El Altar Volcano Trekking!
Discover the Capac Urcu´s legend, which was the highest of all our mountains and enjoy one of the most incredible hikes in Ecuador.
For many of us, “El Altar” is the most beautiful among all the mountains in Ecuador, also called “Capac Urco”. Known by very few, for being considered one of the most technical. El Altar is a volcano, with an estimated last eruption in 1490. Its caldera, collapsed into several peaks arranged in a horseshoe shape, opens into the Collanes valley. In its crater we find the Laguna Amarilla, protected by a spectacular frozen mantle of hanging glaciers. The Incas called this volcano Capac Urcu, which means almighty mountain or majestic hill. The Altar has innumerable legends, one of this believed that it was higher than the Chimborazo and thanks to a natural phenomenon, it sank to its current shape. Dare to live one of the best natural experiences in all of Ecuador.
At a glance
|Day 1||Very early departure from Quito. Arrive at Hacienda Releche in Penipe, Chimborazo Province. Braeakfast included. 5 to 7 hours hike from La Hacienda until the refuge in Collanes Valley.|
|Day 2||Continue the trek to “la Laguna Amarilla” (yellow lake) at the sunrise. Back to Hacienda Releche, lunch included and later drive back to Quito.|
- Private transportation,
- English-speaking guide
- Meals, as indicated in the itinerary
- Refuge accommodations or collective camping equipment (1 or 2-person tents, foam pads, kitchen gear, pack animals, etc.)
- Entrance fee to the national park
- One night of lodging at the hacienda
- Mules & porters (10 pounds each).
- Local taxes.
What to bring?
- Personal biosecurity Kit (mask, alcohol and antibacterial gel).
- Comfortable clothes for walking and warm for the night.
- Thermal hat and gloves.
- Rubber boots or trekking boots (if not wearing rubber ones).
- Light shoes for replacement at the refuge.
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho.
- Walking sticks or two cut-to-size broomsticks.
- Cap, glasses and sunscreen.
- Headlamp with extra batteries and mountain whistle.
- Personal hygiene kit and an extra change of clothes to leave on the bus.
- Sleeping bag or sleeping bag.
A deposit of 30% total invoiced for your trip is required to confirm your reservation. The remaining balance (70%) is required 30 days prior to the departure date. In cases of trips confirmed within 30 days of the departure date, payment in full is required for confirmation. You should receive confirmations with every payment you make.
- For cancelations of 30+ days before tour departure date, the full amount minus a cancelation fee of 10% will be refunded to the client.
- For cancelations between 21-30 days before tour departure date, a cancelation fee of 50% to the deposit paid will be charged.
- For cancelations less than 20 days prior to the tour departure date, full amount of the tour is charged with no refund.
Departure Time4:00 am
Return Time20:00 pm
IncludedBreakfastDinnersLunchMules and portersNaturalist local guidePersonal GuideRefuge
Not Included3 Star Accomodation4 Star Accomodation5 Star AccommodationAirport Transfercamping gearEntrance feeFlight ticketsGallery TicketPersonal expensesTips
Day 1: Quito – Penipe – Releche Hacienda – Collanes Valley - Refuge Capac Urcu (B, BL, D)Departure very early from Quito, around 3:00 a.m., picking up our participants from your hotels. We will drive to Hacienda Releche, located in La Candelaria, Penipe canton, Chimborazo province. We will have a mountain breakfast at the Hacienda. Then, we will start the hike towards the Collanes valley with the service of mules and porters for greater comfort. The average time goes between 5 to 7 hours, depending on 3 important factors: physical condition, climatic condition and how heavy is your load (backpack), reasons to increase or decrease the walking time. This day will cover approximately 12 kilometers crossing green valleys, ravines, dense grasslands, streams of crystal clear water and somewhat marshy areas. Arrival at the Capac Urcu refuge and rest while our staff will prepare your mountain dinner.
Day 2: Hike to the yellow lake (Laguna amarilla) – Back to Hacienda Releche, lunch and drive to Quito (BB, L)We will start the day very early, around 4 a.m., to start the last part of our hike to the Yellow Lagoon. Let's remember that the main goal is arrive at sunrise and enjoy an incredible show at the Altar Volcano ´s foot. Under the assistance of a professional photographer, we will have the time to get the perfect shoot. There are 5 kilometers from the refuge to our final destination, located at 4,200 meters above sea level. The approximate walking time between going and coming back is 3 to 4 hours. Box breakfast included on the way. We go back to the refuge to take our belongings and return to Hacienda Releche, where they will wait for us with an enriched lunch to regain our lost strength and return home. End of services.
- All services are provided in groups of maximum 15 participants.
- Food details: D: breakfast, A: lunch, BL: box lunch, BB: box breakfast, C: dinner.
- Level of difficulty is medium high, considering that there are 17 kilometers from the first refuge (Hacienda Releche) to the yellow lagoon. It takes good physical conditioning and a particular taste for long walks.
- Highly recommended, rubber boots with an extra insole and long socks.
- Because El Altar is located in the Eastern Cordillera, this volcano has a very unstable climate, with strong storms from the Amazon, which rise at high speed due to the humidity of the tropics and discharge large amounts of snow on its peaks and rain any time of the year.
- The temperature oscillates between 7 to 15 degrees Celsius, being able to descend more during the night.
- Minimum altitude: 3,600 meters above sea level.
- Maximum altitude: 4,500 meters above sea level.
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