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9 days in Ecuador
Activity Levels: Easy Hiking


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The Avenue of the Volcanoes runs for more than 100 miles between two major spines of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. It is a corridor of pristine nature preserves, vibrant cities, and terraced farmland set beneath more than a dozen towering volcanoes capped with the world’s largest equatorial glaciers. They include Antisana, Cayembe, Chimborazo and the famous Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s second tallest peak.

Mountain Gurus’ Avenue of the Volcanoes Trek takes you from the 16th century streets of historic Quito to the edge of Cotopaxi’s massive glaciers at nearly 16,000 feet, and then down into the rainforests of the Amazon Basin. Along the way, we relax in elegant haciendas, a luxurious jungle ecolodge, and hot springs resorts at the feet of the volcanoes. For travelers looking for an adventure off of the beaten path in Ecuador, this trek is an excellent choice.

Ecuador Avenue of the Volcanoes • 9 Days

Our journey begins in Quito, the highest capital city in the world at 9,350 feet. We spend the day adjusting to the altitude while exploring Quito’s colonial neighborhoods, churches and plazas. Then we leave the city and hike through cloud forest to the Santa Rita Waterfalls. That night we sleep in a cozy hacienda in the pristine Ecuadorian highlands.. The next day, we trek up the extinct volcano Pasochoa at 13,780 feet, where we enjoy stunning views of Cotopaxi and, if we’re lucky, condors and wild horses.

We now turn our attention to Cotopaxi. At 19,347 feet, Cotopaxi is one of the most iconic volcanoes of South America’s Andes Mountains. It is an almost perfect pyramid towering more than 8,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. We overnight in the lovely Los Mortiños Hacienda at the foot of the mountain. Then we hike to the Jose F. Rivas Refuge at 15,744 feet, and on to the edge of Cotopaxi’s cascading glaciers. That night, we relax in the nearby Hacienda La Cienega, a beautifully restored 17th century estate.

The next morning, we drive south through the Ecuadorian countryside to the resort town of Baños de Agua Santa, or “Baths of Holy Water.” Located at the base of the 16,480-foot Tungurahua Volcano, Baños is home to many hot springs fed by Tungurahua’s geothermal activity. We are free to rent a bicycle and explore town, or relax in a hot spring resort, some of which offer massages and fine dining.

From Baños, we begin the final leg of our adventure. We drive down out of the mountains to the banks of the Arajuno River, a major tributary of the Amazon River. Motorized canoes take us swiftly upstream to a luxurious ecolodge deep in the rainforest. We spend the next two nights here, exploring the biodiversity and culture of the Amazon Basin, or just relaxing with a book by the pool. Finally, we drive back to Quito for flights home with a stop at the Papallacta Hot Springs along the way.

Related climbs: Ecuador Mountaineering, Cotopaxi

Need help choosing a trip?
Read our Four-Legged Stool blog post for tips on finding the right adventure for you.

Why trek in Ecuador?

The potential for adventure in Ecuador is simply unmatched. Nowhere else in the world can we travel so easily from the dramatic glaciers of the planet’s tallest volcanoes to the stunning flora and fauna of the Amazon Basin. Many visitors come to Ecuador for the Galapagos Islands. Our Avenue of the Volcanoes Trek takes you off the beaten path into a world of pristine cloud forests, turquoise glacial streams, hot springs, and a rainforest alive with monkeys, parrots and many other animals.

What is included in the Ecuador Trek?

Our Avenue of the Volcanoes Trek includes all of the services you will need to safely and comfortably travel from the streets of Quito to the glaciers of Cotopaxi, to the rainforest of the Amazon Basin. Our itinerary includes several days for acclimatization to ensure that every member of our team can safely ascend to the edge of Cotopaxi’s glaciers. The trip fee includes all scheduled meals and land transportation while in Ecuador. Between ascents, you will stay in comfortable haciendas at the feet of the peaks, an idyllic campground in the high country, and an elegant ecolodge in the rainforest. Our treks are led by highly experienced, certified guides outfitted with professional equipment. All group expedition gear – including tents, stove, fuel, and other communal trekking equipment – will be provided. International airfare, and non-scheduled transportation, lodging and meals are not included. Personal trekking equipment is not included.

Trek Highlights

  • 9 days exploring Ecuador
  • Led by a certified Ecuadorian guide
  • Historic Quito Tour
  • Cotopaxi glacier trek
  • Ascent of Pasochoa Volcano
  • 1 night in Baños de Agua Santa near natural hot springs
  • 3 nights in elegant haciendas
  • 2 nights in an Amazon jungle ecolodge
  • 3 nights excellent hotels
  • Papallacta Hot Springs
  • 8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • Friendly MG office staff will help you prepare for your adventure

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Arrive Quito
Day 2 • Quito Old City Tour
Day 3 • Santa Rita Waterfalls • 10,758 ft
Day 4 • Pasochoa • 13,780 ft
Day 5 • Cotopaxi Glacier • 15,700 ft
Day 6 • Baños Hot Springs
Day 7 • Itamandi Eco Lodge
Day 8 • Amazon Rainforest
Day 9 • Papallacta Hot Springs & Departure

