Join Javier, ASEGUIM-certified Mountain Guide, on this spectacular hike across a pristine National Park in Ecuador, all the way up to Refugio José Rivas (4,800 m) and back.
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Join Javier, ASEGUIM-certified Mountain Guide, on this spectacular hike across a pristine National Park in Ecuador, all the way up to Refugio José Rivas (4,800 m).
The Cotopaxi volcano (5,897 m) is one of the most beautiful mountains on Earth, with its near perfect cone shape and its stunning glaciers and snowcapped peak, and it’s without a doubt the most famous mountain in Ecuador and one of the most popular climbs in the Andes.
However, on this trip we are going to do things a bit differently than most of the people who visit this Park: rather than driving in and out and zoom past all of the gorgeous landscape, we will hike all the way to the refuge. This on will, on one side, give us a great opportunity to enjoy all of the peaceful countryside surrounding the volcano and immerse ourselves in the rural lifestyle of the ecuadorian Andes, and on the other side it will put our physical skills to the test, as we will be climbing up to a height equivalent to that of Western Europe’s highest peak!
Before reaching the José Rivas hut, we will also be hiking to the top of Pasochoa (4.200 m) and the Central Summit of Rumiñahui (4.600 m) which will allow us to achieve a prefect, gradual acclimatisation. We’ll take a rest day after that in order to replenish our energy reserves ahead of our last day’s push to the Refuge on Cotopaxi.
Request to book this trip now and I’ll ensure that every detail of this trip is taken care of with safety and fun in mind, so that you can enjoy a spectacular 5-day trek in one of South America’s most beautiful National Parks.
If you think you’re up for the challenge of climbing all the way to the summit of Cotopaxi, you should definitely check out this other amazing trip I’m offering!
- Accommodation included
- Guiding fee
- Transport during the trip
- Permit and entrance fees
- Clean drinkable water
- Mountain guide expenses
- Camping equipment tents
- Camping equipment sleeping bag
- Camping equipment sleeping pad
- Camping equipment cooking utensils
Secure your spot with just 25% payment
48-hour free cancellation with 30-day advance booking
After a short drive of only one hour, we start hiking from the village of Santa Clara located in the Valley of Los Chillos at 2.750 m / 9,020 ft. The trek follows cobble stone roads on the side of the Pita River, which comes from Cotopaxi National Park.
Close to the Hacienda Santa Rita we pass in front of a Shrine, where locals come to worship the “Virgen de la Piedra”, the Virgin of the Rock.
Today’s hike will take around 5 hours. When you get to the Hacienda the camp will already be set up. You will spend your first night at an altitude of 3.280 m / 10,758 ft.
Today we leave in the morning around 8 a.m. for a 6 hours hike to the Pasochoa volcano. We will be crossing the fields of Hacienda Santa Rita.
Pasochoa is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last ice age. If the weather permits, from the summit, we will be able to take a good look at the crater. Inside you will see the Pasochoa Protected Forest Reserve, a humid Andean Forest with more than 110 species of birds and 45 species of trees, located between 2.700 m / 8,856 ft and 4.200 m / 13,776 ft. On a sunny day you can normally see condors. We return to Santa Rita camp site for the night.
Today we hike towards the hacienda El Porvenir. Part of the hike goes through humid Andean Forest where there is a chance to see hummingbirds.
El Porvenir is one of the largest farms in Ecuador. It can be used as a base for excellent hikes within the Cotopaxi Park. Located at 3.600 m / 11,808 ft, El Porvenir is surrounded by four volcanoes: Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasochoa and Rumiñahui. Here you will be able to enjoy your stay in a comfortable, functional and beautiful traditional Andean hacienda. The “casa de hacienda”, or farmhouse, is built with materials such as brick, straw, wood and adobe that have been used for centuries. If Porvenir is not available we will use Hacienda Los Mortiños
From Hacienda El Porvenir we start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. The rock on this mountain can be a bit loose underfoot, so we have to take care, but the views from the summit are really worth it. The volcano is located only 13 km North West of Cotopaxi and it is named after Atahualpa’s general, who was the last Inca Emperor. After the emperor was murdered, Rumiñahui led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In Quichua his name means “stone face”. We spend the night at Tambopaxi.
After breakfast we start hiking towards Cotopaxi Volcano. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world and its refuge is as high as the highest mountain in Western Europe. The hike will take 4 hours uphill until we reach the refuge at 4.800 m / 15,744 ft. The hut stands at the highest altitude reached during our trip. With luck we will be able to enjoy the sun setting over the surrounding peaks. Later we return to Quito.
Please note that this itinerary is a guide line only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.
Thermal base layer, thermal midlayer, wind-stopper outer shell jacket and pants, trekking boots, hat, gloves, sunscreen
What are some recommended accommodations near our adventure location?
He has been climbing in Ecuador for more than 25 years and has been working as guide for 15 years. As a mountaineer, he has led many ascents in the Andes, the Alps, the Karakorum and the Himalayas. The eight expeditions he headed in Nepal include guiding on two 8000-meter peaks.
He is currently the mountain rescue coordinator of the Ecuadorian Association of Mountain guides (ASEGUIM), and has completed several courses with ENSA, the French National School of Guides. He is also the program director in Ecuador of the American Alpine Institute
During his cycling career he won seven times the National Road Racing Championship, and also a gold and silver medal in the Pan-American games of 1990, for which he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honour for the highest merit in Sports.
If Javier Herrera is not available, he works with an excellent team of bilingual ASEGUIM/UIAGM guides.
Hi. I cannot say enough that this trekking trip was really well run and organised . Great walking and accommodation in the Haciendas perfect. Our guide Pablo went out of his way to help with any problems and changes we made.. Information on Ecuador and nature there was nothing he did not know. When there was altitude problems he adapted the trek. A great and amazing guide!!!!!! The volcano walks nothing short of amazing., Big thankyou to Javier.. A great company...
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