Mountain Guardians 8D/7N


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.

Day 1: Quito

Quito Colonial Center Tour (4 Hours)

The place to start is Colonial Quito, a city of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city´s many spectacularly decorated historic churches. The city has one of the best preserved colonial centers in all South America and its integrity was assured in 1978 when the United Nations declared Quito a World Cultural Heritage site.

Morning visit to colonial Quito. We will walk through the Main Plaza, where you will see the Government Palace, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including La Compania church the monastery of San Francisco which was started 5 days after the founding of the city in 1534. Then we will visit La Ronda street, here we will learn about the traditional jobs in the Colonial Quito.

At the end of the city tour we will visit the Panecillo hill, where we will be able to admire the famous Panecillo’s virgin and spectacular views of Quito.

Lunch included.

Later your guide will drive you to the climbing equipment center, so you can try the equipment and be ready for the next days.

Night at the Casa Aliso (Standard room)

Included:  English speaking guide, excursion, transport, lunch, room

Day 2: Pasochoa

First peak, Pasochoa

Leaving Quito early in the morning, we will start with the first peak today: 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.

The second part of our day consists of the descent to the Pedregal Valley, ending at cozy Chilcabamba Lodge, situated at about 3,200 meters above sea level.

Mountain: Pasochoa.

Maximum Altitude: 4,200 meters above sea level.

Hiking time: 7 Hours.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Type of terrain: Grassland trails.

Transportation: Vehicle to the foot of Pasochoa, and walking.

Night at Chilcabamba Lodge (standard room) Dinner included

Included: brekfast, transport, excursion, English speaking guide, Snack during the activity, room and dinner

Day 3: Cotopaxi

Pita River Loop

The hike will take around 4-5 hours and departs from the lodge and back to the lodge, the descent is gradual from the grasslands of Cotopaxi down to the area known as the Pedregal and the humid Andean forests. Explore waterfalls, bird watch, learn about plants…its suitable for kids as well as keen trekkers preparing to explore the surrounding higher mountains.

Hiking time: 5 Hours.

Difficulty– Easy

Type of terrain: Grassland

Transportation: Walking.

Lunch at Chilcabamba Dinner at Chilcabamba

Night at Chilcabamba Lodge (standard room)

Included: breakfast, transport, excursion, English speaking guide, Snack during the activity, lunch, room and dinner

Day 4: Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi Trail

Today we head to Cotopaxi National Park, one of Ecuador’s most beautiful protected areas. On a clear day it is possible to see Cotopaxi’s peak from parts of Quito, but its majesty can only be truly experienced from within the borders of the park. When the weather cooperates, views of its snow-capped, almost symmetrical cone like summit are awe-inspiring. Our hike starts at the Pita River which provides essential drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Quiteños (as Ecuador’s capital city residents are known); its source is the pristine glacial melt water of Mt. Cotopaxi. The Pita’s rushing waters will accompany us throughout much of our adventure.

This is a special and beautiful hike, but it’s about more than just the beauty and activity. By hiking here, we are working to conserve the Pita River. The hike is designed to raise awareness for both locals and visitors alike about the importance of this body of water, how conserving it is important, and how melting glaciers will impact our population.

The hike enters Cotopaxi National Park and we head towards an archeological site called Pucara de Salitre, where we can see a variety of migrant and resident Andean birds. 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 Park’s natural springs, admiring classic views of Cotopaxi Volcano or perhaps the reflection of Mt. Rumiñahui Mount in the 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.

Mountain: Cotopaxi

Maximum Altitude: 3,755 meters above sea level.

Hiking time: 5 Hours.

Difficulty: Easy

Type of terrain: Forest– grassland trails.

Transportation: Walking.

Night at Chilcabamba Lodge (standard room)

Included: breakfast, transport,  excursion, English speaking guide, Snack during the activity, lunch, room and dinner

Day 5: Cotopaxi

The second peak, Rumiñahui central

Climbing the lowest peak of Rumiñahui, named after a famous Inca general and known as the park’s sentry, will take us right into the heart of the grasslands, passing small waterfalls before arriving at the stone plains and walls of the mountain at around 4,600 meters above sea level.

