Altar Mountain
Altar Mountain
4.5
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
48 reviews
Excellent
33
Very good
12
Average
2
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Fli M
1 contribution
Nov 2021
Hiked to this beautiful and amazing place last weekend, since before going I read a lot of comments (most in Spanish), I decided to write some recommendations and tips for international (English speaking) travelers seeking adventure who decide to visit this place. I apologize for my rusty English here):

We arrived at hacienda Releche where you can hire Mules to carry your baggage for you (if you’re not an experienced mountaineer I highly recommend you do it), You must pay in cash, there’s no way to pay for these services with a credit card or a transfer (THERES NO INTERNET OR CELL SIGNAL), bring at least $140 USD with you, this will cover Mules $40, Arriero $20 (person who guides the mules), and the lodging in the Refugio $60 is much more comfortable and warm than camping as well as food $20 you might buy when you get back. If you hire Mules to carry your supplies and baggage with you, they’ll climb much faster than most humans and your things will be waiting for you at the Refugio when you get there. You need to buy every single one of your supplies, there’s nothing for sale up there.
The way up is VERY demanding. I am an athletic person who works out 5 -6 days a week (swim, run, and gym) and this was hard for me, but very hard for people in my group who where not as in shape. Please bear in mind that this is a very long ascent (approximately 8-10 kms / 5-6 miles) in the deepest, stickiest, muckiest, mud you may find. Let me be clear here: NONSTOP MUD. At least 98% of the way up to the Refugio is MUD!
Rubber boots (knee-high) are ABSOLUTELY necessary for this, and I suggest you buy insoles to put inside those or you’ll feel every rock as if you were barefoot. Altar volcano is a gorgeous landscape, but it rains there for most of the year, and when its not raining the sun is very aggressive so don’t forget to bring sunblock (80+ recommended). I saw many experienced climbers break their super professional poles in this muck, so I recommend you buy a pair of broomstick WOOD sticks (“Palos de escoba” in spanish) (usd $0.68 cents each in any Supermaxi) these can be bought without the broom brush. Best investment ever.
Your Outfit should also include sports underwear (double socks recommended) and waterproof easy-dry hiking pants. A thick mountain jacket, at least 3 Sports t-shirts, and underwear (don’t forget to bring at least 1 outfit per-day you are staying), an extra pair of shoes and hoodie to wear when you are resting and not hiking. Bring along a sun hat (you’ll need it), and a waterproof rubber poncho will probably save your life here. You sweat a lot (even if it’s cold) so keep yourself hydrated during the hike, we brought 1lt bottles each and refilled them in the springs along the way. Choose your snacks wisely since your hands will very likely get very dirty.

Our hike lasted 3 days (1 day hike up, 1 day climb to the ASTOUNDING Lagoon, 1 day march down).. I applied 80+ sunblock before and during this experience and I still roasted my neck, ears and forearms (and I’m a Latino who loves the sun). Many in our group got feet sores and blisters in this part of the trip, and Leukotape saved them (“esparadrapo” in spanish), allowing them to keep on going.

Once you get to the Refugio you’ll get a chance to wash your boots and feet, this is the right moment to change your whole outfit for a dry and warmer one, don’t forget to wash the insides of your rubber boots and place them upside down so they can drain and dry while you rest. Nights up there can get very cold so sleeping bags are also a must. Gloves are a good decision too. The Refugio is comfortable, beds are a bit hard, toilets are a bit old but serviceable, there are NO SHOWERS up there, and you’ll have to bring and cook your own food. You’ll need matches or lighters JIC. There are dishes and pots up there. Lights are out at 9:00 pm so bring along lanterns and headlamps. Wet Wipes and Toilet Paper are also very useful. Lastly, don’t forget to bring a pack of 10 or more black reinforced big plastic trashbags (you can’t leave your waste behind you in the mountain, you need to protect your sleeping bags and baggage from the weather and mud on the way up and the return. You’ll also need a couple more to store your dirty, muddy, stinky clothes when you get back to Hacienda Releche.

