Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour
Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour

Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour

9 days

Peak in Ecuadorian AndesGroup of climbers ascending on one of the peaks in EcuadorClouds above Andes (Ecuador)Beautiful day in Andes, Ecuador

Spend 9-days climbing Ecuador’s highest volcanoes with a guide

Launch yourself into the mind-blowing landscapes of the Ecuadorian Andes on the 9-day guided Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour.

Kick-off your mountaineering experience in Ecuador with a full-day guided city tour of Quito before setting off deep into the Andes to discover Ecuador’s highest volcanoes. The highest volcanoes of Ecuador are ideal for climbing because of their sheer beauty – rising like giants in the otherwise green Andes region right along the Equator line. The volcanoes' proximity to Quito also makes them very accessible to mountaineers. The surrounding Andes region with its beautiful landscapes, gorgeous nature and exotic indigenous villages and cultures, makes this climb an experience of a lifetime.

Highlights of the Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour

Come to know Quito on a full day guided city tour, discovering its hidden gems and world-famous historical sites.
Take on Ecuador’s highest volcanoes, climbing Pasocha, Guagua Pichincha, Cotopaxi and more.
Reach Cotopaxi’s summit and reward yourself by looking down into the double rim crater and surveying the volcanoes on the horizon.
Unwind at rustic mountain huts tucked away in the Ecuadorian Andes following electrifying days in the mountains.

Prices

From $1,350USD
9 days
Difficulty
Guided
Hotels, lodges, mountain huts
  • No Booking or Credit Card Fees
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Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour

Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Quito

Your climbing adventure in Ecuador begins today as you arrive at the airport in Quito. From here, you’ll transfer to your hotel where you can either rest up for the days ahead or set out to explore independently.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Quito (2,850m / 9,350ft)
Distance: None
Meals: None

Day 2 Quito – Full Day City Tour

This morning you’ll embark on a full day private city tour in the historical part of Quito, including La Basilica Church, La Compañia Church and El Panecillo Hill. Witness the remarkable transformation from the new part of the city to the absolutely beautiful historical and colonial part of Quito. Stops along the way today will introduce you to Quito’s stunning churches and plazas but will also give you the chance to simply soak up the local atmosphere which will no doubt leave you charmed.

Later, you’ll continue to “El Panecillo”, the hill in the center of Quito overlooking the city and the historical center. From here on clear days, you may be able to observe several of the snow-capped volcanoes surrounding Quito. After lunch, visit to “Mitad del Mundo” where you can stand on the equatorial line and do some fun experiments.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Quito (2,850m / 9,350ft)
Distance: Flexible
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 Climb Pasocha Volcano (4,164m / 13,661ft)

With your sights set on Pasocha Volcano this morning, you’ll be picked up at the hotel to transfer (2 h) to the head of the trail, located at an altitude of 3848m. From this point, a very well-marked trail will lead the way by farmland up to the paramo area. Here the trail heads southwards ascending progressively until the base of the crater. The last section is the steepest, following a mountain trail up to the crater rim. The last meters to the summit are done by the edge of the crater with mesmerizing views down to the valley of Machachi also known as the “Volcanoes Avenue” and the highlands to the west. On clear days there is a perfect view of the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and Artisana volcanoes. The descent follows the same trail back. Back at the starting point, the group will be taken back to Quito.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Quito (2,850m / 9,350ft)
Distance: 5 hours, 516m of ascent
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Day 4 Climb Guagua Pichincha Volcano (4,794m / 15,728ft)

The Pichinchas are three summits located on the Western range just above Quito. The Guagua Pichincha is the highest and the youngest of the summits, the other two are the Rucu Pichincha and the Padre Encantado (Enchanted father) and both of them lower. Guagua is also where the last eruption took place in the year 1999, but it is now considered safe to climb by geologists. The Guagua and the Rucu are very popular ascents, due to their location on the outskirts of the capital and their convenient access.

