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Trekking to the Altar Volcano with a guide

Altar Volcano 20
Altar Volcano 1
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A hiking trip to the Altar Volcano led by Fernando, a local ASEGUIM guide and his team. You can spend 2, 3 or 4 days in this area of the Sangay National Park.

Not specified


2 Days

All year


I am happy to invite you to this amazing trekking program which takes place around the Altar Volcano. It is a hiking trip that can be done in 2, 3 or 4 days depending on your wishes and time in Ecuador.

As you may know, the Altar volcano is an inactive volcano lying on the west of the famous Ecuadorian Sangay National Park. It is 170 km south of Quito, the capital of the country.

Although nowadays it is extinct, the Altar presented volcanic activity around 2 million of years ago. In addition, it still contains a boiler open to the west, where the Yellow Lake lies.

As for the itinerary of this program, we’ll meet in Latacunga from where we will move to Hacienda Releche, our trailhead. Then, we will walk through the Valley of Collanes for about 6-7 hours. We’ll spend the first night at the Collanes hut, under the boiler of the Altar volcano.

In our second day, we will visit the amazing Yellow Lake and hike back to Hacienda Releche. Finally, a transfer will take us to Latacunga again, where this program ends.

Of course I can extend the duration of the trip according to your wishes. That’s why it’s very important that you contact me as soon as you can.

Once you get in touch with me we can plan and organize the perfect program for you. I will be here, waiting for your message.

Fill out the form and let’s trek in the Altar volcano!

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Accommodation included

- Transport during the trip

- Luggage transfer

- Permit and entrance fees

- Group porters

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner


Day 1: Latacunga (2800 m) – Hacienda Releche – Collanes Hut (3900 m)

We will leave very early in the morning (at around 4:30 AM). From Latacunga we will drive south by the the Panamerican highway through the famous Avenue of the volcanoes. We will finally get to the Hacienda Releche, where we will have breakfast and get us ready to start the hike.

So, we will pack our luggage, the equipment and provisions with the help of the porters. Once ready, we’ll start ascending to the Collanes Valley. It is a walk that takes approximately 5 to 7 hours by a bridle path that the farmers used to graze their cattle. We will stay in the Collanes hut for the night, from where we will enjoy spectacular views of the snow-covered peaks around. Meals included: breakfast, box lunch and dinner.

Day 2: Collanes – Yellow Lake (4480 m) – Latacunga

We’ll wake up and have breakfast at 4:30 AM. Then, we will continue hiking until we are at the Yellow Lake, in the center of the crater, at more than 4480 meters of altitude. From here, you will have a stunning view of the glaciers, the walls of the Altar volcano and all the Valley of Collanes and its mountains. This tour will take approximately 2 to 3 hours. Along the way we will surely see the Andean condors flying.

We will have lunch on the way back to the hut. Finally, we will return to the city of Latacunga. Meals included: breakfast and box lunch.



More info

Not included in the price:

  • Personal equipment;
  • Any type of insurance;
  • Other expenses not specified.

What to bring?

  • Comfortable backpack (take into account everything you have to load)
  • Warm and comfortable clothing
  • Hat and mitts
  • Sleeping bag
  • Extra gloves (recommended)
  • (Highly recommended) rubber boots
  • Replacement light shoes for living in hut
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho of water
  • Walking sticks (help super well)
  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Bottle of water
  • Headlamp
  • Warm clothes for the hut (protected in plastic bags)
  • Grooming Kit
  • Clothes to leave on the bus

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

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.

Gareth Treharne


June, 2018

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Lara Pedrini


May, 2018

Fernando is an incredible guide. He is very experienced and has extensive knowledge of the area. He will always make sure you are safe and comfortable. I highly recommend Fernando to anyone wishing to explore/hike/live/breathe the area. What an incredible experience!


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