The top 5 volcanoes to climb in Ecuador
Cotopaxi is the most famous volcano for mountaineering in Ecuador. Its summit is at 5897m above sea level, rendering it as the second highest mountain in the country. You can approach the volcano either from Quito, only 34 miles away, or from the city of Latacunga. It can be attempted all year round.
Cayambe is a great option, and gets much less crowded than Cotopaxi.
It is the third highest mountain in Ecuador (5790m), located 40 miles to the northeast from Quito. “Glaciar Hermoso”, or "The Beautiful Glacier", is a great place to learn and practice climbing techniques in snow and ice, and can be accessed from the refuge at 4600m.
Just as Cotopaxi, it can be climbed all year round, although the best months to do it are those between October and January.
Chimborazo's summit is the highest place in Ecuador. It was, for a long time, considered to be the highest mountain in the world, until measurements of the Himalayas proved that wrong. However, with 6268m, it is still the farthest point from the center of the Earth.
The normal route is through the southwest face. To avoid clouds and rock fall hazard, the ascent in the summit day must begin around midnight.
Chimborazo can be climbed all year round. However, the best months are June and July and December through early January. February through May are known for bad weather, especially in the month of April.
Antisana is one of the least climbed volcanoes because of its reputation as a difficult mountain. This difficulty, however, is compensated with spectacular views of Cotopaxi and Cayambe, and even some sights of the Andean condor. Located in the eastern range of the Andes, next to the Amazon-basin, it can get quite cloudy, so the best season to go there are the dry months between December and February.
5. El Altar
Away from the usual destinations, climbing El Altar can be an exciting challenge for advanced mountaineers. Its nine summits offer many technical routes, and unlike the other aforementioned trips, an expedition to El Altar requires a week. The reward? A vast, impressive scenery, which you’ll get to enjoy almost on your own.