Also great as a private trip. Call for details

Discover the diversity of Ecuador

Discover the beauty and culture of Ecuador’s fertile highlands on this all-new itinerary. As you travel from one luxurious hacienda to another, you’ll hike through lush valleys teeming with bird life, take a thrilling ride on one of the world’s most spectacular railways, and meet endangered condors at the Condor Huasi Project. Take a short but challenging hike on Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano on the planet. Your journey ends with a full-day guided tour of colonial Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Come with us on an Andean adventure that takes natural and cultural exploration to new heights (15,748 feet, in fact).


Easy to moderate hikes, bird watching


  • Explore the spectacular Northern Sierra, and ride the historic Ecuadorean Railroad
  • Visit the Huasi Condor Rescue Project, hike on Cotopaxi, the world’s highest active volcano
  • Experience remnants of Spanish colonial influence, stay at world renowned Hacienda Zuleta, featured in National Geographic

Duration: 9 days Start Location: Quito End Location: Quito

Download Detailed Itinerary
  • Day 1 : Arrival in Quito

    Arrive in Quito and transfer to your hotel.

  • Day 2 : Hike Pesillo to Zuleta

    Head north to visit a sundial located precisely on the equator. Continue to the village of Pesillo and begin a 3-hour hike through the high Andean grasslands. Overnight at Hacienda Zuleta, a working hacienda rated by Outside Magazine as “one of the world’s Top Ten finds.”

  • Day 3 : Caranqui Pyramids

    Learn about the hacienda’s Condor Huasi project, which helps reintroduce captive condors to the wild. Next, discover the ancient Caranqui pyramids, dating to 850 a.d.

  • Day 4 : Hike Zuleta to Ibarra

    Drive to Cochacaraqui Magdalena and hike past fertile fields to Ibarra. After lunch, drive through Andean valleys alongside lakes, rivers, and indigenous Otavaleno houses to Hacienda Piman.

  • Day 5 : Salinas de Ibarra to Peguche

    Enjoy a scenic ride on the historic Ecuadorian Railway from Ibarra to Salinas de Ibarra. Later visit the town of Peguche to meet local musicians and artists of the Huarmi Maqui project.

  • Day 6 : Hiking to Pastocalle

    Today, hike towards El Chaupi and through the paramo highlands to the town of Pastocalle. Enjoy views of some of Ecuador’s lushest valleys and the impressive, volcanic Cotopaxi and Illinizas mountains. Overnight at Hacienda Santa Ana.

  • Day 7 : Cotopaxi National Park

    Explore Cotopaxi National Park, home of the world’s highest active volcano. Walk around Limpiopungo Lake to acclimatize before starting a short but challenging hike towards the refugio, where climbers stay before summiting the peak. In the afternoon, drive to Quito.

  • Day 8 : Quito City Tour

    Enjoy a guided tour of Quito, a colonial jewel that’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the well-preserved historic center, have lunch by the world’s only inhabited crater, and visit the Ethnographic Museum.

  • Day 9 : Fly home

    Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: January - March, June - September, December Departures: Mar 12 - 20, 2015 Jun 27, 2015 - Jul 5, 2015 Aug 14 - 22, 2015 Dec 11 - 19, 2015


$4,695 (3-15 members)
$5,295 (2 members)
$600 single supplement

Minimum age 12

  • Swissôtel
    Quito, Ecuador

    This luxury hotel offers comfort and professional service in an excellent location close to the Old Town and the airport. Large, comfortable rooms and great views of the surrounding area from the top.

  • Hacienda Piman

    A historic retreat located in the northern Ecuadorian Andes. A place redolent with peace, a place where you’ll enjoy comfortable rooms and social areas amid modern and traditional architecture, delicious home-cooking, peaceful gardens and the warmth of your hosts.

    Tucked into an oasis-like valley between the folds of dry mountains, Hacienda Piman is ideal for exploring the rich cultural and natural heritage of one of Ecuador’s most captivating regions.

  • Hacienda Zuleta

    Dating from the late XVI century, the Hacienda lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 9,600 feet above the sea level, and only two hours north of Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

    Zuleta is a colonial working farm of 4,000 acres (2,000 hectares) that belongs to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years.

    The hacienda has 14 beautifully decorated bedrooms, all with their own fire place; Antique gardens along with cosy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere. Delicious home Ecuadorian cuisine among other types of gastronomic adventures are offered daily, prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the Hacienda. Guest can also visit our Condor Andes rehabilitation program “Condor Huasi Project” that works for the rehabilitation of the majestic Andean Condor.

  • Hacienda Cusin

    Hacienda Cusin is a restored, 17th-century estate at 8.500ft in the Ecuadorian sierra. This very personal hotel and its 38 attentive staff and famous gardens are one hour from Quito’s new International airport, near the Equatorial line, the market town of Otavalo and two hours from Spanish Colonial Quito, via the PanAmerican Highway. Cusin’s 25 guest rooms garden cottages, suites and salons, furnished with antiques and select Andean craft, most with log-burning fireplaces and beamed-ceilings, overlook several acres of landscaped perennial gardens, ancient trees, and often snow-capped mountains. Guest wing el Monasterio de Cusin.

  • Hacienda Santa Ana

    The Hacienda Santa Ana is located in the Valley of Cotopaxi between the Pasochoa, Ruminahui and Sincholagua Mountains. The property belonged to the Company of Jesus (Jesuits), a religious community that lived there in the seventeenth century, it has now been restored to its original style.

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

photo credits: ©MTS Photo File


Itinerary for NEW! Andes and Haciendas

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Activity Ratings


Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.


More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.


Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.


Departure Dates

Mar 12 - 20, 2015 Jun 27, 2015 - Jul 5, 2015 Aug 14 - 22, 2015 Dec 11 - 19, 2015

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