Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit : Sports tour at latitude zero in Ecuador

The Ultimate Sports Tour at Latitude Zero in Ecuador in 13 days

A sports trip, designed for curious and healthy lovers of nature and strong sensations.
In the program: three treks in altitude, nine hours of horse riding, three days of non-stop bike, a little bit of canopy and, cherry on the cake, enjoy rafting on the Pastaza river.
Take your breath, the must-see are also included from the Mitad del Mundo to the highest volcano of Ecuador!

Length of stay: 13 days

Kind: Local Experiences

Fix: Moderate Ascent: Technical summit, be in shape !

Countries visited: Ecuador

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Day 1 : Quito Airport

Welcome to Ecuador !

A proverb says *Traveling leaves you speechless at first, before turning you into a storyteller*

… Let the adventure start in the country of the middle of the world ! Chulla vida ! Reception at the airport by an english-speaking guide. Private transfer with spanish-speaking driver from Quito airport to your hotel. Night at Ikala hotel in Standard room.

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Day 2 : Quito Historic Center

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Quito stands out for its topography spread out from north to south, in an Andean corridor flanked by the Pichincha volcano and the valley where the airport is located. But it is above all the largest and most preserved colonial city on the continent.

Then you will visit the colonial and republican center of Quito :

– the Panecillo, the statue of the Virgin of Quito, located on top of a hill overlooking the city;
– the Church of the Society of Jesus (of the Jesuits), the most gold-laden church in South America;
– the Church of San Francisco (of the Franciscans) and its convent/museum;
– the Plaza Grande where the Presidential Palace (Carondelet) and the Cathedral of Quito are located;
– the district of La Ronda for its craftsmen;
– the Basilica of the National Vow of Quito, designed by a French architect;
– the Museum of Alabado, of archaeology with its classification of pieces according to the worlds of the indigenous cosmovision. Departure from Quito to follow a scenic road through the Equatorial cloudy forest to the Mindo area, a unique place for its biodiversity. Night at Terrabambu Lodge in Suite room (Standard category).

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Day 3 : Mindo

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Hike of Mindo Waterfalls:

On the way to Nambillo, you will take a cable car to go to the other side of the valley and start your walk which will take you to three beautiful places where are the most beautiful waterfalls of the region. According to your wishes and physical condition, the walk can last from 1 to 3 hours.

Difficulty: easy hike: sunday sportsmen, welcome!

Estimated duration: 1 to 3 hours – Elevation: -120m./+120m. – Max. altitude: 1600m. – Distance: 4 km. Here’s something for adrenaline seekers with a cable car ride over the mountain that is accessible to all ages. You can stop at the heights of Mindo to admire the view. Then you can either take the cable car back down or take the trail to the waterfalls. You drive to the Rio Cinto. After a briefing from your guide and getting your equipment on, you will ride down the river rapids on large inflatable buoys for about 1h30. Pass over the rocks, hold on tight. Thrills and laughs guaranteed! Trip to Otavalo, famous for its handcrafts. Night at Doña Esther hotel in Standard room.

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Day 4 : Cuicocha Lake

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Hiking in Cuicocha :

you will discover the sparkling blue waters of one of the most beautiful high altitude lakes in Ecuador. In the center of an ancient crater at 3064m of altitude, it is the meeting place for nature lovers with an extremely varied flora (orchids, elephant ears…), more than 400 species have been recorded there. You will be impressed to discover the two islets of the crater from different view angles all along the loop.

Difficulty: Easy Trek: Sunday sportsmen, welcome!

Estimated duration: 4 to 5 hours around the lagoon. – Elevation: +300m/-300m – Max. altitude: 3300m – Distance: 14.5 km. You will visit the indigenous market of Otavalo, the most famous Ecuadorian handicraft market in the Andes.

There you will meet the indigenous Otavaleños wearing espadrilles, brown felt hats and a blue poncho on their shoulders. They are the most prosperous indigenous people in Ecuador and are formidable traders.

Obviously this market has a very developed tourist aspect, but it is one of the country’s must-sees. Night at Doña Esther hotel in Standard room.

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Day 5 : San Clemente

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Ascent of Imbabura:

This morning you will make the ascent of Imbabura. It offers magnificent views of the peaks and valleys of the northern part of the Sierra. The hike starts at about 3200m in the middle of the paramo and ends at about 4600m in a rocky landscape where you walk around the crater to reach the highest point.

Difficulty: Moderate ascent: technical summit, be in shape!

