Ecuador Private Journey

Hikes and Cultural Exploration from the Cloud Forest to the High Andes

Overview

Discover the enchanting world of the cloud forest, the ancient haciendas of Ecuador’s highlands, and hike on Cotopaxi, one of the highest active volcanoes on Earth! Celebrating Ecuador’s phenomenal array of landscapes and cultures, our Private Journey immerses you in three totally distinct settings. In the lofty realm of the highlands, explore beguiling rural landscapes, centuries-old markets, and enjoy a warm welcome at an atmospheric 17th century hacienda. On the high páramo grasslands of Cotopaxi National Park, crowned by ice-draped Cotopaxi (19,347’), hike along high trails and enjoy fantastic stargazing in the night sky of the Southern Hemisphere. For a grand finale, enter Ecuador’s pristine cloud forest, home to some of the richest biodiversity in the world, and walk through vine-draped forests and even take an aerial “sky bike” ride across the canopy. As you explore these three realms of Ecuador, dining will be a special part of the experience, with locally sourced meals inspired by the ingredients of Ecuador’s natural bounty. Our handpicked accommodations, from a stunning nature lodge in the cloud forest to a 17th century hacienda and a cozy mountain lodge, will be as memorable as the journey itself.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Quito / The Ecuadorian Highlands / Hacienda Zuleta

From Quito, set off for a drive into the green Ecuadorian highlands to Hacienda Zuleta, a stunning 17th century property and working farm set on 4,000 acres. Virtually everything gracing the table comes fresh from Zuleta’s rich earth. Hike to the hacienda’s Cóndor Huasi conservation program, where injured Andean condors are rehabilitated for release, visit Zuleta’s artisan cheese production area, or hike the miles of trails. Enjoy a guided hike around Laguna Cuicocha, a spectacular crater lake set at 10,000 feet, and explore the famous market town of Otavalo (8,202’), a showplace for the textile arts of the Otalaveño and other indigenous Andean groups.

Wyndham Quito Airport
Quito, Ecuador
Day 1 (1 night), Day 8
Hacienda Zuleta
Highlands, Ecuador
Days 2 to 3 (2 nights)
Days 4-5
Hikes in Cotopaxi National Park

Move up to another Ecuadorian realm, magnificent Cotopaxi National Park and the high, green páramo landscape that surrounds Cotopaxi Volcano (19,347’), with its glowing mantle of snow. Enjoy a picnic at Pucará de Salitre, a semi-restored Inca fortress, hike the grassy páramo landscape, perhaps seeing some of the wild horses, deer, or llama that make the park their home, and from the climbers’ refuge at 15,748 feet on the flanks of Cotopaxi, hike up to the volcano’s glaciers. Overnights are at Chilcabamba Mountain Lodge, a rustic accommodation with spectacular views of towering Cotopaxi.

Chilcabamba Mountain Lodge
Chilcabamba, Ecuador
Days 4 to 5 (2 nights)
Days 6-8
Into Vine-Draped Ecuadorian Cloud Forest

Descend to the cloud forest realm of beautiful Mashpi Lodge at 3,117 feet, set in a private nature reserve that is a biodiversity hotspot of flora and avifauna. Join one of the lodge guides for forest hikes, ride on the “Dragonfly,” the lodge’s unique cable car system that crosses the forest canopy, spot birdlife from the 85-foot-high Observation Tower. The cuisine at Mashpi is inspired by the ingredients and flavors of the cloud forest. Guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows to allow immersion in the cloud forest. Return to Quito and depart on Day 8.

Mashpi Lodge
Mashpi Private Reserve, Ecuador
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

Visit the famous Otavalo market, with its world-famous crafts
Enjoy the ambiance of Zuleta, a classic highland hacienda and working farm
Explore Cotopaxi National Park, with a picnic at an Inca fortress
Hike up to the glaciers on magnificent Volcano Cotopaxi
Glide across a cloud forest, hike to a “healing” waterfall, hear the roar of howler monkeys

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $4895  
Arrive: Quito, Ecuador
Depart: Quito, Ecuador
Lodging: 7 nights hotels, haciendas, and lodges
Meals: All meals included as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

5 days of optional hikes on moderate trails, 2-5 hours, altitudes between 3,200-11,800 feet; 1 optional hike at 15,600 feet
Ecuador private journey brochure

Download Brochure

Download a PDF of our Ecuador Private Journey Detailed Itinerary to learn more about our day-to-day itinerary, prices and dates, and more.