Papallacta Thermal Springs
It is an easy hike of 8 km that you can complete it in one day and other one of 2km which you can complete it in one hour. The trail goes from 3300 to 3500 meters and it is recommended to visit it between October and February.
Papallacta is a very nice place to visit near Quito; it is located at the east side of the Oriental Mountain Range in a valley at only two ours from Quito. Papallacta's main attraction is the hot springs but the hiking alternatives are numerous. Lakes, small hills, rivers and a sponge paramo are part of its beauty.
It is not necessary to bring special gear just a lunchbox for the hike, because at the village you can eat a delicious trout. To get to Papallacta you go by the road Quito - Baeza. The entrance fee for the trails is $2.00 and for $5.00 you can take a swim in the hot springs. For more information read the following link Papallacta Hot Springs.
The Maquipucuna Reserve is located at the northwest from Quito and has an area of 4500 hectares. It is surrounded by 14 000 hectares of tropical forest.
In Maquipucuna we can find 1000 species of plants including amazing orchids and bromelias. Also we can find at least 45 species of mammals including pumas, coated bears, deers, and other, as well a great variety of butterflies. More than 300 species of birds have been found in the reserve where they stand out hummingbirds and toucans.
To get to Maquipucuna you have to take the road to Calacali when you get to the Village of Nanegalito, take the detour that goes to Maquipucuna, there is a big sign that will help you get there. This road will take you to Yunguillas in this village you can find guides and lodging.
You don't need special gear, but it is recommendable to bring binoculars for bird watching because it is an interesting hotspot. You should bring a good amount of beverages before you start your hike. You should be cautious of stepping on a poisonous snake and also bring repellent for the insects.
The entrance fee to the Maquipucuna Reserve is $6.00. And there are available guidance service in the village of Yunguillas and Maquipucuna.
Road of the Macaws
This hike has a certain level of difficulty, it has 10 km and it is done in 1 or 2 days. It goes from 1350 to 2200 meters and the recommended time of the year to go is from October to March.
The hike takes place in the Macaws Mountain Range (Cordillera de los Guacamayos), it is located in the Eastern Mountain Range of the Ecuadorian Andes and has a maximum height of 3044 meters. It is located in the Antisana Ecological Reserve like 2 hours from Quito, and it is very famous among biologists its preserved cloud forests. It is an excellent spot for bird watching and it is easy to find macaws, toucans and tangaraes.
The trail starts in a primary forest, and then you will find the oil pipeline that is very strange to find a pipeline covered by orchids, bromelias and other plant species. The second part of the trail will lead you through a secondary cloud forest and wet grass, crossing several rivers.
It is not required to bring special gear but as always it is recommended to bring a lot of water and provisions for the hike. It is possible to buy some provisions in Baeza and Archidona, but it is recommended to bring everything what you need from Quito. Crossing the rivers will be difficult so be careful of not slipping. Also the mosquitoes will bother at night so bring repellent.
The entrance fee for the Antisana Ecological Reserve is $5.00. The entrance is from the road Baeza-Tena, and traveling from Quito you go through Papallacta.
Another very interesting hike is to the Ilalo Volcano between the valley of Tumbaco and Los Chillos.
Basic Equipment for Hikes around Quito
- Comfortable Trekking shoes and rubber boots in some cases.
- Sheltered clothes: jackets and impermeable trousers
- Wool cap and gloves
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Water bottles
- Small backpack
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
Trekking in Ecuador
Authors: Robert and Daysi Kunstaetter
Cost: see http://www.trekkinginecuador.com/
Quito Mountain Climbing Tours