You can choose to do a one day or multiple day hike in the most beautiful areas of the Ecuadorian Andes. And you also can choose to climb to the summit of one of the many volcanoes in the country. Ecuador´s two highest peaks, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, make ideal destinations if you want to get a real high altitude experience.
For those who plan on climbing to the summit of Cotopaxi or Chimborazo Volcano, we recommend to do an acclimatization program. We offer 5 and 7 day programs which include climbs to the summit of Cotopaxi or Chimborazo. These programs are designed to prepare and instruct people in high altitude mountain climbing. With the assistance of a qualified and bilingual guide, doing an acclimatization program offers a much higher chance of making successful climbs.
Ilinizas Hike – 1 day
Ilinizas is an ancient volcano located south of Quito which has two different peaks. During this tour you will climb to the Northern summit, reaching an altitude of 5126m. Northern Ilinizas is a moderate trek followed by an exhilarating but easy climb to reach the summit. If you are willing to climb Cotopaxi, this is a great tour for acclimatization. This climb takes approximately 6 hours reaching the mentioned height of 5126m. It is important that you are prepared for this kind of altitude so we highly recommend to be acclimatized around an altitude of at least 3000m.
Physical Level: Average
Elevation: 3900m - 5126m
Guagua Pichincha Hike – 1 day
Guagua Pichincha is an active volcano and has an altitude of 4790m. The journey starts with an ascent through chuquiragua forests to reach the refuge located at 4540m, where you will rest before completing the next and final section to the summit. Leaving the refuge you will arrive at the crater’s edge where you will be able to appreciate the greatness of the crater and its several geysers. You will continue hiking through small segments of rock until reaching the summit located at 4790m. After a well-deserved rest, you will start hiking down the sandy mountainside until returning to our beginning point. It is quite an arduous walk and normally takes 3 – 4 hours to the summit.
Physical Level: Low - Average
Elevation: 4000m - 4790m
Pasochoa Hike – 1 day
The extinct volcano Pasochoa is one of the best places to see the famous Andean Condor without mentioning the variety of hummingbirds. The hike offers superb views of the mighty Cotopaxi and surrounding volcanoes. Inside the crater there is the Pasochoa Protected Forest Reserve, a humid Andean Forest, with more than 110 species of birds and 45 species of trees. This is the perfect first hike for those who are new to altitude or those who begin an acclimatization program. There are two different ways to get the summit, reaching a height of 4200m, one way is trekking through private farm owner properties, taking around 5 hours to the summit or you can choose to take the other route having a little more trek.
Physical Level: Low
Elevation:3300m - 4200m
Chimborazo Summit – 2 days
Chimborazo Volcano is the highest mountain of Ecuador, having an elevation of 6310m. Chimborazo is located at 150 km southwest from Quito; its summit rises 2500m above the surrounding highlands with a 20 km wide base.
In the morning we drive to Chimborazo Reserve. We start with a hike to the refuge (5000m) where we will have lunch. After lunch we will check the equipment followed by practice on glaciers (depending on the weather). After dinner you have time to rest until midnight. The climbing departs from the refuge at midnight so when you reach the summit, you will be able to see the sunrise and having spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes. Reaching the summit takes 7 - 9 hours and the descent 3 hours. We return to the refuge followed by departure back to Quito.
Climbing this altitude is very difficult so please be sure that you are well prepared. We recommend two different things. First be acclimatized at the altitude of 3000m and it is important to climb twice around 5000m in the same week.
Elevation:4800m - 6310m
Cotopaxi Summit – 2 days
Climbing Cotopaxi Volcano is a unique exiting experience. This adventure starts at the parking lot of Cotopaxi National Park (4500m) with a hike to the refuge (4800m), where we will have lunch. After lunch we will check the equipment followed by practice on glaciers (depending on the weather). After dinner you have time to rest until midnight. The climbing departs from Jose Rivas refuge at midnight so when you reach the summit, you will be able to see the sunrise, and having spectacular views of Quito to the north and Tungurahua & Chimborazo to the south. The ascent takes 6 - 8 hours and the descent 2 - 3 hours. After returning to the refuge we drive back to Quito.
Climbing at this altitude is very difficult so please be sure that you are well prepared. We recommend two different things. First be acclimatized at the altitude of 3000m and it is important to climb twice around 5000m in the same week.
Physical Level:Average – High
Elevation:4500m – 5897m
Inca Trail – 3 days
Discover the Inca Trail! The Incas created an impressive system of roads that used to connect Quito to Cuzco. You can trek part of this Inca Trail in the southern part of Ecuador. This beautiful trek guides you through indigenous communities, paramo highlands, mountains and lakes to Ingapirca which is the most known Inca ruin in Ecuador.
Day 1: Riobamba – Achupallas – Start of the Inca Trail
Leaving Riobamba early in the morning we travel south to the village of Achupallas (3420m). Here we load our luggage on mules and we start our hike through paramo grasslands. We follow the Cadrul River between Callana Pucará and Mapahuiña mountains. After 4 hours of hiking we arrive to an Incan town where we set up camp for the first night at an altitude of 3850m.
Day 2: Inca Trail
Today we will hike for about 7 hours. We start hiking towards the Tres Cruces Lake which leads us up to the highest point of this trek, the Cuchilla Tres Cruces Pass, located at 4400m. The ascent provides us with a wonderful view of Sansahuín, one of the many lakes in this area. In the afternoon we arrive to the ruins of Paredones, once a resting place for the Inca messengers. From here we follow the Inca trail to the village of San José, where we set up camp.
Day 3: Arrival to Ingapirca
We continue our trek along the Inca Trail. After walking 4 hours through typical Andean vegetation we finally arrive to the end of our trek; the Ingapirca Ruins (3160m) - the most important archeological monument in Ecuador. A guide will explain about the cultures of the Incas and Cañaris. After time to explore the ruins we drive to Cuenca where our journey ends.
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