If you are interested:
No matter where you are, guides will probably usually use the highest elevation available.
Anyway, it is 100% certain that Orizaba is around 18,400-18,500 feet rather than 18,700 feet as some older sources state. SRTM data confirms this and 18,700 is for sure an error. The latest Mexican topographic survey puts the peak at 18,409, close to the height listed on this mountain page. SRTM, topographic surveys, and the figure posted on the mountain page are all fairly close.
5610 meters (18,406') is the number now officially issued by the Mexican government (INEGI) as well as Secor and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Wikipedia uses 5636 M (18,491').
A quick review of Joaquin Canchola Limon hostel - aka the Cancholas Family Hostel - having stayed there with a group. The pros: the people are friendly, they make their livelihood off the service and know the logistics well and drive you up to the basecamp hut, and you can leave stuff at the hostel while you go up to Orizaba.
The cons: The beds in the hostel are very uncomfortable (we put our camping pads on top of the so-called mattresses and it was still quite uncomfortable), the food was mediocre at best, you are sharing 3 shower/bathrooms with potentially a lot of people, and the prices are outrageously high. Yes it's a hostel so these conditions are to be expected, but the prices do not reflect that. If you break up the costs to separate out food and transportation, it's still $50+/night per person, with 3 or more people in a room -- i.e., $150+/night for a somewhat dirty room with no amenities.
If you don't want to think about the logistics and don't mind spending a lot of money for it, then it's not a terrible option. But know that it's ridiculously overpriced for what it is.
February 8, 2016 on the standard Jamapa Glacier route:
I was making a solo ascent of the peak, convinced that crevasse danger was minimal from all I had read online. I broke through the surface of the glacier at 18100', fell 8 meters to the crevasse floor, and spent the next 24 hours trying to get out of a 3 meter wide crevasse. I was eventually rescued. I feel compelled to advise climbers that this mountain is changing. Large crevasses do exist. One nearly took my life. I will return to Orizaba, but only as part of a roped team. In the spirit of common sense, I invite others to do the same.
Oso of Orizaba Mountain Guides also now has a bunk house/hostel He has 4x4's and water logistics as well. . He is in "Zoapan" which on maps is "San Miguel Zoapan." It is closer to the mountain than tlachichuca and is a 2 dollar cab ride from tlachichuca. The lodgings were really good and the food was awesome. Zoapan is smaller and with less amenities than tlachichuca but I believe Oso's services may be cheaper. Worth contacting to find out.
Also from Puebla you want to take the "VALLES" bus line to Tlachichuca. This information seemed to be hard to find (for me), but is quite simple at the Puebla bus station. The changing of buses in Puebla is very simple if you are coming from D.F (mexico city). The ADO allows you to check your bags and they are secure. Watch your stuff (sit passenger side over looking the baggage compartment) while riding the Valles line.
We just used Orizaba Mountain Guides and were very happy with everything. Having everything taken care of (lodging, food, transportation to and from the mountain, guides, and gear rentals) made it much easier. We rented a car in Mexico City to get to Zoapan, which worked out, but going on the bus might have been more relaxing.
I hope people will remember how important it is to acclimitize for Orizaba. Mexico City is about 7000 feet, most lodges/hostels near the mountain are at around 10,000 feet and the hut/refuge is a little over 13,000 feet. We met many people who were unsuccessful at attempting to summit after just one day at their lodge, and coming from home cities that are at sea level. In my opinion this is not a safe thing to do.
Currently the peak displays in the town of Orizaba. Try these and it should fix the problem (19.030498, -97.269848).
Just got back from a 2 week Mexico volcano climb. Used Roberto's Orizaba Mountain Guide service for the whole trip. We customized the OMG-7 trip and was very ready and acclimated for the Pico do Orizaba climb. The OMG lodge was very comfortable, with hot showers, comfortable rooms and great food. They are located in the village of Zoapan which is higher and closer to the Piedre Grande hut. Juan was my guide throughout the trip and provided great service. All other posts regarding climbing Pico de Orizaba are accurate. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
We climbed Orizaba, Izta and Nevado de Toluca, great trip. We used a small local company called Nómada (Mexican Travel and Adventure) - really good price and good service!
This past week one U.S. climber was killed on Orizaba and several others had to be rescued. It is imperative that people are aware of the risks when climbing Orizaba and how valuable it is to use a local, highly qualified guide and that you have experience with crampons, ice axes, and crevasse rescue. When we climbed last year (with OMG) there were many people trying to go on their own and were not only unsuccessful, but two needed rescuing. We also witnessed a woman tumble down the glacier. Had her husband not been able to tackle her, she would have gone off a cliff. This past week's tragedies put not just those who were rescued at risk, but all the people involved in the rescue. Rescuers were injured, and I am sure many are exhausted both physically and emotionally. The Mexican climbing companies and villagers are heroes, in my opinion. They volunteered to help strangers. Even if you think you are experienced or tough or whatever, do yourself a favor (and others a favor), hire a guide. It is the smart thing to do. Don't be cheap and don't try to be macho. Our family would hate to learn that a Mexican lost their life helping someone who had no business climbing Orizaba.
While I respect your position, I would like to add to what you mention here. You are correct that many people attempt Orizaba who have no business being there without a guide, and those people should indeed hire a guide! Please don't take offense, however, it's a little narrow minded to say that EVERYONE should hire a guide to climb this peak. There are many people who have climbed much larger, more difficult peaks who certainly wouldn't need a guide to ascend Orizaba. Perhaps many people with that level of skill wouldn't bother climbing Orizaba, but either way, skilled climbers should be free to climb the mountain on their own. I agree though that people attempting to climb without the knowledge, skill, gear, or endurance endangers not only themselves, but others on the mountain as well, and they should be guided assuming they at least have met a required pre-requisite level of fitness.
Just wanted to clarify my views on this matter. May those who perished RIP, and the ones who aided are indeed very selfless and heroic.
I totally agree with Matt. I climbed Pico de Orizaba with my friend and mountaineering partner at a time back in Nov 2016. While we took longer than other more fit and altitude experienced climbers, we had no guide but we were comfortable with our crampons/ice axe/navigation skills.
I hope I don't face the day where I need to be rescued at my own fault. Pay attention to the situation, have basic mountaineering knowledge, communicate at all times and it's totally doable.
One error I did is missing a breakfast due to the alpine start. That was the first and last time I ever did that before the big day of climbing.