This 8 day itinerary is a fantastic way to explore the Andean mountains of Ecuador and can be easily slotted into a longer itinerary, or is perfect on its own if you are not bothered about hitting the beach. Whizzing down volcanoes on a mountain bike, horseriding with real local cowboys, riding the famous Devil’s Nose train, poking around beautiful colonial towns or just good old fashioned hiking... you will see these majestic mountains in a different way every day, giving you the chance to soak up the beauty of this inspiring landscape.
Day 2: Today you will be driven down the Avenue of the Volcanoes, with stunning views of the mountain ranges on either side, to a working hacienda in the shadow of Cotopaxi volcano. Once you have been fitted out with poncho and chaps, you are ready to head out into the mountains on horseback with some real Andean cowboys. (B/L/D)
Day 3: Thrills but hopefully no spills today as you descend the world's highest active volcano by bike! Starting from a height of 4800m, you will pedal through some spectacular scenery down the side of the volcano, around crystal clear lakes and through thick pine forests. At the end of this epic day, we will take you on south to the town of Riobamba, which sits at the foot of the mighty Chimborazo volcano. (B/L/D)
Day 4: The glacier-covered summit of Chimborazo tops out at 6310m and is the furthest point from the centre of the Earth due to the bulge around the equator. Whizz down mountain paths by bike, across high altitude grasslands dotted with wild flowers and past vicuñas, the sole inhabitants of these wild stretches. Lower down you'll encounter local Quichua farmers and, more often than not, enthusiastic children on their way home from school. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Take in the unique landscape at a slower and more relaxing pace, as you travel the train line that once linked the Andean highlands to the Pacific coast. The ride offers unobstructed views of the dramatic countryside all the way to Chimborazo as it soars up from the horizon. The highlight of the trip is an incredible feat of engineering, shunting back and forth down a series of switchbacks as you negotiate the sheer Devil's Nose cliff. From the final stop you'll drive up to your resting spot for the night – a beautiful converted hacienda perched above Ecuador's most significant Inca ruins. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Today you will explore two major historical locations in Ecuador - the ancient Inca citadel of Ingapirca, Ecuador's most significant Inca site and the UNESCO world heritage city of Cuenca. Cuenca is a wonderful town to explore on foot in the afternoon, with its well preserved network of beautiful old colonial buildings and streets. (B/L)
Day 7: Just outside Cuenca you'll find the highland wetlands of Cajas National Park, a tranquil place to spend the day hiking and reflecting on your time in Ecuador. More than 200 lakes and dense pockets of polylepis forest are scattered across the terrain, creating a verdant landscape that contrasts dramatically with the rocky mountains you have seen during this activity-filled week. In the afternoon we will take you on to your final destination, Guayaquil. (B/L)
Day 8: A tough decision today! Catch your flight home or perhaps continue discovering the wonders of Ecuador with an optional extension to the unique Galapagos Islands.
Prices from: £1395 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses
Note: stops can be extended, added or cut - just ask us!