Ecuador: Avenue of the Volcanoes

15 days
from
2 535 €
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Traveller ratings
4.1 / 5 from 7 reviews >
Trip code: 
TPV
Activity:
Summits
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–16

Trek in Ecuador's volcanic backbone 

Ecuador is liberally sprinkled with some of the world's highest peaks. Our acclimatisation starts with the Pinan trek in the highlands of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve before we head south to discover Otavalo Indian market and relax in the hot springs, ready for our first climb of Imbabura Volcano. Ice skills practice on Antisana's glaciers will prepare us for the tough (but optional) ascent of Cayambe, Ecuadors third highest volcano. On Cayambe we climb with a ratio of one guide to every two trekkers to maximise our chance of summiting.

Highlights

  • Climb to the summit of Cayambe with a 2 to 1 guide ratio 
  • Superb acclimatisation schedule to maximise chance of success
  • Ice-climbing skills practice on Antisana's glaciers 
  • Rental of ice-axe and helmet included free of charge

Key information

  • 5 days walking, 5 days climbing and ice skills practice 
  • Previous ice climbing experience not necessary 
  • Altitude maximum 5790m, average 4000m
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs 
  • 9 nights hotels with en suite facilities, 4 nights full-service camping and 1 night in mountain hut with shared facilities

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 9 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Rental of ice-axe and helmet included free of charge

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Day by day breakdown
Day 314.0km/8.0miles
Day 412.0km/7.0miles
Day 515.0km/9.0miles
Day 610.0km/6.0miles
Day 720.0km/12.0miles
Day 915.0km/9.0miles
Day 104.0km/2.0miles
Day 115.0km/3.0miles
Day 133.0km/1.0miles
Day 144.0km/2.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Quito
to
Quito
  • Day 1

    Start Quito.

    The group flight usually arrives into Quito this evening. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. Free transfers are available for all clients.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    City tour and equipment check.

    This morning you'll have the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers as we have a welcome briefing and take a guided tour of the main sights in Quito. Quito is the second highest capital in the world, standing at 2800m on the western cordillera of the Andes. It is one of the smaller and more attractive of the colonial capitals of South America. As the city is at an altitude of approx 2850m, you should take it easy. Your tour leader will do a full briefing about the trek today, inclduing a thorough check on everyone's mountaineering equipment for the later parts of the trip. Luggage not required for the Pinan trek, Imbabura and Cayambe climb can be left at the hotel in Quito. We will need a list of any rental equipment that you require at least 2 weeks before your arrival to prepare it for you. Please see the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Acclimatisation hike at Cuicocha Crater Lake.

    Heading north from Quito along the Pan American Highway, a three hour drive brings us to Cuicocha Lake. This beautiful 3km wide caldera (volcanic crater) was formed about 3100 years ago by a massive volcanic explosion. The undulating 14k trek around this lake will take about 5 hours. At approx 3050m - 3500m altitude it provides excellent acclimatisation for the days ahead. We then head northwards to Tumbabiro where we overnight in a stunning converted hacienda at the much more comfortable altitude of 2050m. Luggage not required for the Pinan trek can be left here as you will be returning to the hacienda after the trek.

    Accommodation: Hosteria Pantavi (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Start Pinan trek; walk to a small Indian village.

    A short drive this morning brings us to the small village of Pablo Arenas (2400m) from where we start our trek towards San Francisco situated at 2900m. We begin on a wide track that affords spectacular views of the surrounding fertile countryside. Later we pass through typical mountain forest. The path is well marked and involves a series of steep ascents and descents with a final climb which leads us to our campsite, next to the village of San Francisco. Today's 12km walk should take around 5 to 6 hours. A packed lunch is included.

    Accommodation:
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Camp beside Yanacocha Lake.

    Today our path begins with a steep ascent and soon leaves civilisation behind. We pass through beautiful, moss-clad polylepis mountain forests and paramo landscape. With a bit of luck we may even spot a condor. The highest point today is the pass at 4030m from where we gain views down to our lakeside campsite with Mount Yanaurco towering behind. Our overnight camp will be next to Yanacocha Lake at 3930m. Today's walk is 15km and should take approximately 8 hours.

