You have been looking at Ecuador’s amazing trekking trails for a while and now you are trying to plan the perfect trekking trip. You can organize your itinerary with 2 to 4 trekking trails. Let’s face it there are infinite options and not enough time.
Ecuador offers countless trekking options for you to spend an entire year moving nonstop from one spot to the next.
Ecuador trekking tours: Adjust to the altitude
Quito, the capital, is the second largest city in the country and its strategic location gives you a superb advantage to start your Ecuador trekking tour. Whether you arrive in Quito by plane or car, one thing is for sure, you will experience the shortness of breath that comes from being at a high altitude of 2000 meters.
Don’t worry your body will adjust gradually to the altitude and you will be ready to start trekking in Ecuador´s Andes.
Trekking from Quito
If you want to plan your Ecuador trekking tour and you arrive in Quito we recommend the following route. Start up north with the Cuicocha Hike, then visit the Cotopaxi Volcano Hike to the Glaciers, and finally trek in the Quilotoa Loop. The Cuicocha Hike is a one day round trip from the capital. Start the hike early in the morning to have more probabilities of a clear sky. It will take you about 3 to 5 hours to hike the whole circuit. Once you finish the hike you can visit Otavalo and its famous “Plaza de Ponchos,” then head back to Quito.
Next day, visit the Cotopaxi Volcano and hike to the glaciers. This adventure will take you most of the day, therefore we suggest you to stay the night at the Cotopaxi National Park. The Park has 3 lodging options: Refuge Jose Ribas, La Rinconada, and Tambopaxi. After spending the night in the Cotopaxi National Park, head south to Quilotoa. Here you can choose from 2 options: trek the Quilotoa Loop or hike the Quilotoa crater rim. The Loop is a 3 day route passing through the towns of Quilotoa, Chugchilan, Isinlivi and Sigchos. If you don’t have enough time to complete the Loop you could hike the crater rim instead. The crater rim is a 13km hike that takes about 4 to 6 hours.
Trekking from Baños
If your location is Baños and want to start your Ecuador trekking tour from here, this is our advice. Start with the Quilotoa crater rim, then head south to the Chimborazo Hike, and finally immerse yourself in the amazing Inca Trail. Wake up early in order to arrive at Quilotoa during the morning and settle at a hostel. After getting set in a room, take a bit to eat and start the hike around the crater. Take your time to admire the turquoise water and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountainous landscape. After completing the circuit, walk around to appreciate the indigenous rural life. Make sure to have a good night rest to complete the Chimborazo Hike the next day. Remember this hike will take you up to 5050 meters high so make sure to drink enough water to avoid altitude sickness.
The Chimborazo hike will take half of your day and later you can head south to Alausi. You either can stay the night at Alausi or Achupallas. Get excited to experience one of Ecuador’s hidden treasures. This 3 day trekking adventure will take you places you have never seen before. Along the route you will admire spectacular views of the Sansahuin and Culebrillas Lakes, and of course you will be able to connect with the ancient Incas as you take a short stop at Paredones ruins, which the Incas used as a resting point as well. At the end of the trail make sure to visit Ingapirca, Ecuador’s most historic Inca site.
Trekking from Cuenca
If you want to start your trekking tour from the beautiful city of Cuenca we suggest the following route. Start with El Cajas National Park, and then explore the Inca Trail. About 40 km outside Cuenca you can find an amazing landscape full of hills, lakes, and high valleys, all this makes up the perfect combination for a hikers paradise. Route 2 is the most preferred among visitors, with a hike that takes about 4 to 6 hours to complete after exploring the 9.6 km route. After visiting El Cajas head back to Cuenca.
The next day move to Alausi or Achupallas and get a good night sleep in order to immerse yourself in the 3 day hike in the Inca Trail. At the end of this hike you will be arriving in Ingapirca, Ecuador’s most preserved Inca ruins. Ingapirca is every hikers’ cherry on top of the cake and taking a tour into the historic site to learn more about the Incas, is the most epic way to finish this amazing adventure.
In conclusion, there are many options you could choose from while planning your Ecuador trekking tour. We give you these tour suggestions based on the top 5 best hikes in Ecuador. You can use this list as a starting point to arrange the tour that best fits you and your itinerary. Also, there are many more hikes and treks all over the country that you can include to create your perfect trekking tour.