Lodge-to-Lodge Walking in Ecuador’s Cloud Forest

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Availability : Daily, All Year

Lodge-to-Lodge Walking in Ecuador’s Cloud Forest

Highlights Include:

  • Guided hiking in the Cloud Forest with naturalist guide
  • Birdwatching and observing wildlife
  • Enjoying panoramic views across the cloud forest canopy
  • Walking ancient ‘culunco’ trails, former trading routes from 1500 BC to 500 AD
  • Accommodations in comfortable lodges
Tour Details

From: $1,797 per person | Single supplement on request

7 days

Departures: Daily, All Year

Immerse yourself in Ecuador’s fascinating cloud forest, only 1 hour from Quito. Lush, green with cool temperatures, it is home to waterfalls, rushing rivers, numerous species of birds, lizards, butterflies, and mammals such as monkeys. You’ll learn about research and conservation, and appreciate its importance as an ecosystem.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult. The hiking portion of this itinerary is guided; pre- and post-hike is semi-independent.

Day 1 Arrive Quito, Ecuador

Arrive Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. Meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Quito

Day 2Quito City Tour & Middle of the World Tour | Meals: B L

Today is spent exploring the the bustling streets and squares of Quito and its surroundings with your local guide. Visit its most important churches, such as the impressive Cathedral, majestic Compañía and iconic San Francisco. See the Congress building, visit the Old Town, and the “Panecillo” hillside, with its breathtaking views of the old and modern city surrounded by the rolling Andes Mountains. Travel to “La Mitad del Mundo”, where the monument is located at latitude 0º 0´0″, and provides for once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to straddle both hemispheres, or hop between the two in the blink of an eye. Lunch is served in a local restaurant. Overnight in Quito

Day 3Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Walk | Meals: B L D

After breakfast, you’ll be picked up from your hotel and will drive into the cloud forest region of northwest Ecuador, a spectacularly scenic overland journey which brings us to the start of our walk into the Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve. This uphill walk through beautiful primary cloud forest takes around two hours, there are various seating places to rest and enjoy being in the forest along the way. Depending on the cloud cover you will be rewarded with spectacular views when you reach the lodge for lunch.
Your luggage will be transported in by mule. After lunch we can enjoy a moderate walk on a circular trail near the lodge through beautiful primary and secondary forest which offers great views across the surrounding mountains, a visit to the orchid garden and a chance to have a go on the popular giant tree swing.
Distance: approximately 1.2 miles; Elevation: 4600 – 6235 ft.
Overnight at Santa Lucia Lodge

Day 4Three Waterfalls Trail | Meals: B L D

Enjoy breakfast at the lodge. Today’s walk is on one of the most beautiful trails in Santa Lucía. The trail descends steeply into a thick primary forest of giant trees laden with bromeliads, epiphytes and orchids, and takes you passed three mountain waterfalls. Doubling back for a short way, you can then pass more waterfalls to arrive at a swimming hole: a beautiful place to relax, appreciate the forest and enjoy a picnic lunch. From here the adventurous can walk waist-deep in the river upstream to a fabulous waterfall. Distance: 3.4 miles; Elevation 6300 – 5250 – 6300 ft.
Overnight at Santa Lucia Lodge

Day 5Yumbo Trail | Meals: B L D

After breakfast, we’ll depart on our walk which takes us an ancient trail, through deeply trenched culuncos which were made and used as a trading route between the mountains and the coast by the pre-Incan Yumbo people who lived in this area from 1500 BC to 500 AC. The hike passes by an organic banana plantation, waterfalls, and pristine primary forest including an impressive area of giant tree ferns (helechos gigantes). A highlight is a stop at the Santa Rosa River where (depending on the river level) you can walk upstream a hundred meters to reach a waterfall which cascades into a crystal clear pool,
perfect for swimming. We’ll enjoy our box lunch next to the river. Our hike continues, and at the end, the trail opens out into a lush green meadow with views of the river below and takes you on to the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve. Your luggage will be transported to Maquipucuna Lodge by mule. Distance 3.7 miles; Elevation 6300 – 4200 ft. Overnight at Hotel Casa del Aguila

Day 6Palmito Trail | Meals: B

Enjoy breakfast at the lodge. This morning, we’ll hike through the Maquipucuna Reserve along the Palmitos Trail, which takes us along more stretches of Pre-Incan ‘culuncos‘and through secondary and primary forest where we can learn about the medicinal plants found in this area. The walk offers other interesting sights such as a variety of wildlife and great views across the cloud forest canopy. After lunch in Maquipucuna we begin our return journey to Quito where your adventure ends.
Distance 3.4 miles; Elevation: 4265 ft. Overnight in Quito

Day 7Depart Quito | Meals: B

You’ll transfer to the airport for your return trip to the US, or continue your travels in Ecuador or other parts of South America. or extend your stay in South America!

  • Transfers in Quito as indicated
  • Three nights’ accommodation in Quito
  • Full day sightseeing in and around Quito with English-speaking guide
  • Private transportation to and from the cloud forest
  • English-speaking naturalist guide while hiking
  • Three nights’ accommodation in cloud forest lodges with private facilities
  • Meals as indicated (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
  • Mules to transport luggage
Not Included
  • All flights and related taxes & surcharges
  • Airline fees including meals, seat reservations, and luggage costs
  • Travel Insurance, recommended
  • Fees for passports, visas, or health vaccinations 
  • Transfers, sightseeing, activities, meals, and beverages not specified
  • Luggage handling at airports and hotels
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, spa services, internet, phone, etc
  • Itinerary and activities are subject to change without prior notice depending on weather conditions.
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