    Accommodation:
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Climb the extinct volcano of Yanaurco (4530m).

    Today we start our 7 to 8 hour 10km trek to the top of the extinct volcano of Yanaurco passing highland vegetation. The ascent is not technical but is steep with some light scambling near the top. The final part is a rocky ridge and the summit (4535m) is a striking natural garden with a pre-Inca altar. The descent affords incredible views towards the valley below. We continue to follow the trail down, curving around the mountain towards the next campsite at 4000m.

    Accommodation:
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    End trek; relax in hot springs.

    From our camp at the Cucharo crater we walk over an oasis at 3960m to drop down to a valley. The path gradually becomes more defined as we trek through forest and continue descending to the next village, passing lush meadows where we'll stop to have our packed lunch. On a clear day Cayambe volcano can be seen in the distance. We end the trek at the welcoming medicinal hot springs of Chachimbiro (2500m) to relax and soothe any aching limbs. There is also a café at the springs where cold drinks and beer can be purchased. Our bus will meet us here for the drive back to the small village of Tumbabiro and our hacienda where it is possible to do some laundry, if required. The 20km hike will take 6 to 7 hours, most of which is a steady descent.

    Accommodation: Hosteria Pantavi (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Visit the Otavalo Indian market.

    A leisurely start at our hacienda this morning and then drive to Otavalo (about 90 minutes) to enjoy the famous and busy Saturday market, one of the most important and well known in the region. It is a fantastic place to watch the world go by as indigenous people from the surrounding villages dressed in pristine striking traditional costume frequent the market on a Saturday. Women wear embroidered blouses and long wool skirts whilst the men proudly parade their felt hats, navy blue ponchos and calf- length trousers. There are plenty of souvenirs to buy such as Panama hats, exquisite weaving and jewellery or you can relax at a café. Later we'll continue onto another hacienda just outside of the town with free time to rest.

    Accommodation: Hosteria Las Palmeras (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Summit Imbabura Volcano (4600m).

    An early start as we leave our hacienda at 5am and drive south to the cloud forest and farms at the foot of Imbabura Volcano. This 4630m peak towers over the city of Ibarra and can occasionally be snowclad. Nonetheless, the ascent is straightforward but very steep in places. It involves a scramble towards the top where it becomes rocky. Our target is the North Peak at 4600m, separated from the slighty higher South Peak by a dramatic, jagged caldera ridgeline. Please note in wet weather the final 200m can be extremely slippery and on occasion we might have to abandon this last section. After the ascent we return to our hacienda just outside Otavalo. Total hiking time is approximately 9 hours/15km.

    Accommodation: Hosteria Las Palmeras (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    To Antisana National Park; ice skills class on glacier (approx 4700m).

    Enjoy breakfast at the hacienda before driving to Antisana National Park, a journey of approximately two and a half hours. Antisana Volcano rises to a height of 5704m - Ecuador’s fourth highest - and is surrounded by striking lagoons which reflect the peak in their still waters. From an altitude of 4150m we walk to our campsite at 4550m, where we stop for lunch before hiking up approximately one hour to the lower glaciers (if the weather is reasonable) on which we start honing our ice-skills. We'll be practicing on the ice at about 4700m and this combined with spending the night at our camp (4550m) will give our lungs a good test and provide excellent acclimatisation. Today's walking distance is approximately 4km.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Ice skills training; to Quito.

    Today's practice session begins at 5am so that we are used to walking on snow in the dark for the Cayambe climb. After breakfast we'll head out onto the ice to explore the peak's beautiful glaciers. As well as continuing with our ice skills the plan will be to walk up to 4900m - 5000m on the glacier today. We'll then walk back down to the campsite for lunch and afterwards drive back to Quito. Today's total walking distance is approx. 5km. After a tough couple of days at around 5000m, a night in Quito will give our bodies time to rest, recover and prepare for the final push on Cayambe.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Free day in Quito to relax.

