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Climbing Cayambe Volcano, 8-day program

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Cayambe 4
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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.


8 Days

Jan, Jun - Aug, Dec

Very high



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

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

- Transport during the trip

- Transportation start and back

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.



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

Guide profile image




Mountain Leader

ASEGUIM Guide from Ecuador

Fernando Iza was born and raised in the Cotopaxi Province of Ecuador and knows the country’s peaks intimately. He is an official ASEGUIM mountain guide with more than 18 years of mountaineering experience climbing in all of Ecuador, as well as in South America, Switzerland, France, and the United States.

Fernando has worked for mountaineering companies in Ecuador, Europe and the United States from a young age. Now, he has set up his own basecamp at Ilinizas Mountain Lodge, right next to Iliniza Volcano, Rumiñahui Volcano, and the famous Cotopaxi Volcano. He has summited Cotopaxi more than 637 times and has summitted Chimborazo Volcano close to 200 times.

Fernando got his degree in Tourism Technology at Cenestur Institute, and in 2021 started studying Business administration with Cuosera.  

He has completed important courses such as:

  • 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. This event was 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)
  • Wilderness first aid courses
  • Ecuadorian Red Cross courses
  • He speaks fluent Spanish and English, as well as a little German, French, Hebrew and Kichua


The most spectacular guided tours that Fernando has done.

  • Antisana South Peak Open new rout
  • Alpamayo
  • Matterhorn
  • Denali


German | French | English



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What people are saying about Fernando



There were no briefings about the upcoming itineraries, I’d mostly find along the way, what’s the plan. He would make changes to his moods. He didn’t inform me in adavance about the specifics of each refugio/ lodge/ camp concerning the distance from car, electricity and would make fun/made snide comments “your choice” of the things I packed at the aftermath, but offered no guidance. I have read from others that he is very knowledgeable and explained a lot- that hasn’t been my experience, he surely is an apt mountaineer, but he wasn’t actively explaining or showing things, he was just always on his cellphone. He could be very short, abrasive and inpatient. At one time even another climber intervened “to save me”



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



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!



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.



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!

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