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As well as being Ecuador’s most iconic volcano, Cotopaxi is also considered to be most beautiful and symmetrically perfect mountain cone in the world. You’ll get a feel for the traditional Ecuadorian lifestyle as you explore the rich heritage and excellent cuisine of its capital; Quito.
Although designed as a non-technical climb, you will get to learn valuable winter skills from a highly qualified team of mountain guides atop the magnificent Cayambe Glacier.
Depart the UK on your flight to the capital city of Ecuador, Quito; the second highest official capital city in the world!
Day 2: Quito City Tour
Today you’ll acclimatise in Quito and take the opportunity to explore the best conserved colonial town in South America. After visiting the richly decorated churches, museums and squares of the city, you’ll pick up your trekking equipment to prepare for the challenge ahead.
Day 3: Ruins of Cochasqui to Mojanda
From the pre-Columbian pyramids of Cochasqui, you’ll hike to the spectacular crater lakes of Mojanda. Mojanda is an inactive stratovolcano of the Eastern Cordillera, and it’s from here where you can enjoy incredible views over the valley of volcanoes.
Today, you’ll trek across the Cotacachi-Cayapas highlands, one of the most diverse and spectacular of Ecuador’s bio-reserves. You’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of Cayambe, Antizana and Cotopaxi as you reach the summit of Imbabura. As you descend, you’ll pay a visit to Ibarra, the capital of Imbabura province.
This morning you will visit Otovalo, the most famous Indian market in Ecuador, selling an array of traditional goods including leatherwork and jewellery. After lunch, you’ll take a transfer up a rough trail before trekking the final hour to the Refuge Oleas Berge.
The stunning Cayambe Glacier is your setting for a skills workshop and presents the perfect opportunity to acclimatise. You’ll take part in a practical snow and ice technique course, which will include ice axe and crampon work, progression in ice fields, rope handling plus much more!
At around midnight you’ll attempt the reasonably technical climb to the summit of Cayambe at 5,790m and should reach the top for sunrise. You’ll then transfer to the Thermal Springs of Papallacta, renowned for being the best in Ecuador, where you can relax for the evening.
Cotopaxi National Park is a large, protected forested area spanning parts of Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Napo provinces. Keep an eye out for the condors, hawks and wild horses that inhabit this area.
Today is an opportunity to rest as you enjoy the surroundings of Cotopaxi National Park and prepare for your Cotopaxi summit climb.
You’ll transfer to the Cotopaxi Refuge before getting some rest and relaxation before your summit climb.
You’ll set off at around 1 am to climb one of the world’s highest active volcanoes; Cotopaxi. The ascent will take 6-7 hours and is almost entirely on glacial terrain with your crampons. On achieving your goal, you will transfer back to Quito for a celebration meal to reflect on your accomplishments.
Transfer to the airport to catch your international flight home.