Volcanoes of Ecuador

Ecuador is a land of astonishing variety, from the Galapagos Islands to rainforest to high mountain peaks. On this new adventure, we explore the highest of the high country, summit five volcanic peaks above 13,000 feet — one of them above 16,000 feet. In between, we sleep in wonderful lodges and exploring valleys and villages with fascinating, pre-Spanish cultures. We also visit Cotopaxi National Park and hike to over 17,000 feet on the slopes of this massive volcano. Trekking and climbing in Ecuador mixes adventure with modern comfort, meaning this special Embark adventure is one you won’t want to miss.


  • Walk through ancient, pre-Spanish mountain cultures
  • Summit five volcanoes over 13,000' elevation
  • Hike to near 17,000' on Cotopaxi
  • Combine exotic and alpine adventures with comfortable travel and historical touring


Imagine an area roughly 100 miles by 100 miles that stretches from the ocean to snow-capped mountains. Now fill it with Earth’s greatest diversity of life per square mile. Add layers of forest and jungle, then sprinkle it with volcanoes. Mix in nearly a dozen distinct languages and cultures. And now connect many of these attractions with trails and lodges that mix scenery, culture and comfort. This is adventure travel in Ecuador.

On this special exploratory trip, we will summit five volcanic peaks above 13,000’ in elevation, one of them above 16,000’. These are non-technical but challenging climbs, giving trekkers in good condition access to high, alpine adventure while sleeping in wonderful lodges and exploring fascinating ancient cultures.

We will also visit the volcano Cotopaxi, traveling to the base of a glacier around 16,700’ on this 19,347’ peak.

Trekking and climbing in Ecuador is a window into a high, historic and beautiful place. It mixes adventure with modern comfort in a destination that is a little off the usual travel routes, meaning this special Embark adventure is one you won’t want to miss.

Itinerary Summary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito
Day 2: Tour Quito
Day 3: Quito to Otavalo. Peak: Rucu Pinchincha, 15,696’
Day 4: Mojanda Lakes. Peak: Fuya Fuya, 13,986’
Day 5: Hike to San Pablo Lake
Day 6: Otavalo to Zuleta
Day 7: Climb Pasochoa, 13,780’
Day 8: Pedegral Trail, Cotopaxi National Park
Day 9: Climb Rumiñahui Central, 15,489’
Day 10: Cotopaxi National Park. Peak: Illiniza Norte, 16,818’
Day 11: Cotopaxi National Park. Glacier hike on Cotopaxi
Day 12: Cotopaxi to Quit

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I travel with Embark?

We are a team that lives and breathes travel; we know what our clients want, and as such we see them as travelers, not tourists. We have organized hundreds of adventures around the world, focusing on destinations we know and understand. Ask us for some of our references.

Many companies provide region-standard trips; Embark goes above and beyond. We organize unique itineraries along the roads less traveled, designing adventures that allow our travelers to be pioneers and explore the depth of any given destination.

We focus on finding and training the best guides in the industry, with specialists who are prominent in several fields – mountain guides, historians, archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, and much more.

What is being in Ecuador like?

Upon arrival in country, you will be met by an Embark representative at the airport exit and driven by private vehicle to your Buenos Aires hotel.

Travel in Ecuador involves everything from being a major city to trekking lodge-to-lodge in the mountains. While hiking, breakfast is typically around 7 a.m., and you will hit the trail by 8 a.m. You will be given a pack lunch for the trail, and during the day you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoons there should be time for some relaxation before dinner.

These are mountain trails, but very well-worn ones. The tread is well maintained and, while sections are steep and challenging, footing won’t be a problem.

How hard is it?

While we believe that anyone in good physical condition can complete our hiking trips, this trip is strenuous. While travel always entails some level of adventure and challenge, when we say “strenuous” we mean there will be long, sometimes difficult hikes; occasional significant physical barriers such as climbing; and the chance of falling or some other injury. To complete this trip, especially with any enjoyment, one must be in good physical shape – in particular, able to handle strenuous hikes on several consecutive days.

What do we eat?

You’ll be served three meals per day, with plentiful portions. Specialty diets such as vegetarian or gluten-free are available on request. Breakfast will include things like eggs, meat, toast, oatmeal, dry cereal, juice, milk, and coffee or tea. Lunch, often boxed, will typically include a sandwich, chicken, fruit, a chocolate bar and juice. Dinner might be soup; potatoes, rice, or pasta; chicken or beef; vegetables; and milk, and coffee or tea.

Not included are snacks for the trail, such as bars, trail mix, and electrolyte drink mixes. If you like to hike with these, bring them!

Do I need a visa?

US citizens do not need a visa to enter Ecuador. But your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned date of departure.

What is the sleeping arrangement?

While in town, we stay at bed-and-breakfast lodgings. Many of the lodges on this tour are quite modern.

What is included in the trip cost?

Your cost includes transportation, lodging, guide fees, and most meals. While on the climb, all your meals are included, although you might want to bring some snacks that you like to have during the day. Before and after the hikes you will have some time (and meals) on your own in town. Also not included in the cost is your airfare, souvenirs, and tips for guides and drivers.

How far ahead should I book this trip?

You want to commit to this trip at least six months ahead of time. It takes a lot of preparation, both logistical and physical. Beginning at this point, you should be booking your airplane tickets and planning your training regimen.

What will the weather be like?

September in Ecuador is prime hiking season, with days typically warm and sunny and nights quite cool due to the elevation. Of course, these are mountains, and large volcanoes like these are known to "make their own weather." Embark will share plenty of information on this, as well as what to bring and wear.

Embark Exploration Co. logo

Let's book this trip!

Plan Your Adventure