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Among Lakes and Andean Forests

See all our Ecuador & Galapagos Tours and Nature & Wildlife Expeditions in Ecuador

Among Lakes and Andean Forests

Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights

Program Overview

Hike in the Northern Ecuadorian Andes, surrounded by beautiful lakes, volcanoes and magic forests. Experience the Ecuadorian countryside life while walking though indigenous communities and observing its members on their daily activities. Learn about the local culture and be marveled by amazing Andean landscapes.

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Among Lakes and Andean Forests: Tour Highlights

  • Hike around a Volcanic Lake (still active)
  • Hike a Thousand-year-old Polylepis Forests
  • Train ride through Andean Valleys, aboard a locomotive.
  • Visit one of the highest Volcanoes in Ecuador.

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Itinerary – Day by Day

Day 1: Hiking through Andean Landscapes

Enjoy beautiful countryside landscapes on your drive from Quito to the province of Imbabura; also known as the Lakes province due to its numerous aquatic formations. Arrive to the Zuleta indigenous community from where you will start a 3 hour easy hike through Andean countryside landscapes to San Pablo Lake. Enjoy Box lunch en route surrounded by natural landscapes. Check in at your Hacienda style hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the gardens. (Meals: L,D)

Day 2: Cuicocha Lake and Cotacachi town.

Visit Cuicocha Lake; formed in a crater after thousands of years of intense volcanic activity of the extinct Cuicocha volcano. The Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve has an extension that goes from the western Andean cordillera to the Pacific coast. Enjoy a hike in the area to admire the beauty of this natural environment and then continue to the town of Cotacachi, famous for producing high-quality handmade leather goods that include wallets, purses and jackets.

Cotacachi is also a multicultural city embracing local indigenous, mestizos and retirees from all over the world seeking for a peaceful setting. Enjoy lunch in the area, then continue to a recently restored Hacienda in the area of Piman to check-in. (Meals: B, L, D)

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ecuador-childDay 3: Frailejones and Espeletia forest.

Continue your drive north direction to El Angel Ecological Reserve, home to the giant frailejones or espeletia. Enjoy a hike in the reserve surrounded by natural vegetation that mainly consists of high altitude grassland (paramos). Espeletia forest has the ability to hold large quantities of water becoming one of the main sources of water for towns nearby.

Continue for another hike in a remaining thousand-year-old Polylepis Forests; a unique ecosystem considered one of the most beautiful forests in the world, similar to any forest product of a fairy-tale writer’s imagination. In the afternoon return to the Hacienda. (Meals: B,L,D)

Day 4: Train ride through Andean landscapes and sugar cane plantations – Afro Ecuadorian Community.

This morning enjoy a beautiful ride on board a locomotive that will take you through natural landscapes formed by mountains and sugar cane plantations. Arrive in Salinas town to visit the Afro Ecuadorian community and learn about their history and traditions.

Upon arrival, the local community will welcome you with a typical dance and its traditional music “La Bomba”, you are also invited to join them in their dance and follow the rhythm. Enjoy lunch at the community restaurant to support their sustainable tourism initiatives. In the afternoon, return to your hotel. Rest of the afternoon at leisure (Meals: B,L,D)

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ecuador-cultureDay 5: Otavalo – Antisana Volcano – Quito.

Depart from your hotel early in the morning, brief stop at the Otavalo craft market where locals show their products and crafts to sell.

Continue to the Antisana volcano for a hike at 4,200 m above sea level. The Antisana Ecological reserve is one of the most important sanctuaries for a number of endangered species including the magnificent Andean Condor, spectacle bear, puma, ibis, caracaras and many others. Enjoy lunch in the area. In the afternoon return to Quito. (Meals: B, L)

Operational details

  • The program starts and ends in Quito.
  • Train operates only from Wednesday to Sunday

The program includes

Private transportation, expert local guide, accommodation & meals according to itinerary detail, visits and entrance fee to mentioned places. Welcome kit, snacks and water provision along the trip.

The program does not included

International airfare, personal expenses, insurance and gratuities.

Ready to get started? Contact us to book your trip.

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