On June 21, Rebecca Adventure Travel’s team embarked on a thrilling Andes Journey, exploring Ecuador’s Highlands. This unforgettable adventure led them to new destinations, learning from locals and experiencing the beauty of the region. Boarding a private bus at 5:00 a.m. from Quito to Hostería Andaluza in Riobamba, our team enjoyed comfort and excitement, anticipating the adventure ahead. At their first stop, the team gathered with laughter, looking forward to what was next. The highlight was visiting Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest volcano, a symbol of nature’s awe-inspiring beauty. This transformational experience immersed them in rich culture and breathtaking landscapes, creating cherished memories. Join Rebecca Adventure Travel’s captivating journey to uncover the hidden gems of Ecuador’s Highlands!
Taking Advantage of an Early Start
After an early and enthusiastic departure from the vibrant city of Quito, our group embarked on a carefully curated itinerary, packed with thrilling activities and fascinating destinations. The excitement was evident as we looked forward to an adventure-filled day. Everyone was eager to immerse themselves in the beauty and wonders that Ecuador has to offer. With multiple places to visit and a myriad of experiences waiting for us, we knew this was going to be a day to remember. Moreover, we were determined to make the most of every stop on our journey, from picturesque landscapes to cultural encounters, soaking in every moment with awe and appreciation.
High in the Andes: Hostería Papagayo
Our first morning stop during our Andes journey was at Hostería Papagayo. It is a historic country house located on the Avenida de los Volcanes (Volcano Avenue) in Cotopaxi, Ecuador. With over 150 years of history, this charming retreat offers a serene environment, perfect for disconnecting from the world and embracing nature’s tranquility. Nestled at an approximate height of 10,500 ft (3,200 meters) above sea level, the hostería serves as an ideal base for acclimatizing and exploring nearby volcanoes, while enjoying the comfort of its facilities and engaging in various activities.
During our visit, we had the opportunity to explore the different rooms and activities offered by Hostería Papagayo. This is key for our team, to ensure quality standards are met in the accommodations we offer our guests. We also enjoyed a delicious breakfast with some of the staff. Their hospitality and the delightful food left us recharged and ready for the next adventure—a scenic drive around the majestic Chimborazo Volcano. With its rich heritage, beautiful surroundings, and welcoming atmosphere, Hostería Papagayo truly provided us with a special and memorable experience.
Andes Exploration: Chimborazo in 360 Degrees
After leaving Hostería Papagayo, our Andes journey continued to the beautiful Chimborazo Province. Driving through the city of Ambato, Tungurahua, and making stops along the way, we arrived at our second destination. Chimborazo is a magnificent stratovolcano on the Ecuadorian Andes mountain range, the highest peak in Ecuador and one of the highest in South America. It reaches an impressive elevation of 20,548 feet (6,263 meters) above sea level. Due to its towering height, Chimborazo is often referred to as the closest point to the sun, as its summit is the farthest point from the center of the Earth due to the equatorial bulge.
During our 360-degree van route, we marveled at the imposing views of the Chimborazo volcano and its surrounding environment. We spotted groups of vicuñas, the adorable South American camelid known as one of the smallest members of the camel family, and a unique local species. The weather was perfect, allowing us to fully appreciate the sublime beauty of Chimborazo. Tourists were seen hiking and biking around the Chimborazo Fauna Production Reserve, capturing unforgettable moments that you can experience too, in this awe-inspiring destination. Along the way, we visited the first church ever built in Ecuador, a 16th-century temple. When looking for an extraordinary journey filled with breathtaking landscapes and unparalleled beauty, Chimborazo should be at the top of your travel list. Come embrace the cherished moments we had; they await you, too.
Afternoon With the Kids from Inti Sisa School
Our team arrived at the Inti Sisa Art Guesthouse in Guamote, Chimborazo, near Riobamba, around noon. Nestled in the Ecuadorian Andes, this charming hostel is a cozy place to stay. It immerses you in authentic Andean culture. With its strategic location between Cuenca and Quito, it’s an ideal stop on an Andes journey, where you can explore the vibrant Thursday market, visit neighboring communities, and admire the incredible Chimborazo volcano. The warm and friendly staff ensures a homely experience throughout your stay. Continuing southward, we arrived at Inti Sisa’s School, a community project supported by EcuaFina. Here, we had the chance to savor the local delicacy: CUY (guinea pig)! They also gave us a tour of their nearby farm, which grows medicinal herbs and vegetables sold within the town.