“My second trip with Mountain Gurus and everything went off without a hitch. Top notch guides and a fantastic group put together made it an experience I’ll never forget. Highly recommend for domestic and international trips.” ~ Ryan M, January 2020


Ecuador Avenue of the Volcanoes Trek

Trek begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador

Day 1 • Arrive Quito • 9,350 feet

Arrive Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador (UOI). Most flights arrive in Quito in the late evening. Our driver will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you to the hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel Reina Isabel in Quito

Day 2 • Tour Quito • 9,350 feet

We spend the day exploring the old town of Quito, with its 16th century architecture, leafy plazas and narrow, colorful streets. We may visit the Museum of the City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in a historic hospital built in 1565 by King Phillip II of Spain, as well as Independence Plaza at the center of the city, and the famous statues and colonial churches of El Panecillo Hill. Return to hotel.

Accommodations: Hotel Reina Isabel in Quito
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch (B, L)

Day 3 • Santa Rita • 10,758 feet

We drive south for an hour from Quito to our trailhead in the Ecuadorian high country. Our trek follows the Pita River through a lush cloud forest, over bridges and past waterfalls, until we come to a large waterfall at the head of the valley. We eat lunch and then hike back to our starting point. Another short hike from the trailhead takes us to our takes us to our hacienda.

Trekking Time: 3 hours roundtrip to summit, 30 minutes to our hacienda

Accommodations: Hacienda CotopaxiPungo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 4 • Pasochoa • 13,780 feet

Today we trek up an extinct volcano in the Guayllabamba River Basin named Pasochoa (13,780 ft / 4,200 m). Our trail leads through Ecuador’s rolling high plains until we scramble onto a rocky promontory with steep, forested cliffs dropping away below us. On a clear day, we might see condors and wild horses, as well as the distant pyramids of Ecuador’s famous glaciated volcanoes. We eat lunch on the summit and then take a short drive to Hacienda los Mortiños.

Vertical gain climbing: 1,800 feet
Trekking Time: 6 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Hacienda Los Mortiños or Hacienda El Porvenir
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Cotopaxi Glacier • 15,700 feet

We awake to spectacular views of Cotopaxi rising above the Ecuadorian highlands. We eat breakfast in our cozy hacienda, then trek up to the Jose F. Rivas Refuge on the flanks of Cotopaxi. Another 30 minutes of hiking takes us to the edge of Cotopaxi’s glaciers with views of Ruminahui, Sincholahua and other volcanoes such as Antisana if the weather is clear. We descend and drive to Hacienda la Cienega, a beautifully restored 17th century colonial estate where we spend the night.

Vertical gain climbing: 1,000 feet
Trekking Time: 5 hours roundtrip

Accommodations: Hacienda La Cienega
eals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Baños de Agua Santa • Hot Springs

In the morning we drive south through the Ecuadorian countryside to the resort town of Baños de Agua Santa at the base of the 16,480-foot Tungurahua VolcanoTungurahua’s geothermal activity feeds the many famous hot springs in Baños. We may rent bicycles to use around town or drive to a resort perched on a ridge high above the valley with hot pools, massages and fine diningWe sleep in a hotel in Baños(Hot springs admission, bicycles and other amenities not included in trip fee.)

Accommodations: La Floresta Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Waterfalls • Itamandi Eco Lodge

After breakfast, we leave the Andes Mountains and drive down into the Amazon River Basin. After a stop to admire waterfalls along the way, we arrive at the Arajuno River, one of Ecuador’s largest rivers and one of the principle sources of the Amazon. In motorized canoes, we travel swiftly upriver to Itamandi Eco Lodge, where we eat lunch, meet our local guide and begin to explore the jungle. Activities may include an afternoon tubing trip down the river and a wildlife hike to see frogs, tarantulas, lizards and other wildlife in the rainforest after dark.

Accommodations: Itamandi Eco Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Itamandi Eco Lodge Tour

Today we immerse ourselves in the rich biodiversity of the Amazon Basin. In the morning, our guide takes us to a gathering place for dozens of parrots, parakeets and other birds. We visit a local community, where we learn about their culture and sample local food, including cassava, fresh fish, local chocolate sweetened with pineapple juice, and – if we are brave enough – roasted palm weevil larvae. In the afternoon, we may take an ethnobotanical walk in the rainforest or simply relax by tubing in the river or lounging by the swimming pool. We may see many species of birds, monkeys, insects and other animals.

Accommodations: Itamandi Eco Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L, D)

Day 9 • Termas Papallacta • Depart Quito

After breakfast we take our canoes back down the river and drive to the Papallacta Hot Springs on the edge of the Quito Valley, where we relax before transferring to the airport for flights home. Most international flights arrive from the United States late evening and depart Quito slightly after midnight. (Hot springs admission fee not included.)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (B, L)

Itinerary Notes
Mountain Gurus makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner




Rates are quoted based on double/twin sharing hotel accommodations while in Quito and Haciendas. Single room fees apply.

Deposit and Payments

  • A non-refundable deposit of $1000.00 per person secures your reservation.
  • The balance is due 120 days prior to the start date.
  • The balance can be paid by credit card with a surcharge of 3.0%, or Zelle payment network.
  • If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.

