TRAIL RUNNING ECUADOR | ANDES TO THE AMAZON

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH VERONICA ROJAS

NOVEMBER 24th - DECEMBER 7th 2019

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WHAT Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in the Americas, however one of the most biodiverse in the world. Ecuador trail running gives you the opportunity to visit both the Andes and the Amazon wilderness within just a few hours. You will be amazed by the landscapes, the people and the diversity that the country has to offer, each of them with special weather, flora, fauna and food culture. All this together makes of Ecuador a hidden jewel and it is not surprising that Ecuador has several consecutive World Travel Awards.

This journey is created by runners for runners. We have created this tour as our dream adventure trail running in Ecuador. We have chosen exciting trails, which include beautiful landscapes, good elevation and technical terrain to challenge runners of all abilities. We have selected exciting accommodation in small unique haciendas and eco-lodges. The entire trip has been planned and organised so that you can relax and just experience! All runs will be measured in time rather than distance due to the vertical +/- and technical aspects of the trails.

WHO Anyone with some experience in trail running and hilly terrain can join. Pace is unimportant on our adventures, but for several days we will be out for 3 to 6 hours and switch between running, hiking and other activities. Most of the routes have been selected to give the runners the possibility to enjoy at their own pace, joined by a guide. Some runs/hikes are at altitude and will be challenging - the more prepared you are, the more fun you’ll have and the further you’ll be able to go.

If for any reason you do not feel like running, there will always be alternatives to enjoy your day. For most of the runs, there will be a support vehicle with us in the case you need it. Also, if the kilometres and the altitude are not enough for you, there will be opportunity to extend your run. The entire tour is done in English.

TOUR DETAILS

DATES  24th November - 7th December 2019

PRICE US$3895

  • US$500 non refundable deposit required to secure place, deposit can be transferred to another adventure.

  • Remaining balance due by August 1st 2019. Registrations after that date must be paid in full.

  • All tips included

PARTICIPANTS 12

GUIDES FOR THIS ADVENTURE Braz and Veronica Rojas Paurell

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Swag from supporting sponsors

  • A percent of your payment goes to sponsor a child from Children of Uganda

  • All of the scheduled activities

  • All accommodation during the tour (12 nights). Most lodges and haciendas in shared rooms (single occupancy room option available for an extra price in some lodges)

  • All meals during the tour

  • All tips - we pay our guides well

  • All transport during the tour (except for those by feet!)

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Transport to Quito (e.g. flights)

  • Insurance. All participants are required to have their own travel insurance appropriate for outdoor sports; such as health, accident, mountain rescue, repatriation, cancellation, personal liability, etc. We recommend: Global Rescue

  • Trail snack to eat on the go - we recommend that you bring dried fruit, nuts or energy bars to last you throughout the entire runs (further info in the packing list)

  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages

  • Expenses for extra activities, such as; massages, spas, sauna, hot tub

  • Any accommodations for extra days in Ecuador

*We reserve the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather conditions, National Parks regulations or notifications and unforeseeable circumstances

ADVENTURE ITINERARY

Day 1 | Quito - Tumbaco

  • Arrival and acclimatisation day (Quito is at 2800 meters)

  • Organised airport pick-up and hotel check-in throughout the day.

  • Welcome dinner 

Day 2 | Quito – Otavalo

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Drive to Quito downtown where we will spend a couple of hours visiting the highlights of the historic centre which was declared World Heritage in 1978 by the Unesco. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite several earthquakes, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. 

  • After lunch in the city, we will drive to Mitad del Mundo Monument which is on the bucket list if you are visiting Ecuador. Here, we will be able to place a foot in each hemisphere and enjoy to be in the middle of the world. 

  • After a full day in Quito we drive (2.5hrs) to the north Andes to our first stop in a beautiful hacienda close to the town of Otavalo

  • Dinner and relax with beautiful landscapes at Hacienda Mojanda

  • Highest point at 2900 meters

Day 3 | Mojanda - Fuya Fuya

  • Breakfast at the hacienda

  • Run/hike to Fuya Fuya (4270 meters), which is a short but steep climb in páramo terrain. On a clear day, the hike affords the most beautiful views of the Mojanda lagoon, the paramo and the surrounding countryside. The route: 5km/500+/500-m

  • After a lunch at the hacienda, it’s time for some cultural and a touristic visit to Plaza de los Ponchos in Otavalo (30minute drive), a place of history and tradition. A colourful artisanal market for alpaca-wool sweaters, scarves, textiles, blankets and more. Moreover, here we will be able to get in touch with the indigenous Otavaleño people, who make up 50% of the town population. The scene at the market is one of contrasts, with traditionally dressed Otavaleño stallholders surrounded by a modern town centre. 

