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16 Day Chimborazo Volcano Andes Climbing and Galapagos Islands Wildlife Tour in Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Amazing Andes Hiking and Wildlife Tour Peru

The Andes of Ecuador is every mountaineer's paradise. Ecuador is known for its many high peaks, easy accessibility, unique cultural heritage, and diverse cuisine. Cotopaxi Travel has created this ultimate program designed for nature enthusiasts, climbers, mountaineers, and trekkers. They offer guided high-altitude ascents accompanied by acclimatization, accommodation in villages rich with culture, traditional Ecuadorian meals, and an unforgettable experience combined with an amazing tour in Galapagos Islands. Galapagos is part of this amazing land, where Cotopaxi Travel’s team will take you to the highest point on the islands to enjoy a beautiful hike to the Sierra Negra volcano, witness giant tortoise in their natural habitats and other amazing places in the island you don't want to miss!

Key information

  • Group safari
  • Group size: Minimum 2 persons, maximum 12 persons.
  • Children policy: Children from the age of 12 years old are allowed to participate under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
  • Starting point and ending point: Quito
  • Languages: English speaking guide
  • Park fees are not included. The prices are Galapagos National Park entrance fee: 100 USD per person, Isabela dock fee 5 USD per person, migratory Control Card: 20 USD per person, and water taxis at each island transfer 1 USD per person each.

Highlights

  • 14 days with activity
  • Chance to see giant turtles, birds, flamingos, sea lions, and fish
  • Climb El corazón Volcano, Iliniza Norte, Cayambe Summit, and Chimborazo
  • Visit Tortoises Breeding Center, Charles Darwin Research Station, and The Twins
  • Visit Flamingo Lagoon, Tintoreras, Sierra Negra, and Concha Perla
  • Otavalo cultural tour, Laguna Cuicocha, and Cotacachi
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 13 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


14 activity days
Group size: 2-12 participants
Airport transfer included: Mariscal Sucre International Airport
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Accommodation

  • Quito: 4 nights hotel accommodation
  • Andes: 3 nights at Hostal Andes Alpes, 1 night at Oleas Ruales Refuge, and another night at Hermanos Carrel
  • Galapagos: 3 nights at Vicente Galapagos or La Laguna Hotel and another night at Hotel Fernandina or similar

Hostal Andes Alpes

This adventure hostel accommodation near the volcano Ilinizas and Cotopaxi does not only offer magnificent views of the untouched country-side but also gives you the possibility to experience the culture of the Andes’ local communities. Whether you just want to relax or to explore the landscape actively, this hostel is the best place to start. At the altitude of 3,300 meters, you can comfortably acclimatize and prepare yourself for the climbing of Ilinizas, Cotopaxi, Cayambe, and Chimborazo Volcanoes.

Program

Itinerary

  • Day 1: Flight to Quito (2,800 meters) - transfer to the hotel
  • Day 2: Quito - Pasochoa (4,200 meters) - El Chaupi (3,300 meters)
  • Day 3: El Chaupi - El corazón Volcano (4,788 meters)
  • Day 4: EL Chaupi - Iliniza Norte (5,126 meters)
  • Day 5: El Chaupi - Cayambe Shelter (4,600 meters)
  • Day 6: Cayambe Shelter - Cayambe Summit (5,790 meters) - Quito
  • Day 7: Quito - Baños (6,012 feet /1,800 meters)
  • Day 8: Baños - Hermanos Carrel Refuge Chimborazo (16,400 feet/5,000 meters)
  • Day 9: Chimborazo Summit (20,702 feet / 6,268 meters) - Quito
  • Day 10: Quito - Baltra - Isabela
  • Day 11: Sierra Negra active volcano trekking - Concha Perla Isabela
  • Day 12: Tortoises breeding center - Tintoreras
  • Day 13: Puerto Ayora - Charles Darwin Research Station
  • DAY 14: The Twins - Baltra
  • Day 15: Quito - Otavalo
  • Day 16: Flight back home

Detailed program

Day 1: Flight to Quito (2,800 meters) - transfer to the Hotel

Arrived in Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO), Pick up at the airport and transfer to the hotel in Quito. Depending on the time of your flight, you can visit the historical center of Quito.

Day 2: Quito - Pasochoa (4,200 meters) - El Chaupi (3,300 meters)

You will leave from Quito (9,186 feet/2,800 meters) early in the morning and drive southeast for about an hour through the Andean highlands until you get to the trailhead (10,827 feet/3,300 meters). The hike goes through an amazing primary Andean forest, great for bird watching. You can easily encounter the exotic hummingbirds during the hike. As you gain elevation, you will be able to see the surrounding snow-capped mountains such as Antisana, Cayambe, Illinizas, Cotopaxi on a clear day. Once close to the summit (4,200 meters), the hike will take you about 6 hours round trip. Transfer to the village of the El Chaupi, where you will stay at the hostel Andes Alpes. (10,827 feet/3,300 meters)

  • Meals: Breakfast and box lunch (B/BL)

Day 3: El Chaupi - El corazón Volcano (4,788 meters)

You start early in the morning after breakfast at 7:30 a.m. You will drive up to the trailhead (13,120 feet/4,000 meters), where you start your hike. The first part of the hike takes you up through the small Andean grass. Then, you will get on the sandy and scramble section, which leads to Corazon summit (15,702 feet/4788 meters). You will have lunch during the hike that is about eight hours long. Return to the hostel. Dinner and lodging.

  • Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, and dinner (B/BL/D)

Day 4: EL Chaupi - Iliniza Norte (5,126 meters)

You start early in the morning after breakfast at 7:30 a.m. You will be driving up to the “La Virgen parking lot” (12,795 feet/3,900 meters). Once there, you will start a three-hour hike up to the “Nuevos Horizontes Refuge” (15,580 feet/4,750 meters). You will relax for a couple of minutes and take the opportunity to put your helmet and harness for continue hiking up towards the saddle formed between both peaks and then head up to Illiniza north summit. It will take you between two to three hours to get to the summit (5,126 meters). The way back to the parking lot will take you between two hours. Drive back to El Chaupi. Overnight at the Hostal Andes Alpes.

  • Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, and dinner (B/BL/D)

Day 5: El Chaupi - Cayambe Shelter (4,600 meters)

Cayambe is a massive glaciated extinct volcano. It is located about 95 kilometers North East of EL Chaupi and is the highest point on the surface of the earth through which the Equator directly passes. Cayambe is the third highest mountain in Ecuador. It is characterized by good climbing opportunities and impressive glaciers with easy access from a comfortable hut Ruales Oleas Cayambe Refuge. You will arrive at the shelter in about three and a half hours of driving and you will rest for a couple of hours at the refuge, until dinner time.

  • Meals: Breakfast and dinner (B/D)

Day 6: Cayambe Shelter - Cayambe Summit (5,790 meters) - Quito

You will wake up at midnight, get a light breakfast, put your gear on and start the climb around 1:00 a.m. in the morning. The ascent takes about six to seven hours. The route to the summit follows a safe glacier terrain to the summit. A gaping bergschrund sometimes presents a challenge in route finding and an exciting extra obstacle. Once at the summit (18,996 feet/5,790 meters), you will take your time for pictures of the surroundings, and then you will head back to the refuge in two to three hours. At the refuge, you will rest for a while, and back start packing your belongings in order to drive to Quito.

  • Meals: Breakfast and dinner (B/D)

Day 7: Quito - Baños (6,012 feet /1,800 meters)

Baños town and its surroundings offer many possibilities like the route of the waterfalls, hikes inside the “cloud forest”, besides, depending on your interest, with an extra cost, you could try rafting, rock climbing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, horseback riding, etc. Night in a hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast (B)

Day 8: Baños - Hermanos Carrel Refuge Chimborazo (16,400 feet/5,000 meters)

From Baños, you will drive to the Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve entrance for about two hours, until getting to the Hermanos Carrel refuge (15,744 feet/4,800 meters), where you’ll have dinner and get some rest until 11:00 p.m. There will be an early light breakfast served just before getting ready with your gear and start heading up.

  • Meals: Breakfast, box lunch, and dinner (B/BL/D)

Day 9: Chimborazo Summit (20,702 feet / 6,268 meters) - Quito

At midnight, you will start your climb to the top of Ecuador’s highest mountain, Chimborazo, which will take you about eight to nine hours. You’ll get to the summit (20,702 feet/6,268 meters) in the early hours the perfect spot for resting and pictures of the beautiful surroundings. Then you’ll start descending to the refuge. It will take you from three to four hours. Once in the refuge, you’ll pack your gear, where transportation will be ready to drive up to Quito. Overnight and rest at the hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast and dinner (B/D)

Day 10: Quito - Baltra - Isabela

You fly from Quito or Guayaquil to the Island of Baltra. At the airport in Baltra, ypu will meet up with an English-speaking guide who will take you to the port of Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) for lunch. Afterward, you will take the public speedboat to Isabela, which lasts approximately three hours. You will arrive at Hotel San Vicente Galapagos or La Laguna Hotel (no Wi-Fi available). After a brief rest at the hotel, you will head to the Flamingo Lagoon, which is the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and is one of the main reproductive sites for the grand majority of flamingos.

  • Meals: Lunch and dinner (L/D)

Day 11: Sierra Negra active volcano trekking - Concha Perla Isabela

Early in the morning, after breakfast, you’ll take an excursion to the Sierra Negra Volcano. This volcano is located 13 miles from Port Villamil and has the second largest volcanic crater in the world, measuring six miles in diameter and 300 feet deep. To arrive at this incredible sight, you travel in a bus or similar vehicle for 45 minutes to the Galapagos National Park, where you will register your visit and then begin your hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano.

You’ll then proceed to the Volcan Chico, where you can feel the warmth of the ground as proof of the volcano’s activity. There, you’ll stop for a box lunch before returning to the hotel. After a brief rest, you’ll have the chance to go snorkeling or swimming at Concha Perla, where you can observe the colorful fishes, sea urchins, starfishes, sea lions, or even sea turtles. Hotel accommodation is provided at Hotel San Vicente Galapagos or La Laguna Hotel (no Wi-Fi available)

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (B/L/D)

Day 12: Tortoises Breeding Center - Tintoreras

After breakfast, you will go to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, where you will see giant tortoises in different stages of life and learn about the process that the center to going through to bring back the numbers tortoises on the island. Additionally, you will visit a small lava tunnel and another flamingo lagoon, and then you will return to the hotel to have lunch.

