If you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for an exciting, athletic adventure that will challenge your abilities and push you past your limits while creating lasting memories, then mountaineering is the perfect adventure sport for you. Ecuador has many breathtaking, unique places where you can indulge your desire for adventure and climb some truly magnificent mountains.

The highlands of Ecuador offer many different places where one can enjoy this activity. One of the most popular routes for those partaking in this action-packed and intensive sport is climbing the various peals of the active stratovolcano Pichincha.  There are two main ways that one can reach the Pichinchas.  There is a gondola lift cable car from Quito, or you can follow the trail from the Parish of Lloa. From Cruzloma you can walk

along the marked and easy to follow path to Rucu Pichincha, which reaches 4,690 m (15,387 ft). The total distance of this journey is 7 km (4 miles) and it can be done in about 4 hours. Another exciting path from the Guagua Pichincha allows you to reach the edge of the crater, then cross to the Rucu and eventually end in Cruzloma. This path does require some physical preparation and a high level of stamina and skill. The route is 14 km (8 miles) and takes around 7 hours to complete.

Main destinations for mountaineering around Quito include: The Antisana and the Laguna de la Mica, the Pita River canyon, the Molinuco waterfall, the Cotopaxi National Park, the Pasochoa Protective Forest, Illiniza Sur, the Boliche, and El Altar.

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Rucu Pichincha Volcano

The Rucu Pichincha volcano can be found just outside of Quito. To get to the hiking trail, you can take the TeleferiQo (for $8.50) up to 12,943 ft (3,945 meters). Hiking the Rucu Pichincha trail takes about 3-4 hours.

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The Cotopaxi volcano, an almost perfectly shaped cone covered with snow is one of the most popular and widely known volcanoes in Ecuador. It stands at 5,897 meters of altitude and its beautiful slopes and unique look makes it one of Ecuador’s most well-known natural geographical, along with Galápagos.

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El Altar

For those of you looking for a serious challenge, pass through the gates of Parque Nacional Sangay and take in the great forests which command the respect of time and history. On each side of this geological masterpiece are two active volcanoes that can frequently be seen spewing smoke from their mouths: Sangay and Tungurahua. And smack-center, is the great El Altar, which is considered the most beautiful mountain in Ecuador.

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Maybe you are more interested in seeing one of the largest and most impressive sights in the entire world. If that sounds like something you’d be excited to do, check out the tallest mountain in Ecuador, the Chimborazo, which is also the face of the Chimborazo Wildlife reserve.


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Where to go in Ecuador