Estimated duration: 7 to 8 hours – Elevation: +1400m/-1400m – Max. altitude: 4557 m – Distance: 18 km. You will spend some time with your host family, a privileged opportunity to discover their way of life, their culture and their traditions. During your walks in the community with your hosts, you will discover San Clemente, its people, its artisans, the workers in the fields, its medicinal plant trail carefully maintained because they use it frequently, the guinea pig farms, the llamas and much more. Dinner and overnight in the Karanqui indigenous community of San Clemente. You will be hosted in a family where you will share the meal.

This stay is one of the most genuine exchange experiences within an indigenous community.

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Day 6 : San Clemente

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Morning wake up to prepare breakfast with your host and probably then, to accompany and help the people of the community in their morning work with their animals.

NOTE: activities correspond to the needs of the community at the time of your stay. You will go to Cayambe from Otavalo, observing the beautiful landscape of the mountains. Stop at Quitsato, on the genuine 0° latitude: a giant sundial marks the line of the Equator. We will explain to you the phenomena observable from this authentic place in our opinion and of importance for the civilizations that preceded us. You will be able to discover how the local people integrate seasonal rhythms and activities into the agricultural calendar and what it means, between sky and nature. Head towards the Cotopaxi volcano, the jewel of the snowy crowns! Night at Chilcabamba Lodge in Standard room.

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Day 7 : Cotopaxi Park

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Today, visit of the Cotopaxi national park with Ecuador’s second highest summit at 5897 meters. It is also the highest active volcano in the world although it mainly shows a few fumaroles from its ice covered crater. But sometimes it launches a huge column smoke and ashes right upon its center.

Afterward, you will walk around the Limpiopungo laggon with stunning view on the Cotopaxi. You will appreciate the flora and some fauna, typical of the paramo , those wide plains swept by the cold winds of the Andes.

After driving up to the car park at 4600 meters you will continue by foot to the José Rivas hut 200 meters higher.

The most motivated can also go and reach the snowline. Mountain Bike Day in Cotopaxi National Park:

In the morning, you will arrive by vehicle at the parking lot of the Cotopaxi National Park at 4500m. of altitude to enjoy a view, if the weather is clear, over 8 volcanoes. You will then get on your mountain bike to ride down the first 8 km. of track, with 700m. of difference in altitude, in the middle of dry bushes and volcanic ash.

On the 8 km. that will allow you to reach the Pucara del Salitre Inca ruins, you will have to pedal, under the look of wild horses and sometimes condors. After lunch, you will start the last 16km of the day from the Limpiopungo lagoon at 3800m. of altitude.

You will be accompanied by a local guide specialized in mountain biking who will comment on this very special ecosystem.

Difficulty: moderate: high mountain bike with sportive downhill. Therefore it is necessary to have a good level of health and to know how to control your speed and to have already practiced mountain biking.

Estimated duration: about 4 hours of biking – Elevation: -1300m. – Altitude max.: 4500m. – Distance: 32 km.

*NOTE:* *All protective equipment is included.* Night at Chilcabamba Lodge in Standard room.

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Day 8 : Hacienda El Porvenir

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Horseback riding El Porvenir:

You will start your 2 hour show towards the slopes of the dormant Rumiñahui Volcano on exclusive trails inside the hacienda. You will be totally charmed by the Andean landscapes that surround you and if the weather permits, you will have the opportunity to see 13 volcanoes in total. Road to Riobamba, a peaceful andean town. Night at Mansion Santa Isabella hotel in Standard room.

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Day 9 : Riobamba

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Journey to the North to Chimborazo as from Riobamba a peaceful Andean town totally rebuilt after the 1797 earthquake. Visit to the Chimborazo Natural Reserve:

In a landscape of paramo , these Andean plateaus with high grass swept by the winds of altitude, you will certainly come across herds of vicuñas. You will drive up to the first refuge.

Then you will be able to get closer to the summit (you don’t have to, of course, you can stay at the refuge), the highest in Ecuador, at 6,263m / 20,548 ft. when you reach the second refuge.

You will not be far from the first snows and never so close to the sun because due to the bulging of the earth at the level of the equator, the summit of Chimborazo is considered the furthest from the center of the earth.

*NOTE: Altitudes: 1st refuge (Carrel): 4800m. / 2nd refuge (Whymper): 5100m.* Going downhill the Chimborazo by Mountain Bike is without a doubt one of the most intense and unforgettable ways to appreciate the beauty of the highest peak in the country and the closest to the sun if we refer to the center of the Earth! You will reach the first refuge located at 4850m./15.912ft. of altitude. From there you will be able to walk up to the second refuge at 5060m./16.601ft. But the departure by bike will be done from the first one.

