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Mountain Climbing in Ecuador

Mountain Climbing | Living the Life in Ecuador

If you’re looking for your next climbing destination, Ecuador may be for you. Even experienced mountaineers who think they’ve seen it all marvel at the steep hills, lush cloud forests, and gleaming lakes and rivers that characterize the many summits of Ecuador.


Located about 22 miles west of the city, National Park Cajas covers over 1,734 square miles of Andean grasslands and is a major conservation area. It’s also home to over 200 lakes and rivers. Altitudes range from around 14,100 to 32,293 feet.

The park’s primary recreational areas are situated along the Cuenca-Molleturo road. Groups of eight or more who wish to go beyond the designated areas of Llaviacu, Cucheros, Lagunas, and Toreadora are required to have a guide. They must also register at the ranger station and carry a compass or GPS.

Yunguilla Valley

Yunguilla Valley gives you access to Ali Mountain, where a trail begins at approximately 8,530 feet and drops to around 5,249 feet as it nears the Maquipucuna and Santa Lucia cloud forest reserves.

Here you’ll see some high elevation birds, such as the plate-billed mountain toucan and mountain tanager. Vividly colored orchids and bromeliads are scattered throughout the forest canopy.

Another climbing attraction is El Chorro de Giron, a majestic waterfall that flows down the mountain just outside the town of Giron. You may hike to the base of the mountain then begin the ascent to reach the main waterfall.

Day trips leave the Live the Life Lodge to tour Lake Busa and for medium climbers an easy accent to 12,000 feet hike from Lake Busa with altitude gain of 3000′.

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Puerto Lopez

Long, uncrowded beaches make this idyllic fishing village a tourist destination in its own right, but it’s also a jump-off point to other attractions like Machalilla National Park. The park encompasses over 60,000 hectares of tropical dry forest, coastal scrub, beach line, and ocean.

Altitudes range from zero to 500 meters. You might glimpse a black howler monkey or a white-tailed deer as you make your way up the park’s highest points. Its rocky cliffs will give you arresting views of the ocean and Los Frailes Playa, a crescent-shaped beach.

Think you’re ready to take on Ecuador’s highest peaks? If you’re up for the challenge, then you might want to read up on volcano climbing.