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.

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.

Why We Love It

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

Ollie, Original Traveller

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Ollie is our 'Climbing Cotopaxi' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.