Cotopaxi Trek & Climb

Get intimate with one of the World’s highest active volcanoes



DIFFICULTY Easy to Intermediate


Cotopaxi is considered without a doubt one of the most beautiful peaks in the world.

It is the most popular mountain of Ecuador and due to the fact it has the highest number of clear days in our country, it is perhaps the most frequently climbed in all the Andes.

Often people drive into the park, climb the mountain and leave again. But Cotopaxi and its surrounding areas offer much more. The National Park has several other smaller volcanoes and peaks that are wonderful to climb, and at the same time offer great acclimatisation opportunities.

So we would like to offer you Cotopaxi in a different way…
Instead of the normal Cotopaxi climbing tours that drive in and out, you will be hiking. In this way, Andeanface offers you a fantastic chance to enjoy and experience intensively the beautiful landscape around the mountain.

If you would like to get an impression of this unique expedition, then watch the movie made by Andeanface clients Anna & Robert Higgins: “Cotopaxi Trek and Climb Expedition 2011”.

After a four day hike in which we climb Pasochoa 4.200 m /13,776 ft, we get into Cotopaxi National Park. Once within the park we hike up to the central summit of Rumiñahui at 4.600 m / 15,088 ft, then have a rest day and later continue towards the Jose Rivas Refuge at 4.800 m / 15,744 ft. This itinerary has proved to be very effective for acclimatisation. It provides the best chance to summit Cotopaxi in a short period whilst minimizing the amount of driving.

This short video summarizes our Cotopaxi trek and climb program


Arrive/Depart: Quito

Group Size: 2-10 Guests

Pre-requisites: Good physical condition

Difficulty Levels:
Easy: Pasochoa
Moderate: Rumiñahui
Intermediate: Cotopaxi

Accomodation: 6 nights - 2 Camping / 3 Haciendas /
1 Mountain Refugue VIEW LODGING

Activity: Trekking / Wildlife & Natural History / Glacier Practice / Climbing

Seasons: All year round

Equipment: Climbing Expeditions Gear List
Download PDF




Hike to Hacienda Santa Rita [3.280 m / 10,758 ft]

After a short drive of only one hour, we start hiking from the village of Rumipamba at 2.850 m / 9,320 ft. The trek follows cobble stone roads on the side of the Pita River, which comes from Cotopaxi National Park. Close to the Hacienda Santa Rita we 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 you get to the Hacienda the camp will already be set up. You will spend your first night at an altitude of 3.280 m / 10,758 ft.

Activity: 4-5 hours hiking

Accommodation: Camping

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Lunch, Dinner


Pasochoa Hike [4.200 m / 13,776 ft]

Today we leave in the morning around 8 a.m. for a 6 hours hike to the Pasochoa volcano. We will be crossing the fields of Hacienda Santa Rita. Pasochoa is an ancient and heavily eroded volcano that has been inactive since the last ice age. If the weather permits, from the summit, we will be able to take a good look at the crater. Inside you will see the Pasochoa Protected Forest Reserve, a humid Andean forest with more than 110 species of birds and 45 species of trees, located between 2.700 m / 8,856 ft and 4.200 m / 13,776 ft. On a sunny day you can eventually see condors. We return to Santa Rita campsite for the night.

Activity: 6-7 hours hiking up and down Pasochoa

Accommodation: Camping

Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner


Hike to Hacienda El Porvenir or Los Mortiños [3.600 m / 11,808 ft]

Today we hike towards the hacienda El Porvenir. Part of the hike goes through humid Andean forest where there is a chance to see hummingbirds. El Porvenir is one of the largest farms in Ecuador. It can be used as a base for excellent hikes within the Cotopaxi National Park. Located at 3.600 m / 11,808 ft, El Porvenir is surrounded by four volcanoes: Cotopaxi, Sincholahua, Pasochoa and Rumiñahui. Here you will be able to enjoy your stay in a comfortable, functional and beautiful traditional Andean hacienda. The "casa de hacienda", or farmhouse, is built with materials such as brick, straw, wood and adobe that have been used for centuries. If El Porvenir is not available we will use Hacienda Los Mortiños.