    Today is a free day in Quito. There are many optional day excursions in and around the city, some of which require prior organisation with your leader at the beginning of the trip. The museums, cathedrals and old town can easily keep you occupied inside the city, or you may want to consider trips to the equator line or the nearby cloud forest reserves.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    To Cayambe N.P.; hike to refuge (4700m).

    Drive to Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve today. Close to the park entrance we will meet the guides who will accompany us on Cayambe. We drive to the Ruales Oleas Berge Refuge at 4700m for a detailed briefing about the climb, supper and a very early night!

    Any clients choosing not to climb will travel to San Pablo where alternative activities can be organised, but please be aware that the group leader will continue on with any climbers to the refuge.

    Accommodation: Ruales Oleas Berge Refuge (or similar)
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Climb Cayambe (non climbers hike in N.P); to Quito.

    Our climb begins from the refuge on the west side of Cayambe at around 01:00am - bring a good torch for the ascent. After a light breakfast we begin the 8 hour climb to the summit at 5790 metres. First of all we hike on the andesite rocks toward the glacier, using our hands at times to negotiate the rocks. After around one and a half hours hiking we reach the glacier where we use our crampons and rope. After hiking for a further two hours we pass by the Jarrin rocks which are protruding boulders emerging from the glacier. On the right hand side of the rocks there are a few crevasses which can be avoided by walking to the left hand side. At an altitude of 5700m there is a large crevasse that surrounds the summit, we pursue on the right hand side of the crevasse until we reach an ice bridge which allows us to cross. The last snow pitch is about 10m long and 45 degrees steep - after this we are on the summit at 5790m. After a short (and often very cold) stay on the summit to admire the remarkable views out across the highlands, it takes about 3-4 hours to descend to the hut. Back at the refuge we will have some light refreshments and relax for half an hour or so. At this point we say farewell to our guides and then drive down the mountain and on to Quito. Any clients who chose not to climb will have the opportunity to hike amongst the beautiful Mojanda lakes before returning to Quito with the group. There will be time this afternoon to rest after the climb before our farewell group dinner this evening.

    Accommodation: Hotel Vieja Cuba (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    End Quito.

    Our adventure ends in Quito after breakfast. Free transfers are available for all clients to assist with their return journey from Quito airport. Alternatively, you can extend your stay in Quito for a few extra nights or join the Napo Wildlife Centre Extension.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Ecuador

British passport holders do not need a visa for Ecuador. Very few other nationalities need a visa for Ecuador, but if you are in any doubt you should contact the nearest Ecuadorian Embassy.
Please note that if flying via the US (even as a transit passenger) you must clear US immigration. Most UK citizens are eligible for visa-free travel, but you must register on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which costs USD14 and is valid for two years. Please go to http://www.exodus.co.uk/USvisa for more information.

Vaccinations

Ecuador

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

If you will spend any time in the Amazon Rainforest we recommend a Yellow Fever vaccination. Please note that your certificate of vaccination may be inspected on arrival to this region.

Malaria is also a risk in some areas of the country (including the Amazon Rainforest) so we suggest you consult a doctor for more advice. 

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 11 lunches and 9 dinners are included.

Breakfasts are generally fruit, bread, butter and jam, often served with eggs. While trekking all food is prepared by the local staff and will generally consist of three courses (soup, main and dessert) and boiled drinking water for your water bottles is provided each morning and evening. There will be plenty of soft drinks available during the trek. Lunches when hiking are packed and consist of sandwiches with snacks and chocolate.

Vegetarians are catered for throughout the trip, although as is the case in much of Latin America, vegetarian meals often involve substituting meat with more vegetables. If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us well in advance so that we can advise the local staff of your needs.

Weather

In Quito and the highlands it should be warm by day and generally dry. Maximum daytime temperatures are almost constant throughout the year at 20ºC, nights 8ºC. Some rain can be expected in February to May and October to November but storms, though heavy, are generally short. Quito is considered to have quite a pleasant climate. In the May to September dry season, night time temperatures in the highlands can fall quite dramatically in a short space of time.

Generally the best climbing season for all of Ecuador is considered to be November through to February/early March, but these are considered slightly worse times of the year for trekking lower down, so really all seasons offer advantages. Rain, snow and wind are possible at any time of year and our group's success depends more on luck with the weather and acclimatisation than in which season they attempt the mountain!

