Off The Beaten Path

Expert, Local Guides

Community-Based Tourism

Discover Ecuador’s Rich History, Culture & Nature on this 3-Day Trip

Experience the Andean magic of Ecuador’s rural region around Cayambe Volcano with this multi-day tour. Starting from Quito, your journey will take you to some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the country. From the cultural center Quitsato to the community center in La Chimba, this tour offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

You’ll stay at the modern mountain refuge of Hostal Punanti, nestled amidst beautiful paramo landscapes. Wake up to stunning views of the Cayambe volcano, soak in natural hot springs, enjoy a peaceful moment amidst the local flora, and enjoy a delicious dinner with western flavors prepared by your host.

Whether you’re interested in exploring Ecuador’s natural beauty, learning about its rich culture and history, or seeking an adventure in the Andean region, this tour has something for everyone. Join us for an unforgettable experience in Ecuador’s Andean region!

Why Choose This Ecuador Tour?

Visit the cultural center Quitsato and learn about its impressive sundial on the equinoctial line

Hike to the Condor Viewpoint and observe Andean wildlife, with a chance to see the endangered Condor

Relax in natural hot springs and enjoy a peaceful moment amidst beautiful local flora

Learn about indigenous leader Tránsito Amaguaña's fight for women's and indigenous people's rights at the community center

Explore Hacienda Guachalá, one of Ecuador's oldest haciendas, with buildings dating back to 1580

Click the Tabs for More Information

Accommodation & Tour Details

Accommodation & Tour Details

Service Categories & Pricing

2024 Rates per Person

  • Private transportation from Quito
  • Visits and activities according to the itinerary with local guides
  • Entrance fees for the activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • 2 nights at Punanti Hostel
  • Meals according to the itinerary
  • Purified water, coffee and tea at the hostel

  • Additional meals and beverages
  • Tips
  • Any services not previously specified as included
  • VAT for Ecuadorian travelers

Accommodation location

Punanti Hostel, Olmedo


Duration

3 days / 2 nights


Availability

Year-round. Lodging has limited spaces, so book in advance!


Number of guests

Private experience for 1 – 16 travelers


Tour staff

  • English-speaking guide for transportation between Quito and Olmedo.
  • Local bilingual guide for the activities at the lodge.

Pack warm clothing, good hiking shoes, a rainproof windbreaker, sun protection, snacks and a reusable water bottle.

What You Will See & Do

This 3-day tour combines community and cultural tourism with hikes through pristine Andean paramo. It includes two nights at Hostal Punanti, which is located at the north face of Cayambe Volcano.

Day 1 – Quito – Quitsato – La Chimba

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in Quito after breakfast and you’ll start your journey to the northeast. After approximately 1.5 hours, you will stop at the cultural center Quitsato to visit its impressive sundial. The sundial is located on the equinoctial line and has a diameter of more than 50 meters. A local guide will explain how the sundial works and its historical and cultural importance for the local communities.

After your visit to the sundial, you’ll pass through Cayambe. This Andean town lies at the foot of Cayambe Volcano and is known for its special pastries called bizcochos. At the northern end of the city, you will leave the highway and start your ascent towards La Chimba community. After approximately 40 minutes, you’ll arrive at Hostal Punanti, a modern mountain refuge surrounded by beautiful paramo landscapes. This cozy place at the north face of Cayambe Volcano will be your home for the next couple of days. A typical Ecuadorian lunch prepared by someone from the local community will await you here.

In the afternoon, you’ll walk from Punanti to the nearby hot springs and enjoy a peaceful moment amidst the beautiful local flora. The hike takes approximately one and a half hours each way. The first part of the hike includes a steep ascent, but the views of the volcano’s snowfields and the colorful vegetation along the way make you forget the exertion. As you advance on your hike, you will suddenly notice the presence of swallows, who give the hot springs “Termas de las Golondrindas” their name.

These natural hot springs are conveniently located in a bay at 3800 m (12,470 ft), so you can enjoy a relaxing bath protected from the wind. Bathing in this water that reaches temperatures of up to 35°C (95°F) will renew your energies. Moreover, it is said to have medicinal properties, which makes it a popular destination among locals as well.

In the evening you will return to the hostel to enjoy a delicious dinner with western flavors, prepared by your host.

Accommodation at Hostel Punanti.
Meals included: Lunch and dinner


Day 2 – Hike to Condor Viewpoint

If the weather is clear, you will wake up to a stunning view of the Cayambe Volcano, thanks to Punanti’s excellent location.

After breakfast, you’ll head out on a 9 km hike (5.6 miles) with your local guide. The hike will take you approximately 5 to 6 hours and you will reach an altitude of about 4200 m (13,800 ft). During this hike, you’ll have the opportunity to observe and learn about the wildlife of the area. The hike’s goal is to reach the Condor Viewpoint, from where, with a bit of luck, you will be able to watch condors. This majestic bird is also known as the King of the Andes and holds a special place in Andean mythology and folklore. It is one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan of about 3 meters and weight of up to 15 kg. Unfortunately, these emblematic birds are endangered, and it feels like a real privilege to see condors gliding through the Andean sky.

Back at the hostel, you’ll have time to relax in front of the fireplace until it is time for a well-earned dinner.

Accommodation at Hostel Punanti.
Meals included: Breakfast, box lunch and dinner


Day 3 – Community Center and Return to Quito

After breakfast, it’ll be time to prepare your departure from Punanti. Together with your local guide, you will drive down to the center of La Chimba to visit its intercultural community center. Here you’ll learn about the life of activist Tránsito Amaguaña who fought for women’s and indigenous people’s rights. The indigenous leader was from this area and next to the community center is a mausoleum with her mortal remains.

After this educational visit, you will meet with the guide who will take you back to Quito. On the way south to Quito, you’ll stop at one of Ecuador’s oldest haciendas that is located outside the town of Cayambe. Hacienda Guachalá features buildings that date back to 1580. You’ll have time to enjoy lunch at the restaurant and explore the grounds with your guide.

Return to Quito.
Meals included: Breakfast

Additional Information

Contact us to find out about additional activities such as horseback riding and rock climbing.

The itinerary is subject to change for operational reasons beyond our control (e.g. bad weather).

Midland Travel recommends all passengers to have travel insurance that includes personal medical insurance and trip cancellation.

Level of difficulty: Moderate to challenging. Hikes can be adjusted to your capabilities.

If you have any food restrictions, special health requirements or needs, please let us know in advance.

Punanti Hostel is located at 3,800 meters above sea level (12,467 ft) therefore it is important to be well acclimatized.

Pack warm clothing, good hiking shoes, a rainproof windbreaker, sun protection, snacks and a reusable water bottle.

Contact us for special group rates or a discount if you arrange your own transportation to Cayambe.

See What Previous Adventurers Have Said About Our Tours


See More Ecuador Tours