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All amazing! Everything was made so easy and I learnt so much! Will definitely recommend Original … read more
Ceri Thomas
Zuleta Hacienda Ecuador

Walking tour in the Andes & Cloud Forest

Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level: Moderate
Highlights: Cloudforest hikes - community-run projects - Zuleta Valley - scenic train ride - Andean lakes, volcanoes & market towns
Itinerary: Day 1  Santa Lucia Cloudforest Walk
Day 2  Three Waterfalls Trail
Day 3  Yumbo Trail Hike
Day 4  Palmito Cloudforest Trail
Day 5  Highlands Walk on the Zuleta Valley
Day 6  Liberty Train Ride & Salinas Hike
Day 7  Cuicocha Crater Lake Hike & Otavalo

Day 1          Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Walk        1400m–1920m       2km–2hrs
From Quito we head into the cloud forest region of north-west Ecuador, a spectacularly scenic overland journey which brings us to the start of our walk into the Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve. This uphill walk through beautiful primary cloud forest takes around two hours, there are various seating places to rest and enjoy being in the forest along the way. Depending on the cloud cover you will be rewarded with spectacular views when you reach the lodge for lunch. Your luggage will be transported in by mule. After lunch we can enjoy a moderate walk on a circular trail near the lodge through beautiful primary and secondary forest which offers great views across the surrounding mountains, a visit to the orchid garden and a chance to have a go on the popular giant tree swing.
Dinner and overnight in Santa Lucia Lodge.

Day 2          
Three Waterfalls Trail       1920m-1600m-1920m      5.5km-4hrs
This is one of the most beautiful trails in Santa Lucía. The trail descends steeply into a thick primary forest of giant trees laden with bromeliads, epiphytes and orchids, and takes you passed three mountain waterfalls. Doubling back for a short way, you can then pass more waterfalls to arrive at a swimming hole: a beautiful place to relax, appreciate the forest and enjoy a picnic lunch. From here the adventurous can walk waist-deep in the river upstream to a fabulous waterfall.
Dinner and overnight in Santa Lucia Lodge.

Day 3          Yumbo Trail Hike   1920m–1280m    6km–6hrs (with lunch stop)
This walk takes you along an ancient trail, through deeply trenched culuncos which were made and used as a trading route between the mountains and the coast by the pre-Incan Yumbo people who lived in this area from 1500 BC to 500 AC. The hike passes by an organic banana plantation, waterfalls and pristine primary forest including an impressive area of giant tree ferns. A highlight is a stop at the Santa Rosa River where (depending on the river level) you can walk upstream a hundred meters to reach a waterfall which cascades into a crystal clear pool, perfect for swimming. Here we will enjoy our box lunch. At the end of the hike, the trail opens out into a lush green meadow with views of the river below and takes you on to the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve. Your luggage will be transported to Maquipucuna Lodge by mule.
Dinner and overnight at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Lodge.

Day 4        Palmitos Trail          1300m          4hrs
This morning we hike through the Maquipucuna Reserve along the Palmitos Trail, a lovely hike which takes us through secondary and primary forest where we can learn about the medicinal plants found in this area. After lunch at the lodge we travel onto the Otavalo region.
Dinner and overnight in Las Palmeras Inn.

Day 5        Angla - Zuleta Hike          3200-2900m          12km – 3.5 hrs
Our walk today takes us through pretty pasturelands around the charming Zuleta valley. As we walk through the rolling hills we encounter the daily farming life of the local people along with great views of the snowy Cayambe Volcano. Picnic lunch. On arrival in Zuleta we can see the intricate and colourful embroideries which this region is known for.
Dinner & overnight in Las Palmeras Inn.

Day 6        Libertad Train Ride & Salinas          1800 – 2000m
An early train ride from Ibarra takes us across wooden bridges and through hand-dug tunnels, to Salinas village where we are greeted with music and dance by the local Afro-Ecuadorian people. On our walk we explore the green valleys of this dry tropical region, the Andes framing our horizon. Picnic lunch included before our return train journey.
Dinner & overnight in Las Palmeras Inn.

Day 7        Cuicocha Crater Lake          3100-3500m          8km – 4hrs
Our route takes us along the rim of the striking Cuicocha Volcano, with its captivating blue-green crater lake. Walking through Andean forest to discover orchids & bromeliads, we are also on the look-out for the endangered Andean Condor. Incredible lake views. Lunch in the leather market town of Cotacachi, and afternoon a visit to the handicraft market in Otavalo, before beginning our  return journey to Quito where, on arrival, the tour ends. We can also take care of your Quito hotel reservations and airport transfers, if you need assistance with these services please let us know.

Santa Lucia Cloudforest Lodge

Santa-Lucia-LodgeSanta Lucía eco-lodge and cabanas are in the heart of the cloud forest on a mountain peak at 1900 metres. Beautifully crafted cabanas with amazing views over the forest have private bathrooms and sleep between two and five people. In addition to flush toilets the lodge has compost toilets to minimise contamination. The hot showers have particularly spectacular views over the forest. Solar panels provide limited electricity in the lodge only. Meals combine traditional Ecuadorian and international recipes and where possible they use organic produce from their garden. Guests are always welcome to lend a hand in the garden and kitchen.

Maquipucuna Lodge, Maquipucuna

Maquipucuna-LodgeIn the middle of the cloud forest where peace and tranquility prevail, visitors have the opportunity to stay in the magnificent environment of the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve. Relax in the warm breeze and be swept away by the exuberant scenery.
All of the accommodations offer breathtaking views of the forest, but for the true nature lover, the open, comfortable Umachaca House is ideal.
The lodge is built in accordance with its natural surroundings next to the Umachaca River, creating an even more beautiful, relaxing back-to-nature experience. The Umachaca House sleeps up to 18 guests in double or family bedrooms with shared bathroom facilities.

Las Palmeras Inn, Otavalo

Hotel-Las-Palmeras-OtavaloThis 150 year-old hacienda, with its towering palm trees and garden cottages is tucked in a lush mountain valley near Otavalo. Tile-topped earthen walls contain an ever-blooming perennial garden with hibiscus, bougainvillea, orchids, cholan, eucalyptus, avocado and black-current which attract a profusion of birds including hummingbirds and vermilion fly-catchers. The inn's thick adobe walls preserve the day's warmth for the cool mountain nights, and roaring eucalyptus log - fires provide a cozy atmosphere.

Prices 2018

No of People Accommodation Price per person
1 single room $3330
2 double room $1950
3 - 4 double/triple rooms $1530

Price Includes

Private transportation, top English speaking naturalist guide, all accommodation as specified with breakfast, 7 lunches & 6 dinners, local guide in Cuicocha Crater Lake, train tickets, entrance fee to Santa Lucia & Maquipucuna Reserve, mules to transport luggage.

Not included
International flights, personal travel insurance, alcoholic and soft drinks, extra activities at the haciendas, tips and personal expenses.

Prices are stated in US Dollars.
Prices are valid until 31st December 2018.
A single supplement fee of US$230 will apply for those requesting single accommodation.
Special group rates apply for groups of 5 people or more. Please contact us for more details.
Extra nights: We recommend that you visit Quito and can help with hotel reservations and activities in the city

Photo Gallery - Andes & Cloudforest Walking Tour

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