Ecuador: Volcanoes Pichincha, Corazon, Illiniza Norte, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo

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The plateau of the volcanoes south of Quito, haciendas with wide areas, the outstanding snow mountains and the unbelievable vastness provide the framework for this trip. Group participants who do not want to do all five summit ascents can take advantage of numerous hiking opportunities, rent horses and bicycles or carry out cultural visits to old Inca sites and small Indio villages. Afterwards, jungle (Amazon), coast and the Galapagos Islands offer the opportunity to get to know Ecuador more comprehensively.

Cotopaxi & Chimborazo, Ecuador: The goals of this trip are mountain tours and ascents in the highlands of Ecuador, to stand on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, to get to know the country and its people and to have a good time. The shapely and extremely popular Cotopaxi towers at almost 5,900 meters above Quito, the UNESCO-protected capital of Ecuador, our point of arrival in Ecuador. The Chimborazo (6,310m) is the furthest point from the center of the earth and the highest mountain in Ecuador. Our ice and snow trekking on the volcanoes of Ecuador offers you an exciting mountain experience with many mountain hikes and ascents from Illiniza, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo (15 days from/to DE, extensions).

Ecuador – trekking tour

The small country on the equator, named after this “Ecuador”, has always attracted researchers from all over the world, including Alexander Humboldt when he explored the Chimborazo with an attempt to climb it and Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution. Even today, Ecuador fascinates many travelers because it offers in a small space: snow-capped mountains, perfectly shaped volcanoes and turquoise-blue lagoons in the Andean highlands, evergreen cloud forests, the tropical Amazon lowlands with its fauna and last but not least the famous Galapagos Islands. Much of this may tempt you to extend our already very varied two-week mountain trip.


We are planning 3-4 trips for Ecuador trekking. Highlights of the SummitClimb Ecuador volcano trekking trip are:

  • A well-established team with very experienced IVBV mountain guides
  • Visiting Quito: UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Impressions of the Volcano Road, visit of Baños and Otavalo
  • Hacienda mountaineering, comfortable yet high up
  • Many mountain tours and hikes in just 2 weeks
  • Cotopaxi Climb & Chimborazo Climb

Diversity on the equator: Ecuador offers an incredible variety of landscapes in a very small area: A Galapagos cruise or a visit to the Amazon can be organized after the mountain trip. You can also visit the coast or put together a trip to a surrounding country (Peru, Bolivia) with its sights.

Cotopaxi – the most popular mountain in Ecuador

Of all 22 mountains over 5000 meters high, the Cotopaxi, located about 50 km south of the capital Quito, is the most climbed mountain in Ecuador and one of the most popular peaks in South America. It is one of the highest active volcanoes on earth with many recorded eruptions, the last big one in 1904, but it was also closed in 2015-2017 due to its activity. The first ascent was made on November 27, 1872 by the German geologist Wilhelm Reiß and the Colombian guide Angel Escobar via a freshly cooled lava flow on the west side of the mountain.

Chimborazo – the highest mountain in the world?

The Chimborazo with 6310m (6267m according to new measurement) and its proximity to the equator is the point on the earth’s surface with the furthest distance from the center of the earth. Altitude data refer to sea level with normal pressure level and so many peaks remain between it and Everest (8848m). This “oddity” is due to the oval shape of the earth’s surface, but is not recognized by all Ecuadorians. The Chimborazo remains the highest peak in Ecuador and the crowning goal of our diverse journey.


Ecuador – country & people

With over 14 million inhabitants on 283,560 km², Ecuador has the highest population density of all South American countries. The proportion of the indigenous population is very high, with a strong mix of European settlers (mestizos). After gaining independence from Spain in 1821, the development into a republic in 1978 was marked by political and territorial instability. The official language, Spanish, is widely spoken, while English is only partially spoken. Traveling in Ecuador is quite unproblematic with relatively good roads and developed infrastructure. Most areas of the country are well developed and easily accessible.

