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Climbing Cayambe Volcano, 8-day program

Cayambe 2
cayambe 5
Cayambe 4
Cayambe 3
Cayambe 2

ASEGUIM certified guide Fernando and his team of guides will help you summit 4 Ecuadorian volcanoes in 8 days, including the 5970 m Cayambe Volcano.

Not specified


8 Days

Jan, Jun, Jul, Aug, Dec

Extremely Fit



Ecuador is famous for its gorgeous mountains. Mountaineers from around the world find challenge and adventure in the Ecuadorian Andes. On this special trip, you will climb 4 volcanoes in 8 days. The highlight of the trip is the 3rd highest peak in the country, the spectacular Cayambe Volcano.

The Cayambe Volcano 8-day program also includes some cultural activities. This way, you get to experience two sides of this special country.

Over the course of 8 days, you will have the opportunity to climb four volcanoes. First, we will summit the fascinating Pasochoa Volcano (4200 m). This volcano has been extinct since the last ice age, and an interesting ecosystem has formed in the cloud forest at its peak. Next, we will head to El Chaupi and ascend El Corazon (4788 m). This mountain has beautiful views and is ideal for continuing our acclimatization. On the fourth day, we will summit Illiniza Norte (5126 m). While ascending, you will see the peak of Illiniza Sur. Illiniza Norte and Sur used to be one whole volcano with a crater, but after many years they split into two.

Then we will leave the El Chaupi area and head northeast to our main target, the Cayambe Volcano. Cayambe is a massive extinct glaciated volcano. In addition, it is the highest point on the surface of the earth through which the equator directly passes. Cayambe has good climbing opportunities and impressive glaciers. I'm excited to take you up on an ascent of Cayambe Volcano.

After this life-changing trip to four volcanoes, we'll still have time to explore Ecuadorian culture. Before heading back to Quito, we will stop in Otavalo. Otavalo has a famous market where the indigenous population sells crafts. It is a great place to learn more about Ecuador and buy unique goods. Finally, we will go to a nice lagoon and a town that makes leather products, and then drive back to Quito.

The Cayambe Volcano 8-day program is an incredible mountaineering opportunity. Contact us today for more information! Want a longer trip? Then this 5 summits in 11 days program might be just for you!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Transportation start and back

- Transport during the trip

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

Price details

All meals during hikes and climbs are included, but not meals in the cities.


Day 1: Flight to Quito (2800 m) and transfer to hotel

I’ll pick you up at Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito and take you to your hotel. Depending on what time you get in, we might have time to visit the Historical Center of Quito.

Day 2: Quito to Pasochoa (4200 m) to El Chaupi (3300 m)

Early in the morning, we’ll leave from Quito and drive southeast for about an hour until we get to the start of the trail at 3300 m. We will start hiking, enjoying the hike through a primary Andean forest that’s great for birdwatching. If it’s a clear day, as we gain elevation we might be able to see the surrounding mountains of Antisana, Cayambe, Illinizas, and Cotopaxi. The hike to the summit (4200 m) of the ancient volcano and back will take about 6 hours round trip. After the hike, we’ll drive to the village of the El Chaupi where we’ll stay at the hostel Andes Alps.

Day 3: El Chaupi to El Corazon Volcano (4788 m)

We’ll start early in the morning and drive up to the trailhead (4000 m) where we’ll start our hike up El Corazon. The first part of the hike is through Andean grass. Then we’ll pass through a sandy scramble section that takes us to the Corazon summit (4788 m). The hike is about 8 hours long and we will stop to have lunch in the middle. After descending, we will return to the hostel.

Day 4: El Chaupi to Illiniza Norte (5126 m)

After breakfast, we’ll drive up to the parking lot at 3900 m. We will then start a 3-hour hike to the “Nuevos Horizontes Refuge” (4750 m). At the refuge, we will relax for a few minutes and get prepared with our helmet and harness for the rest of the ascent. We will hike up towards the saddle formed between two peaks and then head up to the Illiniza north summit. It will take us 2-3 hours to reach the summit (5126 m). After enjoying the summit, we’ll head back to the parking lot and drive back to El Chaupi. We will spend the night again at the Andes Alps hostel.

Day 5: El Chaupi to Cayambe Shelter (4600 m)

We will drive for about 3.5 hours to arrive at the Ruales Oleas Cayambe Refuge. At this shelter, we will rest for a couple of hours, until dinner time. Then we will go to sleep to prepare for our climb the next day.

Day 6: Cayambe Shelter to Cayambe Summit (5790 m)

We will wake up at midnight, have a light breakfast, put our gear on, and start climbing at around 1 am. The ascent takes 6-7 hours. The route to the summit follows a safe glacier terrain, but one potential challenge is a gaping bergschrund. When we arrive at the summit (5970 m), we’ll take our time to take photos and enjoy the views. Then we’ll hike for 2-3 hours down to the refuge. We will rest at the refuge and pack our belongings to get ready to drive back to Quito.

Day 7: Otavalo Indigena Market to Quito

After breakfast we will drive to the famous Otavalo Market, where you can buy handicrafts. The main market day in Otavalo is Saturday. After exploring the market and having lunch, we will depart Otavalo and travel to Laguna Cuicocha. Laguna Cuicocha is located in a volcanic crater and contains two green islands. We will then visit the town of Cotacachi, which is famous for its leather goods. After that, we will make our way back to Quito.

Day 8: Quito to Mariscal Sucre Aiport

I’ll pick you up at your hotel in Quito and take you to the airport for your flight back home.




Hostels and mountain refuges

More info

In Ecuador you can climb all year, but the seasons are generally as follows:

High Season: June to August / December to January; Low season: February to May / September to November

The maximum group size is 12 people.

