Excursions in and around Chimborazo

Tom, our Flemish guide to Chimborazo and Guamote
A visit to the Chimborazo volcano is the highlight of this area. It is a tough climb to get to the 5000 meters, but the guide adjusts the pace to your wishes and if not: descending is infinitely faster than climbing at that height.

Not far from Riobamba, the Flemish guide Tom Schelstraete lives in an indigenous community near Guamote. He guides the entire region from Riobamba to Cuenca. Tom offers nice trekking and cycling trips together with some local guides. The most beautiful of these are summarized below.

Also have a look at the Excursions for Guamote (these 2 areas overlap each other a bit).

Chimborazo Nationaal Park

Today we visit Ecuador’s highest mountain (6268 m) and also the closest point on the earth to the sun. In the morning we leave for Chimborazo where we first make a short break in Colta to visit the Balbanera church. This is Ecuador’s oldest church. Then we drive into the National Park where we stop at the first refuge at 4800 meters. We take a short walk to the Condor lake, which is located at an altitude of 5100 meters and then descend back to 5000 meters for a hot cup of coffee at the second refuge. Both during the walk and during the drive we can admire beautiful landscapes and the local fauna such as vicuñas. We then return to the car and drive on to San Juan, where we have a delicious lunch with a Belgian-Ecuadorian family. From here depart back to the hotel.
Difficulty: average.
To bring: sun protection, rain, gloves, hat, water bottle, camera, good walking shoes

Length of time:7 hours

Including:English speaking guide, return transport, lunch, snack and water

Chimborazo Nationaal Park – Downhill

Today we will visit Ecuador’s highest mountain (6268 m), which is also the Earth’s closest point to the sun. In the morning we drive towards Chimborazo where we first make a short break in Colta to visit the Balbanera church. This is Ecuador’s oldest church. Then we drive into the National Park where we stop at the first refuge at 4800 meters. We take a short walk to the Condor lake at an altitude of 5100 meters and from here our descent by bike starts. First we descend to 5000 meters for a hot cup of coffee at the second refuge. Then we cycle further towards San Juan where the difficulty of the bike tour can be adjusted to your wishes. During the walk and the bike ride we can admire vicuñas in the beautiful landscape. Once we arrive in San Juan, a delicious lunch awaits us there. From here we return to the hotel.
Difficulty: average.
Bring along: protection against the sun, rain, gloves, hat, water bottle, camera, good walking shoes and sports clothing.

Length of time:8 hours

Including:English-speaking guide, return transport, mountain bike and helmet, car, lunch, snack and water

Chimborazo Volcano and Machay Temple

Today, in addition to Ecuador’s highest volcano, you will also visit the beautiful temple where indigenous residents and mountaineers come to offer offerings to the majestic mountain. You will be picked up at your hotel in the morning and transported to an indigenous village at the foot of the volcano. From here you continue on foot along beautiful paths and between wild flower fields to the temple. Around noon we reach the temple where you get some explanation and afterwards you can enjoy a nice lunch. If you are lucky you can spot a Condor or a Caracara bird from here. After lunch you continue towards the first refuge which is at 4850 m altitude, from here we ascend a little further to the Whymper refuge (5060 m altitude) and then we return to the car and the hotel.
Difficulty: moderate.
Bring with you: warm clothing, sports clothing, sun and rain protection, water, camera and sporty footwear.

Length of time:8 hours

Including:English speaking guide, transport, lunch box, entrance to the National Park, rain poncho and gloves if necessary

Guamote market and Lake Colta (from Riobamba)

In the morning, a private car will pick us up at the hotel. After an hour’s drive we arrive in Guamote. This town turns dark red on Thursday morning due to the ponchos worn by the indigenous population. The farmers and craftsmen of the region sell their wares here. The Guamote Market is one of the largest and most authentic markets in the Andes. We stroll around the market until noon. On the way back we will visit Lake Colta and take a look at the oldest church in Ecuador, the Balbanera. Here we enjoy a midday meal before returning to Riobamba or continuing on to our destination.
Difficulty: easy. To bring: sun and rain protection, camera and water.

Length of time:7 hours

Including:English speaking guide, transport and lunch

Cycle tour of the hidden valleys

This beautiful bike ride takes us past various indigenous villages that are far from the well-known tourist routes. We cycle through beautiful valleys located northwest of the Chimborazo, all the way to Ambato, located in the province of Tungurahua. This trip of 50 km offers us a beautiful view of the high mountains. Optionally we can start the tour with a walk on the Chimborazo. This hike takes us from the first refuge at 4,800 mt altitude, to the second refuge at 5,000m altitude.
Difficulty: moderate.
To bring: sun and rain protection, warm and sporty clothing, camera and water.

