• Ecuador
  • 8 Days

Family Adventure in the Ecuadorian Andes

  • Multi Destination Journey
  • Active adventure
  • 8 days; 7 nights
  • 2 to 8 travelers
  • Begins & ends in Quito

Located in the heart of the Central Andes of Ecuador and surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes, Tierra del Volcan offers the perfect basecamp for your outdoor adventure in the legendary Cotopaxi area. The majestic, sacred Andes are a must-see in an adventurous life. In the Cotopaxi area, you will have the opportunity to explore the volcanoes, embark on horse-back expeditions, trek, climb, relax, and experience local life on the ranches. This is a program designed for the entire family, encourages hands-on participation, the learning of new skills, and full-on exploration. No longer do you need to choose between a vacation with your children and a vacation filled with adrenaline, awe, and adventure. You can have both in this magical place.

At a Glance

Creature comforts

comfortable


Physical activity

light


Ground support

fully guided

Terrain

  • Mountains
  • Forest
  • Rivers

Practicalities

  • For all ages
  • Proficient english

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Indigenous culture
  • Rural homestay

Your Local Expert

Tierra del Volcan Ecuador

Tierra del Volcán is an inbound tour operator that specializes in ecotourism and adventure travel in the Cotopaxi Area on the Central Andes of Ecuador since 1999. With us, you can experience the Andes at their maximum intensity, discover the charisma of its people, the diversity of its natural settings and the adrenaline rush of living a lifetime adventure with experts who have been around the area for five generations. We make sure you get personalized service in a welcoming environment while helping nature conservation and sustainable development in local communities. We operate two working haciendas in the region surrounding the Cotopaxi Volcano: El Porvenir and El Tambo. Each one has its own charm, ecosystem, and distinctive touch.

The Journey

Day 1

Transfer from the airport

We will pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel.

Day 2

Mitad del Mundo/Visit to Colonial Hacienda/Local Market

After breakfast we head to visit the place that gives Ecuador its name, the equatorial line also know in Spanish as «La Mitad del Mundo» or middle of the world; where we can play and learn about the effects of gravity on each hemisphere. Then we continue traveling North, to have lunch in one of the beautiful colonial haciendas of the area. After lunch, we drive to Ibarra’s local market to buy exotic fruits and to taste new flavors. Travel to one of the properties we offer exclusively where you will enjoy the benefits of having the house for yourself with the welcoming service provided by the hacienda staff. Hands-on cooking classes with local women experts on Ecuadorian cuisine and family traditional recipes. Overnight at Hacienda B,D.

Day 3

Cultural encounters

The Northern Ecuadorian Andes in the Imbabura region, are famous for the diversity of ancestral Indigenous cultures. Today we get to learn and participate in some of their wisdom by experiencing local activities first hand like: pottery that the locals still use for cooking, visit to a local healer that will share her wisdom about medicinal plants or a traditional embroidery experience with a local «zuleteña» (woman from the community of Zuleta), renowned for their typical clothing decoration techniques. We will have lunch in the city of Ibarra and then enjoy the very unique, fruity and flavorful ice cream, which contributes to the city’s fame. «Helados de paila» are a traditional way of preparing ice cream (which does not use cream). «Helado de paila» is practically a fruit sorbet made by hand in a large copper pan, which is spun on a bed of straw and ice, stirred with a wooden spoon until it gets the perfect consistency. You will get to choose from over 15 different types of natural fruits. The rest of the afternoon we will enjoy some quiet time at the Hacienda, and at the end of the day, we will partake on a delicious barbecue dinner! Overnight at Hacienda B,D.

Day 4

Choose your adventure

Today you can experience the adventure that fits your needs and tastes. We have put together four different options from where to choose from. B,D - Kayak on Lake San Pablo. San Pablo is a sacred lake. It is beautiful to kayak around the lake and near the shore where you can see the daily life of the local people, washing their clothes, fishing or harvesting totora (an aquatic plant used for weaving). Also birds like gulls, coots and eaglets can be seen from the water. This is a super fun activity to do with kids! -Visit «El Parque Cóndor», a sanctuary that rehabilitates birds of prey like Andean condors, eagles, owls, falcons, and hawks. Follow your guide along a nature trail, and catch sight of some of these birds before heading to the amphitheater for a flight demonstration. Watch rangers work with hawks and falcons, as the birds soar, plummet and find prey. (Operates Wed-Sun) -Train Ride to Salinas and the Chota Valley. This train ride goes from Ibarra city to Salinas, a place from where the Spanish conquistadores got their salt. It is home of the most important Afro-American communities of Ecuador. In Salinas, we will have the opportunity to enjoy several dances performed by the local people. The train ride needs to be booked in advance. (Operates Thu-Sun) - Enjoy a hike around one of the most beautiful lakes that this area has to offer, Lake Cuicocha. The lake is an old volcano crater with about two miles across one point and the other. It also has two islands in the center. The hike takes around four to five hours and is nine miles long.

