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Top 5 treks in Ecuador
Ecuador’s stunning Andes region is famous for its outstanding trekking opportunities. We’ve handpicked five of our favourites to get you started!
This trek offers plenty of opportunities to learn about the indigenous culture of the Otavalo region, taking you through Agato, San Pablo, Zuleta and the famous Plaza de Ponchos, a buzzing market famous for its crafts and textiles. The route allows you to fully engage with the local people, and experience first-hand their traditions and way of life. The scenery along the way is truly magical, winding between the Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo. Other highlights include a detour to the stunning Laguna Grande de Mojanda and the dazzling 18m Peguche Waterfall.
Duration: 3 days
Best for: culture
A great option for beginner hikers or those short on time is a walk around the picturesque Cuicocha Lake, easily one of Ecuador’s most beautiful lakes. The lake and its two islands (Isla Teodoro Wolf and Isla Yerovi) are set within the scenic rainforests of Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve. The trek takes most people between four and six hours, and offers splendid views of the Cotacachi volcano, Imbabura and Cayambe mountains, and surrounding highlands.
Duration: 4-6 hours
Best if you are short on time
This heavy-duty 8-day trek involves climbing to the summit of Pasochoa, the lowest peak of Rumi-ahui and the spectacular snow-topped summit of Cotopaxi. As well as immense volcanoes, this route will introduce you to a region of enchanting scenery and the unique flora and fauna of the Andean region. You will hike through spectacular valleys and verdant grasslands, travelling from rocky mountain peaks to volcanic glaciers. The trek rates a medium in difficulty and some mountain climbing experience is recommended.
Duration: 8 days
Best for: landscapes/views
The Condor Trek is renowned as one of the most beautiful treks to undertake in Ecuador. Starting at El Tambo, trekkers will cross the beautiful paramo highlands before finishing at Cotapaxi National Park. As you walk you will encounter lagoons, glaciers and the peaks of some of the highest volcanoes in Southern America. Wildlife is frequently spotted on the trails, from condors and pumas to a variety of bird species. It is advisable to go with a guide, as the region is known for its harsh landscape, high altitude, and windy/rainy weather.
Duration: 4-5 days
Best for: wildlife
Cajas National Park
Cajas National Park is a hiker’s dream, with a fairy tale-like landscape made up of mystical forests, unique rock formations, wildflowers, valleys, the continental divide and over 200 lakes. A short 45 minute drive from Cuenca, here you can enjoy stunning views and the fresh mountain air with hikes ranging from short 1 hour walks to longer 3 day treks.
Duration: 1 hour +
Best for: beginners