views of the cotopaxi volcano ecuador
people trekking to cotopaxi summit
cotopaxi national park information poster
climbing to the cotopaxi volcano
panoramic view from the cotopaxi volcano
walking on ice in cotopaxi
ice and snow on the cotopaxi volcano in ecuador
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Climbing Cotopaxi

Live the experience of reaching the summit of a volcano and the second highest peak in Ecuador

(2 reviews)

🌋 The volcano currently has some activity. In the highest part there may be gas emissions, so the guide will bring masks that you should use in case of need.

2 days
Spanish and English
Starts: From Riobamba office at 9:00 in the morning
Ends: To Riobamba office at 3:00 p.m.
Free cancellation!


The Climbing Cotopaxi is a 2-day private tour with a professional mountain guide. The objective of this trek will be to reach the second highest peak in Ecuador located at 5,897 meters above sea level. 

For this ascent it is not necessary to have previous experience in technical climbing, but it is important to be in good physical shape and acclimatized to the altitude. 

If you want to reach the top of this volcano in Ecuador, here we tell you all the details of the tour 🙂

Tour details


  • Mountain guide
  • Private transportation
  • Lodging in refuge
  • Meals
  • Coffee, tea and water
  • Access to Cotopaxi National Park
  • Certificate of ascent to the summit
  • Mountain equipment

Not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips
  • Trekking poles (available for rent for 5 USD/day)
  • Waterproof jacket (available for rent for 5 USD/day)
  • Backpack (available for rent Large: 5 USD/day - Small: 3 USD/day)

Important information

In order to complete the ascent safely and avoid suffering from altitude sickness and the risks that this entails, it is essential that you acclimatize well before starting the ascent. If you have not acclimatized properly and the guide does not consider it safe, you will return to the beginning of the route without reaching the summit. For correct acclimatization you will have to spend at least one week in the Andes, starting in cities such as Quito or Riobamba (at 9186 ft. / 2800 m.), and gradually climbing to higher altitudes between 11483 ft. (3500 m.) and 14764 ft. (4500 meters). It is also advisable to do some previous trekking at these altitudes and if possible to sleep at 13123 ft. (4000 m.) before starting the ascent. 

From Howlanders we recommend ascent to the Carihuairazo volcano as acclimatization trek prior to the ascent of the Cotopaxi and Chimborazo volcanoes.

Cancellation policy

Free cancellation! If you cancel at least 46 days before the tour starts, you will receive a 100% refund of the amount paid. If you cancel between 45 and 31 days before the start of the tour, you will receive a 75% refund of the amount paid. If you cancel between 30 and 16 days before the start of the tour you will receive a 50% refund of the amount paid. After this time or in case of not doing the activity, no refund will be made and it will not be possible to modify the reservation.

Tour itinerary

DAY 1 Riobamba - Cotopaxi National Park

Ascent: 1 hour
Elevation: 4,800 meters
Difficulty: high

09:00 A.M.


The guide will be waiting for us at the Riobamba office at 9 a.m. When we are all together, we will load the equipment in the 4x4 and head to Cotopaxi National Park. The drive will take 2 and a half hours and we will pass through the Panamericana Norte. Once we are inside the park, we will drive 30 km more until we reach 4,600 meters. Once here, we will begin a one-hour hike to reach the refuge located at 4,800 meters.

access sign cotopaxi national park ecuador

Climbing practice

In the afternoon we will practice climbing on the glacier to learn how to use the mountain equipment and know the safety rules. Afterwards we will have an early dinner and rest for several hours at the refuge.

practice climbing on a glacier before ascending the Cotopaxi volcano

DAY 2 Cotopaxi National Park - Riobamba

Ascent: 6-7 hours
Descent: 3 hours
Starting elevation: 4,800 meters
Highest elevation: 5,897 meters
Difficulty: high

01:00 A.M.

Ascent to Cotopaxi volcano

The Climbing Cotopaxi will begin at 1:00 a.m., taking advantage of the fact that the snow is harder. Along the way we will find crevasses and some slopes of between 35 and 45 degrees of inclination. When we are at the top, with clear skies, we will have amazing views of the Cotopaxi crater and other snow-capped volcanoes that form the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

avenida de los volcanes view along the way to the top of cotopaxi

Descent to the refuge

After reaching the summit and having enjoyed the incredible views, we will start descending to reach the refuge and pick up our backpacks. The 4x4 will be waiting to take us back to Riobamba, making a stop on the way for lunch at a restaurant and then put an end to this unique experience of climbing Cotopaxi.

volcano cotopaxi summit ecuador

What to bring to Climbing Cotopaxi

  • Large backpack to carry mountain equipment to the hut
  • Medium backpack for the ascent
  • Water bottle
  • Clothing: thermal underwear, hiking socks, T-shirt and long pants, waterproof jacket and pants.
  • Sunscreen with high degree of protection (factor 50 or more)
  • Lip protector
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Face mask
  • Alcohol-based disinfectant

Questions & Answers

  • How can I prepare myself for the altitude reached on the Cotopaxi tour?

    The difference in altitude means a greater effort for daily tasks and can lead to altitude sickness, so it is very important to arrive in Riobamba at least one day before the start of the tour and not to make physical effort. We also recommend that you eat light meals, drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Is the tour available all year round?

    Yes, the tour is available all year round. However, it is recommended to climb Cotopaxi between the months of May to July or November to February.

Climbing Cotopaxi tour reviews with Howlanders


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