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The Altar is an extinct volcano on the Western side of Sangay National Park in Ecuador, 170 km south of Quito. Altar was active about 2 million years ago and contains a boiler open towards the West, containing the Yellow Lake.

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Day 1

Refuge de Collanes

We leave from Latacunga very early in the morning, at around 4:30 a.m., and head South along the Panamerican highway through the famous Avenue of the Volcanoes. On a clear day we will be able to enjoy a spectacular sunrise in the andes. We will pass by Ambato City and arrive at the Hacienda Releche, where we will have breakfast and get ready to begin our walk.

After breakfast, we pack our luggage and we'll begin the ascent up to the Valley of Collanes, a walk that will take us approximately 5 to 7 hours on a bridle path that the Cowboys used to graze their cattle. We will stay in the Refuge de Collanes, under the boiler of the Volcano El Altar, from where we will enjoy spectacular views of snow-covered peaks.

Included meals: Breakfast, box lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Refuge de Collanes

Day 2

Laguna Amarilla

After breakfast at 4:30 a.m., we will continue climbing a little more until we reach the Yellow Lake in the center of the crater, at an altitude of more than 14698 ft / 4480 m. From here we have a stunning view of the glacier walls of the Altar, as well as the Valley of Collanes and the surrounding mountains. This tour lasts approximately 2 to 3 hours. Along the way we will surely see the condors living in the rock walls enclosing the valley. The vegetation of the area is a little different, it varies between Andean forest populated by polylepis and quishuar and laurel of wax; as well as the typical Andean paramo above. We will have lunch in the refuge again, enjoying a spectacular view, after which we will return to the city of Latacunga.

Included meals: Breakfast, box lunch

  • Private transportation
  • Professional Guide
  • Entrance to the Sangay National Park
  • Meals (see itinerary)
  • Clean water supply
  • Accommodation in Refuge de Collanes
  • Horses for transportation of sleeping bags and spare clothes
  • Personal equipment (warm clothes, sunglasses, backpack, etc.)
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Other non-specified expenses
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We kindly refer to our Terms & Conditions page which can be found in the footer of our website.

In Ecuador you can hike all year, but these are the seasons:
- High Season: June to August / December to January
- Low season: February to May / September to November

You should be in good physical condition and it is highly recommended that they have some backpacking experience.

We recommend you bring:
- A comfortable backpack (take into account everything you have to load)
- Warm and comfortable clothing
- Warm hat and gloves
- Sleeping bag
- Extra gloves (recommended)
- Rubber boots (highly recommended)
- A spare pair of light shoes for in the refuge
- Waterproof jacket or poncho
- Trekking poles
- Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Water bottle or Camelbak hydration system
- Headlamp
- Warm clothes for the refuge (protected in waterproof bags)
- Grooming Kit
- Clothes to leave on the bus