Get to the top as the sun rises, and you can see the peaks of the surrounding volcanoes glisten red and yellow and miles of glacier spread below with the twinkling lights of Quito visible in the distance. Well worth the climb.

Ollie is here to help give you the inside track.

Key Stats

Flight from London London

11:15 hrs

Time Difference

GMT -5 hrs

Cotopaxi lies 40 miles south of Quito, Ecuador's second highest mountain, and one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.

Translated as 'Neck of the Moon' in the local Quechua language, the perfectly conical Cotopaxi is not technically challenging to climb, but the altitude and glaciated slopes make it physically demanding and better suited to more experienced climbers.

After resting at the climbers hut on the slopes of the volcano at 15,000ft, you start your ascent to the summit between midnight and 1am. The early start allows you to take advantage of better snow conditions so you can travel more quickly and safely. After a six or seven hour climb you reach the summit, to bask in the glorious view as the sun rises.

The descent is much speedier, after a short break at the climbers hut, you can make your way back to Quito for a well earned rest.

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Original Highlight

Image of Will Boocock

For the extreme traveller, you could go on to climb Chimborazo adding another 20,702 ft to your records.

Will, Original Traveller

Where to stay

Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge

Just two and a half hours west of Quito in the biodiverse hot spot of Tumbez-Choco-Magdalena, the new Mashpi Lodge is the ideal staging post for anyone wanting to explore the Andean Cloudforest.

 Casa Gangotena

Casa Gangotena

Located on Plaza San Francisco, a cobbled square with a history stretching back to Inca days, Casa Gangotena is the perfect base from which to explore Quito.

Hacienda San Agustin de Callo

Hacienda San Agustin de Callo

Just over an hour from the capital Quito, the Hacienda San Agustin de Callo is built on one of the two most significant Inca sites in Ecuador.

Hacienda Pinsaqui

Hacienda Pinsaqui

Hacienda Pinsaqui is a colonial property that has belonged to the Freile family since 1888 and is one of Ecuador’s oldest and most historic haciendas.

Hacienda Cusin

Hacienda Cusin

Situated within a wide scenic valley just south of the snow-capped Imbabura mountain lies Hacienda Cusin, a restored 17th century estate.

 Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta

Zuleta is a 4,000 acre colonial working farm that has belonged to the family of a former Ecuadorian president for more than 100 years.

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz

Located in the heart of the historic centre of Quito, this small and charming colonial-style hotel is surrounded by churches, museums and national monuments.

Plaza Grande

Plaza Grande

This legendary building was originally the home of Juan Díaz de Hidalgo, one of the Spanish conquerors who founded Quito in the early 16th century.

Casa Aliso

Casa Aliso

This delightful little property offers all of the style and comfort of a small luxurious home, with warm and tasteful interiors.

Start creating your tailored trip today

Ollie is our Quito and The Highlands expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on +44 (0) 20 7978 7333

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