Length of time:9 hours

Including:English speaking guide, transport, lunch, mountain bike with helmet, gloves, protection and entrance into the National Park

Bike tour from Atillo to Amazon (1 day)

Today, during a spectacular descent of 2000 meters, we will discover the different landscapes and ecosystems of Sangay National Park. The descent takes us from the eastern slopes of the Andes mountain range all the way into the Amazon rainforest. A car picks us up in Riobamba and takes us past indigenous villages, towards the southeast. After about an hour and a half drive, we arrive at the lakes of Atillo. These lakes are considered the most beautiful highland lakes in Ecuador and are located at an altitude of about 3500 meters. The lakes are often shrouded in a mysterious mist and are the starting point of our descent. The tour is approximately 47 km long and follows a quiet road through Sangay National Park. From the paramo we descend to the cloud forest, to end in the rainforest. Along the way we come across several waterfalls and enjoy the lush vegetation, consisting of orchids, ferns and mosses. When we have about 23 km in the legs, we cross a 700 meter long tunnel, and then continue cycling on the road that winds to the village 9 de Octubre. This village is about 1500 meters and is considered the end of our route. Before the car takes us back to Riobamba, we first visit a panoramic point that gives us a beautiful view over the rainforest and the Upano and Abanico rivers.
Difficulty: moderate. Duration: all day. Bring along: protection for the round and the rain, warm and sporty clothing, camera, water and sports shoes.

Length of time:Entire day

Including:English speaking guide, transport, picnic, mountain bikes with helmet, gloves, mountain bike protection and entrance into the National Park

Bike tour from Atillo to Amazon (2 days)

During this adventurous 2-day we cycle along the eastern Andean slopes to the Amazon rainforest. On the second day we will discover the secrets of the jungle. This tour is phenomenal for anyone who loves nature and action.
Day 1: At 7:00 am a car picks us up in Riobamba. We drive southeast on a small road, passing several indigenous villages in the meantime. After two hours of driving we arrive at the lakes of Atillo, located at 3,500 mt. These lakes are considered the most beautiful highland lakes in the region. The lakes are often shrouded in a mysterious mist and form the starting point for the downhill tour. The tour takes us from the Andean highlands all the way to the jungle town of Macas. This challenging, 80 km long route takes us on a quiet and partly unpaved road, through the National Park Sangay. From the paramo we first descend to the cloud forest and then descend to the tropical rainforest. Along the way we will encounter several beautiful waterfalls and enjoy the lush vegetation of orchids, ferns and mosses. When we have already covered 23 km, we cross a 700 meter long tunnel. Then we continue on a winding road towards the rainforest. We spend the night in a lodge in the rainforest reserve.
Day 2: Today we take part in a five-hour hike through the rainforest, during the hike the guide will explain the medicinal plants and customs of the indigenous Amazon people. The walk takes us further to a beautiful waterfall where you can take a refreshing dip, the ideal place to take beautiful pictures. In the afternoon we return to Riobamba via Baños.
Difficulty: moderate.

Length of time:2 days

Including:English speaking guide and driver, transport, accommodation for one night, meals from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 2, mountain bike with helmet, gloves, mountain bike protection, rain boots, poncho and entrance fees to the National Park

Inca Trail – 3 day trek

The road network of the Incas (Qhapac Ñan in Kichwa language) stretched from Chile to Colombia. It was the main artery of the Inca empire (1470-1534) politically, economically and socially. This network was still used during the Spanish rule (1534-1822). They called it “El Camino Real” or the Royal Road. Today only a few parts of this network are preserved. One of the best maintained routes is between the village of Achupallas and Ingapirca.
On day 1 we leave Guamote towards Achupallas, a drive of one and a half hours. The starting point of the trek is at 3,300m. The first day we hike for 4 hours to our first camping pitch at an altitude of approximately 4,000m. We are accompanied by a local guide throughout the trek. Our luggage is carried by a horse.
A walk of approximately 7 hours is planned on day 2. After 2-3 hours of hiking, we arrive at the highest point of the trek. From here we have a beautiful view over Lake Sansahuín. After another 4 hours of hiking, we arrive at our second camping pitch at an altitude of approximately 3,800m. During the tour we can see several ruins of ancient Spanish settlements.
On the last day, after 4 hours of walking, we arrive at the ruins of Ingapirca (3,160m). Here we are given a tour by a local guide. After the visit to the ruins, we return to the hotel in Guamote.
Difficulty: average.
To bring: sun and rain protection, thermal clothing, water bottle, camera, hiking boots and extra clothing

Length of time:3 days

Including:English-speaking and local guide, return transport, meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day, snack and water, pack animal, camping equipment (sleeping bag, sleeping mat and food), boots, visit Ingapirca

Riobamba City Tour

Riobamba is not only surrounded by majestic mountains but also has a number of beautiful colonial churches. During this city walk, a guide will show you the most beautiful places in the city and at the same time you will learn more about the history of Riobamba. We visit the main city parks and get a tour of the cathedral of the city. Our walk ends with a visit to the museum of Riobamba.
Difficulty: easy

Length of time:4 hours

Including:English speaking guide and transport

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