days or 3 days
Suggestions: Riobamba and Guano
Highlights: Hike the flanks of Chimborazo while enjoying the sweeping,
of multicolored patchwork fields, páramo grasslands and patches of ancient polylepis trees
Learn about the culture of the Andean highlanders
Observe the two wild South American camelids, the vicuña and guanaco, in their native environment- along with herds of their relatives, the domesticated alpaca and llama
Explore majestic Chimborazo with Senior Guide Marcelo Puruncajas
We will explore the flora and fauna of the Chimborazo Reserve during this five day trek on the flanks of Chimborazo and through the broad valley of the Rio Mocha. We will explore the rich biodiversity of the Reserva de Produccion Faunistica Chimborazo. This Reserve was established to protect the páramo grasslands intermingled with glacial formed lakes, peat swamps and shrub and forest patches that support the natural flora and the fauna of the region.
The Reserve is most famous for its herds of wild native Andes camelids- the vicuña and guanaco. The Reserve is also home to deer, rabbits, wolves and a great diversity of birds- from the Ecuadorian Hillstar, a high altitude grassland hummingbird, to the grand Andean Condor. In addition to the wildlife, the Reserve has a great biodiversity of plants, such as the multicolored flora of cushion plants, bromeliads, mosses and the small forest trees - Puma Maqui, Polylepis and Ginoxis. The reserve is home to patches of. Patches of the ancient Polylepis, or paper tree, are only found in protected and relatively inaccessible areas due pressures on these forests because of their value for construction and firewood.
The high altitude peaks of Chimborazo and Carihuairazo lie within the Reserve. The sight of Chimborazo (6,310 m / 20,702 ft), the tallest peak in Ecuador, is among the most impressive in all of the Andes. Since the Earth bulges near the equator, this snowcapped giant is not only the highest mountain in Ecuador, but also the highest in the world if measured from the core of the Earth outward to the peak.
Carihuairazo is just 10 km (6 miles) to the northeast of Chimborazo. It is thought to have had similar dimensions as its neighbor Chimborazo, prior to the last period of activity which destroyed the mass of Carihuairazo's base. What remains today is a one and a half kilometer wide, heavily eroded caldera opening to the east. There are two main peaks at the Carihuairazo massive: the central Maxim at 5,020 m/16,469 ft is the highest and Mocha is to the southeast.