Ecuador and Alexander von Humboldt

In his second South American expedition from Cartagena to Lima, Alexander von Humboldt spent the first half of 1802 in the Ecuadorian area. He reported climbing Chimborazo (June 23, 1802), but is believed to have turned back 400-800 meters below the summit. At Cotopaxi, he attempted an ascent that ended at 4,500 meters. Twice he climbed the Pichincha, Quito’s 4794 meter high local mountain.

Climate & weather in the mountains of Ecuador

In the middle mountains (3000m-5000m) you can have a sunny morning and suddenly clouds with rain come in. Tips:

  • Temperatures vary between 5°C-15°C in the low mountain ranges during daylight hours.
  • Always dress in layers and have rain gear handy to make your hike comfortable.

In the high mountains (above 5000m) temperatures can drop below 0°C at night and during the ascent. Hikes in the snow-capped mountains of Ecuador start at midnight. Tips:

  • Temperatures below 0°C
  • Feels with wind (wind chill factor) quickly down to -15°C or -20°C and the body is more sensitive at higher altitudes
  • Dressing in layers and warm mountain gear is highly recommended.

If the weather is not in good condition, our mountain guide will always evaluate and advise the choices made during the ascent: safety is our main philosophy.

Travel Program

Departure point (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich or Vienna). connection in front with IBERIA/LAN via Madrid or with KLM (via Amsterdam, then directly to Quito, or via Atlanta and on with Delta). Arrive in the evening in Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Our driver will pick you up at the airport. The international airport is 50km from Quito. The group will be met at the airport and taken to the hotel in Quito, 45 minutes away. Depending on the day of the week, traffic can be heavy and the travel time to the hotel can be a little longer. Hotel Finlandia is very well located in the New Town.
Accommodation: Hotel Finlandia – DR/B.
Flight times: Iberia and KLM/AF/Delta approx. 4pm – 10pm (usually 2 stops, more direct connection with 1 stop may have an extra charge)

In Quito’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, we visit the Plazas de la Independencia, Santo Domingo and San Francisco. The most important architectural monuments from the colonial era are located on these three squares. From the small volcanic cone “El Panecillo” (the name means “the bun”) we finally have a beautiful view over the city – and in clear weather on the snow-capped Cotopaxi. In the afternoon we return to our hotel and have the evening at leisure.
Accommodation: Hotel Finlandia – DR/B

We can easily reach Quito’s local mountain by cable car (mountain station at 4000m). The hike of about 6 hours (4 up, 2 down) offers a wonderful view of Quito and the surrounding volcanoes: Cayambe, Antisana, Cotopaxi. In the afternoon we head south on Avenida de los Volcanes, the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. On the way, the radiant peaks of Cotopaxi, Illiniza Norte and Illinaza Sur can be seen on the horizon in sunny weather. Overnight at the hacienda-like Huerta Sacha Lodge.
Accommodation: Huerta Sacha Lodge, N/B.
Trekking: 5-6h; Ascent: 800 Hm.

Descent: 800 m altitude difference

After we have collected our first impressions of the country and its people, we undertake a day hike in the El Corazón region. The 4,788 m high volcano is located in the western cordillera in the north-west of the valley of Machachi and is part of a rarely snow-covered massif with three peaks. We leave our accommodation early in the morning and hike to the sub-summit of El Corazón at an altitude of around 4,500 m. Overnight stay at the Huerta Sacha Lodge.
Accommodation: Huerta Sacha Lodge, N/B.
Trekking: 6-7h

Ascent: 1230 m altitude; Descent: 1230 m altitude

Early in the morning we set off to climb Illiniza Norte (5126m). The ascent is not technically difficult except for the last stretch just before the summit. At our first high summit, “nothing should be broken over the knee”. After a short block climb (II), the highest point is reached. We now deserve a break. The view from the summit over the Andean landscape is fantastic! The Cotopaxi, our next destination , grows into the sky directly opposite us. After the summit rest, we descend quickly. The rest of the day we relax in the beautiful Huerta Sacha Lodge.
Accommodation: Huerta Sacha Lodge, overnight stays/full board.
Trekking / mountain tour: approx.

Ascent: 1250 m

Descent: 1250 m.

