Mexico: Pico de Orizaba

El Pico de Orizaba is known by the indigenous as Citlaltépetl, roughly translated as Star Mountain, or “the one that illuminates”. Orizaba is a profound volcano; dominating the landscape of the surrounding area as it towers over the town of Tlachichuca- indeed it is the second-most prominent mountain in the world; Kilimanjaro being the first. We can see where the reference to a star or illumination comes from in the profound glacier that blankets the upper reaches of the mountain almost entirely. Pico de Orizaba is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America after Denali and Mount Logan. Orizaba makes for an excellent first experience at high altitude.

Trip Highlights

  • This itinerary is unique compared to other Orizaba climbs in that it starts and ends in the beautiful town of Oaxaca- taking advantage of the tremendous food and culture in this southern Mexican oasis.
  • Join us as we kick off our extraordinary adventure where we use Oaxaca City to acclimatize and explore the art, culture, and food that have made this quaint World Heritage Site famous.
  • Private trip dates available upon request

Trip Summary

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Day 1
Arrive Oaxaca

Welcome to the magical city of Oaxaca! The city's vibrant culture shines through with a laid-back, artistic ambience and charming inner city protected by Unesco World Heritage site status. Upon arrival in Oaxaca City Airport you will be met by our Embark representatives, who will provide transportation to your hotel.

Day 2
Oaxaca City Tour

Oaxaca is an enchanting place, with charming cobblestone streets, ubiquitous street art, vibrant colors and amazing architecture. And then there's the food: The passion for good food runs intrinsically through the veins of native Oaxaquenos so finding amazing food is relatively easy! We will visit three neighborhoods of the city taking in art workshops and the plentiful street art that adorns much of inner Oaxaca. We will stop along the way to sample different dishes. We will have dinner tonight with your mountain guide.

Day 3
Oaxaca City to Tlachichuca

After breakfast we will depart in our private vehicle to the small town of Tlachichuca. Tlachichuca is a small town at the base of Orizaba where many travelers convene prior to their climb up the mountain. Upon arrival we have the opportunity explore the local market as well as a short acclimatization hike in the woods outside of town. Tonight we will have an authentic Mexican dinner curated specifically for our group by our personal cook together at our hostel in the foothills of Orizaba.

Day 4
Piedra Grande Hut- Acclimatization Hike

This mornings "adventure within an adventure" is the 4-wheel-drive ride we take from Tlachichuca to Piedra Grande Hut at the base of mountain.After unpacking, we will do a short hike to acclimatize to the altitude. Here we will get a training on the terrain and overview of glacier travel as well as safe and proper use of crampons and ice axes. We have an early dinner tonight; again, prepared by our personal cook, taking in sunset views from the mountain before retiring early to prepare for our summit climb.

Day 5
Summit Push

The climb begins at midnight after a quick breakfast and final equipment check. The average time needed to reach the summit is between 7 and 8 hours. We take the regular route via the Jamapa Glacier. This starts The route following an old aqueduct after which we start ascending scree and boulders to the base of what is referred to as "The Labyrinth"- a series of 3-4 shallow couloirs peppered by glacial icefall. We follow the Labyrinth up to 16,000ft where we meet the base of the glacier; around day break. Here we rope up, two climbers to one guide, before continuing our ascent. This portion of the trek gets particularly steep at around 45 or 50 degrees incline. Once we reach the rim of the caldera we will stop to refuel (if the weather allows) before wrapping around the crater rim, eventually arriving at the summit around 8 or 9am depending on our speed. The views of the surrounding landscape from up top are amazing and glimpsing across the profound caldera rim is truly remarkable. Our return to Piedra Grande hut is much faster and should take 4-5 hours. We return back to Tlachichuca via jeep for lunch in town before departing for the town of Santiago Apoala. We arrive at this remote and beautiful town in the Sierra Mixteca for a celebration dinner, bonfire and a good night of sleep in mountain cabins.

Day 6
Santiago Apoala

We have a full day rest to enjoy the very small village of Santiago Apoala which is considered the cradle of Mixteca culture located in the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca. It’s name in Mixteco is Yutza Tó Ón which means ”where the river starts.” Indeed, the town is known for two magnificent local waterfalls that are over 50m in height. These waterfalls, as well as some nearby natural springs and local food help are the perfect medicine to aid in recovery from the previous day's endeavor. We have a group dinner in town at the local home of Senora Veronica. Here the food is special and amazing; with locally sources ingredients and traditional cuisine. Tonight we retire in our quaint mountain cabanas.

Day 7
Apoala to Oaxaca City

This morning we wake and have one more mountain meal at a local comodore before our private vehicle transfer from Apoala to Oaxaca City. We have a group dinner in Oaxaca city tonight where we take time for a long meal and one last moment to bond with our fellow hikers and guiding staff. Tonight we celebrate the Oaxaca region, Pico Orizaba and the amazing experiences we have encountered on this challenging and authentic endeavor.

Dates & Pricing


Double Occupancy
  • Nov 5
    Nov 11
    $2995 USD


Double Occupancy
  • Jan 7
    Jan 14
    $2995 USD

Above Costs Include:

  • All international airport transfers as per the program by private vehicle
  • Private transport
  • 3 nights in hotels in Oaxaca City, 2 nights in mountain cabins and 1 night camping
  • City tour in Oaxaca
  • All entrance fees
  • All meals and accommodations indicated on the daily itinerary
  • Accommodation, meals, insurance, equipment, transportation and allowances of guides

Cost Does Not Include:

  • Any meals not specified in the itinerary
  • International and domestic airfare
  • Expenses of personal nature (tips for guide, porter and driver, laundry, bar bill, telephone calls etc.
  • Liability for expenses against sickness, flight cancellation, road blockage, accidents and other occurrence beyond our control
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