Pick-up at the hotel in Quito this morning to transfer (2h) to the head of the trail at 4150m. From the parking place, the hike will ascent by a “paramo” area finding its way through changing vegetation up to the moraine. The ascent is very straight forward, but the distance to cover is considerable. There is a big gain in altitude during the hike, which works great as a preparation for higher summits. The trail back is the same as the ascent. Wrap up the day with a 2-hour drive along the beautiful “Volcano Avenue” to a mountain lodge located close to the town of El Chaupi (2930m).
Overnight Location: Mountain Lodge near El Chaupi (2,930m / 9,613ft)
Distance: 6 hours, 644m of ascent
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 Climb the Andean Highlands to Nuevos Horizontes Hut (4,677m / 15,344ft)

Today’ climb starts after a 1-hour transfer from the mountain lodge up to the parking place located at 3680 meters. From here, the group will follow a trail by the “paramo” (Andean highland), which changes as it gains altitude into a rocky moraine. The terrain gets steeper reaching a well marked ridge that ascends to a valley that divides the twin peaks and is also where the Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677m) is located.

Following your arrival, your mountain guide will give the pertinent instruction for the next day’s climb and will help to prepare all the needed gear. The Nuevos Horizontes hut is very, very basic accommodation with one big area, where both the bunk beds and the kitchen are located. The hut has basic services like a kitchen, dining tables and toilets.
Overnight Location: Nuevos Horizontes hut (4,677m / 15,350ft)
Distance: 3-4 hours, 817m of ascent
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 Climb North Iliniza (5,126m / 16,817FT)

This morning’s goal is to climb the North Ilinza, one of the twin summits of the Iliniza massif. The north summit is the easier of the two from a technical point of view, but still a demanding physical ascent. The climb starts from Nuevos Horizontes hut (4677m) and begins with a hike that heads towards the col and then up to the north. The climb in itself is very panoramic, as it follows the southern ridge of the mountain with spectacular landscapes on both sides. During the ascent, there will be short easy scrambling sections before reaching the summit. Depending on the logistics, weather conditions and the physical shape of the team, the descent can be done by the same trail or following the northern ridge, down a big scree area making it into a circular route. Back at the parking place, the team will be transferred 3-hours to Cotopaxi National Park for a good rest after today’s climb.
Overnight Location: Mountain Hut near Cotopaxi (3,750m / 12,303ft)
Distance: 8 hours, 499m of ascent
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 Cotopaxi Glacier training (4,990m / 16,371ft)

After a good rest and a well-deserved breakfast, a 2-hour transfer will take the group to the Cotopaxi’s parking area (4587m) followed by a 1-hour hike to Cotopaxi’s mountain hut (4847m), a short break, and then another hike up to the low part of the glacier (4990m). Once there, the team will gear up and follow the guide’s instruction in the use of crampons, ice axes, rope and all of the appropriate technical gear for the climb. This is in no way an alpine course, just a brief introduction to the techniques needed for the ascent. This activity will also improve acclimatization due to the physical activity in altitude. After the training, the team will head back down to the hut for the night (4847m).

The rest of the afternoon is devoted to climbing preparations. The guides will do a detailed briefing about all aspects of the ascent and help with all the gear. An early dinner will be served and then it is time to rest. The call for breakfast usually happens around midnight tonight.
Overnight Location: Mountain Hut near Cotopaxi (4,800m / 15,744 ft)
Distance: 4-5 hours, 403m of ascent
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 Climb Cotopaxi Volcano (5,897m / 19,347ft)

The summit day starts very early; departure time will be set by the mountain guides, according to the team’s physical condition and the weather forecast, usually in the range between 11PM and 2AM. Breakfast will be served 1 hour before the scheduled departure. The team will begin the ascent from the hut following a well-marked trail that gently ascends over a fine stoned moraine for about 1 hour. Once on the edge of the glacier (4990m), the group will gear up and divide, in case of a big group, into smaller teams in a range of 2 clients for 1 guide.

The Cotopaxi climb requires endurance and a great deal of mental strength. Cotopaxi’s glacier is quite safe and the climb is not technically difficult, but there are a few crevassed areas and a few slopes that make the route interesting.