In the afternoon, you will sail to Islote Tintoreras. It is called this due to a large crevice with very clear calm water in which white-tip sharks known as “Tintoreras” come daily to rest on the bottom. You can also observe penguins, sea lions, and marine iguanas and go snorkeling with sharks as well as other colorful tropical fishes while enjoying the beaches of Isabela. Hotel accommodation is provided at Hotel San Vicente Galapagos or La Laguna Hotel (no Wi-Fi available)

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (B/L/D)

Day 13: Puerto Ayora - Charles Darwin Research Station

You will take a public speedboat to Puerto Ayora, where the guide will be waiting for you in order to check in to the hotel and eat breakfast. After that, you will enjoy a wonderful visit to see giant turtles in their natural habitat. After lunch in the highlands, you will return to Puerto Ayora and go to the Charles Darwin Research Station. There, you will have the opportunity to remember the history of the famous Lonesome George. Hotel accommodation is provided at Hotel San Vicente Galapagos or La Laguna Hotel (no Wi-Fi available)

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (B/L/D)

Day 14: The Twins - Baltra

After breakfast, you will travel to Baltra Airport, but on the way, you will stop by “The Twins” (“The Gemelos”), which are similar to craters, but formed by a collapse of the earth because of the lava flows that passed below it. The tour will end upon the arrival to the airport where you will depart to Quito or Guayaquil.

  • Meals: Breakfast (B)

Day 15: Quito - Otavalo

The Otavalo cultural tour is a wonderful way to discover and combine the famous artesian indigenous market in Ecuador and some of the amazing views outside Otavalo. After breakfast at 8:00 a.m. You will drive north of Quito through the Sierra highlands, and your first stop will be at Quitsato Middle of the world, and then onto Cayambe, where you can taste and learn about the town's famous biscochos (local biscuits). You then arrive at the famous Otavalo Market, where you will have time to eat lunch and buy handicrafts.

The main market day in Otavalo is Saturday. After exploring the market and having lunch, you will depart Otavalo and make a stop at Laguna Cuicocha, which is located in a volcano crater, and contains two green islands. You'll then visit Cotacachi. This town is famous for its leather goods and a great place to pick up a bargain! After that, you will make your way back to Quito.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (B/L/D)

Day 16: Flight back home

From Quito, transfer to the airport and flight to Europe or your country of origin.

  • Meals: Breakfast (B)

Location

Thanks to its extraordinary variety of ecosystems and species, Ecuador is also renowned as one of the hot spots for biological diversity on the planet. Ecuador is situated in the northwest of the South American continent. It is home to the very Equator line which crosses the country: This is why it is also called the Centre of the World.

Ecuador offers the best trekking, hiking, and mountain climbing in Andes tourism because of its geographical diversity. With its contrasts in different regions, it couldn’t be more diverse: The Andes, with its snow-covered peaks and volcanoes, the coast with its sandy beaches, the Amazonian rain forest with its diverse flora, fauna, and not to forget the enchanted Galapagos Islands.

Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands (official name: Archipiélago de Colón, other Spanish names: Islas Galápagos, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈislas gaˈlapaɣos]) are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 906 kilometers (563 miles) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are apart.

The Galápagos Islands and their surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The principal language on the islands is Spanish. The islands have a population of slightly over 25,000.

The islands are famed for their vast number of endemic species and were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 1 night accommodation at Hermanos Carrel
  • 1 night accommodation at Oleas Ruales Refuge
  • 3 nights accommodation at Hostal Andes Alpes
  • 4 nights hotel accommodation in Galápagos
  • 4 nights hotel accommodation in Quito (double room)
  • Acclimatization and climbing program
  • All meals during the hikes and climbs (shown in the itinerary as B: Breakfast, BL: Box lunch and D: Dinner)
  • A registered and fully licensed tour operator
  • Ecuadorian qualified and experienced local mountain guide (ASEGUIM/UIAGM) with ratio 2 climbers - 1 guide
  • Galápagos land tour
  • Land transportation and transfers
  • Technical mountain equipment (crampons, ice axe, harness, and helmet)

What's not included

  • Flight tickets to Galapagos
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee: 100 USD per person
  • Insurance of any kind
  • International flight tickets
  • Isabela dock fee 5 USD per person
  • Luggage insurance and trip cancellation
  • Migratory Control Card: 20 USD per person
  • Other non-specified expenses
  • Personal mountain gear (warm clothes, sleeping bags, sunglasses, headlamp, etc.)
  • Tips
  • Travel accident and health insurance
  • Water taxis at each island transfer 1 USD per person each

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Cotopaxi Travel will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Mariscal Sucre International Airport Airport transfer included: Mariscal Sucre International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 45% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
16 days / 15 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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