Private Trip
    • Quito

    The German explorer Alexander von Humboldt – the greatest scientific traveler who ever lived, according to Charles Darwin – is the brains behind the denomination ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’. We can only imagine how his curious mind soaked in the landscapes of two parallel mountain ranges running for over 300 km (200 miles) south of Quito. The cordilleras have an impressive seven peaks of over 5,000 meters (17,000 ft) in altitude.
    We designed a three day getaway packed with indispensable volcano experiences and drives that are anything but monotonous (over the Panamerican Highway, secondary routes and windy country roads; observe nature’s color palette changing from the muted greens and yellow of the bucolic patchworks fields to the lush spectrum of greens of the tropical montane cloud forest).

    Experience wise, it is, of course, quintessential you hike up to the refuge of the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano, and even to the 5,000 meter/17,000 ft. point if you’re up for it (don’t worry, it’s still a hike and not a climb); and go horseback riding through the unique páramo ecosystem with the native chagras (a local word for cowboys). You’ll most likely see wild horses and lamas grazing these flatlands. Just don’t forget to admire today’s star volcano you hiked up earlier.

    Local legend says the Quilotoa Crater Lake (a result of an implosion, rather than an explosion) is God’s eye to look up to heaven. What we know for sure is that this azure-colored lagoon has a heavenly allure. Spend the evening relaxing Andes style, at the hot springs located on a volcanic slope, overlooking the sunset over the valley until all the city lights below are lit.

    At Ecuador’s adventure capital, Baños, we’ll get our blood pumping in one of three exhilarating experiences: white-water rafting down a local river, making our way down a local canyon surrounded by nothing but cloud forest, or ziplining through the tropical trees.

    Availability

    All year round

    For local holidays or last minute bookings, please inquire about the availability before booking.

    Private trip

    On this private trip, you’ll have our expert guide + transportation all to yourself and your travel party. Some activities have their own specilized guide on site. During those experiences, other travelers might also join your travel group, depending on the season.

    Price Includes

    • Activities as mentioned
    • Equipment necessary for the acitivites
    • Our experts: local guides (English and Spanish speaking), 24/7 support from our team.
    • Meals: 2 x breakfast, 3 x lunch
    • Private transportation
    • Hotel accommodation

    Price Excludes

    • Travel insurance
    • Meals not mentioned
    • Tips for guides
    • Personal expenses

    Accommodation

    We care about responsible tourism and supporting local businesses. We’ve hand-picked small, comfortable tourist class hotels, run by friendly locals. The characterful hotels have passed the Takiri tests with flying colors. All rooms have a private bathroom. We assure you that all accommodations are clean and safe.

    Itinerary

    Day 1Hiking Up Active Volcano and Horseback Riding

    Morning: Leave the bustling metropolis of Quito behind for a three-day trip through the magical Andes region. Drive south along the Pan-American highway, passing the extinct Pasochoa and snow-covered Antisana on our left, and the twin peaks of the Ilinizas on our right. All are volcanoes.
    We are taking the scenic secondary route through the uncommon páramo ecosystem of the Cotopaxi National Park. The páramo mountain vegetation is completely different from other parts in the Andes. Below the snow line, the land is covered by big and small grasses, shrubs and purple, and orange local mountain flowers. Break a sweat hiking up as close to the volcano’s conical perfection as we can. We’re only walking a distance of 1 km (0.62 mi), ascending 200 m (656 ft) to reach the cozy mountain hut at an altitude of 4,800 meters (15,750 ft), but it will take about one hour. Hot chocolate in hand, gaze at the volcano’s snow-capped peak, the surrounding páramo and green patchwork of fields beneath, or spot even more volcano peaks in the distance. Sporty travelers can choose to hike up to the foot of the glacier (altitude: 5,000 meters/ 16,404 ft).

    Afternoon: Refill those energy levels with a hearty lunch at our lunch spot while checking out the volcano’s north face through the panoramic windows. Time to spot lamas and wild horses, during a 2 hour horseback ride through the national park with a chagra (a local gaucho). You’ll find the landscapes are ever changing: green rolling hills through endless grasslands topped with ancient, human-size volcanic boulders. We’ll pass through verdant canyons, and small streams, and pass by an ancient inca fort!

    Evening: Stay at a local hacienda whose history is intertwined with some of South America’s most important political heavyweights: Simón Bolívar and Antonio José de Sucre.

    Notes: Although going up the volcano takes some effort, it’s a hike not a climb. Normal walking/hiking shoes suffice. Both beginners and experienced riders can do horseback riding. The horses are small Andean horses, trained by the local cowboys.

    Meals included: Lunch and dinner

    Day 2Crater Lake Volcano and Relaxing at Volcanic Hot Springs

    Morning: You’ve probably heard of exploding volcanoes, but today we’re visiting the imploded Quilotoa Volcano. Its peak collapsed, forming a strikingly gorgeous, azure-colored lagoon inside its caldera. We love observing overhead clouds’s shadow playfully painting the water’s surface every shade of blue: from aquamarine, turquoise, and teal over azure, to a deep midnight blue.It’s highly mesmerizing! Alternatively, kayak in the crater lake (not included). Hike back up to the village or rent a mule.

    Afternoon: Ecuador is so culturally diverse, each region has its own gastronomy, aesthetics, art, and architecture. Today’s journey takes us through a very indigenous area, giving you some fundamentals insights. Notice how these indigenous people’s clothing, headpieces, ponchos, and jewelry differ from others you will encounter on your trip. On our commute over the windy country roads, we might have to halt now and again for lamas or sheep to cross. The mellow and corn yellows blend with the sage, olive, and seaweed greens of the countryside patchwork hilltop fields. Gradually we’re descending towards the gateway of the Amazon, the city of Baños. Observe the changing colors: from the Andean subdue to the crisp forest green of the cloud forest.

    Evening: Late afternoon we’re heading to our pick for a relaxing evening: a mountain hot springs on the slopes of the volcano, overlooking the city. We’re taking you at the ideal moment to enjoy a picture-perfect sunset over the valley. Dinner at the restaurant is optional but recommended!

    Meals included: Breakfast, snack, and lunch

    Day 3Adrenaline Rush in the Gateway to the Amazon

    Morning: Get ready for an adrenaline-rushed morning. Choose one of three activities:

    White-water rafting down a local river. This is class III (intermediate) rafting, with plenty of excitement for newbies and for people with some rafting experience under their belt.
    Canyoning: jump, and rappel down the pristine Rio Blanco waterfalls, surrounded by green, lush cloud forest.
    Ziplining: get a bird’s eye perspective of the green cloud forest. Soar through the canopy, and experience and enjoy the expansive scenery. Divided over 6 cables, you’ll cover about 2,000 meters (6,560 ft.) (the longest cable is a whopping 550 meters (1,800 ft.) long).

    Afternoon: We’ll be back in town in the early afternoon. The next few hours are yours to explore this adventure capital however your heart desires. Ask for our list of exhilarating recommendations, but we’ll reveal one here: the swing to the end of the world with a spectacular view of the active Tungurahua Volcano (the picture on the left was taken during an eruption in 2014). You really don’t want to miss this. Then we’re heading back to Quito, where we’ll arrive in the evening.

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

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