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Ecuador & Cotopaxi

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Departure Dates-See our online calendar for details

Visit the Jewel of the Andes

Ecuador is the Jewel of the Andes and presents a relatively untraveled paradise for the beginning climber. Perhaps nowhere else on Earth does the combination of high mountains and easy accessibility exist in such close proximity.

The Cotopaxi Volcano is one of the most incredible mountains in Ecuador and also, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. At an incredible 5897 metres it rises from the Oriental Andes Mountain Range in a perfectly symmetric conic form that is entirely covered in snow. In Cotopaxi National Park there are also several of Ecuador’s most important mountains. These mountains provide a natural habitat for an amazing array of wildlife including lamas, foxes, rabbits, wild horses and the condor. Ascending the Cotopaxi is an extraordinary adventure for any mountain climber. Using a beautiful hacienda as your base, this trip includes great acclimatization hikes and what is considered one of the most stunning ascents in South America.

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Our Itinerary

Day 1 - QUITO
We arrive in the capital city of Quito. It lies on a long and narrow Andean valley surrounded by high volcanoes at an elevation of 2850 metres. You will be personally met and taken to your well-appointed hotel. This evening there is a briefing and equipment check by the Manager and your guide.

Today we will ascend the Pasochoa volcano and begin acclimatizing. With 4200 metres of altitude, this trek begins in the forest where we will find indigenous wildflowers including bromeliads and orchids as well as a variety of tropical birds. Our journey takes us to the highlands and finally the rock and the top. This evening’s accommodation will be at a nice hacienda near Cotopaxi National Park.

The Quilotoa Volcano Lagoon is located in the province of Cotopaxi, parish of Zumbahua and is part of the Ilinizas Ecological Reserve. Trekking around the crater has spectacular views of the blue and green glimmering lagoon of Quilotoa. This lake is one of the most beautiful volcano lakes in the Ecuadorian Andes. We will hike 4 hours through rocky regions, flowered highlands, native forests, and sands; always with the marvelous view of the intense turquoise colored lake. This evening’s accommodation will be back at your hacienda.

The North Iliniza Volcano will be the highest peak we climb before the Cotopaxi. With its 5,126 metres of altitude, it is a rocky and occasionally snow covered climb. The red sands and the vegetation of the highlands will surprise you; and if weather allows, we will have an incredible view of the avenue of the volcanoes. This evening’s accommodation will also be at the hacienda.

Today is a free day to acclimatize at a beautiful hacienda near Cotopaxi National Park. Hacienda La Alegria is a family run organic farm in the heart of Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanoes. It is situated 1 hour south of the historic colonial city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. They offer traditional hospitality with a touch of luxury at the beautiful hacienda. You will be welcomed with a roaring log fire in the sitting room, and in your bedroom when the nights are cold. La Alegria specializes in horseback riding in the Andes. The hacienda serves as a great base for other adventures as well such as canopy tours, rappelling, and mountain biking.

Today we prepare to start our climb of Cotopaxi. The region around Cotopaxi has the highest number of clear days per year in the Ecuadorian Andes. This exquisite mountain rises in Cotopaxi National Park, the showpiece national park in all of mainland Ecuador. On our drive, we pass through several vegetative zones and anticipate encountering llamas, herds of wild horses, foxes, Cara-Cara falcons, eagles, Andean gulls, lapwings, etc and interesting paramo vegetation. You spend the night at Jose RIbas Refuge at 4800m. Today will be dedicated to rest and getting prepared for your ascent.

We will begin the climb at about one in the morning. An early start allows us to take advantage of the better snow conditions and thus travel more quickly and safely. The normal route is technically not challenging but physically demanding. It involves climbing on moderate glaciated slopes (generally 30-45 degrees). After approx. 7 hours of climbing we will reach the top where we can enjoy magnificent views of the gigantic crater and of mountains such as Antizana, Cayambe and Chimborazo. After the summit climb, we descend Cotopaxi and head back to Quito for rest and recovering.

Day 8 - DEPART
After breakfast you are transferred to the Quito Airport for departures.



Contact us for pricing



Strength and Conditioning Program prepared by our Aurora Exercise Physiologists specifically for this adventure – 8 weeks and 3 fully supervised sessions for Brisbane trekkers or our 12 week Remote Preparation Program for interstate trekkers

All accommodation in country on a twin share basis*.

Personal travel insurance.

All meals on the trek

All transfers and transport in country

Accommodation on the trek in a tent or bush camp.

All food during the trek

Most personal camping equipment.

Local climb crew and guides assisting us on our journey.

Trek gear including trekking shirt, and cap.

Local climbs guide and your Australian guide and Wilderness remote area medic.



Personal expenses such as phone call costs, beverages at the hotel

Boots and a small amount of personal trek clothing such as wet weather gear.

Visa requirements

Inoculations and anti-malarial medication

Connecting flights to and from Brisbane


*Dormitory accommodation applies the night of the summit.



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