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Three-day mountaineering tour to Cotopaxi summit

Follow Edgar Parra, an IFMGA certified mountain guide from Ecuador, on this amazing tour to the top of Cotopaxi Volcano.

Mountain RangeAndes
Duration3 days
Offer periodJan, Feb, Oct, Nov, Dec
Skill LevelIntermediate
Fitness LevelFit
Type of tripPrivate


The Cotopaxi is an active volcano of the Andes, located 50 km. from Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It is 5897 m. high and is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Its last great eruption was in 1877. Nevertheless, from 2003, its volcanic activity has increased, and the ascents were canceled for a while.

However, now you have again the opportunity to reach the summit of this huge peak in this 3-day mountaineering experience. The beauty of Cotopaxi will mark you for the rest of your life: it is a perfect cone covered with glaciers, whose stalactites and stalagmites shine at night with the light of the moon.

The volcano is situated in the Cotopaxi National Park, created to protect the Latacunga Canton. It is a more than 30 thousand hectares park with a great variety of trees. There we can found wild horses, deers, bears, rabbits, wolves, hawks, owls and toucans, among others.

On the first two days we will need some acclimatization in the base of Rumiñahui Mountain and ice climbing training in the Cotopaxi’s glaciers. The real adventure starts the third day from José Ribas Refuge. We prefer to start hiking at night to see the sunrise from the summit. So we will leave from the refuge at 1am after a light breakfast. The ascent takes 6 to 8 hours.

The landscape that we will cross to reach the summit is really amazing: from forests, moors and lagoons to archaeological ruins of the natives who once inhabited the region. From the summit you can have a scenic view of Quito, northern Chimborazo and southern Tungurahua.

So, if you are ready for this once-in-a-lifetime mountaineering experience, get in touch with me. I am sure that you will be fascinated by the imposing beauty of Cotopaxi Volcano!

And if you are interested in hiking this mountain in a shorter tour, take a look at my Two-day mountaineering tour to Cotopaxi Volcano.



José Rivas Refuge

More info

3 or 4 days for acclimatization is very important. You can rent gear equipment on site. Ask for it in advanced.

Meeting point

Quito, Ecuador.




Day 1: Quito - Rumiñahui Base

We’ll drive from Quito to camping Limpiopungo, in Cotopaxi National Park. Here we’ll start our hike to the base of Rumiñahui Mountain. Overnight in tents.

Day 2: Camping Place - Cotopaxi Refuge

After breakfast, we’ll drive to Cotopaxi parking lot and then we’ll hike to the José Ribas Refuge. In the afternoon we’ll head up to the glacier for ice climbing training. We’ll go back to the Refuge for dinner and rest.

Day 3: Refuge - Cotopaxi Summit - Quito

We wake up at midnight and have a light breakfast. Around 1 am we’ll be ready for the ascent which will take us from 6 to 8 hours. Once at the summit, we’ll take our time to capture the scenery. Returning to the refuge will take us from 2 to 3 hours. After lunch we will drive you back to Quito.

About the guide

guide profile img

UIAGM/IFMGA-ASEGUIM Mountain Guide from Ecuador.

I am a mountain guide, but also a passionate traveler, climber in rock and ice, and photographer. I spend my free time and holidays exploring new destinations, discovering new mountains and cultures.

I have more than 17 years of experience climbing mountains and volcanoes not only in Ecuador, but also in other South American countries such as Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, and in the Alps in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. I also summited KhanTengri peak in the Himalayas, and Mt. McKinley in Alaska. This experiences prepared me to lead expeditions in challenging routes all around the world.

I studied 6 years of Tourism in the University, and followed ASEGUIM courses to become a mountain guide. I’ve also been evaluated by ENSA, and completed first aid courses in the Ecuadorian Red Cross.

I like guiding people from all around the world, and help them discover and enjoy the mountains, while reaching their objectives. I speak Spanish, English, German, Italian, and a bit of Russian.

What people are saying about this trip

Prices per person

Group of 1

USD 815 each

Group of 2

USD 640 each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation

- Transportation from your hotel/airport (if in area) to the start of the trip and back

- Transport during the trip

- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Price details

Price includes: Mountaineering equipment (crampons, ice axe, harness, helmet)

Does not include: Personal mountain gear (warm cloths, sleeping bags, sun glasses, head lamp, etc.) / Extra drinks in the refuge / Tips / Insurance

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