Cotopaxi Adventure Trails
Cotopaxi is an active volcano in Ecuador located about 50 km (31 miles) south of Quito. It is the second highest summit in the country, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft) and is one of the world’s highest volcanoes. Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by mud flows around the volcano. The National Park protects the landscape as well as myriad bird and mammal species, including wolves, pumas, bears, rabbits, Andean condors, wild horses, and foxes. Exploring four different volcanoes from different perspectives, you will hike through spectacular valleys and verdant grasslands, travelling from rocky mountain peak to volcanic glacier, and in the most environmentally responsible way.
Day 1: Quito - Cotopaxi - First peak, Pasochoa
Climb the Pasochoa peak. At 4,200 meters this is a challenge that will get our engines revving in anticipation of the second part of our adventure. Access is not difficult and our hike to the peak will take about 3 hours over grassland trails. From here you will get a spectacular view of the mountains surrounding Quito, the inspiring scenery of the Pasochoa crater, as well as the impressive surrounding mountain crests: Antisana, Sincholagua, Quilindaña, Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Corazón and the twin Iliniza peaks. Box Lunch included
The second part of our day consists of the descent to the Pita river canyon, a downhill walk of about 3 hours through grasslands and low ‘Chaparro’ forests, ending at the Chilcabamba Lodge, situated at about 3,200 meters above sea level. Built from local materials, Chilcabamba is cozy, unpretentious and charming. The lodge lies in a gentle valley circled by the rugged peaks of four towering mountains. The lodge is the perfect base for getting to know the magnificent surrounding countryside – on foot, horseback or bicycle. Here travelers can explore a natural wonderland, sipping its crisp, refreshing air and taking in its magnificent vistas.
Lodge rooms are equipped with a wood burning stove to keep you warm at night, along with cozy ponchos and thick duvets to keep off the mountain chill. Views from every room are beautiful and make the most of the lodge’s incredible setting. The main lodge is welcoming, with stunning views of Cotopaxi on a clear day. At night, you can sit by the campfire and gaze at the stars.Maximum Altitude: 4,200 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 7 Hours.
Type of terrain: Grassland trails.
Transportation: Vehicle to the foot of Pasochoa, and walking.
Night at Chilcabamba Lodge (standard room)
Included: transport, english speaking guide, excursion, Snack during the activity, box lunch, bedroom and dinner
Day 2: Cotopaxi - THE COTOPAXI TRAIL
Today we head to Cotopaxi National Park, one of the most beautiful protected areas of Ecuador. On a clear day, you might see Cotopaxi’s peak from parts of Quito, but its majesty is only clearly revealed from within the borders of the park. When the weather cooperates, views of its snow-capped, nearly symmetrical summit cone are awe-inspiring. We start at the Pita River. This river gives life to hundreds of thousands of Quiteñios (as Ecuador capital city residents are known), and its source is the pristine glacial meltwater of Volcan Cotopaxi. Its rushing waters will guide us throughout much of our adventure. This is a special and beautiful hike, but it’s more than just the beauty and activity. By hiking here, we are working to conserve the Pita River. We hike to raise awareness for both locals and visitors alike about the importance of this water, how conserving it is important, and how melting glaciers will impact our population. The hike enters the Cotopaxi National Park towards an archeological site called Pucara de Salitre, where we can see a variety of migrant and resident Andean bird life. On the way, we might see some of the wild horses, deer or llamas that make the park their home, as well as gorgeous seasonal mountain wildflowers and breathtaking scenery. We will spend time at the water’s edge of the Pita and the natural springs at the park , admiring classic views of Cotopaxi Volcano or perhaps the reflection of Rumiñahui Mount in its waters. During our adventure, we will stop to enjoy a picnic in the crisp alpine environment. We will finish our exploration at Limpiopungo Lake where our transportation will be waiting for us to drive us back to our mountain lodge
Tambopaxi is the only ecotourism resort and acclimatization center situated at an altitude of 3.720 meters above sea level in the heart of the Cotopaxi National Park, which has a pleasant restaurant and rooms with private bathroom. It enjoys a spectacular landscape, not only the Andean plateau with all its flora and fauna, but also the largest volcanic area of Ecuador, making it the place chosen by geologists, mountain climbers, sportsmen, families and tourists of all ages.
Maximum Altitude: 3,755 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 5 Hours.
Type of terrain: Forest– grassland trails.
