2019 March 12 to 18
Join us for a gay Ecuador tour that brings you down below… the equator, that is! We will spend time horseback riding through the hills of the Andes, hiking down into an extinct volcano crater, biking down the side of Cotopaxi Volcano, and much more. After a day of adventure and amazing Ecuadorian food spend some time warming up next to your in-room wood burning stove. The warmth of the hacienda and the views from the elevated location are breathtaking in all directions.
Join us as we explore Quito, one of the best preserved historic cities in the Americas. We will make our way to higher elevation as we head up to the hacienda situated near Cotopaxi Volcano. Spend some time in the Andean Mountains and down in an extinct volcanic crater. We will have amazing views of Cotopaxi, which stands at an elevation of over 15,000 feet. We will mountain bike down the side of this active volcano. Nearby is Limpiopungo Lake which is a wetland with amazing birdlife conservation. Our time here will be relaxing yet exhilarating. It is a great blend of adventure and history with a visit to a simpler time.
Upon arrival in Quito, we’ll be transferred to our stylish and modern hotel. Due to late flight arrivals for many, we’ll have the evening on our own to settle in and rest from traveling. Group activities begin the next morning.
Today begins with a visit to Quito’s colonial area. Quito is a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the Americas best-preserved historic cities. The group will partake in an urban walk down the brick-laden streets of the city while discovering many of its legends, mysteries and hidden treasures. We will make our way to “Plaza de la Independencia”, La Compañía de Jesús, and the Museo de Arte Colonial. After a full day of meandering down the streets of Quito, we will enjoy dinner at a traditional restaurant and afterward make our way to the hacienda, located on the rich slopes of Rumiñahui Volcano in the privileged Valley of El Pedregal.
After we’ve enjoyed a delicious traditional Hacienda breakfast we will journey out for a spectacular horseback ride to the heights of majestic Rumiñahui. Here you will become acquainted with your horse and you are welcome to trot or canter on the high plateau of Rumiñahui. The men in chaps are real cowboys! Once we reach the base of the Central Summit, there will be an opportunity to spy on soaring Andean birds, view herds of wild bravo cattle and wild horses. Rest assured, beginners and experienced riders alike will find what a superb adventure it is to be immersed in the local Chagra (Ecuadorian cowboys) culture. Jump at the opportunity to take your ride “off road” down ancient wild horse tracks. On clear days you will be impressed to view a spectacular landscape dotted with more than 12 volcanoes. A delicious lunch of local dishes awaits us at the Hacienda once we’ve had our fill of the rugged cowboy way of life.
In the afternoon we will learn how to milk a cow by hand and later enjoy a cooking class, Cooking in the Clouds, focusing on traditional Ecuadorian cooking methods.
We will start our morning with a drive to Quilotoa, a long-extinct volcano crater full of emerald green water. The drive to Laguna Quilotoa displays a beautiful view of the regal Andean mountains, passing through many indigenous towns and farmlands and the ancient canyon of Zumbahua. The trip through these quaint villages of this area provides a fantastic glimpse into one of the most authentic parts of the country. We will hike down into the crater onto the lake-shore (45 min), with an optional mule ride out if you feel too tired to make the trek back up. After this short excursion, we will have a tasty packed lunch. In the afternoon we will return to the hacienda for dinner and a relaxing evening around the wood burning fireplace.
Today will be another amazing day! We will depart early this morning and head to Rumiñahui Volcano, crossing vast highlands surrounded by the fabulous Andres. Endless views of valleys, mountains, and neighboring volcanoes will have you on the edge of your seat. If it happens to be a cloudless day, we will have a view of the Ilinizas peaks and Chimborazo, the highest snow-capped mountain in Ecuador. The trek today will take all day at a moderate pace and difficulty level. Tonight will be a warm delicious meal at the hacienda.
After a hearty breakfast, we will experience an adventure program, a High Ropes Course that serves up the opportunity to participate in a series of activities on a safe environment involving physical, mental and emotional challenges. The activity lasts about an hour and a half; depending on the group size. A full lunch will be served at the Hacienda house. This afternoon we will hike to the Red Trail. Here we will learn about the highland ecology and conservation challenges. Hiking time is roughly 2 hours.
How many of you can say you have mountain biked down the side of a volcano? After Cotopaxi erupted in 2015, the area had limited access, but it is open once again. Today we head out towards Cotopaxi National Park. From the parking lot at 14,400 feet, we will start our descent of 3200 feet to the valley. Our route will depend on your comfort levels, the local guides are professionals at the sport and will make sure you are comfortable. We will stop along the way for a packed lunch at Limpiopungo Lake, a wetland brimming with relevance for birdlife conservation. If time allows, we will pass by the ruins of an ancient Inca fortress, Pucará del Salitre.
After this exhilarating journey, we will make our way to Quito, with a stop for our farewell dinner before heading to the airport for our departure.
As of Feb. 2018, all guest traveling to Ecuador must be able to show proof of public or private insurance.
Price includes: Airport transfers to/from Quito hotel; All accommodations in double occupancy for 4 nights in Quito and 3 nights at a charming countryside hacienda; all breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners; Transfers between flights and hotel in Quito; Services of local bilingual guides; HE Travel professional tour director (subject to minimum participation); All hotel service charges, government taxes, porter-age and meal gratuities when dining together; and entrance fees to activities and sites shown in the itinerary. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who do not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to and from Quito; 1 dinner; Airport departure fees (total of $35-$60 depending on airports used); optional activities; Gratuities to guides; and personal items including alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, and telephone calls.
Optional Tour Choices:
$1100 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom.)
“I was pleasantly surprised at how spectacular Ecuador was during my visit. We meandered our way through Quito, mountain biked down the side of Cotopaxi Volcano and descended into a breathtaking crater. The view from the top of the volcano was a gorgeous sight I’ve seen in all my travels. I am excited to introduce our HE Travel guests to this glorious destination.” – Trisha Moses, Salt Lake City, UT
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group. If they wanted a holiday by themselves they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in Quito, Ecuador
The terrain on this trip is varied. Topography ranges from rolling to strenuous. Activities include horseback riding at your pace, hiking down into a crater (with the option of riding a mule back up), hiking in a National Park (not intense), biking in the National Park (rolling, rocky terrain) and walking tours. For most of the tour, we will be in higher elevation, which has a colder climate. Be sure to bring warm clothes to accommodate for the colder weather and be prepared to take activities at a slower pace due to the thin air.
While in Quito we will be staying in a charming, newly remodeled hotel that offers a wonderful blend of ancient and modern concepts. We will be perfectly located in Quito’s historic center.
During our time in the countryside, we’ll stay in the heart of the Central Andes at a working ranch/Hacienda. The rooms are the perfect level of comfort with wood burning stoves to keep us nice and warm. The hacienda is an amazing world of its own, with a warm, friendly vibe.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174