Day 5

Otavalo Market and travel to Cotopaxi Volcano area

After breakfast, we drive to the Otavalo Market (45 minutes by car). The market is very colorful and full of textures. Indigenous women have a long weaving history and Otavaleños (how locals define themselves) have a lot of pride around their weaving legacy and culture. They are also fantastic merchants that travel around the world selling their creations. On this day, we will visit a local weaver in one of the villages nearby. Lunch at a local eatery. After lunch, we drive to Cotopaxi to Hacienda El Porvenir ( 3 hours drive) where a crackling fireplace will be waiting for us. Overnight at Hacienda El Porvenir B,D.

Day 6

Horseback riding Rumiñahui Volcano

In the morning we have a delicious and nutritious farm breakfast, followed by a brief riding lesson from our guides before we set out on our horses. Wearing the typical attire of the chagra (Ecuadorian cowboys). We will ride out across the slopes of the dormant volcano, Rumiñahui. A respected chagra from the area will come with us and share some of his deep knowledge of country life. The ride lasts for approximately two hours. Back in the farmhouse, a tasty local lunch will be ready upon our arrival. In the afternoon we can learn from our chagra guide the local cowboy skills including horse handling and care instructions. Feel free to feed the horses whenever you want! Weather permitting, we can hike to the sky deck to watch stars and constellations. If the night is cloudy we can hike to the campsite and light a wood fire to listen to some local stories! B,L

Day 7

Mountain biking or Native forest hike and Cotopaxi High Rope Course

Today we offer two options for families so that they can get what is best for their interests and skills. These activities have to be chosen in advance for logistic reasons. B,L - Option A – Mountain Biking: After a wholesome hacienda breakfast, we provide each guest with a mountain bike (29ers for adults and good quality mountain bikes for kids). The Hacienda has several biking circuits that you can enjoy in the morning. If you wish to explore the trails in the highlands at your own pace, you may do so as well. This bike trip can last approximately two and a half hours, through patches of native forests, farmland and highland trails. Return to the farmhouse for a delicious lunch. During the afternoon, you can defeat your fear of heights (or tickle your adrenaline rush), in the Cotopaxi High Rope Course, a circuit designed for both kids and adults. This is a perfect activity for bonding and strengthening family ties. The activity lasts for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes The activity is designed for adults and children ages six and up - Option B – Native Forest Hike: After a wholesome hacienda breakfast, we drive to Santa Rita Ecological Reserve, a private conservation area in the Cotopaxi Area with fantastic remains of native forest, petrified lava streams, glacial rivers and waterfalls. We will hike through native forest trails, learning about the ecology of the area. A two-hour loop will finish on the campsite where we can catch some rainbow trout in the stream like locals do. We enjoy a picnic on the campsite and if we catch some trout, we can cook it and have it for lunch! Or we can also catch and release, just for the experience! During the afternoon, we return to Hacienda El Porvenir to enjoy the Cotopaxi High Rope Course, a circuit designed for both kids and adults. This is a perfect activity for bonding and strengthening family ties. B,L The activity lasts for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. Dinner and overnight stay at Hacienda El Porvenir.

Day 8

Cotopaxi National Park Visit and Airport back home

Have you ever thought about how it is possible to have glaciers on the Equatorial line? Have you ever wondered what it feels like to climb an active volcano? Would you like to discover why ancient explorers pointed out Cotopaxi as one of the most beautiful mountains in the World? This is your opportunity to immerse yourself on a fantastic day trip of exploration to the iconic Cotopaxi National Park. Home of the biggest flying bird in the world: the Andean Condor, home of herds of wild- truly wild- horses, a place where migratory birds stop by to get some rest on their way south. The location is the perfect place to learn about Andean Geology. On our visit we reach the parking spot below the Cotopaxi Refuge, where we begin our short hike up to the climbing hut (Refugio José Ribas) at 4,800m (15,744 ft). It is hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of the Volcano on this short hike. Once back in the vehicle, we continue our way driving down to the Limpiopungo Lake, where a wholesome box lunch will be served. We will ride through a vast territory with ancient Inca military fortresses, plains full of volcanic rocks from past eruptions, where we will learn how to recognize the oldest stones. Great chances of learning and connecting with nature during this final day of our Highland Family Adventure. At the end of the afternoon we return to Quito to the airport. B,L

Included

  • Lodging

    Includes Accommodation on superior rooms.

  • Meals

    Meals described on the itinerary

  • Transportation

    Shuttle from and to Quito and transportation while on tour.

  • Others included

    -Described activities -Guides (English speaking and native guide) -Riding gear (poncho, chaps and riding helmet) -High ropes gear (harness, helmet, gloves, ropes) -Mountain Bike gear (helmet, gloves, knee and elbow protection) -Fishing (basic fishing tools used by locals to catch trout) -Entrance fee to Santa Rita Ecological Reserve

Not Included

  • Extra Drinks

    Extra Drinks Not Included

  • Tips

    Tips not included

  • International Airfare to Quito

    International Airfare to Quito

Private Departures

Private departures, for just you and your friends or family

Flexible dates

  • 2 travelers$2126 per person
  • 3 travelers$2126 per person
  • 4 travelers$1990 per person
  • 5 travelers$1990 per person
  • 6 travelers$1990 per person
  • 8 travelers$1990 per person
Pricing depends on group size and host availability

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$2126 / person