Altar Volcano Trek $1500

Departure Date



5 days 4 nights



Maximum Seats


In the middle of nowhere is when you realize you are in the middle of somewhere-somewhere wonderful surrounded by icy peaks, the emerald green of the Ecuadorian paramo, and multi-colored glacial lagoons. Imagine yourself on a journey down a long and winding trail filled with twists and turns that will keep your heart racing! This is not just a trek into the wondrous mountains of Sangay National Park; this is an adventure of self-discovery, pushing your limits and experiencing the road-less-traveled, deep in the Andes of Ecuador

Accommodation is provided at the charming refuge of Altar and the Hacienda Releche
  • Trek at high elevation

  • Journey to the Colorful lagoons of Altar

  • Learn about the endemic flora of the Ecuadorian paramo

  • Explore the valley of Collanes

  • Camp in a cozy refuge with a 360 view of snowy peaks and rolling hills

  • Be led by top Activexpedition experienced guides at every step you take

  • Support sustainable travel to preserve culture and nature

  • Trekking

  • Wildlife


Day 2.- Trek To Altar Basecamp

Day 3.- Trek To Mandur And The Blue Lagoon

Day 4.- Trek Into The Crater

  • From November to March

  • 12 years old

Full Itinerary

Day 1

Transport to La Candelaria

After picking you up from your hotel in the stunning capital of Quito, our morning starts southbound on the Route of Volcanoes. Glimpse head-turning views of volcanoes such us Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Pasochoa, Illinizas, and Tungurahua as we drive the four hours towards Riobamba. Stopping for pictures and to dine on delicious Ecuadorian cuisine we will spend the rest of the afternoon preparing for our trek and strolling through the quant little town of La Candelaria at the foothills of the trail. Known as the portal to some of the toughest summits in the region, La Candelaria is the nation’s best-kept secret. Here is the starting point for adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiast alike due to its proximity to a variety of activities such as hiking, climbing, horseback riding and nature photography. Filled with charming homes, fertile farmland, and some of friendliest people you will ever meet this town will surely capture your heart.

Overnight: Hacienda Releche
Meals included: Lunch and dinner
Day 2

Trek to Altar basecamp

As the day breaks, we set foot on the trek of a lifetime! Journey down a beaten horse-track though the Ecuadorian Paramo—a lush eco system under the snow line of high elevation peaks. Brimming with evergreens and a rainbow of blooming flowers this ecosystem hosts a variety of wildlife that, with some luck, we will spot on the trail! Along the way our guide will point out some of this colorful flora including the fiery-orange Chuquiraga, stunning pink Gentian, and the starry Plantago rigida that line the trail. This trek is demanding as much of the path is muddy and we will be donning rain boots to make our way up the fun and challenging trail! Passing over glacial creeks and through towering walls of intertwined plants we are accompanied by the calming Andean breeze and even occasionally Zuko, the adventure pup who belongs to one of the nearby families!

Don’t worry! Although this trek will take about five hours and is relatively tough you will be happy to know that you only need to bring water, your camera, and a smile! Horses and mules of the families in the area will follow us with our other belongings.

Overnight: Altar Basecamp
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3

Trek to Mandur and the Blue Lagoon

Greeted by the haze of the rising sun through the valley we head up through the rocky foot hills of El Altar to two equally stunning lagoons: Mandur and Azul. The first, although the smallest of the two, packs a real punch as, on a clear day, you can see the never-ending layers of mountains from this point that appear likes waves in the distance. On the way we will be on the lookout for white tail deer, Cara-caras, Andean lapwins, eagles, hawks and other species that are typical in the Paramo. Our second stop of the day is to the royal blue waters of the Blue Lagoon where we will picnic while enjoying the landscape before heading back to the campsite.

Overnight: Altar Basecamp
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4

Trek into the Crater

The main attraction of the trek awaits us after a healthy breakfast. Directly upward from the Collanes valley we will trek into the crater of the Altar volcano to Laguna Amarila. Named for the seven peaks that line it forming what appears to be an altar, this regal structure was formed by an eruption that caused the caldera to collapse. Stand and marvel at the beauty of the seven peaks: Los Frailes, El Canónigo, La Monja Mayor, La Monja Menor, El Tabernáculo, El Obispo y El Acólito. Standing each at over 17,000 feet El Obispo is considered the most technical in the country and is a popular spot for professional rock and ice climbers to test their skills.

If you are up for a real challenge, a refreshing dip into the chilly waters of the lagoon might be right up your ally. According to the locals, those who dare to enter the frigid waters are blessed by the volcano and the Pachamama. Do you dare to take the plunge?

We will have lunch beside the lagoon; explore a bit more; and then head back to basecamp.

