2 days

Climbing Cotopaxi Volcano

Climbing the impressive cone-shaped Cotopaxi Volcano is a popular activity for those who travel to Ecuador. However, this doesn’t mean that’s an easy climb. Only about 60% make it to the top. Therefore it’s important to travel well prepared and and take time to acclimatize.

COTOPAXI (5897 m./19357 ft. high)

Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. It has a perfect cone-shaped peak and snow-covered crater, and it is the main attraction of the Cotopaxi National Park. The ascent is not technically difficult, but a sufficient acclimatization and good physical condition are essential for this climb. Tips about altitude sickness.

COTOPAXI (5897 m./19357 ft. high)


Day 1: Riobamba - Cotopaxi refuge (4800 m)

Cotopaxi Volcano Climbing EcuadorWe leave Riobamba at 9:00 am by car and drive for 2,5 hours north on the Panamerican Highway to the entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park. Continue for another 30 kilometers up to the parking place (4600 m. / 15.092 ft.). After a 50-minute hike we arrive at the refuge (4800 m. / 15.748 ft.) In the afternoon the guide will teach you how to use the equipment in a climbing practice on the glacier. Dinner and rest in the refuge.

Day 2: Cotopaxi refuge summit - Riobamba

Climbing Cotopaxi VolcanoAt around midnight, when the snow is still hard, we start the ascent. Even though Cotopaxi is not considered a technical climb, the route does have several crevasses, and some steep sections between 35 and 45 degrees. After about 6 – 7 hours we will reach the summit at sunrise. On clear days you will have amazing views of the crater of Cotopaxi, and the Volcano Avenue with other snowcapped peaks. The descent to the refuge takes about 3 hours. On the way back to Riobamba we will have lunch in a restaurant.
Arrival in Riobamba at about 14:00 h

Cotopaxi Volcanic Crater EcuadorDifficulty: medium/ advanced
Departure: any day

Inclusive in this climbing tour:

  • mountain guide (1 guide climbs with a maximum of 2 people)
  • private transportation from / to Riobamba
  • accommodation in refuge
  • meals and coffee, tea, coca tea, purified drinking water
  • climbing equipment
  • entrance permit Cotopaxi National Park


  • Everything not mentioned in the list above
  • (soft) drinks
  • Personal spendings
  • Tips
Climbing Cotopaxi Ecuador
Cotopaxi Crater
Cotopaxi Volcano
Climbing Cotopaxi

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