Enkindle your sense of adventure and climb the Cotopaxi Volcano. Following the footsteps of pioneer geologists and inspiration-seeking artists, you’ll find its still-active 19,350 ft cone rising gracefully from a verdant plateau in the heart of Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes. Trapped in ice, Cotopaxi’s crater marks the second highest point in the country—and dares you to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. If you want more, join your expert mountain guide for another climb: the nearby Iliniza Norte, one of the country’s more approachable +16,500-ft peaks. Either way, you’re in for a humbling and profound experience that doesn’t leave anyone indifferent. Find out all you need to know about climbing Cotopaxi from Wlady Ortiz, a seasoned mountain guide from Ecuador. 

  • Climb the tallest active stratovolcano in the world

  • Get an insight into Ecuador’s impressive geo- and biodiversity

  • Achieve impressive feats even if you’re just stepping into the world of alpine climbing

Choose itinerary

Cotopaxi Climbing Adventure
Feb 09 onwards
Cotopaxi and Ilinizas Climbing Adventure
Feb 09 onwards

Meet your guides

Ecuador Eco Adventures
5.00
Ecuador Eco Adventures
Ecuador Eco Adventures
Ecuador Eco Adventure is based in Riobamba, located in the “Valley of the Volcanoes” between the active Tungarahua and extinct Chimborazo and El Altar volcanoes. After exploring new routes in the mountains for several years and sharing the off-the-beat...
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Wlady Ortiz
5.00
Wlady Ortiz
Having traveled extensively and lived on four continents, Wlady heeded the call of his native Ecuador. His company Ecuador Eco Adventure works alongside indigenous communities to organize low-impact adventures in the country's uniquely diverse ecosyste...
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5.00 (5 reviews)
Wonderful Experience
Morgan about Ecuador Eco Adventures on Tripadvisor

This company is epic. We had a snag with our luggage at the airport but they were able to still accommodate us seamlessly and make our trip stress free. Our guide was very knowledgeable and encouraging for our acclimation and adventure up Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi is unspoiled and incredibly beautiful. Highly recommend!

Great experience! Highlight of our trip
Alexandra about Ecuador Eco Adventures on Tripadvisor

We had a great experience with this company. We did Illiniza Norte and Cotopaxi with them and reached both summits. Great organisation, very good and experienced guides (José and Paul). They answered all our questions in advance. We needed a pick up for our arrival at the accomodation and they arranged it. Would recommend this agency 100%!

mscottarch about Ecuador Eco Adventures on Tripadvisor

We used Ecuador Eco Adventures for a summit attempt for Cotopaxi. Everything was well communicated and taken care of ahead of time. Emails were quickly responded to, and we used WhatsApp in country to tidy up any loose ends. Our park permits, refuge reservations, and equipment rentals were all ready for us when we were picked up.
Our guide, Wily, was very friendly and competent in leading us up Cotopaxi. He told us he had been up Cotopaxi more than 400 times. He showed us everything we needed to know and matched his instruction to our level of (in)experience. He knew when we needed to turn back for safety and we were grateful for his experience.
Although we were unable to summit Cotopaxi this trip, we would definitely recommend Wily and Ecuador Eco Adventure, and would use them again for future attempts.

Cotopaxi Summit Hike
Jennifer S about Ecuador Eco Adventures on Tripadvisor

Everything about this trip was excellent. The guides were knowledgeable, helpful, and fun. The lodge was comfortable and had everything we needed, including delicious food and good company. The trek was well organized and safe, but of course, very, very difficult. The guides are patient and really know how to work with you. And obviously the views and location are just unbeatable. Definitely recommend!

Amyclimber about Ecuador Eco Adventures on Tripadvisor

Wlady helped organize a fantastic custom trip for me to climb Cotopaxi. My parents decided to join fairly last minute at the Tambo Paxi lodge (so nice) and Wlady helped us organize transport and everything quite real-time. He is EXTREMELY responsive on WhatsApp which was hugely appreciated. He assigned me José as my guide, who was very experienced and understood I was nervous about the altitude and so had a fantastic (slow) pace on our climb, and also helped me with my crampons and pack when he noticed I was quite tired due from altitude. I was able to summit and we came down quickly. I felt absolutely safe with Jose and you should totally ask for him if you’re booking with Wlady!! I will absolutely book with Wlady and his team again when I’m back for Chimborazo… thank you for a great experience.