Price Includes

  • Park fees
  • Scheduled land transportation in Ecuador
  • Hotels in Quito
  • Haciendas, lodges, and tented accommodations
  • Scheduled meals during the expedition
  • Professional mountain guide
  • All group equipment for the expedition (tents, stoves, group climbing gear)
  • Rubber boots while in the Amazon jungle (up to size 45 EU / 11 US)

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare and meals during travel
  • Hotel accommodations near the airport
  • Non-scheduled airport transfers
  • Non-scheduled meals
  • Snack food during the expedition
  • Hot springs admission fees
  • Bicycle rentals
  • Personal gear
  • Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
  • Single room supplement (hotels only) $900
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Early departure fees
  • Tips and gratuities


A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb information upon reservation.

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, one that covers the ears.
  • Buff
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Sunglasses: Essential eye protection at altitude.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries. 

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic short-sleeve shirt.
  • Mid-layer Top: This is a synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: A breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Rain Jacket: GORE-TEX© or fully waterproof shell. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Light Insulated Jacket: Light synthetic insulated or down jacket


  • Lightweight Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)

Lower Body

  • Quick Dry Shorts: Good for swimming and hiking while in the Amazon Rainforest
  • Trekking Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated
  • Rain Pants: Bring a good pair of rain/wind pants.


  • Trekking Shoes: One pair medium weight hiking boots/shoes large enough to be comfortable with your socks.
  • Trekking Socks: Two pair of synthetic lightweight socks
  • Mediumweight Socks: One pair of wool or synthetic socks
  • Sport Sandals: One pair of sandals for hot springs and river activities. Teva or Chaco brands recommended

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 30L pack with good support, adequate to carry personal gear
  • Liner Bags:  One large plastic contractor bags to keep gear dry

Trekking Gear

  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible. Optional


  • Water Bottle: Two, 1-liter wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications



Program Location:
Begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador

Visa/Entry Information:
A valid passport is required for American citizens to enter Ecuador. American citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 30 days for tourism.

Health & Immunizations:
Immunizations are not required for entry into Ecuador

Flight Travel Information:
Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UOI), Quito, Ecuador

International Departures:
Itineraries reflect the date and time you will need to arrive in country for a program. Mountain Gurus programs begin and end in-country in the destination city. When booking your flight, you will need to account for travel time and crossing the international dateline if needed. It is easiest to give your booking agent the day and time you will need to arrive.

Meals and Food:
All meals are provided as per meal schedule. See itinerary.

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your program will be sent to you in a pre-departure information packet upon booking. For your safety and comfort, it is extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Ecuador Trek Fitness & Training

Activity Levels: Easy Hiking

Because we spend much of this trek at moderately high altitudes above 9,000 feet, we recommend that all participants should be in decent physical condition. No previous climbing or trekking experience is required.

We recommend that you prepare by starting to work on your aerobic fitness at least three months before departure. Running, hiking, backpacking and cycling are all excellent ways to train for a trip to Ecuador.

Here’s suggested training progression before joining our Ecuador Avenue of the Volcanoes Trek:

  • Backpacking and international travel experience a plus
  • Mount Fuji, Machu Pucchu (optional)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Mountain Gurus

Since 2008, we have offered world-class Seven Summits expeditions, high-altitude climbs, and specialized treks around the globe from the Himalayas to the Andes, and from the heights of Africa to the rainforests of the Amazon Basin. We make safety our foremost priority. We employ some of the most talented guides in the industry, and we maintain low client-to-guide ratios to ensure that you enjoy the best possible experience. Our business is rooted in environmental and social stewardship. We also offer a wide selection of mountaineering courses and climbs in the Pacific Northwest through our partner company, Northwest Alpine Guides. To learn more about our services, history and philosophy, please visit: Why Mountain Gurus.

How hard is this trek and what skills do I need?

The activities on the Ecuador Avenue of the Volcanoes Trek require decent physical fitness but no special technical skills. Since we spend most of the trip at moderately high altitudes above 9,000 feet, we recommend that you prepare by starting to work on your aerobic fitness at least three months before departure. Running, hiking, backpacking and cycling are all excellent ways to train for a trip to Ecuador. Anyone with moderate physical fitness is welcome to join this trek.

What is the best season for this trek?

Due to its location on the Equator, Ecuador’s weather stays relatively constant year-round, making this trek a good option no matter what your vacation schedule. The Amazon Basin receives abundant rainfall throughout the year, but relatively less from November through May.

How much will my pack weigh?

On hiking days, you will be responsible for carrying only a light daypack weighing no more than 15 to 20 pounds.

Who will guide my trek?

Our Ecuador treks are led by local guides who speak excellent English and have extensive experience leading our teams.

What if I would like to climb Cotopaxi or another Ecuadorian volcano?

We would be happy to arrange an ascent of Cotopaxi or another of Ecuador’s famous volcanoes as an optional addition to your trek. We also offer two different climbing itineraries in Ecuador, our Cotopaxi and Illiniza Climb and our Ecuador Volcanoes expedition.


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