- Stand on the line of the equator at Mitad del Mundo
- Soak in the volcano-warmed waters of Termas de Papallacta
- Hike around a pair of massive volcanoes
- Enjoy an al fresco breakfast in Cotopaxi National Park
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Explore the City||Quito|
|Day 2||Enjoy a City Tour & Mitad del Mundo||Quito|
|Day 3||Day-trip to Termas de Papallacta||Quito|
|Day 4||Hike Around Rucu Pichincha Volcano, Transfer to Cotopaxi||Cotopaxi|
|Day 5||Climb Iliniza Norte||Cotopaxi|
|Day 6||Explore Cotopaxi National Park, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Explore the City
Welcome to Quito! You'll arrive at the airport and meet your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. After taking some time to get settled in, explore the historic center. This UNESCO World Heritage Site stands at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m) and welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas between mountain peaks.
Stroll through its narrow streets and visit some of the city's most important churches, such as the Baroque La Compañía, with its incredible gold-covered interior, and the neo-Gothic La Basílica. Take a walk down La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in the city, then head to Panecillo Hill for incredible panoramic views.
For more ideas and inspiration, read The Perfect Day in Quito.
Day 2: Enjoy a City Tour & Mitad del MundoAfter breakfast, your guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you on a walking tour of the city. In the afternoon, you'll visit the equatorial monument known as Mitad del Mundo. It's located just 16 miles (26 km) north of the capital city in the spot where French scientists determined the position of the central line many years ago. You'll have the chance to stand on the line of the equator and strike a pose with one foot in each hemisphere! Visit the adjacent museum, featuring a planetarium, cocoa and chocolate exhibits, and a small-scale model of Quito.
Read about How Many Days to Spend in Ecuador.
Day 3: Day-trip to Termas de Papallacta
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Hike Around Rucu Pichincha Volcano, Transfer to Cotopaxi
Leave the city this morning and transfer to Rucu Pichincha Volcano with your guide. You'll board the TeleferiQo cable car to travel up into the mountains to the hike's starting point, taking in outstanding views over the city on the journey.
Today's hike takes about six hours in total. During the first part, you'll pass through typical Andean landscapes. The trail gets steeper as you make your way to the summit. Take some time at the top to soak up the incredible vistas and enjoy a snack and drink with a view. You'll trek back down to the cable car station, returning by aerial tramway to the starting point. From there, you'll travel by car to Cotopaxi, where you'll spend the night.
Day 5: Climb Iliniza Norte
After breakfast, you'll travel with your guide to the starting point for a hike to Iliniza Norte, one of a pair of volcanic mountains in the Illinizas Ecological Reserve. The trek will begin at a high elevation, leading you through the Ecuadorian highlands. After a challenging hike with spectacular views, you'll descend and return to Cotopaxi in the afternoon.
Day 6: Explore Cotopaxi National Park, Depart
Start your day at the border of the Cotopaxi National Park, enjoying a delicious traditional breakfast. Visit Lake Limpiopungo and take in spectacular views of Cotopaxi Volcano. Keep your eyes open for various birds and possibly even wild horses on a short walk around the lake.
In the afternoon, you'll head to the airport in Quito to catch your flight. Safe travels!