Things to know

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Ecuador, please refer to the Covid-19 Information by the US Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • What you get in this adventure:

      • Experienced ASEGUIM certified local mountain guides with extensive knowledge of the area
      • 3 or 5 days of alpine climbing, as outlined in the itineraries 
      • All transportation and logistics to and from Cotopaxi
      • All gear and mountain climbing equipment 
      • Warm clothing suitable for high altitude and freezing weather
      • Accommodations during the trip
      • Meals as indicated in the itineraries
      • National Park permits

    What’s not included:

      • Backpack
      • Lunches
      • Transportation to and from Ecuador
      • Accommodation prior and after the trip
  • Essentially, climbing Cotopaxi is a recreational two-day climb that even those new to mountain climbing can complete as long as they’re in excellent physical shape. Climbing Cotopaxi is a strenuous activity lasting up to 8 hours and is made more challenging due to high altitudes. Even though it is not a technical climb, it will involve moderate glacial terrain, complex crevasse patterns, snow bridge crossings, and a semi-vertical section in the end. The climb will involve a 3,618-ft elevation gain (1,103 m). 

    Likewise, Iliniza Norte climb is not technical, but requires great caution, excellent level of fitness, and some experience with scrambling. The climb is less strenuous than the Cotopaxi Volcano and will take you up to 4 hours, with an elevation gain of 1,683 feet (513 m). 

    Keep in mind that your guide will monitor your technique, take care of the logistics and help you if you encounter any difficulties during the climb.

  • For these Cotopaxi guided climbing tours, prior mountain climbing experience is not necessary, but it’s more than welcome. However, in order to climb the Cotopaxi Volcano, you should know how to use an ice ax and crampons. You should have some experience with strenuous hikes in steep and glaciated terrain and with high-altitude hiking in freezing temperatures. 

    Your guide will take all the safety precautions, give you instruction on technical skills and help you if you encounter any difficulties. Climbing Iliniza Norte is less challenging than climbing Cotopaxi, so you’re good to go if you fulfill the above mentioned requirements.

  • All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:

      • Ice axe
      • Crampons
      • Neck and leg gaiters
      • Face mask
      • Headlamp

    Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:

      • Backpacks (45 L)
      • Fleece or wool hat
      • Balaclava and a buff
      • Hardshell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
      • Expedition-weight bottoms
      • Lightweight wind shell
      • Down or synthetic jacket with hood
      • Long-sleeved base layer
      • Gloves — lightweight synthetic, windstopper gloves, big mountain gloves and mittens
      • Long base layer pants
      • Lightweight trekking pants
      • Expedition-weight bottoms
      • Hardshell pants
      • Softshell pants (wind-proof or wind-resistant)
      • Liner socks, hiker socks and warm socks
      • Mountaineering boots that work with crampons
      • Casual personal clothing and extra clothes for changing after the climb 
      • Glacier glasses and goggles
      • Water bottle or hydration pack
      • Plastic bowl, spoon, coffee mug, and pocket knife
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, blister kit, toilet paper, pee bottle, etc.)
      • Camera — optional
  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For these adventures, the maximum client-to-guide ratio is 2:1. 
      • The cost per person decreases if more than one person books, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family! 

    These climbing adventures can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
  • A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to one hundred twenty (120) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. 
      • For cancellations ninety (90) to one hundred nineteen (119) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
      • For cancellations seventy-five (75) to eighty nine (89) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
  • To get to Quito, where the Cotopaxi alpine climbing trips start, most people fly into Quito International Airport. Since you are likely to arrive in the evening, it is likely that you will have to book an accommodation there. 

    You will meet your guide somewhere in the city on day 1 and get transferred to a lodge, where you will acclimatize in close proximity to your first  climbing objective—either Cotopaxi or Iliniza Norte.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,
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