School Visit and Ecological Project
The empowering initiative at Inti Sisa school focuses on education and sustainable practices, uniting students, teachers, and community members in promoting environmental awareness and sourcing local products. The school’s curriculum covers various subjects, instilling a strong sense of responsibility towards nature in the students. We were warmly welcomed by enthusiastic students and dedicated teachers, who foster an atmosphere of eagerness for learning. The school’s commitment to ecological preservation was evident through eco-friendly farming and flourishing gardens, which we got to walk around. Inti Sisa’s impact extends beyond the classroom, encouraging the entire community to embrace their cultural heritage and protect their pristine surroundings.
Ecuafina’s support of such projects reflects its dedication to positive change and making a difference in local communities, showcasing the potential of responsible travel and sustainable development in building a better world. The visit to the school ended with an amazing meal, the famous cuy asado (roasted guinea pig), an amazing traditional dish prepared by the local community. Afterward, we drove back to the Inti Sisa Art Guesthouse, where we continued our journey of exploration.
Inti Sisa Project and Tour
After we visited the school in Guamote, we were welcomed back to Inti Sisa Art Guesthouse, to a mouthwatering fritada (traditional pork dish). Later, we explored the diverse workshops and witnessed local women and men passionately engaged in learning and making various traditional crafts, along with other activities. This empowering project plays a vital role in providing the people of the Chimborazo province with essential skills, ranging from knitting to cooking and more, effectively laying the foundation for their future entrepreneurial endeavors.
Notably, the dedication to fostering education and hands-on training is truly remarkable, making Inti Sisa a beacon of hope and positive change within the community. With hearts full of inspiration, we left, profoundly moved by witnessing the transformative impact of Inti Sisa’s initiatives on the lives of those it serves.
Night Tour at Hostería La Andaluza
We left Guamote filled with hope, with a beautiful sunset to guide our journey back to Quito, a final stop pending. Hostería La Andaluza was our last visit before returning to the Ecuadorian capital. On the southeastern slopes of the Chimborazo volcano, closer to the stars and with the colossal volcano as its faithful guardian, Hostería La Andaluza, on Hacienda Chuquipogio, is located at 10,882 ft (3,320 meters). The Hacienda transports visitors on a literal journey through memory and history.
Exploring the Secrets of the House & Museum
Situated on the slopes of the stunning inter-Andean alley, this idyllic hacienda invites guests on a captivating journey through breathtaking Andean landscapes. Stepping onto the premises, one is embraced by an ambiance of elegance and tranquility. The meticulously preserved colonial-style facilities exude timeless charm, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the history and cultural heritage that resonates throughout. During our visit, the Rebecca Adventure Travel Team had the opportunity to experience a full tour of the hacienda’s facilities, exploring its collection of antiques and the array of services offered to guests. From an amazing spa offering various treatments to a movie theater and a kids’ playroom, Hostería La Andaluza caters to every guest’s preferences and allows them to time travel to colonial times.
Andes Journey to Remember
With a dedicated and attentive staff, Hostería La Andaluza ensured our stay was nothing short of extraordinary, offering us great hospitality that warmed our souls and created cherished memories. The hacienda provided a unique opportunity to escape the ordinary and absorb the wonders of nature. We delighted in the pleasures of the Andean highlands, witnessed the magnificence of Chimborazo, and reveled in the ultimate retreat amidst the grandeur of the Ecuadorian Andes. After an amazing dinner at the Hostería, we felt grateful for the opportunity to visit this lovely location. Then, we were ready to head back to Quito.
The drive back was filled with joy, with the entire team singing along to all-time favorites. Everyone was laughing, and reminiscing about the highlights of this wonderful adventure. Hacienda Papagayo, the Inti Sisa hotel and school, and Hostería La Andaluza gave us unforgettable memories, a deep connection to the Andean landscapes, and a profound appreciation for this entrancing region’s rich heritage and warmth. We take great pleasure in familiarizing ourselves with the destinations we offer. This commitment allows us to guarantee exceptional quality and promote sustainable and responsible travel with each of our service providers. Come join us in the Ecuadorian Andes!
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