Included: breakfast, excursion, transport, english speaking guide, Snack during the activity, lunch, bedroom and dinner
Day 3: Cotopaxi - Quito - ON THE SNOW LINE
From the lodge we will drive in our private vehicle to the parking area of the Cotopaxi mountain refuge. We will then walk for approximately an hour before reaching the mountaineers’ lodge, and hike from there to the edge of the glacier, a walk of approximately two hours. From here, the northern side of the mountain offers a spectacular panorama. You will be able to identify (with the help of our guide) all the ground we have covered since the first day of our adventure: Quito, its valleys, the distant mountains in the north, and the road from Pasochoa, through the Pita canyon, to el Pedregal, Sincholagua, Rumiñahui and the magnificent Limpiopungo valley. The descent, which will take approximately 2 hours, takes the same route back to the parking lot and we head back to Quito.
Maximum altitude: 5,100 meters above sea level.
Hiking time: 4 Hours.
Difficulty – Type of terrain: Sandy ground - Glacier / Moderate.
Included: breakfast, excursion, Snack during the activity, lunch, transport, english speaking guide
4-8 Day Treks in the Area Are Also Available
A Safe Travels tour
2022 Prices per person double occupancy in US$:
2023 Prices per person double occupancy in US$:
Included: Bilingual Naturalist Trekking Guide. Transportation and support vehicle for luggage throughout the program. Meals as described on itinerary. Accommodation at comfortable lodges First Aid Kit.
Not included: Park Entrance fees. Tips. Alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages. Gear of any type
What to bring - clothes and mountain equipment: High ankle hiking boots (please do not bring new boots) and walking sticks. Long sleeve, synthetic, waterproof thermal jacket. A warm impermeable jacket with fleece (goretex o similar). Quick drying walking pants. Waterproof pants. Gloves, warm hat, sun hat and kerchief. A small towel. A flashlight lantern, water bottle, knife, sun glasses.
Deposits and Payments:
• Full payment must be received in our bank account at least 35 days before the arrival of the passengers.
Cancellations received 16 or more days before the arrival date:
• No charges on the Promotional Programs until December 2021 if COVID-19 related**!
Cancellations received 15 days before arrival date:
• We will not apply charges for date changes on the Promotional Programs until December 2021 if COVID-19 related**!
• 100% penalty will be applied for cancellations
Services booked with suppliers under Special Policies with specific cancellation policies will be sent with the corresponding quote for the requested program for your approval.
** Covid-19 specific terms:
These revised cancellation terms only apply to COVID-19 related reasons for cancellation, these include:
- The World Health Organization has not revised the pandemic status
- The government in the guest’s country of residence restricts all but essential travel
- Level 3 travel restrictions are imposed on the destination by the guest country of residence
- The destination(s) the guest is traveling to are under official government sanctioned lock-down that prohibits guest from traveling.
- If some but not all of the destinations are impacted, the guest will be offered the option to re-route into other destinations and lodges or held as a credit according to the revised policy as in place.
- The destinations have no formal lock-down but have closed their border either to international travelers or to travelers from the guest’s country of residence.
- International flights are cancelled with no alternative routings available for guest to use to reach the destinations in the itinerary.
- The guest has contracted COVID-19 and under treatment or is in quarantine or under medical treatment up to 48 hours prior to travel. EST reserves the right to ask for any reasonable evidence, written statements and or documents to support the reasons for cancellation that are given.
At Chilcabamba Mountain Lodge you can feel the stillness of the Andean highlands. It’s a rugged, awe-inspiring place, where the birds float ever-higher on the mountain breezes. It is a sacred and silent place that offers peace and solitude. Even breathing the high alpine can be a restorative experience. The atmosphere will change you, filling you with energy and allowing you to rediscover your essential self. Built from local materials, Chilcabamba is cozy, unpretentious and charming. The lodge lies in a gentle valley circled by the rugged peaks of four towering mountains. The lodge is the perfect base for getting to know the magnificent surrounding countryside – on foot, horseback or bicycle. Here travelers can explore a natural wonderland, sipping its crisp, refreshing air and taking in its magnificent vistas.
Lodge rooms are equipped with a wood burning stove to keep you warm at night, along with cozy ponchos and thick duvets to keep off the mountain chill. Views from every room are beautiful and make the most of the lodge’s incredible setting. The main lodge is welcoming, with cozy nooks to relax, books to curl up with, and stunning views of Cotopaxi on a clear day. At night, you can sit by the campfire and gaze at the stars.
The chef prides himself on his creative and varied cuisine. One thing is certain – you will be fueled for your adventures! Coming back to the lodge after a long day of adventure and being welcomed by a piping hot bowl of Ecuadorian soup is the perfect way to warm up and excite your taste buds for the upcoming meal.
In the foothills of the majestic Cotopaxi Volcano and surrounded by an imposing frame of five volcanoes over the Andes, it is Hostería Tambopaxi. A comfortable and welcoming place ready to welcome our many guests from around the world in search of adventure, sport, wellness or rest.