The four Andean aces


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The sight of a solitary volcano silhouetted against the horizon is a spectacle and a fascinating challenge. Mountaineering is all the more attractive it is not reserved only for initiates. The altitude enthusiasts will delight with no fewer than four peaks over 5500 meters.
The comfortable conditions of the trip (good accommodation) and the particularly careful acclimatization of this program allow to put all the chances of success on your side. When you love the mountains, how not to feel attracted to these heights? The strange effects of volcanism, purposeful altitudes: over 5000 meters, more than 6000 meters ... Not to mention these famous names: Antizana (5704 m), Cayambe (5790), Cotopaxi (5897 m) Chimborazo (6310 m).
This trip also provides an excellent overview of the main landscapes of the "Valley of the Volcanoes", the Otavalo region and its lakes to Banos and its hot springs.

The highlights of this trip:

  • A glacial route exception: four peaks over 5500 meters.
  • A guide for two people in all climbs performed.

  • Day 1: Quito - Cochasqui - Mojanda – Otavalo
    From Quito, short transfer to the archaeological site Cochasqui and pre-Inca pyramids. Then we head towards the Mojanda crater and its three lagoons (Grand, Chiquita and Negra). Lovely view of the jagged peak Fuya-Fuya and Cerro Tourichupa. The gigantic wall around the lakes suggests that there had been a huge volcano in this mythical place.

    Day 2: Otavalo - Summit Imbabura – Otavalo
    From La Esperanza, 30 minutes from Otavalo, the trail goes along the flowery fields and crops in the heart of the community of San Clemente. We then follow a path to reach a final scree reaching the summit. Observation of the volcano Cotacachi and Imbabura province called the "Valley of the Dawn". Descent and return to Otavalo.

    Day 3: Otavalo market - Refuge Cayambe
    Saturday is market day in the village of Otavalo. Indian people go down from the hills with their felt hats and their characteristic poncho, to trade all that one can imagine. In the morning visit of the animal market, local and crafts market. Transfer in the afternoon to reach the refuge of Cayambe at 4,700 meters above sea level.

    Day 4: Cayambe glacier
    Acclimatization day on the Cayambe glacier and learning of climbing techniques in a mountain setting at over 5,000 meters in altitude. Cayambe is the third highest mountain in the country and near its summit is the highest point on the line of the equator. View over the province of Cayambe and the avenue of volcanoes.

    Day 5: Ascent volcano Cayambre - Guachala
    Around 11 pm, breakfast and departure for the first ascent on a rocky part, then ice. Ascent without much difficulty: moderate slope up to 30-35 degrees. We walk on the glacier which we follow to Punta Jarrin, where we climb a steeper and delicate part to reach the main summit.

    Day 6: Guachala - Papallacta
    Transfer to the east towards the Selva. After crossing the pass "El Virgen", descent to the charming village of Papallacta. In the afternoon, we enjoy the sumptuous surroundings of Papallacta Baths. There is a dozen of different temperature baths surrounded by beautiful lawns studded with orange-red flowers and picturesque bridges.

    Day 7: Papallacta - Ecological reserve Antizana
    We leave Tambo to reach the edge of the Amazon forest on the eastern part of the Avenue of the Volcanoes. This trek in the heart of the ecological reserve with a rich Andean fauna and flora takes place at a minimum altitude of 4,000 meters. Many condors can be observed. We set up camp at the foot of the Antisana volcano.

    Day 8: Ascent Antizana - CotopaxiPungo
    Night departure for the ascent of the glacial volcano, fourth highest in Ecuador. This is certainly one of the most beautiful in the country. This mountain does not have major difficulty and offers a sublime panorama: the Oriente east, Cotopaxi southwest and Micacocha beautiful lagoons fed by the thawing of the great glaciers.

    Day 9: CotopaxiPungo
    Near the Cotopaxi National Park, relaxing day at this lodge ideally located on a hill in front of the Cotopaxi. It is possible to hike to the Condor Machai, Vilatuña and Molinuco waterfalls. Three trails are also accessible from the lodge to discover the primary vegetation of Ecuador.

    Day 10: CotopaxiPungo - Refuge Cotopaxi
    After breakfast, transfer to the entrance of the Cotopaxi National Park. This protected area, created in 1975, covers 33,400 hectares. Hiking around the laguna Limpiopungo and watching condors, wild horses and other animals enjoying the Andean paramo at the foot of the majestic volcano. We reach the shelter in the late afternoon.

    Day 11: Ascent Cotopaxi - Baños
    From the shelter, we leave by night for a first approach phase before starting the glacier hike: After bypassing a rocky ridge called "Yanasacha", we reach the top after a last steep slope. The grand spectacle of the crater that is said to be the world's most beautiful rewards the efforts undertaken.

    Day 12: Baños
    Spa town famous for its hot pools and the nearby splendid Tungurahua volcano, Baños is a small paradise where one has the impression that time has stopped. In the morning, walk in the middle of many plantations of tropical fruits. Then we explore the city center and its balsa (wood) and tagua (vegetable ivory) workshops.

