5-Day Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Climbing Tour
Cotopaxi and Chimborazo may look intimidating at a distance, but it only takes good physical fitness and the right equipment to tackle these mountains. Take this tour to experience Ecuador’s two most iconic mountain peaks.
- Duration: 120 hrs
- Available Days: Every day
- Schedule: 9:00 AM
- Hotel Transport Included
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
Day 1—Quito to Cotopaxi
This tour begins with a drive from Quito through the dramatic peaks and valleys of the Avenue of the Volcanoes. It takes about about 90 minutes to reach the Cotopaxi National Park. First, you’ll stop off at the Jose Ribas Refuge and get your ice gear. Then you’ll go practice your ice climbing skills. The tools include crampons—special shoes for climbing on ice—as well as an ice axe and rope. At the end of your lesson, you’ll head back to the refuge for dinner and rest in preparation for day 2.
Day 2—Refuge to Cotopaxi Summit
On day 2, you’ll awake at midnight for a light breakfast. Your hiking begins at 1 AM. This tour starts early so that you can reach the peak while its still morning. You’ll hike for an hour until you hit the glacier mountain top, then you’ll get out your ice climbing gear and start tackling the peak. The hike takes a total of 6 to 8 hours. At the top, you’ll have the chance to take pictures of the enormous caldera and the incredible views. Along the way, you’ll have a break for a boxed lunch.
It only takes 2 to 3 hours to descend the mountain. Once you arrive back at the refuge, you’ll take a break and get a meal before you hop in your transport for the next leg of your trip. You’ll drive to the rural town of Machachi where you’ll stop at a hotel for the night.
Day 3—Rest in Machachi
For day 3, you can choose how much of Machachi you want to explore, with an optional tour to the Tesalia Water Springs. If you come on a Sunday, head to the local market to check out animals, fruit, and handicrafts. In this pastoral town you can try horseback riding and unusual local dishes like guinea pig.
Day 4—Machachi to Chimborazo Range
At the outset of day 4, you’ll drive 3.5 hours to the Chimborazo Ecological Reserve. The hike for the day starts at Hermanos Carrel Refuge. From there, it takes an hour to get to Whymper’s Refuge where you’ll eat dinner. After dinner, you’ll rest up and prepare for your next hike. You’ll get up at 11 PM for a light meal before setting out.
Day 5—Chimborazo Summit to Quito
You’ll leave Whymper’s Refuge at midnight to start your hike. This hike takes 8 to 10 hours, and brings you to the summit of Chimborazo Volcano. It’s 20,702 feet tall (6,310 m)—the tallest point in Ecuador and one of the tallest in the world. From here, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the Andes. Once you’ve had your fill of the view, you’ll get started on the 3 to 4 hour descent. In Hermanos Carrel Refuge parking lot, you’ll meet your transport and begin your trip back to Quito.
Attractions VisitedChimborazo Ecological Reserve
Located in a remote area of the Central Sierra, the Chimborazo Ecological Reserve is home to the towering mass of the Chimborazo Volcano—this is the highest point in Ecuador and one of the highest places in the entire world. The barren landscape also hosts herds of alpacas, llamas, and vicuñas.
Cotopaxi National Park
Home to one of the most iconic volcanoes in South America, this park also features a wide-open alpine landscape. At a staggering 19,347 feet (5,897 m), the Cotopaxi Volcano is the focal point of the park.
What to Bring
Personal mountain gear—including warm clothes, a sleeping bag, sun glasses, and a head lamp—as well as money for tips, personal expenses, and meals at the hotels.
Private transportation, professional guides, accommodation, all meals during the hikes, and park entrance fees.
Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “More Time and Rates” for full details.
This trek of between two and three days, takes us from the small Andean village of Oyacachi, located to the south of the Nevado Cayambe, at 3,200 meters above sea level, along the Oyacachi River, to the jungle village of The Chaco, at 1,600 meters of altitude. In Oyacachi there are hot springs with good infrastructure that are usually frequented mostly by visitors from Cayambe and Quito on weekends.
13 hrsFrom $548