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Mountain Guardians Lodge Trek

5 days from £1450pp plus international flights.

This five-day trek is an unmissable opportunity to spend time amongst the might Andean peaks, traversing grassland, arid plains, walking through forests and valleys, past cascading waterfalls and happening on ancient Inca sites.

 
It's a rich mix, but it's not too arduous a route (though bear in mind that it is at altitude) and needs no previous climbing experience. During the trek you'll reach two lofty summits for fabulous views of the surrounding mountains, including the imposing, snow-covered Cotopaxi. Your guide, an expert naturalist and experienced climber, leads you along the varied tracks and trails, pointing out sights of interest and giving you time to enjoy the views and take those all-important photographs. 

You won't miss out on creature comforts. You'll be staying in lovely mountain lodges and homely haciendas, where friendly service, cosy accommodation and delicious food combine, making you feel right at home.

We think this is a lovely addition to any holiday to Ecuador, giving you access fabulous Andean scenery as you enjoy the benefits of healthy exercise and plenty of mountain-fresh air and rewarding you with a great sense of satisfaction on the successful conclusion of the hike.  
Itinerary
Set off on your 5-day trek in the Ecuadorian Andes

DAY 1: PASOCHOA PEAK AND PITA RIVER CANYON

This morning you'll be collected from your Quito hotel for the drive to Pasochoa Reserve, named after the peak that you're about to scale! At 4,200 metres this is an impressive sight and your hike to the summit will take about 3 hours, travelling on grassland trails. At the top you'll have superb views of the surrounding mountains which include Cotopaxi. You'll also be able to see down into the Pasochoa crater. Next you'll have a 3-hour descent through forests and grassland to the Pita River canyon and your lodge for the night, Cotopaxi Pungo. Total hiking time today is about 7 hours.  Lunch, dinner  
Los Mortinos provides good food and comfortable accommodation

DAY 2: THE PEDREGAL TRAIL

After a hearty breakfast at the lodge you'll set out, following the Pita River, which is fed by the melting glaciers of Cotopaxi, through high mountain forests. The scenery is breath-taking as you slowly descend through grasslands to the Pedregal area. You'll be walking for approximately 6-7 hours today. Your accommodation tonight is Los Mortinos hacienda, where you'll have a warm welcome and a tasty home-cooked dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner 
This area is home to herds of wild horses

DAY 3: THE COTOPAXI TRAIL

Today your route continues along the course of the Pita River. You'll soon enter the flatlands on eastern flank of Cotopaxi, Ecuador's highest mountain, with views of the foothills of Mount Sincholagua as well as the mighty Cotopaxi. You'll travel through varied terrain including grassland and stony plains. Wild horses are often seen in this area and you may spot Andean condors soaring overhead. After about 5 hours you'll arrive at Hosteria Tambopaxi, your home for the next 2 nights. Breakfast, lunch, dinner 
Marvel at snow-capped Cotopaxi

DAY 4: RUMINAHUI PEAK

This morning you'll have your second peak climb of the trek. Your target is the lowest peak of Ruminahui, regarded as the sentry to Cotopaxi National Park. The climb is not arduous and travels past several waterfalls before reaching the stone plains of the mountain at about 4,600 metres above sea level. As you ascend you'll have views of the eastern side of Sincholagua and of Cotopaxi. Descending from the peak you'll pass the Inca site of Machay and walk through 'the silent valley' before arriving at the scenic Limpiopungo lagoon. Hiking time is about 6 hours and you'll be staying once more at the lovely Hosteria Tambopaxi. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Hike to the edge of the glacier on your final day

DAY 5: ON THE SNOW LINE

Following breakfast you'll be driven to Cotopaxi mountain refuge, where an hour's walk leads to the mountaineers' lodge. Next there's a hike of about 2 hours to the edge of the glacier. The views are spectacular and, with the help of your guide, you'll be able to see the entire route of your hike. You'll have a great sense of achievement as you survey the scene and you'll certainly want your camera to hand. The descent back to the mountain refuge will take about 2 hours, where you'll board the vehicle for the drive back to Quito. Breakfast, lunch
Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £1450 (ex. international flights)

Includes: 4 nights twin-share accommodation in comfortable mountain lodges and haciendas; meals as specified; services of a bilingual naturalist and climbing guide; transportation and support vehicle throughout; first aid kit

Excludes: International flights and taxes; visas; travel insurance; meals not shown; drinks; park entry fees; climbing gear (can be rented locally); tips; items of a personal nature 

Getting there: This itinerary starts and ends in Quito. You'll need accommodation in Quito before and after the holiday, which we are happy to book for you. International return flights from the UK will cost from around £900 per person, depending on availability and season.

Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday and can begin on the day you choose.

places you will see

places you will see

Cotopaxi National Park
Cotopaxi and the Avenue of Volcanoes
Situated about 40 miles south of Quito in the "Avenue of Volcanoes", Cotopaxi National Park was founded in 1979 and covers about 33,500 hectares.
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holidays with heart
holidays with heart

How this holiday helps

This is the first ever good quality lodge to lodge trek in Ecuador. For you the joy of the trip is the ability to trek through some stunning landscapes, up to high passes, through cloudforest, across rivers and paramo (high altitude grasslands) and even up to glaciers.

On another level this trip serves to highlight the need to protect natural resources, especially water sources, as the glacial meltwaters of Cotopaxi National Park feed the water needs of Quito. Also, the lodges employ local people, and some experiences of rural local life (eg milking cows or making cheese) are on offer as well as horse riding.

customer rating

5/5 from 42 reviews

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WHEN TO VISIT

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facts and information

Time: GMT -5 hours

Flight time: There is an international airport at Quito and at Guayaquil. KLM and Iberia have routes via Europe to both cities. The flying time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly via America.

Language: Spanish is Ecuador's official language.

Visas: Not required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.

Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.

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Tribes Tailormade Travel

Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499

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