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 6: Challenging/Tough for the trekking. The Cayambe climb has been graded 8: Tough/Tough+

This trek is suitable for people in good physical condition who are able to trek comfortably for 8 hours a day on very steep terrain and at altitude. Much of the trek is off trail and on uneven ground, which can become extremely muddy and slippery in bad weather. Most of the walking is at altitude between 3000 and 4500 metres. See the Altitude Warning for more details.

Participants in the Cayambe climb must be in very good physical condition. You do not need experience in climbing, but the altitude and steep gradient are a real challenge and in bad weather the trek will be even more challenging. Ice-skills are taught and practiced during the trip prior to reaching Cayambe and this will enhance your chance of success. These sessions are compulsory if you wish to attempt the summit. Previous experience of trekking at high altitude is highly recommended to maximise your chance of success.

We operate the Cayambe climb with a ratio of 2 clients to every 1 mountain guide. Prior to starting this part of the trek, clients will be assigned a partner of a similar physical fitness and roped together, with 2 clients and 1 guide on the same rope. The leader will decide who will be roped with whom, and also which route to take to the summit according to both clients' experience. It is important to note that if one client starts to struggle with the climb, it is likely to put the other client’s summit attempt at risk as both participants will need to descend with the guide. If you would prefer to attempt the summit on your own, we recommend that you hire a private guide for an additional charge (in the region of USD300). In peak season the availability of additional guides can be limited so we recommend you request this in the UK.

The training and acclimatisation provided on this trip are aimed at giving you the best chance of summiting Cayambe. Although the success rate is good it will still be determined by the weather. Please note that that walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings stated usually include a half hour lunch stop and brief photo stops but can vary depending on the pace of your group.

Altitude maximum 5790m, average 4000m

Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Camping

This trip uses a variety of accommodation, including 9 nights hotels with en suite facilities, 4 nights full-service camping and 1 night in a mountain hut with shared facilities.

In Quito we stay in a charming hotel well located for restaurants and sightseeing. We also spend two nights in a beautiful hacienda before and after the Pinan Trek, and another two nights in a hacienda close to Otavalo. Both properties are tastefully decorated and are set in delightful gardens and have a bar and dining room.

While on the Pinan Trek and in Antisana we camp using spacious two person tents. There is also a separate kitchen and dining room tent as well as toilet tents. Whilst camping all tents will be erected and taken down for you and you will be woken with a hot drink and personal washing water every morning.

We stay in a communal mountain refugee for a night on Cayambe, this was recently renovated and is clean, modern and spacious.

Optional single supplement, see Dates & Prices. 

Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
(0211) 99 49 02
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2016
    David Mccrea

    ecuador:avenue of the volcanoes

    unfortunately we were not told at time of sale of the holiday that Cotopaxi was closed even though Exodus must have known this. this changed the whole dynamics of the holiday, more time sitting in a minivan, more time camping, less chance of reaching a high peak. its like looking through a car magazine. you see a ford fiesta, I would like a fiesta. phone showroom, have you a fiesta? here is deposit for fiesta. tell your friends I have bought a fiesta. go showroom for your fiesta. they say, here is a Renault clio, we think it's the same thing. enjoy!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    glacier training on Antisana

    What did you think of your group leader?

    very good

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I didn't think the risk of crime was as high as warned

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    no

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Hi David, thank you for reviewing your holiday in Ecuador and I'm sorry that you weren't made aware of the status of Cotopaxi at the time of your booking. It was not clear for some time whether we would be able to operate this itinerary due to the volcanic activity on Cotopaxi. However, several months prior to your departure we wrote to everyone in your group explaining the alternative itinerary, as at this point in time it was clear that Cotopaxi National Park would not be re-opened for your holiday. We are monitoring the activity of Cotopaxi in order to react quickly if the trekking routes do open. In the meantime, the alternative itinerary that we have developed includes many of the original activities, including time to practice ice skills at a glacier school (Antisana) and an ascent of Cayambe, which still presents a tough trekking challenge. Kind regards, Vicky (Exodus Product Manager for Ecuador)