The climb is not difficult, and you do not need to be an experienced climber; for some this will be just the second peak they have climbed in their lives. This hike highlights the grandeur of the Andes, offering you views over the eastern side of Sincholagua as well as Cotopaxi, the lord of the brilliant grassy foothills that never cease to entrance hikers.

Today we will make a circuit of the mountain, hiking through the eastern foothills, passing by the ‘Machay’(an Inca refuge), arriving at the stone plains where we will take a southerly direction after climbing the central peak. On our descent we will pass through ‘the silent valley’ that follows the course of a number of small streams before opening out onto the stunning Limpiopungo lagoon.

Mountain: Rumiñahui Central.

Maximum altitude: 4,600meters above sea level.

Hiking time: 6 Hours.

Difficulty– Moderate

Type of terrain: Grassland/sand hills – Rocky

Transportation: Walking, Vehicle from Limpiopungo on return to lodge.

Night at Chilcabamba Lodge (standard room)

Included: Breakfast, transport, excursion,  English speaking guide,  Snack during the activity, box lunch, room and dinner

Day 6: Cotopaxi


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 our next mountain lodge.

Mountain: Cotopaxi (Glaciers on the snow line).

Maximum altitude: 5,100 meters above sea level.

Hiking time: 4 Hours.

Difficulty – Moderate

Type of terrain: Sandy ground – Glacier

Transportation: Vehicle from Chilcabamba to Cotopaxi parking area, walking and transportation to Tambopaxi.

Night at the Tambopaxi (Standard Room)

Included:  breakfast,  transport, excursion, English speaking guide, Snack during the activity, lunch, room and dinner

Day 7: Cotopaxi

Rest day and Cotopaxi refuge

The day before climbing a mountain such as Cotopaxi it is important to rest, plan the ascent and pack exactly what we need to take onto the mountain. You should remember to charge cameras, make sure lantern batteries are in order, and check all other technological equipment you plan to use to record this memorable, once in a lifetime event.

It is also important to relax, putting aside any anxieties: reading a book in the morning, relaxing and enjoying the spectacular scenery, and perhaps remembering some of the highlights of the journey so far. Everything is now focused on getting to the refuge and the certainty of reaching our objective: the mountain summit.

After a light but sustaining lunch we will once again make our way to the refuge by vehicle and walking. The total time assigned for the activity is no more than 2 hours, after which we will eat a light supper and rest after 6 pm in order to conserve energy for the night and early morning activities.

In the evening (which will end at eleven thirty!) we will make our way to Refuge José F. Ribas, at an altitude of 4,800 meters above sea level.

Mountain: Cotopaxi (refuge).

Maximum altitude: 4,800 meters above sea level.

Hiking time: 2 Hours.

Difficulty – Easy

Type of terrain: Sand and stone

Transportation: Vehicle from to Cotopaxi parking area and walking.

Hotel Refugio José Rivas

Included:  breakfast, transport, excursion, English speaking guide, Snack during the activity, lunch, room and dinner

Day 8: Cotopaxi – Quito

The Cotopaxi peak

The climb begins at midnight after a quick ‘breakfast’ and final equipment check. The average time needed to reach the summit is between 5 and 7 hours, offering us a good chance to see the sun come up from our position high on the mountain.

The climb is not complicated, but the conditions can change with the weather. The degree of difficulty is medium, and though a little mountain climbing experience is recommended, most people that attempt the climb reach the summit and its impressive vaporous crater. With the experience we have accumulated so far there should be no problem.

The maximum inclination is 50 degrees, and the reward for your efforts will be a truly phenomenal view of the Avenue of the Volcanoes, a panorama which includes Chimborazo to the South and Imbabura to the North and all the magnificent peaks in between: Tungurahua y Sangay, el Altar, Quilindaña, Antizana, Cayambe, Ilinizas, Corazón, Atacazo and Pichincha.

The descent, which will take approximately 3 hours, takes the same route as the initial climb. After a short celebration in the Refuge we will collect our equipment and head off towards your next destination.

Mountain: Cotopaxi Summit.

Maximum altitude: 5,897 meters above sea level.

Hiking time: 9 Hours.

Difficulty– Difficult

Type of terrain: Sandy – Glacier – Sn

Transportation: climbing, transportation by vehicle from Cotopaxi parking area back to Quito

Included:  box breakfast,  English speaking guide (mountain climber), excursion, Snack during the activity, box lunch, transportation

price per person






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