Piñan Hike Program
Located in the high altitude zone of the Ecological Reserve Cotacachi Cayapas you will find the paramo of Piñan. This area is known for its stunning lagoon system comprising of over 30 lakes. The reserve is one of the biggest and most diverse ones in Ecuador with a wide variety of flora and fauna. During your trek you might encounter several bird species such as condors, eagles, and hawks and maybe even pàramo foxes and white-tailed deer. This hike is perfect for those who are looking to escape the beaten track. Following rivers, crossing grasslands and passing through valleys and mountain passes you will get a unique view of these breathtaking disserted landscapes. The hike will take you to the small and secluded community of Piñan and you will have the rare opportunity to spend some time in the community getting to know their way of life.
Day 1: Today you will depart from your hotel for a 2-hour car ride that will take you to the area that is known as “El Churo” located at 3500 meters above sea level. Here horses will be waiting for you to help you carry your luggage. Once the horses are packed and ready you will start the hike. Today you will be walking for about 6 to 7 hours, crossing the beautiful Andean paramo with a bit of luck you might observe the South American condor, hawks and other small species of birds. The hike will take you to the Pantavi river where you will set up camp for the night. Once the tents are set up it is time to prepare dinner. Being far away from civilization and light pollution gives you an amazing opportunity to do some stargazing, if the weather permits. Then it is already time to call it a night and get a good night rest because tomorrow you need to be well rested for the next leg of the hike.
Day 2: After breakfast and breaking up camp it is time to continue the hike. Today you will hike for approximately 4 hours ultimately reaching the the small and secluded community of Piñan. Crossing the grasslands, you can enjoy beautiful views of the mountains and the rivers. The families of the Piñan community will be awaiting your arrival and have a delicious typical lunch ready for you when you arrive. After lunch it is time to check in to the cozy community cabins with a small room with a lovely fireplace and warm water. In the afternoon you will have time for yourself, explore the community and familiarize yourself with their way of life in this secluded area or visit the nearby lake either on foot or with the tour on horseback offered by the community. In the evening you will have dinner in the community dining room.
Day 3: After preparing your luggage and a delicious breakfast at the community you will start the final leg of the hike. Today you will be walking for about 5 to 6 hours starting with an ascent towards Piñan lake. Here you will make a short stop to enjoy the view and this is also the perfect opportunity to take some photo’s. The hike continues descending through the cloud forest, passing giant trees, orchids and other native plant species, your local guide will tell you all about the plants that you will encounter. The trek ends in the town of El Rosario but the program is not over yet as from here you will be transported to the Nangulvi recreational complex where you have time to enjoy the hot springs. After lunch you will be brought back to Otavalo where the tour ends.
Note: In principle this hike can be undertaken throughout the whole year. Yet, the best time for this trek is from the month June until October. In the other months this trek is still possible but can get more difficult because of heavy rainfall and muddy paths.
- Camping equipment for the first night
- Accommodation at the community of Piñan for the second night
- Meals from lunch on the first day until lunch on the last day
- Bilingual guide
- Horse for small luggage during the trek
- Entrance to Nangulvi hot springs
- Private transport
- Sleeping bag (can be rented)
- Personal expenses
This is a Private Tour. This means that there won’t be other people on this tour besides yourself (or your travel party).
This tour can start on any day of the week.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Otavalo or Quito. The exact departure time is in accordance with Adore Ecuador Travel and/or indicated on your travel voucher.
What to bring?
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Hat or lightweight scarf
- Warm, waterproof and layered clothing
- Windbreaker jacket / rain jacket
- Hiking shoes
- Water and snacks