Ecuador is one of the most diverse places in the world. In such a small country, you can find more than 30 volcanoes, the Amazon rainforest, an ocean with a unique nature and treasures of the ancient Inca civilization. And all this is located exactly in the center of the world, on the Equator line.
If this doesn’t appeal enough to your imagination, think how it would feel to be at the top of one of the world’s highest active volcanoes, Cotopaxi, and a few days later at the farthest point on Earth from the center of our planet, with the Chimborazo volcano climb.
Recommendations for trekking in Ecuador
Ecuador is arguably a relatively new mountaineering destination. But without a doubt, its more than 10 volcanoes with peaks above 5,000 meters make it a perfect destination for trekking lovers.
Here are some of the recommendations if you are thinking of doing any of its trekking routes:
- The season: There is no defined season in which it is not possible to make ascents. However, the months from June to August, and from December to February are recommended.
- Fees: Entrance fees to the national parks usually range from $5 to $10 USD.
- Shelters: Many have stoves, pots and cooking utensils. They also have beds and bathrooms. A few have electricity and emergency telephones. They will not be places to seek comfort, nor typical food of Ecuador.
- Equipment: In Quito you can rent and buy them at good prices. In Baños, Riobamba and Ambato are more limited to get them. It is recommended that you pack everything you can bring that will be useful to you.
- Guides: Avoid risky situations by hiring cheap guides. Make sure the guides are experienced in this type of activity.
Equipment necessary for the trek to Chimborazo and Cotopaxi in Ecuador
- A large backpack with mountain equipment
- A medium backpack for the time of the climb
- Thermal clothing
- High-grade sunscreen
- Lip protector
- Personal hygiene items
- Water bottles
- Water bottles
Ascension to Chimborazo, Ecuador
The Chimborazo has the particularity of being the largest volcano and mountain in Ecuador, and one of the most important volcanoes in the world.
It is located in the Central Andes, 150 kilometers from Quito and very close to the city of Riobamba. Its 6,268 meters make it one of the highest peaks on the planet (only 2 kilometers less than Everest).
The ascent of Ecuador’s Chimborazo and Cotopaxi are two of the most visited trekking routes by mountaineers, and are on the list of must-see places in Ecuador.
It is recommended to hire the services of specialized guides, as this is not an easy climb for any amateur. As a tip, a good physical condition is also recommended, and although we are not looking at anyone, you can already start to fulfill your new year’s purpose …
The tour is done in 2 days, departing from Riobamba by car to the Chimborazo Reserve. On the way to the Refugio Carrel, we will be able to see from the car the wonderful views of this place.
Once you arrive at the refuge, at 4,850 meters above sea level, you will receive the last instructions from the guides, to start the adventure the following morning.
The climb will begin at night for safety reasons. After 7 to 8 hours walking along the glacier ridge, with inclines of 30 to 40 degrees, you will finally reach the Summit of Veintimilla, at 6,227 meters. Optionally, you can continue one more hour to Whymper, the highest summit, at 6,263 meters.
Finally, you will end the experience with the descent to the Carrel Refuge. It takes about 4 hours and from there you can take the vehicle back to Riobamba.
Ascension to Cotopaxi
If you do not have much experience in this type of trekking, much better and easier will be the ascent to the Cotopaxi volcano. This is a uniform and at the same time, slightly inclined volcano.
It is an active volcano, one of the highest in the world. It is the second highest in Ecuador, only surpassed by Chimborazo.
Located in the Cotopaxi National Park in the Latacunga canton, this snow-capped volcano forms the most extraordinary image of the country.
The ascent of Cotopaxi, does not require technical experience. You only need prior acclimatization to prevent altitude sickness. As a reward for your effort, at the top you will be able to see a crater “on fire”. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
The tour starts at the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park and lasts 2 days. From the park entrance, a 30-kilometer drive is made by vehicle to a refuge located at 4,600 meters above sea level.
In the afternoon prior to the ascent, you will have time to practice climbing, use the equipment and learn the safety rules. Everything is ready to leave the refuge at morning (1:00 am).
It will be 6-7 hours of trek, until you reach the crater of the volcano. From there you will be able to observe extraordinary landscapes, including the Avenue of Volcanoes.
To finish the tour, you will have about 3 hours to the refuge, although it will always be less if you hear some crunching noise coming from the volcano.
Undoubtedly, the ascent to Chimborazo and Cotopaxi in Ecuador, are activities that you must do, yes or yes, if you travel to Ecuador.
Have you already climbed these two volcanoes, or are you already training to make the climb?