AM: The Pichincha Volcano is great for those who want to go on a demanding high-altitude hike. The Andean village of Lloa (situated at 11,483 feet, or 3,500 m), in the southwest basin of Quito, will be the starting point for your trip into the Andean mountains. From here, a path will lead you over the foothills of the slopes of Guagua Pichincha and up to the refuge just below the crater’s edge, which is reached after a five-hour hike. Only a few meters will separate you from the 15,728-foot (4,794 m) summit of this active volcano. (The last time the volcano erupted, in 2001, it covered Quito in several centimeters of black ash!). From here, you will have an amazing view into the horseshoe-shaped crater, which is open on the western side. The smoke, along with the cones of scree and ash that emerges from the inside of the crater, testify to its volcanic activity. You will need about three hours for your descent. After this activity, in the late afternoon, we will drive you to an area near the town of Otavalo, where you will spend the night.