The first section of the glacier is a gentle slope that gets steeper as it goes higher, there are a series of switchbacks known as “Heart Breaker”, being the toughest part of the ascent due to its demanding steepness and continuity. After this a very nice ridge gradually gains altitude, passing close to the prominent rock face known as “Yanasacha” at about 5630m. From this point a relatively long traverse to the right before another set of switchbacks that lead up to the crater’s rim and a few meters later to the main summit. The climb takes an average time of 7-8 hours. Cotopaxi’s summit is one of the most spectacular ones, looking down into the double rim crater and, on clear days, it is possible to see most of the neighbouring volcanoes as Antisana, Cayambe, Ilinizas, Chimborazo, El Altar and the active Tunguragua. The descent is done following back the same way, taking between 3-4 hours. Once back at the huts and after the whole group reunites, a short hike down (20 minutes) to the parking place and drive back to Quito (3 h).
Overnight Location: Hotel in Quito (2,850m / 9,350ft)
Distance: 10-12 hours, 1050m of ascent
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 Departure

Having conquered a number of Ecuador’s highest volcanoes, it’s time to depart this morning. Check out of your hotel in Quito to depart.
Overnight Location: None
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast

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Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour Price and Dates

This guided tour in Ecuador is always run as a private tour for your group only and the price depends on the size of your group.

The prices below are per person sharing a double or a triple room and those willing to have a single room will have to pay a supplement of $204 USD.

  • Guided Groups of 2: $1,695 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 3: $1,450 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 4-5: $1,515 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 6: $1,350 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 7+: on request

Accommodation on Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour

This tour is based in hotels, mountain lodges and mountain huts. Hotels on this trip are 3-star and offer modern conveniences that can make this trip more pleasant. The accommodation in mountain lodges and mountain huts is more rustic and, in some cases, you’ll be staying in a dormitory-type accommodation where you’ll share your living space with other travellers.

Note, you need to bring your own sleeping bag for this tour.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
Rooms are double occupancy. You can pay a supplement of $203 USD to have a private room in a hotel where possible. Please note that single rooms are only available in hotels.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Hotel Ikala in Quito ★★★★

This colourful hotel has a tree-shrouded pool and deck to relax on, a great rooftop terrace, and updated bathrooms.

Night 4

Huerta Sacha Mountain Hut near El Chaupi

Enjoy this unique stay at the Huerta Sacha lodge, located on a remarkable 40-acre dairy farm. The lodge features cozy rooms and a central café perfect for socializing with other climbers.

Night 5

Nuevos Horizontes Mountain Hut

This basic mountain hut provides all you need for a good night’s rest in the mountains.

Low Mountain Hut Tambopaxi near Cotopaxi

Guests will enjoy a laid-back vibe at this colourful mountain hut featuring a great restaurant.

Night 7

Jose Rivas Hut near Cotopaxi

As the most popular mountain hut in Ecuador, the Jose Rivas is a cozy base camp for exploring Cotopaxi and is always a favourite amongst guests.

Hotel Ikala in Quito ★★★★

This colourful hotel has a tree-shrouded pool and deck to relax on, a great rooftop terrace, and updated bathrooms.

What’s Included in the Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour?

Meals

8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 5 dinners are included.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 8 nights are included.

Transportation during the Tour

Transportation for you and your luggage is included throughout the tour, including transfer to and from the airport. During the trekking days, you’ll be carrying your own backpack, however, you can book a private porter.

Also Included

  • English-speaking mountain guide
  • English-speaking city guide on day 2
  • Activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees where applicable

Not included

  • Flights to and from Quito
  • Meals, drinks, or snacks not previously mentioned
  • Gratuities for tour guides or other staff if desired
  • Private porter to/from Cotopaxi’s high hut
  • Personal climbing and camping gear
  • Insurance
  • Sleeping bag

Optional Extras

  • Extra transfers (in case group needs more than one)
  • German/French/Italian speaking guide
  • Gear rental:
    • Helmet
    • Ice-axe
    • Crampons
    • Harness
    • Mountain boots

Frequently Asked Questions about Climbing Ecuador’s Volcanoes Tour

Andes World Travel is a boutique adventure tour operator, founded by mountaineers, grown out of a love for adventure and first-hand knowledge of the Andes region. They offer a wide range of tours throughout South America, including both adventure tours and cultural tours.

Andes World Travel offers climbing, trekking, and hiking tours with an emphasis on safety and professionalism. They also offer “light trekking” trips for less experienced adventurers.

The company runs tours in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Peru. They focus on sustainable practices and are more than willing to customize their tours to client’s wishes.

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Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour as a 5 / 5. The trails on this tour are straightforward, possibly a glacial approach, snow and ice will often be at an easy angle. However, you’ll be hiking in a high altitude and harsh environment. This tour is physically demanding and having previous experience is highly recommended. This is a mountaineering trip, and there entails significantly more risk in these types of tours over conventional hiking or trekking tours. You should be comfortable with this additional risk.

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