    Day 13: Baños - Refuge Chimborazo
    Transfer by car to 4,800 meters in altitude. It will take us an hour to get to Edward Whymper refuge. At 5,000 meters, it is the highest comfortable refuge in the world. According to the weather, we will climb to the Whymper needles to admire the next route or to have some rest near the refuge.

     Day 14: Ascent Chimborazo - Quito
    Leaving at midnight for the ascent of the Chimborazo. Two-thirds of this very technical climb takes place on the glacier. A very good experience with crampons and a perfect physical condition are now essential to succeed in this ascension and see exceptional views of the avenue of volcanoes. Descent and return to Quito for a well-deserved rest.

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    • Accomodation in double rooms
    • Full pension (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
    • Free drinking water
    • All entries to national parks, churches and activities as mentioned in the intineray
    Technical sheet
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     Trekking  Trekking  Piolet  Climbing 

    Regions visited

    Climbing Level 5 on 5: For sporty confirmed in excellent shape, familiar walking at altitude (> 5,000 meters) and crampons ice ax, at ease on any terrain. Occurrence of technical difficulties related to the field.

    In the field
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    The team

    • English speaking tour guide
    • A driver for driving the vehicle


    • Private bus reserved for the group for the entire trip

    Throughout your stay, accommodation is varied: 

    • Hostels 3-4 stars in cities (local standards).
    • Homestay (basic comfort)
    • Family inn or cozy guest room
    • Lodge in the Amazon


    • Breakfast served at the accommodation
    • At noon picnicfor hiking, restaurant meals the other days
    • In the evening, restaurant meals or prepared food at accomodation

    Ecuadorians products help ensure varied menus and good quality.

    The luggage transport
    During the excursions and activities, each participant carries a light backpack containing only personal belongings needed for the day (water bottle, camera, protective clothing, ...). Luggage transport is ensured by vehicle.

    Travel equipment
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    Travel Essentials

    • Passport and photocopies
    • Photocopy of certificate of insurance / assistance contract
    • Vaccinations record and medical indications
    • Currency, credit card => The ideal is to carry personal papers and money in a discreet travel pouch worn under your clothes.
    •  Camera
    • Universal Adapter
    • Flashlight (frontal ideal) and extra batteries
    • Sun protection (sunglasses and bag, sunscreen SPF 30 minimum, cap / hat)
    • Personal pharmacy (see below)
    • Tissues/ toilet paper
    • Travel alarm
    • Toiletries and towel (microfiber type)
    • Protective plastic bag (cloth, paper ...)
    • Swimsuit (pools Baños)
    • A backpack 30L / 50L: this capacity lets you take all you need for a day of travel: rain clothes, warm clothes, small pharmacy, water bottles, snacks, and possibly part of the picnic

    Aid kit

    • Analgesic
    • Anti-diarrheal
    • Cream / ointment after sun
    • Antibiotic broad spectrum (paracetamol, aspirin ...)
    • Disinfectant for wounds (type Hexomedine)
    • Set bandages, tape, scissors, blister dressing
    • Hydroalcoholic gel
    • Survival blanket

    Trekking equipment

    • Travel bag easy to carry (hiking, trekking 60 / 70L)
    • Light hiking trousers (avoid shorts)
    • Warm hiking trousers
    • Warm clothes (fleece jacket, hat, gloves, scarf)
    • Technical hiking socks
    • Walking shoes (preferably high top shoes) and gaiters
    • A pair of leisure shoes (for the evening)
    • Waterproof Jacket (high resistance)
    • Walking sticks
    • Spare shoelace / cord
    • Knife / Swiss army knife
    • Gourd

    Ascension of glacial material (Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo)

    Basic Equipment

    • A relatively large capacity bag for the climb to the refuge (minimum 60 liters)
    • Warm underwear (merino ...)
    • Warm fleece jacket
    • High mountain warm and waterproof jacket (high resistance mini 10,000mm) with hood
    • A waterproof over-trousers (high resistance mini 10,000mm)
    • Mountaineering shoes crampon
    • A pair of gaiters
    • Hat, scarf
    • Glasses category 4 (skiing, glaciers ...)
    • A pair of warm gloves (silk)
    • Warm and waterproof gloves
    • A good quality sleeping bag (- 5 - 10 ° C) for the night in unheated shelter.
    • A silk sheet: The sleeping bag does not get dirty and the sheet brings heat.
    • Heaters

    Technical facilities:

    • A helmet*
    • Two carabiners * (one with screw) and a rope ring (2 meters long)
    • A harness
    • Cleats suited to your shoes
    • Ice ax

    NB: - note that we provide a helmet for each participant

    - * It is best to have your own climbing equipment. It is possible to rent in Quito ice ax, crampons (without antibottes), harness and footwear. Indicative price: about $ 50 for the duration of the climb. The choice (model, brand, quality) is still limited, and there may be some difficulties for extreme sizes (small or large).
    NB: note that you have free drinking water during your stay (in the vehicle) to fill your gourd. You have several snacks daily (cereal bars, fruit jellies, chocolate, fruit ...).


