Take a 2-day trip through the Avenue of the Volcanoes towards two of the most important landmarks in the Ecuadorian Sierra: Cotapaxi and Quilotoa. On day one, visit Cotopaxi Volcano and climb up to the first refugee, take an optional bike ride afterwards. Lodge in the comfy Chuquiragua lodge and get ready for your next adventure. On day two, ride towards Quilotoa Crater Lagoon for an amazing hike. Visit Tigua artisan’s town to end you adventure before returning back to Quito.
Day 1: Quito to Cotopaxi Volcano
Meet at 6:45am with the guide and the group at the designated meeting point in Quito.
At 7am we leave by car driving south of Quito for approx. 1.5-hour through the Pan-American highway aka. Avenue of the Volcanoes. We'll then reach the park entrance of Cotopaxi National Park and the get ready to enjoy a fresh Andean-style breakfast.
Drive through pine forest and soon reach the Interpretation Center Mariscal and get to know the volcano and its unique fauna and flora.
Afterwards, and depending on the physical abilities of the group, drive towards Limpiopungo Lake located at 3.800 m or Rinconada camping zone, to enjoy a hike around this stunning environment to observe birds and the magnificent view of Cotopaxi Volcano
Get your helmets, gloves on and begin your bike adventure. Bike on dirt roads through volcanic ash and a tundra landscape for about 7 kilometers until the North gate of the Park and continue along the Paramo landscape until reaching the main entrance of the park. 10 km. approx. - ride on paved road). Cross the main gate and bike along a short pine forest single trek to reach the main road (optional).
A stop between activities will give us time to enjoy a well-deserved lunch to regain strength.
Say goodbye to the volcano and get in the van again to drive back. Drop-off at Chuquiragua Lodge in Machachi.
Day 2: Machachi to Quilotoa Lagoon
Pick-up form Chuquiragua Hotel. The first stop will be Latacunga City at Cotopaxi Province. From this point, head west for a 1-hour drive through the unforgettable Andean scenery towards the village of Quilotoa. Visit a local town and get in contact with the Andean culture (either Saquisilí or Pujilí). Get the chance to mix with the rich Andean culture of the local community that inhabits the surrounding area by visiting either Saquisil, Pujili or Zimbahua Indian markets (depends on the day). The lovely town of Zimbahua comes right before we start hiking down towards the turquoise colored Quilotoa Lagoon. Trek around this natural wonder of water holding strong minerals, formed by the collapsed volcanic caldera. From the rim hike down towards the banks of the lagoon and then climb back up. Have lunch at a local restaurant and then stop at the small town Tigua (famous for the Tigua art - paintings made with chicken feather brushes over sheep hide canvas - a celebration of the mountain life, the festivals, the legends, and traditions of the area). In the late afternoon, head back to Quito. NOTE: This is a sample itinerary. Please keep in mind that due to the nature of this tour and the given that Cotopaxi is an active volcano, this itinerary may vary.