Trekkers looking for a rigorous challenge might want to check out Tropic's eight-day, seven-night excursion that takes in four volcanoes and various ecosystems in Ecuador.
The lodge-to-lodge adventure begins in Quito with a city tour. Subsequent stops along the route include the Pasochoa Reserve and a climb up 13,780-foot tall Pasochoa Peak, an extinct volcano, and Cotopaxi National Park and Cotopaxi, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world at 19,300 feet. Other destinations include Ruminahui, another dormant volcano, and the Limpiopungo Lagoon. Trekkers will attend a glacier school in order to learn how to use high mountain equipment and techniques for crossing glaciers in preparation for day eight and a five- to seven-hour hike to the summit of Cotopaxi.
Dates: Year-round, based on availability of guides and lodging.
Price: $3,300 per person, double occupancy. Includes a bilingual naturalist and climbing guide, transportation and support vehicle for luggage, lodge and hacienda accommodations and one night in a high-altitude mountain refuge, snacks and meals. Not included are international airfare, park entrance fees, tips and gear (sleeping bags and equipment can be rented). Three-night excursions are $1,596 per person.
Info: Tropic, (888) 207-8615