The day is at leisure to relax, rest, write postcards or use Wifi. The hacienda is beautifully situated, on request we can organize a horse ride. This day also serves as a reserve day for the mountain tours starting from the Huerta Sacha.
Accommodation: Huerta Sacha Lodge, N/ day

We start the journey to the Cotopaxi National Park, which was established to protect the páramo vegetation. There is time for us to visit one of the beautiful lagunas (lakes) before continuing to the car park below the José Ribas hut at about 4,500m. The ascent to the José Ribas hut at 4,800 m takes about 1 hour. We rest, get our gear ready and prepare for tomorrow’s summit ascent with some glacier training. We spend the short night in warm sleeping bags in the José Ribas hut below the edge of the glacier. Overnight stay in a hut – camp overnight stays/full board.
Accommodation: Jose Ribas mountain hut bed/full board
Journey: 1 hour.

walking time: 1h

Ascent: 350 m altitude.

The Cotopaxi was first climbed in 1872 by the German geologist Wilhelm Reiß and the Colombian Angel Escobar. The largest eruption of this volcano occurred in 1877, the lava flow extended to Latacunga, 35 km away.
A very early departure (midnight) to the summit of Cotopaxi (5,897 m) – one of the highest active volcanoes on earth and the second highest mountain in Ecuador – is announced. If the weather is clear we can see the volcanic peaks of Cayambe, Antisana, Illiniza and El Altar as well as our next destination, Chimborazo, 100km away. The ascent is technically not very difficult under normal conditions, but long and strenuous. The snow and glacier line is around 5,000 m above sea level. Using pickaxes and crampons, we climb over several uphill stretches to the right past the rocky crater structure that can be seen from afar. Depending on the conditions, we often have to avoid crevasses. Via a last steeper slope we get to the edge of the crater (walking time from the hut to the summit approx. 6-8 hours, for the descent 2-3 hours). After returning to the hut we walk the short distance to the parking lot and drive out of the national park onto the Avenida. A scenic drive takes us to Baños. Lunch en route or upon arrival in Baños, depending on time.
Mountain tour: 10-11h; Ascent: 1080m; Descent: 1380m Driving time: approx. 3-4h
Overnight stay: Hotel Isla de Baños (or similar), overnight stays /full board

In English “baths of the holy water” you can guess what the focus will be in Baños: Our private vehicle takes us to the Pastaza Valley, we marvel at the Rio Verde waterfall and the “Devil’s Pan” (el pailon del diablo). The afternoon is at leisure in the pilgrimage town of Baños. The cozy bathing resort is located at the foot of the active volcano Tungurahua. Those who wish can stroll through the streets, go on a hike or bathe in the hot springs

Overnight stay: Hotel Isla de Baños n/fp Active rest day – driving time: about 1 hour, short walks.

We reach Chimborazo via the village of Ambato. The winding road winds its way through a picturesque landscape along deep gorges. Soon we drive over a beautiful plateau to the starting point of the Chimborazo ascent. Our driver takes us to the first Carrel hut (approx. 4,800 m) at the end of the slope. As a mountaineering highlight, we have to climb Chimborazo, an extinct volcano with many individual craters and five peaks. Alexander von Humboldt thought it was the highest mountain in the world, in fact it is, but only from the center of the earth, not from sea level. When attempting to climb the volcano, Alexander von Humboldt failed. In 1880, the first person to climb the Matterhorn, Edward Whymper, was the first to conquer this summit. Overnight stay in the hut n/full board.
Overnight stay: Carrel mountain hut (or High Camp), nights/full board
Travel time: 2 hours.

Around midnight we set off for the summit. The ascent takes place via today’s normal route, first through the “El Corredor” in the direction of “El Castillo” and there (approx. 5500m) on the wide glaciated ridge to the Veintemilla summit (approx. 6300m). From there, a traverse leads to the actual summit at Point Whymper (approx. 6330m). Due to the melting of the glacier, bare ice and falling ice are to be expected, especially when crossing the “El Corredor” below the actual glacier. The ascent requires mountaineering experience and sure-footedness. It is about 7 to 10 hours from the hut to the highest point in Ecuador. From the top we have a wonderful view – far below us lies Riobamba. For the descent to the hut we need about 4-5 hours.
Overnight: Chimborazo Lodge, N/HB.
Mountain tour: approx. 10-14h Ascent: 1300 m altitude

Descent: 1500 m altitude.