  • Paperwork 
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    No visa
     is required for nationals of countries of the European Union, Switzerland, USA and Canada for a stay of less than 90 days. A passport valid at least 6 months after the travel date in Ecuador is enough.

    Travelling with children
    The foreign minors are subject to the same obligations as adults. They must hold a passport valid at least six months after the travel date.

    International flights

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    We do not offer international flight booking. To plan your route in Ecuador, several international airlines provide transportation to Quito (or Guayaquil), such as Air France (via Bogota or Caracas), KLM, Iberia and Lan (via Madrid), American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Lufthansa, etc ...


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    Mandatory vaccinations
    No mandatory vaccine.
    But vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory if you have previously been to a country situated in endemic areas.

    Recommended vaccines
    We strongly recommend to update the classic vaccinations: diphtheria-tetanus-polio +/- whooping cough, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B.
    Yellow fever vaccination is highly recommended if you go to the Amazon or to a province east of the Andes below 2,300 meters in altitude.

    Malaria occurs below 1,500 meters, mainly in the Amazon area classification 3 (high resistance). Antimalarial treatment is necessary. Consult your doctor.
    The risk is moderate in the coastal provinces. It is recommended to protect yourself in some areas: Baños, on the Pacific coast and the Galapagos Islands.
    Make sure you have in addition preventive personal protection against mosquito bites (repellents, loose clothing and spanning).

    Ecuador is affected by the Zika virus disease transmitted by bites of Aedes mosquitoes.
    In case of pregnancy, the hypothesis of a causal relationship between the event of outbreak of fetal or neonatal microcephaly and infection Zika virus in the mother is likely. It is therefore recommended for pregnant women or for those having a project of pregnancy to consider postponing their stay or to first consult a doctor to be informed about the complications that can occur during infection by Zika virus.

    Acclimatization and preventive treatment of acute mountain sickness
    We recommend you before your trip to Ecuador to visit a doctor to check your ability to stay at high altitude. Andean reliefs are very marked and altitudes are significant (Quito already at 2,800m above sea level).
    Whether on adventure, discovery, trekking or mountaineering tours, routes include acclimatization steps and time required for the body to naturally adjust to the altitude. By following a few simple tips especially the first days (drink regularly, avoid alcohol, overeating, too abrupt efforts ...), you will facilitate the acclimation process and avoid the most common symptoms (headaches, shortness of breath ...).

    For more information, visit the Association for Research in Environmental Physiology ( or the International Medical Service (

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    The currency is the US dollar. Exchange rates (indicative price): 1 € = $ 1.12 or US $ 1 = € 0.89.
    Most credit cards (MasterCard, Visa ...) are accepted in Ecuador in department stores. It is possible to make withdrawals * directly to distributors in major cities you will be going to during your trip (Quito, Otavalo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Baños, Cuenca ...). Plan ahead among the major steps to not run out of cash for personal expenses (souvenirs ...). Moreover, it's better to have small denominations (5, 10, 20 $) because the businesses rarely have the exchange.
    For stays in Galapagos, only the islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Cristobal are equipped with distributors.

    NB: it is difficult to change euros, the exchange is only possible in major cities in banks (limited opening hours) and exchange offices ("casa de cambio").

    * Before departure, it is best to consult your bank to know your conditions / fees abroad to avoid inconvenience.

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    Ecuador is located in the equatorial zone where there is no clear-cut seasons. It is possible to travel throughout the year in Ecuador. The climate is however very variable and unpredictable!
    It is generally cool in Quito (15 ° to 25 °), very mild in Cuenca (18 ° to 30 °) and very hot in the Amazon or on the Pacific coast (27 ° to 40 °). Galapagos, the heat is tempered by the winds that cool constantly the islands (20 ° to 35 ° C).

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    Ecuador is considered to be one of the safest countries in South America. However, we advise you to avoid, as far as possible, to carry valuables. The risk of theft exists, avoid displaying wealth, be vigilant in crowded places (markets, city centers ...) and leave whenever possible valuables and significant amounts of money in the safes of hotels. Do not hesitate to ask your guide in which places it is necessary to pay particular attention and which ones to avoid.

    Each participant must be aware of the fact that the tour chosen may include activities (rafting, hiking, ziplining, biking ...) which may be risky. The service providers selected for those services were chosen for their professionalism and the quality of supervision and equipment. Each activity will begin with a reminder of the safety instructions.

    Useful information
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    Language & some useful words
    In Ecuador, Spanish is spoken by all the population. The Quechua language and local dialects are used in remote locations. English is practiced by persons in relation to tourism (hotels & restaurants of higher category).

    We recommend that you bring an adapter because the plugs are flat type 110 volts, as in the United States.

    Jet lag
    Ecuador is located on the GMT -5. The time is the same in all the country except the Galapagos (- 1 hour).The sun rises around 6am and night falls around 6pm, all year.

Get in Touch

Address: Avenida Amazonas OE12-132 y Río Tiputini, Valle de los Chillos, Quito, Ecuador
Phone: 593 22 869 400  |    Fax: 593 22 869 387
E-mail:  |
Skype: Carole AventurEcuador
Trade Registry: 1791884795001