Illinizas Refuge

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Cotopaxi and Pichincha, Ecuador, South America
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15420 ft / 4700 m
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Illinizas Refuge
Created On: Jan 4, 2010
Last Edited On: Dec 27, 2017


The Nuevos Horizontes refuge is located at 4,700 m (15,416 ft) at the norther flanks of Illiniza Sur. It is considered the smallest high altitude refuge in the Ecuadorian Andes. Strategically built right on the saddle between Illiniza Sur and Illiniza Norte, it is the best option for those who want to push for the 6th and 8th Ecuadorian highest summits respectively, as well as for acclimatization purposes.
The Nuevos Horizontes refuge.
The Nuevos Horizontes refuge (4,700 m / 15,416 ft).

The refuge is being renovated by the new administration staff (Fernando Iza and Juan Pablo Vargas). Bunk beds, mattresses, table, kitchenware and even toiletes have been replaced for new ones. Projects of extending the refuge facilities are being considered.
Nuevos Horizontes refuge.

Getting to the refuge

From La Virgen Parking Lot (3,900 m / 12,792) follow the well marked and signed trail that ends up at the northern moraine ridge of Illiniza Sur, 2 hours after leaving the trailhead. Another trail continues up switchbacking by the steep scree ridge. Follow the ridge up for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes until it traverses west towards the saddle. The Nuevos Horizontes refuge is clearly visible from the ridge.

Getting to Reserva Ecologica Los Illinizas

From Terminal de Buses Quitumbe (south of Quito), take one of the several buses that leave to Machachi. There are only two bus companies that offer their service to Machachi, Transportes Mejia and Carlos Brito. You'll need to get off the bus at Mercado Central de Machachi.

Catch another bus to the town of El Chaupi (blue-and-white buses signed “El Chaupi”). They pass through the same place. The best spot to catch a ride is at “Supermercados AKI”.
Illinizas Campground.
Illinizas campground (4,700 m / 15,416 ft).

The statue of a woman milking a cow will tell you that you've arrived to El Chaupi (13 Km-bus-ride on a cobbled road). From El Chaupi continue on the road towards the Illinizas parking lot (La Virgen, there's a small shrine to the virgin) which is about 9 km away.


The Nuevos Horizontes refuge has the following facilities:

 1 kitchen (including kitchenware, pots, pans, mixing bowls, cutting boards, knives, spoons and gadgets)
 1 small living room
 Electricity (from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm)
 Basic food supplies (hot chocolate, coffee, tea, soup, drinks, snacks, beer and wine)
 Running water
 Outdoor toilets
 Bunkbeds and mattresses (bring your sleeping bag)
 First Aid Kit
 Fire place

The refuge has a capacity for 25 people. It doesn't have heater facilities, and lockers.


Refugio Nuevos Horizontes fee:

 Foreigners: USD. 15.00.
 Ecuadorians and residents: USD. 7.50.

Meals can be purchase at the refuge for USD. 7.00 each.

Reserva Ecologica Los Illinizas entrance fee:

 Currently, there are not fees for National Parks and Ecological Reserves in Ecuador.


Private transportation:

Transportation to La Virgen parking lot can be arranged at Refugio Los Illinizas office located at the north side of the park in the town of El Chaupi or in La Llovizna lodge. Their rates are USD. 10.00 each way (40 minute-ride).

Transportation from Machachi is not so recommendable, their rates are USD. 25.00 each way and their service isn't efficient.

Transportation from Quito can be arranged in travel agencies for USD. 80,00 per day.

Public transportation:

Transportes Mejia and Carlos Brito leave every 20 minutes to Machachi from Terminal Quitumbe in Quito (USD. 0.55, 1 hour).

Transportes El Chaupi leave every 30 minutes from Machachi to El Chaupi (USD. 0.32, 40 minutes).

Other lodges / campgrounds

Hostal La Llovizna:

One of the best places to spent the night at, with warm bedrooms and hobbit-sized garret rooms, fire places, kitchen, Tv and ping pong table. Many of the parties and climbing teams start their ascension to Illiniza Norte from here. Its owner, Bladimir Gallo is the ex-manager of the Nuevos Horizontes refuge. He can arrange 4WD transportation up to La Virgen parking lot as well as guided hikes, climbs and horses.

La Virgen Campground or Bosque de Polilepis:

A few meters beyond the parking lot, there's a flat area which can be used as a potencial campground. Water is available at a nearby stream below the creek. Many parties start their ascension to Illiniza Norte and Sur from this area. Is not recommendable to leave your items unattended while climbing.

Illinizas Campground:

Located at the eastern side of the Nuevos Horizontes refuge. By setting up your tent here and paying the USD. 5.00 fee (per tent), you are entitled of using the refuge's facilities; kitchen, restrooms and water.

Glacier campground:

There's an optional campground just 50 meters beyond the refuge at the foothills of Illiniza Sur. It is located right next to a green lake in a flat area. No fees charged.

Other Information


* Illinizas Refuge information