The Cotopaxi climb holds special significance among mountain climbers across the world for several reasons. Firstly, it is widely favored among climbers in Ecuador and the Andes due to its accessibility, attracting both seasoned mountaineers and novices alike because the entrance to Cotopaxi National Park is short drive from the Panamerican highway.  Moreover, The uniqueness of the Cotopaxi climb is amplified by its volcanic nature. As an active volcano, Cotopaxi offers climbers the opportunity to conquer not just a mountain but a dynamic geological monolith with breathtaking views of the crater at its summit.  The conical shape of Cotopaxi resembles the symmetrical cone of Japan’s renowned Mount Fuji–but at 5,900 meters it is over 2,000 meters taller–and the volcano often influences weather patterns, adding an element of unpredictability and adventure to the climb.  Overall, the combination of Cotopaxi’s iconic silhouette and the challenges it presents make the climb a memorable and sought-after experience for adventurers.

The availability of multiple routes provides flexibility, enabling guides to select the safest path to climb Cotopaxi based on prevailing conditions.  The ascent to Cotopaxi’s summit offers two primary routes starting from the Jose Rivas refuge: the Yanasacha route and the Heartbreaker. While Cotopaxi is considered a non-technical climb, it is mandated by law that climbers are accompanied by a certified Mountain Guide to reach the peak. Guides select the route on the day of the climb, carefully assessing the conditions to ensure the safest and most enjoyable journey to the summit.

Cotopaxi climb route

Safety, Guides, Climbing Equipment, and Mountain Weather:

Our guides have all of the necessary safety accreditations as well as hundreds of hours of experience climbing Ecuador’s two most popular peaks Chimborazo and Cotopaxi.

Our mountain climbing equipment is modern and almost brand new – we have multiple sizes for mountain climbing boots and warm jackets designed for high-altitude.

The weather on Mount Chimborazo is unpredictable but we will try to give you as accurate information as possible on weather forecasts as well as information on how many successful ascents there have been in the previous weeks.

Climb Cotopaxi Costs

- 2 people 1 guide $325 USD per person
- 1 person 1 guide solo climb $560 USD
Cotopaxi Refuge ✓ Included

Refuge Jose Rivas is located at 4860 m on Mount Cotopaxi

Dinner ✓ Included

Dinner at the refuge and snacks and drinks during the climb *Please tell us if you are a vegetarian

Cotopaxi Tour Insurance ✓ Included

If something goes wrong on the mountain the insurance pays for a rescue team, first aid, and an ambulance to the hospital.

Travel Insurance ✗ Not Included

Insurance is included on the tour which covers you for rescue and first aid on the mountain as well as the ambulance to a hospital in Riobamba which is where your travel insurance will take over.

Climbing Gear ✓ Included

All mountain climbing equipment and warm clothing specially designed for high-altitude climbs.

Transportation ✓ Included

Transport to and from Mount Cotopaxi is provided from the cities of Quito or Riobamba, the climbing capital of Ecuador

Park Permits ✓ Included

Entrance into the Cotopaxi National Park is included. This helps the park rangers take care of the park

Extra Snacks & Alcoholic Drinks ✗ Not included

Extra snacks and drinks can be purchased at High Camp for a reasonable price

Climbing Gear and Equipment

The gear and equipment required for the climb are essential for the success of the climb. As part of our due dilligence, we ensure our clients are equipped with the appropriate gear for the climb, including warm clothing, climbing boots, crampons, ice axes, helmets, and climbing harnesses. Ecuador Eco Adventure is sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment and our alpine gear to Climb Cotopaxi is high quality.

Climbing Gear Inluded in Cotopaxi Cost:

✓ Mountaineering Boots and Crampons

✓ Gaiters & Waterproof or Soft Shell Pants

✓ Waterproof jacket

✓ Inner thermal pants + Inner thermal fleece x 2

✓ Warm hat & Sports Sun glasses

✓ Helmet, Harness & Ice Axe

✓ Sleeping bag & 45 - 50 Lt Back Pack

✓ Duffle bag to carry all gear

✓ Outer Shell waterproof gloves

What's NOT INLUDED in the Climb Cotopaxi Cost:

✓ Inner Wool Gloves

✓ Sunglasses (Bring your own polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of sun off the glacier

Frequently Asked Questions

No you can't. Under Ecuadorian law you need a certified guide to climb Cotopaxi
Yes. Our bodega is full of top notch mountain climbing gear. What's included and not included is documented to the left of the FAQ's.
Generally, the Cotopaxi climb begins at midnight while climbers reach the summit at dawn. The Cotopaxi Climb Starts from the Jose Rivas mountain refuge at 4860 meters, after commencing the climb at midnight the ascent to the summit 7 hours.
Yes. Altitude sickness varies for everyone and there are varying levels of altitude sickness--from mild to life threatening. Our ASEGUIM Certified guides are highly-trained to recognise the symptoms of altitude sickness and are entrusted to make the call whether to push on when clients experience mild symptoms or begin the descent if the symptoms do not alleviate. The best way to counter altitude sickness is to spend time at altitude before the climb, such as trekking El Altar are through Sangay.
Yes. After being closed for two years the refuge in Cotopaxi National Park is now open.
We need at least 4 days in order to make all the paperwork and reservations effective in order to book. This paperwork includes Cotopaxi National Park permits and insurance.

Advice for Climbing Mount Cotopaxi

Climbing Mount Cotopaxi in Ecuador is an exhilarating and challenging adventure that requires a lot of preparation to ensure the safety and success of the climbers. As a tour operator, it is our responsibility to make sure that our clients are equipped with the necessary knowledge, gear, and physical fitness to take on the mountain.

Mount Cotopaxi stands at 5,897 meters, which makes it one of the highest peaks in Ecuador. Climbing such a high altitude requires a high level of physical fitness, and the client must be in good health to attempt the climb. It is important to ensure that the client is physically fit and able to handle the altitude, cold weather, and steep terrain.
Acquiring Necessary Permits: Mount Cotopaxi is a protected area, and climbers require a permit to climb the mountain. As a tour operator, it is our responsibility to acquire the necessary permits for our clients. We must also ensure that the clients are aware of the rules and regulations of the park and abide by them during the climb.
Acclimatization: Acclimatization is an important aspect of preparing for the climb. The body needs time to adjust to the altitude, and climbers must spend several days acclimatizing before attempting to reach the summit. Consider checking out our guided trekking for the El Altar Trek or Ecuador Inca Trail.
Hiring Local Guides: Local guides are essential for the success of the climb. As a tour operator, we hire experienced local guides who are familiar with the mountain and its terrain. The guides provide valuable information about the climb, the weather conditions, and the best routes to take. They also ensure the safety of the clients during the climb.


We ensure that our clients adhere to Leave No Trace principles which includes packing out all trash and waste and leaving the mountain in its natural state to keep our peaks and paramos clean for the pachamama.


Keeping a small footprint often means not disturbing the local wildlife by admiring native animals from a distance.  Our guides are all budding naturalists at heart and passionate about Ecuador's unique biodiversity.


Our highly experienced Andes mountain guides are certified by the Ministries of Tourism and Environment as well as the Asociación Ecuatoriana de Guías de Montaña (Ecuadorian Association of Mountain Guides - ASEGUIM)

Acclimatise with Ecuador Eco Adventure

Trekking at altitude will increase your chance of reaching the summit



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