The Altar volcano, also known as Capac Urcu, rises majestically in the province of Carchi, Ecuador, dazzling with its distinctive profile resembling altars and rocky spires. With an altitude of around 5,319 meters, this active volcano is part of the Chiles-Cerro Negro volcanic complex. Its allure lies in its rugged summits and glaciers, making it a magnet for mountaineers and hikers seeking challenges and breathtaking panoramic views. Surrounded by a rich diversity of flora and fauna adapted to the altitude, the Altar volcano is a natural treasure in the Andean range, offering a unique experience in the heart of Ecuadorian nature.


Day 1
Pick-up and Arrival at the Capac Urcu Refuge.
  • Departure from Riobamba city to Hacienda Releche at an altitude of 3200m.
  • Hike to Capac Urcu refuge at an altitude of 3850m.
  • Trekking and observation of the volcano and the Collanes lagoon.
  • Arrival at Capac Urcu Refuge for rest.
Day 2
Hike and Arrival to Laguna Amarilla
  • Enjoy a nutritious breakfast in the morning.
  • Hike to Collanes Lagoon and Altar Lake.
  • Observation, photography, and admiration of the stunning Altar crater view.
  • Return to Capac Urcu Refuge.
Day 3
Return to Riobamba
  • Return to Capac Urcu refuge.
  • Journey back to Riobamba city.
  • End of the trek.
AltarTrek_1 (Medium)
AltarTrek_2 (Medium)

Average Hiking

Time 5 to 7 hours


  • English speaking naturalist guide
  • Private transportation from / to Riobamba
  • Accommodation in basic refuge
  • Meals and coffee, tea, purified drinking water
  • Pack horses + muleteer for the equipment
  • Use of equipment (sleeping bag with fleece sheet, rubber boots, thermos bottle)
  • Entrance permit to Sangay National Park


  • Travel insurance
  • Tips
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Expeses not specified in the itinerary


  • Important Documents: Don’t forget to bring your passport or identification card. Keep them in a safe place, such as a zippered travel bag.
  • Warm clothing: insulated jacket, sweatshirt, long-sleeved shirts. Comfortable and durable hiking pants. Trekking socks (preferably merino wool or moisture wicking material). Hat or cap to protect from the sun. Lightweight gloves and hat to keep warm at high altitudes.
  • Suitable footwear: Waterproof and waterproof trekking boots with good ankle support.
  • Backpack: Small, sturdy backpack to carry your essential belongings during the hike.
  • Camera and Binoculars: If you are a photography lover, don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars.
  • Food and water: Don’t forget to bring water to keep you hydrated during the trek. Food for trekking: energy and nutritious food such as energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, dried fruits, instant soups, etc.
  • Sun Block and Sunglasses: Broad spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from the strong high mountain sun. Sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes from sun glare in the snow.


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