#3 Ecuador Volcano Trekking + UNESCO Sites

A photographic journey through the highlands of Ecuador.

8 Days, 7 Nights

Matador Trips:

Per Person

This trip includes 1 domestic flight, some meals, and all excursions. Leave the details to Matador Trips as we trek and tour the Ecuador highlands! All accommodation, transfers, and guided tours included.

Dates & Guides
January 15th-22nd 2022

The Ecuador Highlands offer adventure and culture that cannot be rivaled. Escape the heat exploring this diverse country, a land that boasts world heritage cities and one of a kind natural wonders.

What you'll do

  • 1

    Standing tall in the Andes mountain is the mystic and celebrated Cotopaxi volcano, an inspiration to the people of Ecuador since ancient times.

  • 2

    Otavalo market is a colorful sight to be seen, attracting villagers from the surrounding countryside gathering to sell handmade goods, livestock, metal, textiles, and vegetables.

  • 3

    The city of Cuenca is a gem of Ecuador. Known for stunningly preserved colonial architecture, a beautiful riverfront with cobblestone streets, the old world charm is bound to capture your heart.

  • 4

    Whether you are a pro photographer or just enjoy taking cool shots with your phone, our Matador photo instructors will work with you during informal photo walks and mini-workshops to take your personal travel photography to another level. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn travel and nature photography.

  • 5

    Our professional in-house filmmaker will be documenting our adventure on a daily basis, and we will give you the video of this trip so that you can relive the adventure and share it with friends and family on social media.

  • 6

    We curate groups of like-minded adventurers for the perfect vibe. Bring your friends and make new ones on this epic adventure.

  • 7

    We aim to travel as consciously as possible. This trip supports local artisans and environmental conservation.

we’re going

Trip Details

  • What's my itinerary?

    Day 1: Quito

    Arrive at any time for your orientation with Matador Trips and transportation service provider G Adventures. There are no activities planned until the evening. Please check the hotel reception for a welcome note from your Matador Trips advising on the time and location of the welcome meeting.

    Accommodation: Hotel Cruz Loma (or similar)

    Day 2: Quito/Otavalo

    Explore the largest handicraft market in South America, Otavalo market. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits, and vegetables.

    Quito – Otavalo 2 hours, local bus

    Otavalo Handicrafts Market Visit


    Discover some amazing local art, tapestries, and textiles at Otavalo’s famous artisan market, the largest handicraft market in South America. Wander the stalls to meet local artists and find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Try to arrive early for the best bargains (it starts at dawn), and try your hand at haggling – it’s expected for every purchase. A good negotiator could get at least 20 percent off the starting price.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 3: Otavalo/Cotopaxi

    Travel by bus to Cotopaxi National Park. In the afternoon, opt to explore the area or mountain bike with views of Cotopaxi volcano. Spend the night in a mountain lodge near the national park.

    Otavalo – Cotopaxi 4 hours, private vehicle

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

    Free time at Cotopaxi volcano, get out and explore its natural beauty.


    Ecuador – Driver Food (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 4: Cotopaxi/Alausí

    In the morning, visit Cotopaxi National Park before continuing on to Alausí.

    Cotopaxi National Park Visit

    Cotopaxi National Park stands tall at 19,342 feet. The beautiful cone-shaped, snow-covered volcano is Ecuador’s second-highest peak and the highest active volcano in the world. Keep an eye out for park wildlife, including condors, foxes, deer, spectacled bears, and more. For those who want to hike, there are options available (weather permitting). Please ensure you have proper hiking shoes or boots, a waterproof/windproof jacket, and a warm hat and gloves. Hike is approximately 1.5 hours.

    Cotopaxi – Alausí: 4 hours 30 minutes, private vehicle

    Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.


    Hotel Noris (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 5: Alausí/Cuenca

    Board a train for an included excursion bound for the Devil’s Nose, enjoy the ride on the switchbacks carved into the mountainside. After, head to Cuenca and marvel at its colonial architecture.

    Alausí – Cuenca 3 hours, local bus

    Climb aboard, grab a seat, and enjoy the ride.


    Head out on an excursion on the famed Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose) train ride, which descends to the coast in a spectacular display of engineering around stunning mountain terrain. Witness how the railway winds its way around curves and tunnels over a distance of only 16 miles, but the drop in elevation is significant, well over 3, 280 feet! The train manages the descent through a series of switchbacks before returning to Alausí.


    La Casona Cuenca (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 6: Cuenca

    Enjoy a free day to explore beautiful Cuenca. Opt for a city tour, go hiking in Cajas National Park, or soak in nearby hot springs.

    Explore the city’s sights, including cobblestone streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shaded plazas, and museums. Head out and explore this colonial city!

    Accommodation: La Casona Cuenca (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 7: Cuenca/Quito

    Fly back to Quito and enjoy the night in this historical city.
    Your guides will escort and assist you at the airport in Cuenca and once you arrive to Quito our guides will be there to escort you to the hotel and give you additional information on optional activities for your free day in Quito.

