The Pichinchas are two volcanoes in the west of Quito. The inactive volcano Rucu Pichincha is closer to Quito and with an altitude of ca. 4680m the lower one. The active volcanoe Guagua Pichincha lays in the west of Rucu Pichincha and has an altitude of ca. 4794m. Due to its easy access from Quito and its fascinating activity it attracted many adventurers in the last centuries: La Condamine and about 60 years later Humboldt explored it – Humboldt climbed it even twice as he was so fascinated by the volcanic landscape. Today this volcano still is very popular as it provides one of the best day hikes around Quito and a good possibility to make a summit nearly as high as Mount Mt Blanc and even higher then Mount Churchill !
1. Day: Guagua Pichincha
Pichincha is a great alternative for those who want to do a fairly demanding high-altitude hike. From Quito you drive in the morning the Andean village of Lloa (3500m), which is situated in the basin southwest of Quito. From here, a path leads you over the foothills of the slopes of Guagua Pichincha to a little plain from where you start your hike up to the refuge below the crater edge, which you will reach after a 2-hour hike. Only a few meters separate you from the 4.794m high summit of this active volcano (The last time the volcano had a big eruption and even Lava flows was in 1999 when it doused Quito in several cm of black ash!). From there you can have an amazing view into the horseshoe-shaped crater, which is open to the western side. The smoke that emerges from the inside of the crater as well as the cones of scree and ash testify his volcanic activity. You need about 1,5 hours for the descent. In the afternoon you will return to Quito. -/L/-
B: Breakfast / L: Lunch / D: Dinner
USD 120, - per person with minimum 2 people
USD 220,- with one person
Included in the Price:
Private transportation, qualified English speaking mountain guide, meals according to the itinerary, first aid kit.
Not Included in the Price:
Personal equipment, tips, travel insurance, mountain equipment: warm and waterproof clothes, sunglasses, gloves etc.
What to bring with you:
Personal equipment, travel insurance, mountain equipment: warm and waterproof clothes (Fleece and Gore-Tex), sunglasses, gloves, sun block, hat, trekking shoes, canteen, and camera.
Please note Though the climb of Guagua Pichincha is not technical the high altitude complicates the ascent. Therefore a good physical condition is necessary for this hike. Ideally you have already been some days in the altitude e.g. Quito before climbing El Corazon as a good acclimatization is essential for a successful ascent.