Meeting point


About the guide

ASEGUIM Guide from Ecuador.

I was born and raised in Cotopaxi Province – Ecuador and know the country’s peaks intimately. I have great mountaineering experience of more than 12 years of climbing in all Ecuador, and I also climbed in South America, Switzerland, and France.

I manage a guiding company, so sometimes I'm the one guiding the trips, but sometimes I'm focused on company management, and one of the certified guides of my team will be guiding you. All the guides with whom I work are professional and certified guides.

I worked for the Nuevos Horizontes refuge on Ilinizas Volcano from a young age and have professional Guide Training, and I am officially Licensed as a Nature guide organized by the Ministry of tourism.

Some of the guiding courses I attended are:

* Mountain Guides Course by ASEGUIM (Ecuadorian Association of Mountain Guides),
* Mountain Guides Evaluation by ENSA (Ecole Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme) in October 2006. An event organized by the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador and ENSA of France
* Pre-Course UIAGM an event organized by ASEGUIM and ENSA (Ecole Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme)
* First Aids course, Ecuadorian Red Cross

I live and manage a hostel and lodge in El Chaupi, a beautiful mountain village an hour south of Quito, just in between Illinizas Ecological Reserve and Cotopaxi National Park. It looks like a typical Swiss town in the Alps, and has everything to become a great mountaineering center, the ‘Chamonix or Zermatt of South America’!

I speak fluent Spanish, English, and little German, French, Hebrew, and Quichua.

The guiding team I lead is committed and experienced. Contact me to help you organize an unforgettable adventure.


German | French | English



What people are saying about Fernando Iza

Sebastien Simard


July, 2023

Our guide Fernando was great to adapt the trip for our two little girls. A great experience it was fir us all. Thank you.

frederic sylvestre


July, 2023

Fernando and Sergio are very good guides, not only very safe and motivating in the mountains, but very nice between the climbs. And i have learned a lot too about the culture in the country. Their hotel near Illniza is perfectly located, safe and you are received as if your were at home with Fernando's family. And they will take care of everything, so you just have to concentrate yourself on the climbs. Thank you!

Daniel McNamara


October, 2022

Thank you for putting this trip together for me at the last minute after my group canceled on me. Fernando was a great guide who knows the route up Cotopaxi very well. The meals and lodging were also great and well worth the price, in my opinion.

Lauren Kuklenski


August, 2022

Great experience. We did Rumiñawi, corázon, and Illiniza Norte as acclimatization hikes. All of them were beautiful. We attempted Cotopaxi but had a snow storm and heavy winds during the night of the summit and we were forced to turn around. The 3 initial climbs prepared us well for Cotopaxi and the altitude. There were some technical scrambling portions on corazon and Illiniza which were very cool. Overall would highly recommend!

Benjamin Stewart


June, 2022

Fernando was a fantastic guide who got me to the summit despite extremely difficult weather conditions! I would highly recommend him to anyone hoping to climb Ecuador's big peaks.

Kirsten Yehl


September, 2021

Fernando was an outstanding guide. We (my 16 yo son and I) spent a week with Fernando and did 3 acclimatization hikes and a successful Cotopaxi climb. All were amazing. On the last two, Illiniza Norte and Cotopaxi, Fernando was very attentive to safety. He also read and understood our strengths and weaknesses after the first few hikes and used that insight to guide us up the mountain. We stayed most nights at Fernando’s hostel, it was very comfortable, a great experience. His family is lovely and the meals were delicious. Was an unforgettable experience and we truly appreciate Fernando, both his guidance and hospitality.

Jan Zehnder


July, 2021

Even though Fernando is a fun and an experienced guide, I can't give him more than two stars. I was quite sick for the first three days so I could not keep up my normal pace. On my first hike I even had really bad balance disorders. This did not bother Fernando at all. Most of the time he was walking very far ahead. While descending he suddenly started walking so fast that I even lost him out of sight. I found him 2km later lying in the grass on his phone. I passed him and he just kept on being on his phone without even bothering about my medical situation. Beside his impatience the second thing is, that Fernando is always on his phone. I felt a lot better on my last day so we went on climbing Cotopaxi. He promised us a glacier school (since I've never used these tools before) but then at the refugee he just said that it's learning by doing. So when I tried to put on the crampons in the middle of the freezing night it of course took me a while. He didn't even bother to help, so my friend had to put on my crampons for me. Instead he just kept on walking. This repeated itself at our descent. I found him 20 minutes later sitting in the hut already. The only reason I decided not to give one star is his lovely wife. She is an excellent cook and kept the house clean and tidy.

Pavel Janecek


June, 2021

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Adam Burrage


December, 2019

Great experience climbing with Fernando: Well organised and we made the summit with him on Chimborazo. I'd recommend him for guiding in Ecuador.

Dick Fields


December, 2019

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Barbara Matter


July, 2019

The traveller did not leave a comment.

The Reality Twister


March, 2019

Fernando is an excellent and knowledgeable guide, and the itinerary is a nice balance of climbs and recovery time, including time to explore a couple of cities. He also made sure we were well-equipped for the climbs. The guides are geared more toward getting you up and down than toward building any technique. It's not billed as an instructional course, so that's not a complaint -- just pointing it out for those who like to use one experience to build to another rather than just reach the summit.

Chase Taylor


March, 2019

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Bryan McBride


July, 2018

Fernando was a wonderful guide. Even though we didn't make it to the top we had a great experience. We plan to return in the future and make it to the top! We hope to have Fernando guide us again.

Mike Burkus


July, 2018

Fernando is a wonderful guide who understands the Cotopaxi route well. I recommend the climb for anyone looking for a tough mental and physical challenge.


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