The Andean Condor’s Trek

ECU-62 / 10-day trip / Grade: T2

The Andean Condor’s Trek 1
OVERVIEW

On this 10-day itinerary we offer you an exciting program for one of the best trekking program in Ecuador: The Condor’s Trek, an absolutely beautiful, authentic and remote area which is rarely visited by other tourists or mountaineers. We provide excellent professional guides, equipment, good accommodation, transportation, food, etc.

Also, we recommend that you take a look at our extension trips. These will add to your adventure and show you some of the natural wealth and variety a small country like Ecuador has to offer.


Day 1 Arrival in Quito
Day 2 Quito – City tour (2800 m)
Day 3 Climb: Guagua-Pichinca volcano (4794 m)
Day 4 Trekking: Laguna Volcan Campsite (3700 m)
Day 5 Trekking: Antisanilla Campsite (4200 m)
Day 6 Trekking: Taracocha lake Campsite (4200 m)
Day 7 Trekking: Rio Pita (3750 m) – End of trek
Day 8 Trekking: Cotopaxi’s glacier (5000 m) – Limpiopungo lake 
Day 9 Trekking: Hacienda Santa Rita (3400 m)
Day 10 Departure
ITINERARY
Day 1

Arrival in Quito
Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Quito: Full day City tour with “Mitad del Mundo”
Full day private city tour in the historical part of Quito, including La Basilica Church, La Compañia Church and El Panecillo Hill. We leave the hotel by our private transport and will see the transformation from the new part of the city to the absolutely beautiful historical and colonial part of Quito. We will make some stops during the tour and visit all the interesting churches, plazas etc., but also will have time to simply soak up the local atmosphere, the many shops and sellers. Afterwards, we continue to “El Panecillo”, the hill in the center of Quito overlooking the city and the historical center. From here, on clear days, we may observe several of the snow-capped volcanoes surrounding Quito.
 After lunch, visit to “Mitad del Mundo” where you can stand on the equatorial line and do some fun experiments.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Climb: Guagua Pichincha volcano (4794 m)
The Pichinchas are three summits located on the Western range just above Quito. The Guagua Pichincha is the highest and the youngest of the summits, the other two are the Rucu Pichincha and the Padre Encantado (Enchanted father) and both of them lower. Guagua is also where the last eruption took place in the year 1999, but it is considered safe to climb by the geologist. The Guagua and the Rucu are very popular ascents, due to their location on the outskirt of the capital and their convenient access.
Pick-up at the hotel in Quito and transfer (2 h) to the head of the trail to a parking place at 4150 m. From the parking place, the hike will ascent by a “paramo” area finding it way through changing vegetation up to the moraine. The ascent is very straight forward, but the distance to cover is anyway considerable. There is a big gain in altitude during the hike, which works great as a preparation for higher summits. The trail back is the same of the ascent. From the parking there is a 3 hours drive across Los Chillos and Tumbaco valley and up over the Andes, down to Papallacta town (3300 m).
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 644 / Descent: 644 m / Highest altitude: 4794 m / Activity duration: 6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 4

Trekking: Laguna Volcan Campsite (3642 m)
The transport will pick the group up and drive back up the valley (45 min) until the head of trail called: El Tambo (3638 m). The hike starts by a horseshoe trail over a swampy area and up to the Potrerillos pass (3950 m), then descends by a valley densely cover with “paramo” vegetation down to the Volcano Lake, where the first campsite will be established (3642 m).
Night in tents.
Ascent: 312 m / Descent: 308 m / Highest Altitude: 3950 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 5

Trekking: Antisanilla Campsite (4090 m)
Today is the longest ascent of the trek; therefore an early start is a must. Leaving the Volcan Lake, the trail begins a constant ascent between shallow valleys and ridges until reaching the highland’s plateau. Then an eastwards traverse to a volcanic valley that gently ascents passing Santa Lucia Lake and up to Santa Lucia Pass (4380 m) to descent to one of the camping areas around Antisanilla (4090 m).
Night in Tents.
Ascent: 738 m / Descent: 290 m / Highest Altitude: 4380 m / Activity duration: 8 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 6