If the Chimborazo ascent is successful on day 11, we can use the day for something else. Otherwise return to Quito to end the tour or a spontaneous supporting program in the southern highlands. There are options on the train ride from Alausi (2,350 m) past the foot of the Teufelsnase to overcome 500 meters in altitude at walking pace, zigzag turns (possible on three weekdays, partly closed in the event of damage) or to explore the area on a horseback ride.
Overnight: Guesthouse / Hotel, N/B.
spontaneous reserve day / day off.

We drive to Quito, where we still have enough time to stroll through the streets and do some shopping.
Overnight stay: Hotel Finlandia, bed and breakfast.
Driving time: approx. 8 hours.

Flight home or onward journey to the next destination in South America (Amazon, beach or Galapagos Islands are options). The return flight to Europe will be overnight.
Flight time: Iberia and KLM/AF/Delta approx. 18h – 25h (usually 2 stops, more direct connection with 1 stop may have an extra charge)

After changing planes in Madrid (or Amsterdam) you fly to Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich or Vienna. Arrive late afternoon/evening or possibly early next morning

Our Ecuador trekking trip is “full service / all inclusive” with flight (economy) from Germany or Austria. With four or more participants, we run the tour with our Swiss partners from Ecuador. For groups of 8-12 participants, a SummitClimb expedition leader takes over the tour guide. For the ascents of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo we are also supported by Ecuadorian IVBV mountain guides.

Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner

What's Included

Services included in the prices:

  • Organization and management of the trip
  • Preparatory briefing, material service, team briefing
  • Expedition leader for 8 to max. 12 participants
  • Tour management by Ecuadorian / South American IVBV mountain guide
    – Guaranteed to be carried out with at least 4 participants
    – Additional mountain guide on Cotopaxi and Chimborazo for 2 guests each
  • Airport transfers in Quito (for outward and return flights)
  • 3 nights in Quito in a *** hotel with breakfast (double room)
  • Transfers according to the itinerary
  • National Park Fees
  • 3 x overnight stays / full board in Hacienda near Corazon (acclimatization)
  • 1 x overnight stay / full board in the Mortiños Hacienda near Cotopaxi
  • 2 x overnight stays / full board *** hotel in Banos
  • 2-3 x overnight stays in camp on the mountain (Rose Ribas and Carrel Hütte)
  • Three meals on the mountain (breakfast, packed lunch and dinner)
  • 1-2 x overnight stays / full board in the Estrellas / Chimborazo Lodge near Riobamba
  • Group material (ropes, etc.) for the mountain tours
  • Medical emergency equipment

Not included:

  • Travel insurance
  • International flight to Quito from various European airports
    – Economy tariff (non-flexible)
    – Baggage allowance (checked baggage) 23kg + hand baggage (additional baggage can be booked for a surcharge)
    – Flight with AE, KLM or IBERIA depending on the place of departure
  • Dinner and lunch in Quito
  • Personal equipment (Material service in Quito at extra cost)
  • Snacks, alcoholic beverages
  • Personal equipment (such as boots, ice ax, crampons, harness, sleeping bag, mat, Goretex, etc.)
  • Gratuities (approx. USD 100 is appropriate)

Prices & Dates




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» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays

Prices (per person):


Deposit for reservations: — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!

Places: 🟢 *Available
Trip-code: Number ►ECU-
Duration: 15 days
Participants: Minimal: 4 Maximal: 12
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Ecuador
Mountain Guide: Eric Albino Lliuya
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!

3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023

Legend Booking-information:
EZZ Single room supplement
🟢 On this trip, places are still available.
🟡 On this trip, only a few places left.
🔴 This trip is sold out / closed.


Eric Raul Albino Lliuya

Expert guide certified by AGOMP
General Sales Manager of Peru Expeditions