Cotopaxi Challenge

Cotopaxi Challenge - 3 days

The Cotopaxi Challenge is a challenging 3 day hiking program that follows an unusual approach to Cotopaxi National Park. We offer a wonderful hike starting at 3.000 m / 9,840 ft all the way up to the refuge of Cotopaxi at 4.800 m / 15,750 ft. This offers the team a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the beautiful, peaceful countryside around the mountain, whilst putting themselves to the test of walking for three days.
The team will walk all the way into the Cotopaxi National Park and then up till the refuge. During this journey they will hike at the base of Pasochoa and Rumiñahui volcanoes and trek along the grasslands of the Andean "paramo". The first night they spend just outside the park on the premises of Hacienda Santa Rita. Once in the park, they walk up on the plateau to the camp site of Tambopaxi. The last day they continue towards the Jose Rivas Refuge on Cotopaxi at 4.800 m /15,750 ft.


Pita WaterfallsDay 1
Hike to Hacienda Santa Rita
- Night Camping
After a short drive of only one hour from Quito, the team starts its hike in the village of Rumipamba which is located in the Valley of Los Chillos at 3.000 m. The trek follows a cobble stone road on one of the sides of the Pita River. This river comes from the Cotopaxi National Park and they walk by its beautiful waterfalls. Close to the Hacienda Santa Rita they 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 the team arrives at the Hacienda, the camp will already be set up there. Together they will spend their first night at an altitude of 3.280 m / 10,758 ft.

Day 2
Hike to Cotopaxi Park - Night Camping

Camp Site TambopaxiAfter breakfast the team starts hiking towards Cotopaxi Park where they camp at the Tambopaxi camp site. On the way they will visit the small pre-Inca forts of Salitre. The hike this day takes 4 hours and the team will sleep at an altitude of 3.750 m / 12,300 ft.

Day 3Cotopaxi Refuge
Hike to Cotopaxi Hut 4.800 m - Return to Quito

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 6 challenging hours uphill until the team reaches the refuge at 4.800 m / 15,744 ft. It will require teamwork and determination to get everyone up. The hut stands at the highest altitude they will have reached during its trip. With some luck, all team members will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. In the afternoon everyone returns to Quito by bus.


Please find below a map showing the three main volcanoes the team will pass by during the Cotopaxi Challenge.

Cotopaxi Challenge



Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park gives us the opportunity to offer tailor-made hiking programs for corporate groups taking into account the number of days and the level of difficulty you request.

Each day will offer its own challenge. The average hours of walking is 5 hours a day, with the last day being the hardest as the altitude gain will be almost 1.000 m / 3,300 ft. Your team will have to face physical and mental challenges. Physical endurance and tiredness will come in. However applying mountaineering principles like comradeship and considering each member’s strength and weakness will make your team will reach its own aim.



More Volcanoes

The Cotopaxi National Park itself, including its surroundings, offers excellent hiking opportunities with lower peaks to conquer. Rumiñahui (4.712 m) and Morurco (4.840 m) are situated within the park boundaries; the peaks of Pasochoa (4.200 m), Sincholahua (4.898 m) and Quilindaña (4.877 m) are found just outside the park. If you would like to extend the Corporate Challenge, these day-hikes are excellent possibilities to be included in a longer program.



Perfect Cone

Cotopaxi’s shape is the most beautiful and regular of all the colossal peaks in the high Andes. It is a perfect cone covered by a thick blanket of snow which shines so brilliantly, at sunsets it seems detached from the azure of the sky.

Alexander von Humboldt, 1802



Wildlife in the Park

Typical mammals frequenting the Cotopaxi National Park include red brocket deer, Andean fox, Andean puma, white-tailed deer and, of course, the rare Andean speckled bear. There are also huge herds of wild horses. Birdlife is plentiful too, with the orange-faced falcon and Andean gull present up till around 4.000 m, and, if you are lucky, you could spot the Andean condor.