Trekking: Taracocha lake Campsite (4214 m)
Once again an early departure, due to the long distance to be cover this day. The altitude difference is not that bad, but the hike is close to 20 Km. The first part, from Antisanilla to Hacienda Pullurima (3920 m), is mostly flat and a bit downwards; crossing some of the most beautiful swampy valleys covered with hard vegetation called Cushions “Cojines”. During the hike the view is quite impressive, having the Antisana volcano to the East and in the distance the Sincholagua and Cotopaxi volcanoes. From Hacienda Pullurima, by the way a huge ranch specialized in the breed of bulls, the trail goes in an almost straight line up the slope, aiming to the base of Sincholagua volcano, and just before the Taracocha Lake and the campsite (4214 m).
Night in tents.
Ascent: 170 m / Descent: 294 m / Highest Altitude: 4090 m / Activity duration: 8-9 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 7

Trekking: Rio Pita (3750 m) – End of trek
Sunrise on Taracocha Lake is amazing, having the mighty Cotopaxi just in front and the Antisana behind. After breakfast, the team will head up to the highest point in the trek: Sincholagua mountain Pass (4408 m). The ascent is progressive and will go from “Paramo” vegetation with high grass to a rocky moraine. On the pass there is a great panorama to the Cotopaxi volcano and the valley below. The Rumiñahui, Pasochoa, Ilinizas, Corazon volcanoes are also visible and, in the distance, the city of Quito. Descending is a great walk by a lovely green valley that ends at Pita River’s bed (3750 m). A short 40 minutes hike by the river up to the mountain lodge with a perfect view to Cotopaxi volcano.
Night in tents.
Ascent: 194 m / Descent: 658 m / Highest Altitude: 4408 m / Activity duration: 7-8 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 8

Trekking: Cotopaxi’s Glacier – Limpiopungo’s lake (5000 m)
Transfer (1.45 h) to the parking area (4500 m). Then hike to the high refuge José Rivas Hut (4800 m) and on to the glacier (5000 m). After a break to enjoy the amazing views, we will descend pass the parking place and into the Lava Valley that follows a gorge into the plateau. Then a flat walk until Limpiopungo Lake, where we will hike around it before being picked up and drive back to the mountain hut.
Night at the mountain hut.
Ascent: 500 m / Descent: 1200 m / Highest Altitude: 5000 m / Activity duration: 6 h
Included: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 9

Trekking: Hacienda Santa Rita (3400 m)
After enjoying the fabulous mountain hut, the last trekking day will be mostly downwards, following some of the local trails, into a more greener and fertile land ending at the Hacienda Santa Rita. This is rarely hiked section, very authentic and a nice way to finish up this unique trek. At the hacienda, there will be a transport ready to take the group back to Quito’s area (2 h).
Night in hotel.
Descent: 400 m / Highest Altitude: 3800 m / Activity duration: 5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 10

Departure
Time to leave the volcanoes of Ecuador!
Pick up at hotel and transfer out to Quito’s Airport (1-2 h) – End of services
Included meals: Breakfast

PRICING
ECU-62 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


INCLUDED

  • Local mountain guide during the entire program
  • Assistant mountain guide during the mountain itinerary in a ratio 1:5
  • City guide for Quito’s city tour
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • 3 nights in shared double rooms in hotels in the city of Quito
  • 1 night in shared double room in hotel in the town of Papallacta
  • 2 nights in shared dormitory at Cotopaxi National Park lower hut
  • 3 nights in campsite
  • Entry fee to the National parks and natural reserves
  • Entry fees to museums and sights mentioned in the program
  • Quality mountain tents – 2 people per tent during the trek
  • Group common campsite equipment
  • Porters and mule/horses for group campsite equipment and personal equipment
  • Cook during the trek
  • Meals as specified in the day to day itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • Domestic and international flights
  • Separate airport transfers in case of multiple arrival/departures
  • Personal camping gear
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list
HOTEL LIST

QUITO: Hostal Fuente de Piedra 1 & 2 or similar

PAPALLACTAHotel Termas de Papallacta or similar

COTOPAXI: Tambo-Paxi Mountain Refuge or similar

MAPS
GALLERY
Tags: Trekking, Ecuador, Pichincha, Cotopaxi trek, T2