    Cuenca – Quito 1 hour

    Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.


    Get out and explore this beautiful city.

    Accommodation: Hotel Cruz Loma (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Day 8: Quito

    Depart at any time. We recommend booking pre or post nights in Quito for additional time to explore.

  • What's included?
      • 7 nights accommodation.
      • 7 breakfasts.
      • Flight from Cuenca to Quito.
      • All land transportation.
      • Otavalo market visit.
      • Cotopaxi National Park visit.
      • Devil’s Nose train excursion.
      • Orientation walk of Cuenca.
  • What's not included?
      • Your flights to and from Quito, Ecuador (UIO).
      • Accommodation before and after the trip.
      • Some meals.
      • Alcoholic beverages.
      • Perfect weather.
  • How many people will be on the tour?
      • The tour can accommodate up to 14 guests.
  • What's the sleeping situation?
      • Accommodation is provided in hotels and jungle lodges and is based on 2-people per room. For an additional fee private rooms can be arranged or Matador Trips is happy to arrange a shared room for same-sex solo travelers.
  • Who is the trip for?
      • We encourage a wide mix of people, from old-time adventurers to short-break professionals to first-time travelers – they all contribute to a memorable experience. Unfortunately this trip is not suitable for travelers under 14.
  • When does the trip depart and return?
      • Arrive at your designated hotel in Quito, Ecuador, any time on January 15. The exact departure meeting location will be supplied via email within 30 days of departure.
      • Depart at your leisure from Quito after a final group breakfast on January 22.
  • How do I get there?
      • Quito, Ecuador (UIO) is easily reached from most places in the world. For assistance with flights just let us know.
      • All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. Upon booking you will be contacted for passport information and flight reservations. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
  • Health and safety update (coronavirus)

    Matador Trips is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic in the US and abroad.

    In our team’s estimation, if the coronavirus pandemic is a continued threat in the winter of 2020, then this trip will be rescheduled and a 100% refund will be offered to travelers.

    We strongly encourage travelers to take necessary precautions for safeguarding their health while traveling abroad.

    On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern for the novel coronavirus outbreak, also known as 2019-nCoV.

    When visiting Ecuador or other destinations, please regularly review travel advisories from your home country for the most up to date information.

    Travel information from the United States Government:

This adventure is not for everyone

If you will be miserable waking up early to see a mountain sunrise, this is not for you.
If you cannot survive without Wi-Fi or social media, this is not for you.
If you are terrified of mosquitos and mountain goats, this is not for you.
If you hate the idea of haggling at local artisan markets, this is not for you.

But trust us,

if you can take on these challenges with us, then welcome to one of the greatest experiences of your life!

Matador Trips

Ecuador Volcano Trekking + UNESCO Sites

$2,800 USD / Person
$2,800 USD / Person

COVID-19 update

Due to the unprecedented global crisis and current international travel restrictions, all Matador Trips before August 1st have been pushed to new dates. The following trips on the following dates are on, and happening as planned!

  • Small Group Tonga: Swimming with Humpbacks - August 23rd-31st, 2020
  • Remote Sailing Adventure, Palawan Philippines - November 13th-17th, 2020
  • Ultimate Peru: Machu Picchu, Eco Rainforest, and Beyond - December 3rd-12th, 2020
  • Ecuador Volcano Trekking + UNESCO Sites - January 15th-22nd, 2021
  • Photo Safari through Namibia and Cape Town - February 24th-March 6th, 2021

We believe that all of the above trips will happen as planned, but we realize this is a time of uncertainty. To address that, we are offering a 100% refund for any COVID related cancelations.

If the coronavirus pandemic prevents the above trip departures, affected trips will be rescheduled and a 100% refund will be offered to travelers. Please reach out to our team if you have questions about any of the trips of our cancelation / refund guarantee.

Any questions please contact: trips@matadornetwork.com

Best of the Best

We scoured the Earth to
bring you the best

Photo Education

Learn photography tips
from a professional

New Friends

We curate groups of
open-minded travellers

Video of Your Trip

We’ll create an epic
video of your trip

Best of the Best

We scoured the Earth to
bring you the best

Matador Network has been around the world and back reporting on the best destinations and experiences for over a decade. It’s time to share the stoke and bring you along for the adventure, guided and curated by Matador staff.

Photo Education

Learn photography tips
from a professional

Every Matador Trip is led by a professional travel photographer, there to capture the best shots of your trip to share with your friends and to train both amateurs and skilled photographers in their methods!

New Friends

We curate groups of
open-minded travellers

Matador led and curated Trips attract a special breed of people. Let’s make some lifelong friends and have unforgettable experiences together.

Video of Your Trip

We’ll create an epic
video of your trip

We provide a complimentary video documenting the adventure for you to take home at the end of the trip!
Shutterstock images used on the Matador Trips website are under license from Shutterstock.com.

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