  • Reviewed December 2015
    Jan Novak

    The Avenue of Volcanos

    The trip has a very well planned aclimatisation period with gradual ascend to higher and higher altitudes but with days of descend and days of rest in between. The group leader created a very relaxed atmosphere accommodating the whole group and people's different abilities to walk in altitude. It was all well timed towards the ultimate climax - the Cayambe ascend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cayambe ascend but also all the other smaller hills.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip requires thought and preparation (in terms of equipment needed) for walking in different altitudes (from 3500 to 5500 metres) and different environment (rain/cloud forest, dry higher altitudes, glacier).
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Colin Owen

    Ecuador - Avenue of the Volcanoes, June 2015

    Ecuadorean people are welcoming and there are relatively few tourists so that on the trekking you are quite likely to see no other tourists on the trail. Learn a little basic Spanish before you go. In Quito you can communicate in English in a limited way, and people aren't snotty about it as in some countries. But a little Spanish goes a long way. I enjoyed the trip hugely. I achieved my objectives of seeing another South American country, seeing the interesting city of Quito and climbing four Andean peaks averaging 15,000+ ft . Yes, there was the disappointment of Cayambe and Cotopaxi being closed to further ascent (by bad weather and bad weather plus eruption respectively) so we never got a realistic crack at those. But you can't plan for this. Big mountains make their own rules and I feel I made the most of the alternative climbs and possibilities we were offered.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The point when I could feel my body properly acclimatised, well hydrated and having had wonderful food and I knew then I felt confident of climbing anything. On the question of food, it was a high of this trip for me. I'm vegetarian and had some delightful dishes throughout, none more so than, amazingly, prepared by cook Paco high in the mountains camping during the Pinan trek.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group was just four males, all of whom had booked singly and we got along very well right from the start. Though we were of different ages, spanning 35 years, we were of comparable experience and ability and this really helped. Tour leader Diego, a freelance professional guide from Quito, accompanied us throughout and was outstanding in every way - knowledgeable, sympathetic, adaptable to the unexpected and very good company. I must also mention the manager of Campus, the Ecuador company which Exodus uses on the ground, Marjolein. Though she didn't accompany us we met her twice and she too was helpful and thoroughly likeable. She particularly came into her own when, the night before Cotopaxi, we had to decide as a group whether we were going to try and ascend it with gas masks she provided (the fumaroles were creating an environment high in sulphur dioxide near the summit) or whether we were going to change tack and tackle a different mountain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Exodus graded my trip as Tough/Tough+, the latter relating to the ascent of Cotopaxi. Pay heed to this. Quite apart from Cayambe and Cotopaxi the acclimatisation trekking and three prior mountain ascents were hard work but very satisfying and highly effective at enabling acclimatisation. By 7-10 days I was thoroughly acclimatised and so the ascent of Ruminahui ,4740m on the last day (in lieu of erupting Cotopaxi which was, in any event, too windy and dangerous to summit) and was no more challenging in terms of breathless etc than Dales or Peak District walking in the UK. I felt as if I could have climbed anything. So, this is not a trip for causal, occasional or flat-ground walkers. The walk-in is far more demanding than, say, the walk-in to Kilimanjaro which is simple trekking moving gradually up the mountain.You should be a regular hill walker, capable of sustaining day-long trekking up and down without sore knees, then getting up and going off again the next day. You should do gym work to build your cardiovascular fitness and thigh strength. Imbabura and Ruminahui involve scrambling towards the tops and so familiarity and profiency at Grade 1 scrambing with long drops below would be a decided advantage. Take two sets of boots - a stiffish soled B1 or, better, a B2 for all but Cayambe and Cotopaxi as well as an insulated boot (double plastics are ideal) for these two cold mountains.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Consider going in November-February. The guides told me that the high winds on Cayambe and Cotopaxi - because of which we had to turn back - are lighter in our UK winter. To aid you vital acclimatisation progress, consider, in consultation with your doctor, taking acetazolamide (Diamox) 125mg twice daily right from the word go (you fly into Quito, itself quite high) and continuing throughout.
  • Reviewed September 2013
    Anonymous

    ECUADOR: AVENUE OF THE VOLCANOES

    An excellent experience but serious thought needs to be given to the difficulty of Cotopaxi.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Should have been reaching the summit  of cotopaxi, but this didn't happen.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Diago was very  friendly, organised and comunnicated well with the groupl. He was very approachable and spoke very good English.Unfortunately he was the only guide and the group of 12 divided into 2 different abilities on the ascents of the earlier volcanoes.I was in the slower group and we lost contact with Diago and the front group on several occaions.I have never been on a trek where there is not a back marker.   