Activity: 5 hours trekking

Accommodation: Hacienda El Porvenir

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Central Summit of Rumiñahui [4.600 m / 15,092 ft]

From Hacienda El Porvenir we do a short drive to Limpiopungo lake where we start hiking towards the central ridge of Rumiñahui, leading to the middle summit. The rock on this mountain can be a bit loose underfoot, so we have to take care, but the views from the summit are really worth it. The volcano is located only 13 km North West of Cotopaxi and it is named after Atahualpa’s general, who was the last Inca Emperor. After the emperor was murdered, Rumiñahui led the fight against the Spanish conquerors. In Quichua his name means "stone face". We spend the night at Tambopaxi.

Activity: 5-6 hours trekking up and down Rumiñahui

Accommodation: Tambopaxi Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Hike to the hut and to the Glacier [5.000 m / 16,400 ft]

Today we do a gentle 2-3 hour hike to 5.000 m / 16,400 ft on Cotopaxi to increase our acclimatisation, have lunch at the hut and drive down to Tambopaxi for the sencond night there. It is a beautiful hostel, located inside the Cotopaxi National Park and a great place to rest and acclimatise at the same time! It has excellent facilities such as good and clean showers, including the luxury of warm water, and the food is good.

Activity: 2-3 hours hiking

Accommodation: Tambopaxi Lodge

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Cotopaxi Refuge [4.800 m / 15,700 ft]

From Tambopaxi we drive the short distance to the car parking at 4.600 m / 15,088 ft in only 45 minutes. From here we hike for another 45 minutes to an hour to the Jose Rivas Refuge at 4.800 m / 15,750 ft. After lunch, we provide a good glacier skills review and we will brief you about all the technical aspects of the ascent. After a couple of hours we return to the refuge for a hearty hot meal.

Activity: 1 hour hiking up to the refuge

Accommodation: Jose Rivas Refuge

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Cotopaxi Summit / Return to Quito [5.897 m / 19,300 ft]

This is the day in which you will actually be climbing Cotopaxi. We leave the refuge around 1 AM for a six hours climb. From the hut we ascend moderate glacier slopes to the summit. Along the way however, complex crevasse patterns and snow bridge crossings over crevasses will make the climb very interesting. After passing through a heavily crevassed area, we reach the final summit slope. Here a challenging section of 35-40 degree snow leads to the abrupt finish of the climb on the crater rim of the World's highest active volcano. At the top of Cotopaxi you can look inside the crater and see its sulphur fumaroles. The crater rim measures approximately 800 m / 2,600 ft in diameter. The view from the summit is indeed one of the most spectacular in Ecuador. Technically the normal route is not difficult, but special care has to be given to potential hidden crevasses. The descent usually takes around two hours. After resting and packing we return to Quito.

Activity: 8 hours climbing up and down Cotopaxi

Accommodation: In Quito (not included in the program)

Transportation: Private van or jeep transfer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Important: Please note that this itinerary is a guideline only. We will do every effort to follow it, but in case of unforeseen circumstances we may have to make changes.


We offer you Cotopaxi in a different way:

  • Hike from the base of Cotopaxi to the summit
  • Gradual acclimatization process
  • Exclusive route to approach Cotopaxi National Park
  • Get to see the rural life of Ecuador during the hike
  • Stay at Hacienda El Porvenir and Tambopaxi Lodge




Our Complimentary Extension Packages offer great opportunities to explore some of Ecuador’s most dramatic scenaries, which have earned the country a reputation as one of the most bio diverse and unique regions on the planet.

We work with carefully selected tourism operators, which will offer the same quality and high standards of service that our clients expect from us.

You can choose from a selection of various (active) outdoor activities in the Galapagos, the Cloud Forest or Amazon Jungle. We highly recommend to extent your trip with a rafting experience.



Scheduled Dates

* A “CONFIRMED DEPARTURE” is when we have at least 2 participants booked!