  • Dinner and relax with beautiful landscapes at Hacienda Mojanda

  • Highest point: 4275 meters

Day 4 | Mojanda - Cuicocha Lagoon

  • Breakfast at the hacienda

  • Laguna Cuicocha (1hr drive) which is translated as the guinea pig lake - is a large caldera lake nearly 3 kilometres wide. The lagoon is part of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve. This is one of the most beautiful trail running routes in Ecuador. An undulating route at high altitude, with majestic views of different volcanos such as Cayambe, Imbabura and Cotacachi, sapphire-blue waters and vivid flora. While we run it is also interesting to appreciate the changes in vegetation due to the various micro-climates along the path. The route: 13km/600+/600-m

  • After lunch at a restaurant, we visit the town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather products.

  • Dinner and relax with beautiful landscapes at the Hacienda Mojanda

  • Highest point at 3485 meters

Day 5 | Mojanda – Imbabura – Papallacta

  •  Early breakfast at the hacienda

  • Run/hike up to El Imbabura. The route: 9km/1250-/1250+m. We drive to the small village of La Esperanza – Chirihuasi (1.5hr drive) where the trail starts. The long trekking to the summit will be one of the best souvenirs of the trip. It is a challenging route traversing polylepis forest and páramo terrain, if the weather allows the hike will offer fantastic views of the Imbabura province, Cayambe and Cotacahi volcanoes.

  • Once we are back at Chirihuasi we have a well-deserved packed lunch.

  • The North Andes are over, and we drive to Papallacta (3.5hrs drive) where hot thermal springs will be waiting for us!! 

  • Dinner and hot springs at the Termas Papallacta Spa

  • Highest point at 4630 meters

 Day 6 | Papallacta – Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve

  •  Breakfast at the hotel

  • We will have a beautiful run in the Andes taking the bear path. The route: 12km/-200/+­200m. We will run along the Sucus, Mantala and other small lagoons. Be prepared, because even if it is not raining you may get wet! The route is part of the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve and it is surrounded by imposing mountains and beautiful landscapes. After the run we will have lunch and have the whole afternoon to relax in the legendary hot spring’s pools in Papallacta.

  • Dinner and hot springs at the Termas Papallacta Spa

  • Highest point at 3859 meters

Day 7 | Papallacta – Tena

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • After enjoying some relaxing time, we will drive (3.5hrs) towards our Amazon lodge, where we will spend on a 2-3 hours excursion in the virgin jungle. We will hopefully see animals in their wild state, large trees and beautiful landscapes that allow us to feel the vastness of the Amazon. 

  • Dinner at Tena hotel

  • Highest point at 430 meters

Day 8 | Tena – Rafting 

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • This day is one for resting our legs but not our senses of adventure as we will be rafting the Jatunyacu river (1hr drive). It is a majestic, friendly, fun, warm and pristine river. This is a once in a lifetime adventure and for sure one of the highlights of our journey. Before starting, our experienced guides will give us a safety briefing, train the team in paddling techniques and fit you with a life jacket and helmet. Here is where the adrenaline begins, and you will be submerged in this magical experience. During the trip, we’ll stop on a beach by the side of the river for a delicious picnic lunch provided by our guides, to later continue our 25km journey on the river back to Tena, arriving around 5PM.

  • The rest of the late afternoon, you can just enjoy of the sunset in the basins of the river, read a book or if you are not exhausted go for an easy run around the island.   

  • After dinner at the Tena hotel, we will go for a night walk which is an extraordinary experience! what can be observed in the day, in the night changes totally. We will be able to see tarantulas, insects, frogs, caimans and other amphibians. The night walk allows us to get in touch with the most virgin and uninhabited jungle ever.