You will cross typical landscapes of the Andean plateaus, often desert, but with llamas and vicuñas in freedom.

You will go down to 3100m./10.170ft. of altitude, accompanied by an experienced guide, on 8km. of track then 29km. of asphalt road.

You will be accompanied by a local mountain bike guide who will comment on this unique ecosystem.

Difficulty: moderate: high mountain biking with some sporty descents. It is therefore necessary to have a good level of health and to know how to control your speed and to have already practised mountain biking.

Estimated duration: about 2 hours of biking – Elevation: -1750m. – Altitude max.: 4850m. – Distance: 33 km.

*NOTE:* *All protective equipment is included.* The road to Baños follows a fertile and green valley where you can observe recent lavas from the Tungurahua. Night at La Floresta hotel in Standard room.

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Day 10 : Banos

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Ecuador’s wild rivers attract rafters and kayakers from all over the world. Level III descents such as the one proposed here are suitable for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. A good breakfast and you leave for a half-day rafting trip on the turbulent waters of the Pastaza river. After an explanation of the safety rules and how to manoeuvre your boats, you throw yourself in the water and off you go for about 2 to 3 hours of adventure!!! You will pass through landscapes of jungle, tropical rainforest, gorges and mountains; the feeling of absolute isolation makes the adventure even more exciting.

*NOTE: this is a whitewater sport activity, so you must have a good level of health and know how to swim. Schedule: 9:00 to 15:00. Level: class III.*

Here is an activity to satisfy the amateurs of sporting emotions with a circuit of 6 zip lines for 2000m of cable in Puntzan. Accessible to all ages, located on the heights of Baños, it is the occasion to taste the joys of this nice circuit accompanied by experienced guides on a totally safe equipment because of its double rope and the control which is regularly operated there. Free time – Visit suggestion :

Baños, a pleasant little spa town for a little stroll. It is famous for its hot water baths whose springs come from the Tungurahua volcano that majestically overlooks the city. Its basilica is worth a detour. You can also visit a workshop of *tagua*, vegetable ivory, an ecological alternative to the traditional animal ivory. Or let yourself be tempted by the local candy cane , the *melcocha*, whose preparation you will see in the shops of the main streets.

And why not at the end of the day a swim in one of the thermal baths of the city to relax. It is also possible to practice different sports activities such as mountain biking, rafting or canyoning… Night at La Floresta hotel in Standard room.

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Day 11 : Banos

Journey to the Waterfalls Road along the Rio Pastaza canyon. You will discover the waterfall called Manto de la Novia (the Bride’s Clothing) by going down to a viewpoint where you can get as close as possible to it. A little further along the road, like the Incas in the past, you can take a suspended basket called here tarabita to cross the gorges and join the waterfall. Journey to Puyo, a town on the border of the Amazonia jungle. Half day of participation in a solidarity activity of reforestation:

You will take part in solidarity reforestation activities such as weeding, fertilizing and/or planting a tree. This in order to better understand this complex environment that is the Amazon and the fragile balance of these ecosystems threatened by human activities. It will be a way to make your contribution to this fundamental struggle.

Lunch at the Reserve before or after the activity, depending on your program.

Vegan menu. Vegan dinner and night at the Yapas Reserve hotel in Standard room. English-speaking guide in a private transport.

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Day 12 : Fatima

You will go farther to the Amazon doors. Rafting day on the Jondachi river.

The Jondachi canyon is one of the most beautiful Amazonian surprises and experiences. The tour begins at the foot of a huge cliff pierced by a cave inside which a waterfall flows. The canyon is then a wild gorge with waterfalls and lush vegetation. The route is more technical, and obviously depends on the water level.

*NOTE: Class IV river (> 14 years old) – Duration: about 5 hours. Mandatory safety instructions at the beginning of the day.* Departure from Tena to the town of Misahuallí. You will spend the night at the Hamadryade Lodge. You will have various activity options:

– Relaxation by the pool;

– Walking on the trails of the lodge;

– Visit the village of Misahualli on the banks of the Napo River;

– Take a walk to the Latas waterfalls;

– Dinner at the lodge’s panoramic restaurant from where you can enjoy the view of the jungle and the Rio Napo.

– Option of a relaxing massage next to the fire in the outdoor massage room.

*NOTE: these options have different prices to be agreed on site or with your guide.*

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Day 13 : Misahualli

English-speaking guide in a private transport. Departure from Tena to the town of Misahuallí. Return to the Cordillera, in the direction of Quito airport. Transport with a spanish-speaking driver to Quito’s airport. Free connection for your international flight from Quito. According to your flight schedule, you will dispose of more or less free time.

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