Sunday JAN 22 - Saturday JAN 28, 2023


Sunday JAN 29 - Saturday FEB 04, 2023


Sunday FEB 12 - Saturday FEB 18, 2023


Sunday APR 02 - Saturday APR 08, 2023


Sunday MAY 21 - Saturday MAY 27, 2023


Sunday JUN 11 - Saturday JUN 17, 2023


Sunday JUL 02 - Saturday JUL 08, 2023


Sunday JUL 23 - Saturday JUL 29, 2023


Sunday AUG 06 - Saturday AUG 12, 2023


Sunday NOV 05 - Saturday NOV 11, 2023


Sunday NOV 19 - Saturday NOV 25, 2023


Sunday DEC 03 - Saturday DEC 09, 2023


Monday DEC 25 - Sunday DEC 31, 2023


Sunday JAN 07 - Saturday JAN 13, 2024


Sunday JAN 21 - Saturday JAN 27, 2024


Sunday FEB 04 - Saturday FEB 10, 2024


Sunday FEB 18 - Saturday FEB 24, 2024


Sunday MAR 24 - Saturday MAR 30, 2024


Sunday MAY 05 - Saturday MAY 11, 2024


Sunday MAY 19 - Saturday MAY 25, 2024


Sunday JUN 02 - Saturday JUN 08, 2024

Sunday JUN 16 - Saturday JUN 22, 2024

Sunday JUN 30 - Saturday JUL 06, 2024

Sunday JUL 21 - Saturday JUL 27, 2024

Sunday AUG 04 - Saturday AUG 10, 2024

Sunday AUG 18 - Saturday AUG 24, 2024

Sunday NOV 10 - Saturday NOV 16, 2024

Sunday NOV 24 - Saturday NOV 30, 2024

Sunday DEC 01 - Saturday DEC 07, 2024

Wednesday DEC 25 - Thursday OCT 31, 2024

Sunday JAN 05 - Saturday JAN 11, 2025


2023 Prices

1 pax - USD 3.230
2 pax or more - USD 1.590 per person
Single room and tent - USD 350

Trip Cost Includes

  • All transport by private vehicles during the program when needed
  • All the food once out of Quito
  • Accommodation in haciendas (standard “shared” rooms) and hut of Cotopaxi shared too
  • Two nights of camping
  • Permits and park fees
  • One hiking guide for the group
  • One bilingual qualified mountain guide per every two climbers on Cotopaxi
  • Climbing gear: crampons, harness, ice axe and group gear such as ropes

The price does not include

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Accommodation and meals while in Quito
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Extras, laundry, tips
  • Plastic mountaineering boots for rent from $20 per day


There are several reasons: It is a unique approach to Cotopaxi where we minimise the amount of driving!   Our team is formed by the best Ecuadorian mountain guides. Some of us have historical guiding achievements, including guiding in the Himalayas while others are well known for their leading mountaineering expeditions in South America.   Our mountain guides are an integral part of Andeanface because they understand and share our climbing principles. The quality of our guiding staff is what makes us stand out from other companies. The accomodation used during this expedition gives it an added value, some nights are spent in Haciendas, which are traditional fams houses converted into mountain lodges.


We stronglly recommend spending one day in Quito at 2.800 m / 9,000 ft before the start of the trek, as the first nights of the program are spent at Santa Rita’s campsite at 3.200 m / 10,496 ft. We will be based there for two nights, during this time we will have the support of a cook who is also our base camp manager & driver. During this trek our large bags get transported in a 4x4 jeep, so our clients will only need to walk with a daypack. Part of the trek is done on a dirth road. The only time when our clients will need to carry a large bag with their gear is when we hike to the refuge of Cotopaxi which is for 45 minutes. We try to limit the use of a 4x4 jeep on the trek, however, there will be some driving involved.

Because of Ecuador’s location on the equator, weather patterns do not change very much during the year, and Cotopaxi has the largest number of clear days amongst the high peaks of Ecuador.