Once you get to the Lagoon in the caldera all your hard effort will be rewarded, and if you’re lucky enough to have a sunny day I would recommend a quick swim to relax your muscles and clean your soul. This is a magical place, mostly untouched by humans and extremely beautiful. An astounding place filled with plants, trees, waterfalls, and ice that will stay forever in your mind. Probably the best spot to take some good Pictures. Good Luck!
Written 30 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Danny W
Columbus Ohio1 contribution
Jul 2019 • Friends
Beautiful but you must understand this is the muddiest trail you have ever walked. 3-5 hours of shoe sucking mud. I fell down almost 10 times and threw out my hiking poles, pants, socks etc. afterwards. The locals wear plastic boots that cover almost to the knee. I wish I had done the same. June & July are the rainy months.
Written 19 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel Suarez
Quito, Ecuador26 contributions
Sep 2018 • Friends
Very hard trekking and the best landscapes of Ecuador. This mountain is located in the Sangay National Park, far from civilization. To visit the yellow lake or go to campo Italiano to climb the mountain you need to walk a lot. A very important thing is that the weather can changes fast and it is a rainy area. It is better if you take a tour with a tour guide, transportation, and meals.
Written 5 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Giuseppe S
Antwerp, Belgium864 contributions
May 2018 • Friends
I recommend to rely on a tour operator in Riobamba because you might need some equipment and it is not as straightforward as other hikes (see Quilotoa). The hike is rewarding with great views but the path is quite muddy at times (I did it in May).
Written 4 June 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David B
17 contributions
Dec 2017 • Friends
I went to the Altar Volcano, through Releche route to the yellow lake on December 2017.
I found the road horrible, about 8 hours just to get to the shelter (I'm not trekking expert, just a young guy in good shape). I didn't reach the yellow lake inside the crater and in the shelter, just for place the tent you'll be asked to pay 20 USD dollars, No services offered, no water to drink, not even to clean something, no one there at night, they only wanted the money and they went away, they don't have medication or emergency box in case of injuries.

I would not recommend to take this route, you'll be paying for no service, horrible road (mud and no signals, you better take an off-line map).
It's much much better the "Italian route" departing from Quimiag, not as much mud as the private route (Releche route), ascending take 4-6 hours, not 7-8, no just one lake to see, more than 6 at first sight , if you have more days you can visit over 10 lakes, you'll be ascending the volcano today the snow.
Written 28 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Simon P
1 contribution
Aug 2017 • Friends
WE did a three days hike with travel2south ! Great compagny! They booked our hike with Chimborazo tours! Great services, great equipment They gave us everyhing WE needed ( boots, sleeping bags, frontal lights, etc.) Our guide Alfonzo is from the village where WE started the hike and he was really fantastic. Be prepared for the weather wich changes really fast ( Sun, wind, fog, rain) WE had a really great first day but the others two days, it rain. The landscape are out of this world. So it was worth it despite of the weather. WE were alone, nobody was there except our little group. It was exhausting from time to time , so be acclimatized.
Written 11 August 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Satyabrata Dam
New Delhi1,782 contributions
Dec 2016 • Friends
We hiked to Altar Mountain base and yellow lake over two days. The trail is lovely though muddy at times. The views on clear day is simply out of the world. There's a hut to stay at the end of the trail.
Written 11 February 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roxanne M
2 contributions
Nov 2016 • Couples
OMG!! we went to the amazon for a tour and had a great time!!! it was so fantastic!!! such a wonderful journey, that i can't even express, a lot of beautiful memories. We love it <3
Written 4 January 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SouthamEc
Cotacachi, Ecuador182 contributions
Dec 2015 • Family
I did the El Altar Trek it's a moderate hike of 2 days or 3 depending on the itinerary... about 6 hours per day hiking (if you do the 2 days it's the same way to return). You get to see the yellow lagoon, crater lake of el altar volcano. It worth it, we did it with travel2south check their website.
Written 2 April 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel33333
Cadiz, Spain23 contributions
Sep 2014 • Solo
Amazing, just amazing spot, well worth the (exhausting) trip to get there... So beautiful! But your bum will feel the horse(mule) ride...
Written 26 August 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Altar Mountain (Riobamba) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor