Camping in the Andes of Ecuador allows us to get close to nature, we can sleep by crater lakes or at the foothills of snow-caped mountains, enjoy a clean sky full of stars surrounded by majestic scenery.
Below is a sample camping trip to the Altar volcano. We start heading south from Quito to Riobamba, after visiting this colonial city our hike begins at the Hacienda Releche. Assisted by horses and porters we hike up hills to admire impressiven river valleys below, we setup camp under the watchfull eye of the 9 peaks of Altar volcano. We will be able to admire the crater lake at El Altar it is yellow - green in color and is within the blown away crater. The impressive views of icy glaciers and many summits of this impressive volcano make our camping trip well worth it.
Upon our return to Riobamba we will think upon why they call this volcano the Altar...
Arrive in Quito, transfer in from the airport to a historic hacienda in the Chillo valley where we will spend the night.
Today we head south through the Avenue of the volcanoes and get to admire several volcanos and mountains with their snowcovered peaks, Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Pasochoa, Illinizas to name a few. We will pass the cities of Latacunga and Ambato with a short visit to the nearby indigenous markets where produce and agricultural products are for sale.
After lunch (optional) we will visit the Chnimborazo fauna production reserve, here we can admire the wild Vicuñas (family of the Llama), we drive up to the first refuge and we can hike up to the second one just at the foot of the glacier.
We arrive in the afternoon in Riobamba where we will stay at a boutique country inn and prepare for our next days adventure.
We leave Riobamba after breakfast. After a 1-hour drive we reach the Hacienda Releche. We put our equipment on horses and start to hike up a steep hill. After 1 hour we start walking on the trail to El Altar and soon we will enjoy the first views of the extinct volcano and its river valley. We continue hiking for about 5 more hours until the valley of the Collanes River, where we will camp in a refuge.
After breakfast we leave our camp and follow the Collanes River to the greenish lake within the blown away crater of El Altar. We can walk around the icy lake and have marvelous views of the different summits and glaciers. In the afternoon we return to the refuge.
In the morning we hike back to Releche, where the car is waiting to bring us back to Riobamba. After a short city tour of this beautiful colonial city we will head back to Quito. Overnight at our historic hacienda in the Chillo valley.
The above is a sample itinerary prepared for a camping adventure trip. It can be customized to fit the needs and special interests of your travellers.