  • Highest point at 550 meters

Day 9 | Tena – Baños

  •  Breakfast at the hotel

  • After spending some amazing days in the jungle, we will drive towards Baños (3.5hr drive). On the way we will make a stop in The Pailón Del Diablo, or in English “Cauldron of the Devil” is a magnificent waterfall in the Rio Verde area, about half an hour from Baños. The Pailon Del Diablo is about 80 meters high and it’s one of the most spectacular waterfalls to visit in Ecuador.

  • Lunch at a restaurant on the way

  • We continue our travel to Baños where we will arrive in the afternoon. Just on time to start our steep hike for the day. The route: 6km/-700/+­200m. We will start going up on stairs and follow this path for almost 150 meters of uphill, we will continue in a beautiful green-muddy trail above Baños and have beautiful views of the town, Tungurahua volcano and all the green mountains around. Once at the top we will visit “La Casa del Árbol” one of the main attractions of Baños, and if the weather allows see the sunset from here.

  • Dinner at the Banos hotel

  • Highest point at 2646 meters

Day 10 | Baños – Baños 

  • Early breakfast at hotel

  • Drive to the little parish of Ulba where the trail for the day begins. The route: 17km/- 1350/+­1350m. This is a steep and wild route. After an hour hiking up, we will arrive at the first peak called "Cabeza de Perro" while we enjoy breathtaking views of the Pastaza River, Baños and the Agoyán dam. We will continue our way through a sector called the saddle, at times exposed but beautiful. Once we start the descent, we will reach “La silla del amor” or the chair of love in English and take the left-hand side descending to the suspension bridge which crosses the Pastaza River in a large canyon reaching the town of San Vicente, we cross through Baños and we go uphill where we finish our route.

  • We will have a late lunch and a free afternoon to enjoy the little town of Baños.

  • Dinner at the Banos hotel

  • Highest point at 2450 meters

Day 11 | Baños - Cotopaxi Area – Horse Back Riding

  •  Enjoy some early coffee and breakfast with a fantastic view of the mountains in Baños.

  • Drive to Cotopaxi National Park (3.5hrs) where Cotopaxi volcano is located, one of the world’s highest volcanoes (5897 meters). A volcano with such a beauty that it leaves you speechless. Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by mud flows around the volcano, making the surroundings of El Cotopaxi, just amazing. A variety of wild animals live in the park such as wolves, pumas, bears, rabbits, Andean condors, horses, and foxes.

  • After lunch at the hacienda, an exciting horseback riding adventure awaits us. Before the ride, our guide will offer a quick lesson in riding, but don’t worry, the horses are gentle and the trails easy, it’s a great place to have fun. This is an opportunity to rest our legs and the perfect way to explore the unique Andean landscape of the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, and if the weather allows with spectacular views of the volcanoes el Pasochoa, Rumiñahui, Sincholagua, Antisana, Corazón and Cotopaxi. No experience necessary. 

  • Dinner at the hacienda

  • Highest point at 3800 meters

Day 12 | Cotopaxi Area – Rumiñahui Volcano

  • Breakfast at the hacienda

  • After previous days at altitude, our next adventure will be hiking/running el Rumiñahui. The route: 11km/-850/+850m. This is an extinct volcano named after the loyal general of the last Inca Emperor, Atahualpa. After the Spaniards murdered the Emperor, Rumiñahui hid the famous treasure of gold that was to be paid for Atahualpa's freedom, and led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In the local language Quichua, the name means "stone face". We start the hike from Limpiopungo lake located at 3900 meters. Technically, it is a hike with some easy scrambling at the end. The mountain offers epic views of El Corazón, Los Ilinizas, Sincholagua, and Cotopaxi. The run downhill is fast, beautiful and for sure one of the highlights of the trip.

  • After the hike, we will have a well-deserved lunch and drive back to Quito (3hrs drive) for our final night together.

  • Dinner in Quito hotel

  • Highest point at 4720 meters

 Day 13 | Quito (Cumbayá)

  • Early breakfast at the hotel

  • To the El Teleférico (1hr drive), a cable car that will take us from Quito to 4050 meters of altitude. From this point we will run/hike up towards Ruco Pichincha volcano (4730 meters), one of the most famous hikes around Quito and a favourite route for trail runners, when they want to train in altitude. The route: 9.5km/- 770/+770m.

  • Dinner and party in Quito

  • Highest point at 4730 meters 

    Day 14 | Quito - Departure day

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Transfer to the airport

All these stunning photos are credited to the talented Jonas Paurell