ECUADOR | EXPLORING THE ANDES
FEBRUARY 29TH - 7TH MARCH 2020
This 8-day trail running trip to the high Andes of Ecuador is a short trip that gathers our favourites places in the North and Central Andes of this amazing country. We will be staying at two wonderful locations with great access to the routes we have chosen for this trip. You will experience high mountains, run around crater lakes, discover the paramo life, enjoy Ecuadorian food, culture and hospitality while you run and hike on amazing trails with breath-taking views.
WHO CAN JOIN?
Anyone with some experience in trail running and hilly terrain can join. Pace is unimportant on our adventures, but for six 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, accompanied by a leader. The runs/hikes are at altitude and it 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.
For this trip is recommended to arrive in Quito at least one day before. Take into consideration that you will be in the Andes at high altitude. We can organise your hotel and transportation for the earlier day/s. Once you have signed up to the trip, we will send you a detailed packing list.
US$500 non refundable deposit required to secure place, deposit can be transferred to another adventure
Remaining balance due by January 1st 2020. Registrations after that date must be paid in full.
Flights (Please do NOT make travel arrangements until we notify you that the group size has met the minimum)
Personal travel and medical Insurance. We recommend: Global Rescue
Alcohol and other drinks
Additional snack foods, race food (gels, bars, electrolytes etc)
Personal spending - souvenirs etc.
Airport transfers and all transportation
All meals. All dietary requirements can be met
Day 1 | Quito (Tumbaco) – Arrival day Arrival and acclimatisation day (Quito is at 2800 meters). We will arrange an organised airport pick-up and hotel check-in throughout the day, following by a safe briefing and a welcome dinner at night.
Day 2 | Quito – Mojanda – Fuya Fuya. We start our day early and drive towards Imbabura Province. We take this day easy and start our adventure for the day driving towards the pristine Mojanda lagoon, a volcano that has been extinct for more than 200,000 years. We will start hiking to the short but steep summit of Fuya Fuya, perfect for acclimatisation; from the top we can observe the beautiful paramo landscapes of the surrounding Andes • Route highest point at 4275m/14,000ft • Distance 4.5km/2.8mi • Elevation +/- 500m/1640ft • Estimated time 2 hours • Meals all included • Sleeping altitude 2800m/9186ft • Transfer to Mojanda Lagoon (1h50)
Day 3 | Mojanda – Cuicocha Lagoon. We begin our day with an Andean breakfast and then we will depart to Cotacachi volcano foothills where the beautiful Cuicocha lagoon is located. The lagoon is a large caldera of nearly 3 kilometres wide and 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, and of course the crater’s sapphire-blue waters and vivid flora. After a well-deserved lunch we will enjoy the charm of Cotacachi town famous for its leather products. In the afternoon we return to our hacienda and enjoy of a relax afternoon and dinner. • Route highest point at 3485m/11433ft • Distance 13km/8mi • Elevation +/- 600m/1968ft • Estimated time 2.5 hours • Meals all included • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft • Transfer to Cuicocha Lagoon (50 min)
Day 4 | Mojanda – Imbabura. Today we enjoy an early breakfast and we get ready to hike up to El Imbabura. We drive to the small village of La Esperanza – Chirihuasi 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 and the the North Andes are over with this challenging hike. We will drive towards the Central Andes to a small cosy hacienda privileged located on the Avenue of the Volcanoes our next base camp. • Route highest point at 4630m/15190ft • Distance 10km/6mi • Elevation +/- 1250m/4101ft • Estimated time 7 hours • Meals all included • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft • Transfer to La Esperanza (1h10 min) • Transfer to the Central Andes from La Esperanza (3h40)
Day 5 | Machachi – Pasochoa. After breakfast, we drive towards Pasochoa. The zone is part of Ecuador's National System of Protected Areas. It has an extraordinary biological value as it holds several vegetation zones, but much of the plant-life is Andean forest with approximately 240 plant species, it is home to some 10 mammal species like deer, rabbits, pumas, skunks and bats, and 127 bird species, among them 16 hummingbird species, condors, huirac-churos, and more. The special shape of Pasochoa is the result of the eruption of the volcano some 100 000 years ago, creating as a consequence the large crater; as the mountain was difficult to access and is not suitable for agriculture the forest is relatively untouched and is one of the few remaining native forests of the Ecuadorian Andes. After the run, we drive back to our base camp for a deserved rest and dinner • Route highest point at 4275m/14000ft • Distance 8km/5mi • Elevation +/- 500m/1640ft • Estimated time 5 hours • Meals all included • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft • Transfer to Pasochoa (1h20)
Day 6 | Machachi – Quilotoa Lagoon. After some early breakfast we head towards the Quilotoa lagoon at 3800m/12467ft. One of the most beautiful and impressive lagoons in Ecuador, an azure-coloured crater lake surrounded by steep shadowy mountains and (most likely) deep blue skies overhead. • Route highest point at 3932m/12900ft • Distance 10km/6.2mi • Elevation +/- 465m/1526ft • Estimated time 3 hours • Meals all included • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft • Transfer to Quilotoa Lagoon (2h45)
Day 7 | Machachi – Limpiopungo Lagoon (Rumiñahui Central). After having spent some days at altitude, we are ready to run/hike el Rumiñahui. This is one of our favorite routes, it offers a panoramic view of the Cotopaxi National Park, an encounter with Cotopaxi one of the highest active volcanoes in the planet. Close to reach the summit the sand becomes heavy on our feet and the Rumiñahui gets imposing. If we are lucky, we will be able to observe Andean Condors that live in the area. On the way down the sand makes you fly with an incredible feeling of joy. After the run, we will have a well-deserved lunch and drive towards Quito. • Route highest point at 4620m/15157ft • Distance 11.5km/7.2mi • Elevation +/- 800m/2674ft • Estimated time 4hours • Meals all included • Sleeping altitude 3100m/10170ft • Transfer to Limpiopungo Lake Lagoon (1h) • Transfer to Quito (Tumbaco) (2h)
Day 8 | Quito (Tumbaco) – Mariscal Sucre International Airport. We enjoy a last breakfast together and then time to pack all the memories back home. • Breakfast included • Transfer to Quito International Airport (20 min)