Galapagos Natural Life
One Day Tour
Cotopaxi National Park was founded on August 11th 1975. It is one of the most important protected areas in Ecuador. Also, it is the second place most visited by tourists.
It is considerated like the highest active volcano in the world. In native language Cotopaxi means “Cuello de luna “/ Neck of the moon). The form of Cotopaxi Volcano is like a perfect cone. And, it is covered by glacier over the 4800meters.
You might visit the Interpretation Center (Mariscal Sucre). After that, we are going to walk from the parking lot to the refuge (José Rivas) for approximately 40minutes (it depends on your fitness). For arriving to the glacier we have to walk for approximately 20minutes more. Then we come back to the parking lot, to take the bikes to go down hill until the Limpiopungo Lake.
Quilotoa Lake is located in the crater with the same name. It is 165 Km from Quito about 3.5 hours approximately, in the Cotopaxi province. It is inside of the “Los Ilinizas” Ecological Reserve. The border of the crater is a 3610meters above sea level crater and the lake is a 2270meters above sea level. In Kichwa (a native language) Quilotoa comes from two words and means. “kiru” is tooth “diente”, and “Toa” is queen “Reina”.
The coler of the water depends on the sky, if there are no clouds, the color is green – turquoise. The water has minerals and you might smell them, it is nor recommended to drink it. The temperature of the water varies between 16 °C and - 1°C / 60°f and 30°f. The depth of the lake is 240m approximately. The form of the lake is nearly elliptical. The diameter of the lake is 3km approximately.
We start with a panoramic route along the banking and financial areas, shopping malls and La Mariscal neighborhood, where most of hotels are located. We continue towards the Historical Centre of the City where the following attractions will be visited: “El Panecillo”, a beautiful place from where a sight of colonial and modern Quito will be taken; San Francisco and La Basilica churches; Plaza de la Independencia (Independence square), walking through the colonial streets we´ll find the Cathedral, the Government’s Palace and La Compañía Church, where adornments and gold altars can be appreciated.
We will continue to the northern part of the city heading up to the “Middle of the World City” where the monument that divides the Northern from the Southern Hemisphere will be observed. It was built during the XVII century when a French Expedition defined the precise location of the equatorial line. At the end, optional visit either to Intiñan or Ethnographic Museum
Antisana ecological reserve is home to a wide variety of life zones and is considered as one of the ten "hot spots" of the world by being incorporated in the high basin of the river Napo. It lies between the provinces of Pichincha and Napo. Within some forests and we stop at the skirts of the volcano of the same name, a privileged place for the observation of the Andean Condor. Its highest point in the snow is 5755msnm, the lower point between 3100msnm to 4700 meters above sea level, which is the so-called Condor mirador viewpoint. From here one can regard the Antisana, Cotopaxi, and a part of the volcano Cayambe (depending on climate).
Driving north of Quito there is the most famous indigenous market of Ecuador: Otavalo, full of traditions and handcrafts. Before arriving to this magic place, you will visit Calderon, a small town famous for “Mazapan” handicrafts. Following the route there is Cayambe, the perfect place to see how people prepare biscuits using a traditional technique. Next stop will be a view point to enjoy the landscape of Imbabura volcano (4610 mts.) and San Pablo lagoon.
Your next and most anxious spot will be the Otavalo market, where you will spend time shopping and relax with your friends. You will fall in love with all the variety of handicrafts.
Then you will go to Cotacachi to have a delicious lunch and explore the leather local work shops for a great landscape ending at Cuicocha´s view point.
Mindo is a beautiful valley located 2 hours northwest of Quito, behind the Pacific slopes of the Pichincha volcano. This place has a lot of nature and adventure activities. We offer a good mixture of both to give you the best experience.
Once you arrive in Mindo´s cloud forest you will visit a Butterfly farm and Hummingbird feeders, don´t forget your camera. The adventure continues with the Canopying with 13 zip lines of different lengths that range from 20 to 400 mts and with different characteristics for all adventure seekers of all ages. If you prefer a another activity, we also have another option of trekking across the cloud forest to visit a waterfall and a ride in a “Tarabita”(Cable tram). After all these exciting activities we will make a break for lunch. Afterwards we will leave Mindo towards Quito but first are going to visit another special spot to view hummingbirds, butterflies and posibibly we can spot some Tanagers and Toucans.
(This trip can be extended for 2 days for a better chance to spot more birds and butterflies)
We will drive to Termas de Papallacta SPA, Resort and Convention Center is located 40 miles east of Quito, the capital city of Ecuador in the heart of South America. Perched on a high Andean valley at the entrance route to the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle, the spa - resort offers its visitors health, recreation, adventure and rest. Whether relaxing in the thermal baths, indulging in pampering spa treatments.
We start north of the city with a sightseeing tour along the most important shopping areas, where most of the hotels in Quito are. Then we go to the Historic Center to visit the Church of the Basilica del Voto Nacional, where we will make a brief stop and explanation, later to reach the Plaza de la Independencia, where through a pedestrian route will see the Cathedral, the Palace Government, the Archbishop's Palace and the Church of the Company, reknown for its stunning ornaments and gold altars, we will continue until the Church of San Francisco, built in the seventeenth century. (Entrance fees to the churches are not included). We then head to the Mirador del Panecillo (entrance included) recognized for its beauty, where you can admire a beautiful landscape of colonial and modern Quito.
All this aboard our original Trolleys, which are a replica of the trams circulating in Quito last century.
Quito - Ecuador - South America
Photos: Galapagos Natural Life / Fabricio Cuasapaz
Enjoy Ecuador with Galapagos Natural Life