Handcrafting adventures in Ecuador and Peru since 1979
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Volcano watch
The wonders of fire, ice & people

Ecuador’s spectacular landscape is the dramatic result of a tectonic process called subduction. Just off the coast of Ecuador, the Nazca plate beneath the Pacific Ocean is slowly colliding with and diving eastward under the South American continent, giving rise to the Andes, quakes, and frequent volcanic activity. As this plate descends into the earth, molten material or magma is formed. Magma contains dissolved gas, is less dense than the rocks around it, and so it slowly ascends towards the Earth’s surface. Where it pierces the surface producing explosive eruptions or lava flows, volcanoes are born. This explains the belt of volcanoes that coincides with the crest of the Andes. This is also the home to cultures that still exist today and that have adapted their lifestyle to this amazing topography, with volcanic ash that has enriched their crops in the Good Earth.

Cotopaxi Volcano, 1 or more days
The world's second highest active volcano

Travel to the base of mighty Cotopaxi volcano, at 5,897 m (19,700 ft), the world’s second highest active volcano, rich in wildflowers, like the rare Chuquiragua insignis, emblem of mountain climbers, and birds such as the graceful Andean lapwing and the elusive Carunculated caracara. Weather-permitting, reach the tundra just below the glaciers. In the late afternoon you can overnight at a mountain lodge close to this massive snow-capped giant or at a 300 year-old hacienda. The following day explore more of this national park or visit a nearby native market packed with agricultural produce and handcraft bargains. What a trip!
Llama siesta time<br />
Llama siesta time
Hiking break<br />
Hiking break
Chuquiragua insignis<br />
Chuquiragua insignis
Returning from the market<br />
Returning from the market

Antisana Volcano, 1 day
A massive snowcap that surprasses 5,700 meters

Antisana Volcano is a massive snowcap that surpasses 5,700 m (19,000 ft) above sea level, but because of its position some 48 km (30 miles) southeast of Quito, it is well away from any major road. We can take you there in just a day’s outing to enjoy its main attraction: the Andean condor. These paramo grasslands also highlight unusual bromeliads called "puyas", "frailejones", Andean cushion plants and a variety of hummingbirds and other species that flock around small lagoons and deep ravines, cut by 200-year old lava flows. Hearty picnic lunch included.
Canine pals<br />
Canine pals
St. Peter s Cactus<br />
St. Peter's Cactus
Roof art<br />
Roof art
Antisana splendor<br />
Antisana splendor

Tungurahua volcano, 2 or more days
One of the most active volcanoes in South America

Located in the eastern Andean Cordillera and surrounded by lush cloud forest vegetation, this is one of the most active volcanoes in South America, with a classical strata cone that reaches 5,023 m (16,479 ft) above sea level. Explore the exuberant vegetation and profuse wildlife along one of the tributaries of the Amazon River, cable car yourself across deep gorges or even bungee jump off a classical "Bailey bridge". Nearby is the Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute where, by special arrangement, you will be briefed by our colleagues on the mountain’s recent activity.
Explorer in red<br />
Explorer in red
Andean smoker<br />
Andean smoker
On assignment<br />
On assignment
Bomarea sp<br />
Bomarea sp

Chimborazo Volcano, 2 or more days
Ecuador's highest volcano (6,310 m/20,700 ft)

An early morning departure takes us through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to the foothills of Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest volcano (6,310 m/20,700 ft) and, geodetically speaking, the farthest point from the earth’s center! Braided straw hangs from the top of thatched-roofed huts scattered through fields of golden pampas grass, wheat fields and rows of potatoes. In the distance, women clothed in bursting colors give life to the countryside, as they herd their sheep and goats. We eventually arrive to the mountain shelter and as the sun sets we head towards our overnight location. The following day we have another chance to see this snow-capped giant, and other sky-clawing mountains as we gradually backtrack to Quito.
Chimborazo splendor<br />
Chimborazo splendor
Children of the highlands<br />
Children of the highlands
Under the shadow of Chimborazo<br />
Under the shadow of Chimborazo
The potato truck<br />
The potato truck
Andean mountan climbing
Conquer the high summits

It’s not just reaching the summit when it comes to mountain climbing in Ecuador. Here we are talking about peaks famous for a number of reasons: second world’s highest active volcano, the farthest point from the Earth’s center, world’s highest equatorial mountain, and more. Our seasoned guides and logistics are the product of careful planning and constant training to provide guests with a safe and rewarding experience. In that sense, prior to all trips, we provide a guest profile to be filled out by our guests to cover all necessary details. Check out our climbing options:

Pasochoa volcano, 1 day

Early morning departure from Quito south to the foothills of this extinct volcano surrounded by primary Andean forest and a stunning array of birds. After a brief visit at an interpretation center, follow a footpath along ravines and rolling terrain, reaching the mountain’s 4,199 meter (13,856 ft) summit after a 4-hour hike. We enjoy a rewarding picnic lunch at the top while delighting ourselves with breathtaking views of Cotopaxi and other nearby volcanoes. Afternoon return to Quito.
Glaciers at Antisana<br />
Glaciers at Antisana
Imbabura tundra<br />
Imbabura tundra
Imbabura volcano, 2 days

This peak is known by the local Otavalo people as the "Father Mountain" or "Taita Imbabura" in the local Quichua language. At 4,560 meters above sea level (15,048 ft) it is bordered by the Sacred Lake of San Pablo on its western side and exquisite farms dating back to colonial times to the east. Crops seem to defy gravity on the steeper slopes of the mountain, where ancient eruptions have made of this land a true "bread basket" for the locals.
Pasochoa paramo<br />
Pasochoa paramo
Conquering Cotopaxi<br />
Conquering Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi volcano, 3 days

A classical strata volcano, Cotopaxi’s perfect cone shape has bedazzled climbers, painters and photographers ever since the Europeans first set their eyes on it in the 16th century. Revered by the local indigenous cultures with awesome and sometimes fearful respect, its activity is confirmed by multiple fumaroles steaming out of the 2,640 foot (800 meter) diameter crater. The mountain is characterized by relatively stable weather conditions, which makes it accessible the year round. The climb should be considered as technical, because of the ice equipment needed, as well as its significant height at 5,897 m (19,460 ft) above sea level. Though some operators offer the summit in 2 days, we insist on 3 in order to acquire the due acclimatization and familiarization with the terrain under the supervision of our trusty guides.
Chimborazo preview<br />
Chimborazo preview
Lycopodium on the rocks<br />
Lycopodium on the rocks
Chimborazo volcano, 3 days

At 6,310 m (20,823 ft) above sea level, Chimborazo is Ecuador’s highest summit and, geodetically speaking, the farthest point from the Earth’s center. Historically, this mountain was used by Alexander von Humboldt to most accurately calculate the mass of the Earth by its magnetic pull on a plumb line in the early 19th century. Shortly after, Simón Bolívar, one of South America’s emancipation heroes, made a partial ascent without any formal equipment whatsoever and wrote "Delirium on Chimborazo", a rare classic in literature, motivated by this awe-inspiring giant. Finally, the first conquest of Chimborazo’s summit was in 1880 by Edward Whymper, an English explorer. Today, attempts to the top are made year round. Our expedition consists of 3 days, which includes one day of acclimatization, requiring ice climbing equipment and technical mountaineering skills.