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The climb to summit Cotopaxi is extremely challanging and must be achieved in a set time. I have summited several peaks in Nepal, at a slow pace and with help from the guides. The climbing guides for Cotopaxi only guided and did not help.Given time and help I feel I could have acheived more on Cotopaxi, so slightly dissapointed.   My advice is - Do not under-estimate the difficulty of this climb. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although the above sounds a bit negative this was a fantastic trek. The acclimatisatin process works well and the trekking was fabulous. Helped by a jovial  group and very good weather.  The organisation was excellent and the hotel in Quito and the 2 Haciendas were way above my expectations for comfort and lovely places to stay. The food was plentiful and varied. Even 3 course dinners when camping! We had an enjoyable day refreshing and learning new glacial  skills on Cayambe. The  following early morning walk was challanging and a taster of what was to come on Cotopaxi. 
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    ECUADOR: AVENUE OF THE VOLCANOES

    Programme slightly altered to take into consideration some very wet weather.Great group, great leader, great locations

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very knowledgeable. Top priority our safety and enjoyment. Soon became a friend.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Can't be gauranteed but try to choose the dry season.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fantastic experience.
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    AVENUE OF THE VOLCANOES

    My first time with Exodus-very well organised and a great itinerary but first week enjoyment marred by some fairly attrocious weather and conditions. However the second week more than made up for that  and the weather peaked at the right time such that when we summitted Cotapaxi we had the clearest possible sky and hence some great views

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Clealry reaching the Summit of Cotapaxi was the highlight-it was not an easy summit but we were fortunate to enjoy some great weather that morning and hence superb views to go with the satisfaction of reaching the goal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ed was the local guide-great energy, sense of humour and kept our spirtis up in the first week when the weather was against us

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not an easy trek and do not attempt it unless you are fit, agile and plenty of energy

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trek had a bit of everythig and not a simple start at A and walk to B-Great variety, a great country and as it says Cotapaxi is a tough final challenge
  • Reviewed March 2011
    Anonymous

    AVENUE OF THE VOLCANOES

    Overall it was a great trip, it delivered everything promised in the trip notes and more. Everyone in the group got along very well and we gelled as a team very quickly.  I think the trip is an ideal stepping stone if you are planning to climb higher or more technical peaks in the future.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Summiting Cotopaxi would be the most inspiring moment, especially after climbing through the night. The trip provides great training and acclimatisation throughout but its fair to say that the Cotopaxi climb is very challenging. All of the climbers from our group summited successfully and we were fortunate enough to have good weather on our side during the climb.Other inspirational moments during the trip would include seeing a condor soaring above the Yanaurco volcano and climbing the Imbabura volcano in bad weather.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Diego was a good group leader and he was friendly, helpful , professional and very knowledgeable.  The other members of staff and the mountain guides on Cotopaxi were also excellent and they all deserve a mention here as well. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To get the most out of this trip you need to be in good physical shape before you arrive in Ecuador. If you are tall with big feet , like me, it would be wise to bring your own boots and crampons rather than renting locally in Ecuador. Also, bring a climbing helmet if you have one.  It can get a bit wet at times in Ecuador so remember your goretex jacket and over trousers. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take a trip to the Equator line momument, mitad del mundo,  its a great photo opportunity for everyone in the group. Try Fin McCools Irish bar in the Mariscal Sucre 'Gringolandia' district of Quito. I'm Irish and it qualifies as the most bizarre Irish bar I have seen anywhere in the world. Quiz night is Tuesday and it was a lot of fun. Our group came second, winning a jug of beer.   

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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