Overnight: Altar Basecamp
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5

Trek out of the reserve

Today we will pack out before heading back down the trail and then drive back to Quito.
End of services

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Let's design your adventure

    • Experienced Certified English-Speaking Guide

    • Private Transport

    • Accommodation for four nights

    • Meals according to the Itinerary

    • Water and snacks at all time

    • Sleeping bag

    • Trekking gear: (Black diamond hiking poles)

    • All fees to reserves and museums

    • International or domestic flights

    • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary

    • Tips for guides and drivers

    • Travel insurance (mandatory)

    • Airport transfers

    • Itinerary Disclaimer: Even though we have a detailed itinerary, your guides, due to weather or safety reasons, can make changes. Please also note that none of the wildlife sightings mentioned on the itinerary are guaranteed.

    • Visas and Passports: Make sure you check your visa and passport validity and requirements per country. It is important your passport is valid for at least 6 months before your travel.

    • Accommodation: We strive to use small and charming places that are unique and provide stellar service, note that this trip takes places in a very remote area where accommodation is basic.

    • Single Supplement Costs: Generally, this fee is not incurred as we match you with another person of the same gender in a twin room, but if you prefer not to share and have your own room, then there will be an associated fee

    • Transportation: Driving time can take more than expected in Ecuador, as it is a small country with roads meandering through the Andes Mountains. We assure your comfort during transit no matter the size of the group.

    • Gear: We will provide hiking poles, which are especially helpful in steep uphill and downhill segments

    • Level of Activity: This trip is considered as 4 out of 5. Experience is not a prerequisite but please keep in mind that trekking lasts four to six hours a day covering between seven to nine miles every segment. The average daily elevation change will be 1500 feet.

    • Weather and Elevation: In Ecuador the weather can be very variable depending on which side of the Andes you are traveling to, so it is highly recommended to come ready for all kinds of weather. When they say “Ecuador, All in One Place” they mean it! The altitude determines the temperature and the higher you go the colder it gets. Don’t let the geographic location of the country fool you. Even at a mere 15,000 feet the temperatures can feel like those of a winter in the northern United States. The coastal lowlands in the western part of Ecuador are typically warm with temperatures in the region of 25 °C (77 °F). Coastal areas are affected by ocean currents and between January and April are hot and rainy. The weather in Quito is consistent with that of a subtropical highland climate. The average temperature during the day is 70 °F (21 °C), which generally falls to an average of 50 °F (10 °C) at night. The average temperature annually is 64 °F (17.8 °C). There are only really two seasons in the city: dry and wet. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season is from October to May.

    • Sustainability: We do our best to not produce any trash; we believe that recycling is not enough, so we try to avoid using any plastic or materials that pollute our environment. Every day we work towards being a zero-waste tour operator and our staff is well trained to leave the least impact possible in our service areas. We also work with local indigenous communities in the different regions. By doing so we are able to teach our guests about the rich culture Ecuador, all the while helping the people preserve their traditions and lands. By working directly with local peoples, we are able to create a sustainable touristic income for the community.

    • Guides: All our guides have a professional background from the Tourism University; this means they have a degree in guiding, so their knowledge and skills when leading a group are top-notch. Each guide has many years of experience and they all have taken additional courses for other outdoor activities as well as have International First-Aid certifications. On top of all of this, they are all extremely personable and strive to deliver travel experiences of a lifetime.

    • Heath Advisory: No vaccinations needed for this trip

    We do recommend travelling light for this expedition. A duffel bag of 50 litters for your luggage and a backpack of 20 litters for daily activities should be sufficient. In Ecuador, the weather can change drastically especially when you are moving from to both sides of the Andes.

    • Passport

    • Credit card

    • Two pairs of lightweight hiking pants

    • One pair of cold weather hiking pants

    • One bathing suit

    • Four non-cotton T-shirts

    • One cotton T-shirts

    • One winter warm jacket

    • One fleece

    • One rain jacket

    • One pair of rain pants

    • Two buffs

    • One pair of hiking shoes

    • One pair of water sandals

    • Winter gloves and hat

    • One cap or hat

    • Sunscreen

    • Sunglasses

    • Camera

    • Head lamp

    • Optional binoculars


    summer 2024

    $1200/per person

    • All premium features

    • Departures: March to August

    2 - 3 guests

    $1500/per person

    • All premium features

    • Daily departures

    4 or more guests

    $1030/per person

    • All premium features

    • Daily departures

    Go private

    Contact Us

    • We are ready to meet your needs and put together an unforgettable experience.

    Talk to our Activexpedition expert

    We're here to chat about your next big idea.

    • 7 am - 4 pm Monday through Thursday.
    • 7 am to 1 pm Fridays (US central) toll free or by skype.
    Otherwise, email us anytime. On average we provide quotes within 6 hours during business hours and the next day during off business hours. Privately guided trips allow you to be in control of all the details of your trip - departure times, accommodations, extra nights, extra activities, extra experiences - what you want and how you want it. If you want to go private or customize this expedition, contact us.

    US & CANADA: +1 (919) 400-5824 EC: +593 (09) 5955-5556