Chimborazo (6.268m) y Cotopaxi (5.897 m)

These are the most impressive mountains of Ecuador, that dazzle every person that sets eyes on them. Their energy captivates us and drives us crazy until we attempt to conquer them. What else do you need to start this adventure? Ecuador is a very privileged country, having more than 70 impressive and unique mountains from the Cotopaxi, one of the most active volcanos in the world and given its beauty its said its the most photographed in the planet. To Quilotoa, an extinct volcano that as a result of its explosion left a beautiful blue turquoise lagoon, being 3km in diameter. Also the amazing Chimborazo with the peak being the point furthest away from the centre of the earth. The mountains are a big reason to visit and explore Ecuador.


Itinerary:

Chimborazo (20,702ft/6268m) is the highest peak in Ecuador and for many years the European climbers also thought that it was the highest mountain in the world. In fact it is the highest peak in the world, if your measure from the centre of the earth, and it is the closest to the sun due the the Ecuatorial bulge. The first person to reach the summit was the famous mountaineer Edward Whymper in 1892.

Day 1:Arrival in Quito (9184 ft/ 2800m)
Day 2:Quito- Hike to Pasochoa summit (13,778 ft/4230m), return to Pastocalle (3197m).
Day 3:Hike to Corazon summit (15,702 ft/4786m), return to Pastocalle (3197m).
Day 4:Hike to Iliniza North summit (16,818 ft/5126m), return to Pastocalle (3197m).
Day 5: Day Tour to the lagoon Quilotoa (3914m).
Day 6&7: Hike to Cotopaxi refuge José Rivas (15,088 ft/4600m) and then to the Cotopaxi summit (5897m).
Day 8: Rest day in the relaxing city of Baños de Agua Santa.
Day 9: Hike to refuge Hermanos Carrel (4800m) and then to the Chimborazo summit (6268m).

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival to Quito (9184 ft/2800m)
You will be picked up from the Mariscal Sucre by your guide and transferred to your hotel in Quito. Depending on your arrival time, you will be able to get to know some tourist attractions in the city.

Day 2: Quito- Pasachoa Summit (13,778 ft/4230m) return to Pastocalle 3197m.
After a yummy breakfast in the hotel, we will leave the city early in the morning and head south for about 2 hours through the Andean highlands until we arrive at the start of our hike(10,827 ft/3300m). The hike goes through a primary Andean forest, ideal for birdwatching. Once we arrive in the summit (13,778 ft/4239m) we will enjoy a delicious box lunch, if the climate allows us, we will have a beautiful view of the snow capped mountains like Antisana, Cayambe, Ilinizas and Cotopaxi.

To reach the peak of thus volcano it normally takes about approximately 4 hours. Once we have finished the hike you will have a transfer to the Cotopaxi Campground in San Juan de Pastocalle, situated in the Cotopaxi province. In the evening you will receive some dinner and have the chance to rest in your cabin.

Day 3: Corazón Summit (15,702 ft/4786m), return to Pastocalle 3197m.
We will start early in the morning after we have breakfast, from there we head towards the north, through the Avenue of the Volcanos until we arrive in the town Chaupi. We will continue driving a little more until the entrance (13,120 ft/4000m) and start of our day hike. The first part of the hike takes us through the low Andean moorlands. Later on we will walk through a sandy part which allows us to reach the summit at (15,702 ft/4786m). Here we can enjoy our box lunch after a hike of approximately 6 hours to reach the peak. Once we finish the hike we will again return to the Cotopaxi Campground in the afternoon.

Day 4: Iliniza North Summit (16,818 ft/5126m), return to Pastocalle 3197m.
Starting early with breakfast at 7.30, so we can leave early and drive to the ‘Virgen Carpark’ (12,795 ft/3900m). Once we arrive there we will start our walk, it takes about 2.5/3 hours to arrive in the ‘New Horizons Refuge’ (15,580 ft/4750m). Here in the refuge we will rest for a little bit and maybe have a snack before taking a moment to put on our helmets and harnesses in order to continue hiking up to the North summit. Generally this will take another 2/3 hours to reach the peak altitude of 16,818 ft/5126m, where we can happily rest a little and enjoy our box lunches, while taking lots of photos of the beautiful view that surrounds us. Once we are ready we can start the decent but we will go down by a different route on the the North face of the volcano. This route is more of a sandy hillside and approximately it takes 2 hours to return to the car park where we can then get back in the car and return to the Cotopaxi Campground for a delicious dinner and some well deserved rest.

Day 5:Quilotoa Lagoon Day Tour (3914m).
In the morning, after breakfast we will begin to drive to the incredible Quilotoa lagoon. During the journey we will stop in an Andean hut and visit the Tigua community in order to look at the leather artisanal work that the people do in this area. The journey in car will be about 2 hours to arrive in the viewpoint of the lagoon, where you can appreciate the magnitude of the crater and the lagoon. We will then begin to go down towards the lagoon itself, which is a very uneven path and takes about 1 hour to reach the water in the base on the crater, where you can take lots of photos and rest. Then we must hike back up so we can enjoy our lunch and later return to the Cotopaxi Campground.

Day 6 & 7: Refuge José Rivas (15,088 ft/4600m) then Cotopaxi Volcano Summit.
From the town Pastocalle we will travel in car to the entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park, then to the carpark at (14,764 ft/4500m). From here we will walk for approximately an hour in order to arrive in the refuge José Rivas (15,748 ft/4800m) where will will have dinner and rest. At midnight we wake up, eat a light breakfast, organise our equipment and begin to start our summit hike. The hike up generally takes around 6/7 hours. Once we have successfully arrived in the peak at (19,347ft/5897m) we will take our time for photos of the impressive smoking crater, surrounding views and then afterwards return to the refuge which will take no more than 2/3 hours. In the refuge we will collect all of our belongings, quickly eat something and walk back to the car so we can begin our journey to the city Baños de Agua Santa.

Day 8: Rest day in the city of Baños.
Baños de Agua Santa and its surroundings have a lot to offer, for example: The waterfall route (which can be done in bus or bike), treehouse with the swing at the end of the world, visit the historic centre, depending on your interest, with an additional cost you could try white water rafting, canyoning, mountain biking etc.

Day 9: Hermanos Carrel refuge (4800m).
This picturesque city offers lots of fun options to enjoy even if it is just a short time, for example you can relax in the famous thermal baths. Later on we will drive towards the entrance of the Vida Silvestre Reserve, this will take around 2 hours for us to arrive in the Hermanos Carrel refuge (15,744 ft/4800m), where we will have dinner and rest until 9pm. From here we will eat something small before organising all our equipment and at 10pm we will begin to climb to the peak of the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo and approximately we will be walking for 8/9 hours. Once we have arrived at the peak of (20,702 ft/6268m), it will be the very early hours of the morning and perfect place to rest while enjoying the view all around us. From there we will have to go back down 3/4 hours in order to arrive in the refuge, collect all our belongings and get ready for the drive back to Quito.

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