Avenue of Volcanoes Walking Tour

From $1393 per person

Hike the Avenue of the Volcanoes, with the best of the mountain walks between Quito and Cuenca including Cotopaxi National Park, Quilotoa Crater Lake, Chimborazo Volcano and Cajas National Park.

  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Duration: 6 days / 5 nights
  • Highlights: Cotopaxi National Park – Quilotoa Crater Lake – Pailon del Diablo Waterfall – Devil’s Nose Train Ride - Cajas National Park
Cotopaxi Volcano in Cotopaxi National Park Ecuador


Day 1 Cotopaxi National Park Hike – Pita Canyon Loop (L,D)

This morning we travel south to the Cotopaxi region where we undertake a circular walk through the Pita Canyon, which offers spectacular views of the canyon itself, along with the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua & Rumiñahui Volcanoes.

The hike is classed as moderate, and takes place at an altitude of 3600m to 3800m.

The first part of the hike takes us along the Pita Canyon for around 1 hour, as we follow the course of the Pita River. It is a soft climb which brings us up into the Cotopaxi National Park.

We then continue past a number of immense volcanic mound formations and pieces of debris for an hour and a half of gentle ups and downs, to reach the “pucara” – an ancient ruin of an Incan fortress – located within the National Park.

From here we loop around for another hour and a half of more gentle ups and downs along the flanks of the Cotopaxi Volcano before reaching a local mountain lodge where our hike ends. (12km - 4 hours)

Late lunch included in local mountain lodge.

Dinner and overnight in a local hacienda.

Day 2 Quilotoa Crater Lake Rim Hike (B,L,D)

An early start this morning to drive to Quilotoa Crater Lake from where we begin today's walk.

The journey by vehicle, which takes around 1.5 hours, is extremely beautiful as we venture into the hidden side valleys of the Andes and on to the beautifully untouched region of Quilotoa.

Our hike today takes us around the rim of the Quilotoa Crater Lake with its incredible blue-green waters.

Walking at an average altitude of 3800m - 3900m, with lots of ups and downs, the whole trail will take us around 6 hours to complete.

Keeping to the ridge of this stunning lagoon we are accompanied at all times with incredible vistas of the turquoise lake waters and the contrasting grey rocky outcrops of the mountain.

Box lunch included.

This is truly one of Ecuador’s most beautiful and impressive spots. (12km – 6 hours)

Travel on to the Baños region in the afternoon.

Dinner & overnight in a local hacienda.

Day 3 Smuggler's Trail & Pailon del Diablo (B,L,D)

Today’s route, used in past times by smugglers, takes us along the dramatic Pastaza Canyon at an altitude of 1800m.

We can enjoy great river views and vistas of the Llanganates – the remote mountains where legend says the lost Inca gold of Atahualpa is hidden. We pass beautiful waterfalls including the breathtaking Manto de la Novia. (7km – 2.5 hours)

Then continue on to visit the Pailon del Diablo waterfall.

Box lunch.

In the afternoon we have time to explore the pretty streets and basilica of the mountain spa town of Baños.

Dinner & overnight in a local hacienda.

Day 4 Chimborazo Faunistic Reserve Walk (B,L,D)

Continuing south this morning we arrive at the Chimborazo Faunistic Reserve.

Today’s trail takes us through the dry paramo landscapes of the Chimborazo Volcano, Ecuador's tallest mountain.

Walking for around 2 hours, highlights include impressive volcano views, the chance to see wild vicuña which are a common sight within this nature reserve along with the Chimborazo Hillstar hummingbird which is endemic to this area. (3km – 2 hours)

Lunch in a cosy mountain lodge.

Dinner and overnight in a local hacienda.

Day 5 Ingapirca Inca Ruins (B,L,D)

Our journey south continues today as we travel onto the little mountain town of Alausi with its colourful houses and Andean charm. We are at the heart of the Ecuadorian train system, Ecuador's most famous train line - the Devil's Nose - begins here. Even though the train is currently not running, the town still deserves a visit to enjoy the pretty station house and locomotives on display.

Lunch included in a local restaurant.

In the afternoon we continue our journey. En-route we visit the Ingapirca Ruins, Ecuador's largest and most intact Inca complex, a beautiful example of Incan architecture. At the end of the day we will arrive in the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca.

Dinner and overnight in a local hotel.

Day 6 Cajas National Park Hike (B,L)

This morning we head into the mountains outside of Cuenca to Cajas National Park. Beginning at the Toreadora Lake at 3920m we walk for around 3 hours passed stunning glacial formations and polylepis forests, down to the Garden of the Virgin at 3500m. This national park has over 200 paramo lakes and lagoons. (8km – 3 hours)

Box lunch included.

The tour finishes in Cuenca this afternoon.

3 Star Superior: Hacienda La Cienega, Cotopaxi
4 Star: Hacienda Hato Verde, Cotopaxi
3 Star Superior: Hacienda Leito, Baños
4 Star: Samari Spa Hotel, Baños
Hacienda Abraspungo, Riobamba
3 Star Superior: Hotel Victoria, Cuenca
4 Star: Hotel Mansion Alcazar, Cuenca


3 Star Superior Prices 2024

2 people
$1952 p/p
3 - 4 people
$1610 p/p
5 - 6 people
$1393 p/p

4 Star Prices 2024

2 people
$2207 p/p
3 - 4 people
$1849 p/p
5 - 6 people
$1664 p/p

Price includes:
Private transportation, top English-speaking guide, accommodation as specified, meals as specified (B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner), entry fees to Pailon del Diablo & Ingapirca, Devil’s Nose Train Ride tickets.

Not included:
International flights, personal travel insurance, alcoholic and soft drinks, extra activities not specified, spa treatments, tips and personal expenses

Prices are stated in US Dollars.
Prices are valid until 31st December 2024.
This tour begins in the city of Quito and ends in the city of Cuenca. We can help coordinating return flights to Quito or onward travel to Guayaquil, extra charges will apply.

Day 1: Pita Canyon Loop Hike, Cotopaxi National Park
Day 1: Cotopaxi Volcano views from Pita Canyon Loop Hike
Day 2: Quilotoa Crater Lake
Day 2: Quilotoa Crater Lake Rim Trail
Day 3 - Pastaza River views, hiking the Smuggler's Trail, Baños
Day 3: Pailon del Diablo Waterfall, Baños
Day 4: Chimborazo Volcano Hike
Day 4: Wild Vicuñas in Chimborazo Faunistic Reserve
Day 5: Andean railway town of Alausi
Day 5: Ingapirca Inca Ruins
Day 6: Cajas National Park, Cuenca
Day 6: HIking in Polylepis Forest, Cajas National Park