Mexico Volcano Climber

Mountaineering in Mexico, the land of the Aztecs





From $3,220 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Climb Pico de Orizaba (5636m), the highest summit in Mexico
  • Views of Popocatepetl from Iztaccihuatl
  • Experience Aztec and Spanish colonial history
  • The charming colonial old towns of Taxco and Puebla

High above its tropical forests, Aztec ruins and Spanish colonial architecture, there is a side to Mexico that few people get to see - amongst the ice and snow of its volcanoes. As an acclimatisation exercise, we start out with an ascent of Volcan Ajusco (3930m) overlooking Mexico City. We then climb the Nevado Toluca (4691m), Mexico's 4th highest peak, which provides a magnificent climb along a crater ridge. Our next objective is Mexico's 3rd highest peak, the hard to pronounce Iztaccihuatl, a dormant volcano situated right beside the active Popocatepetl. We climb the 5th highest, Malinche (4462m), a relatively easy peak with a scrmbling ridge at the top, before tackling Mexico's highest volcano, Pico de Orizaba (5746m). After climbing the 30-degree snow slope of the Glaciar de Jamapa and tracing a route around the crater rim, our reward is a summit with splendid views across to the Gulf of Mexico. Between the climbs we have plenty of time for rest and exploration of Mexico's cultural treasures including the incredible Aztec pyramids at Xochicalco and attractive colonial cities such as Taxco and Puebla. Climbing four of the five highest peaks in Mexico including the third highest in North America, this is a brilliant adventure and the opportunity to see another side of Mexico.

explore international

Explore International. This is one of our Explore International holidays. Participants on these trips can book through KE or through one of our international partners. This helps us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get your holiday up and running quickly. Led by an English-speaking guide, the cosmopolitan nature of these groups can be an important part of the experience!

Is this holiday for you?

During this climbing holiday we will make ascents of four of Mexico's highest volcanoes at elevations close to or above 5000 metres. We have an excellent programme of acclimatisation leading up to the ascent of Mexico's highest peak, Orizaba (5636m). These ascents involve a mix of terrain from rugged scree slope or loose volcanic material to moderately angled snow slopes (30 - 40 degrees), requiring the use of crampons and ice axe. There are also long days required on each of the main objectives. You should only attempt these climbs if you have previous winter or alpine walking experience using crampons and are familiar with the techniques of self arrest with an ice axe. It should be noted that trekking or climbing at even moderately high altitudes makes extra demands and you should have a good level of fitness before embarking on this holiday.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Mexico City. A single timed group transfer is provided from Mexico City Airport.
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Mexico City.
  • Climb Volcan Ajusco (3930m) and return to Mexico City.
  • Visit the Basilica of Guadalupe, the ancient city of Teotihuacan and drive to Toluca hut (3800m).
  • Drive to Estation Meteorologica (4050m). Climb Nevado Toluca. Descend and drive to Taxco (1800m).
  • Morning sightseeing in Taxco. Drive via Xochicalco to Puente de Ixtla (900m).
  • Day of relaxation at the hotel. Evening drive to Atzomoni hut (4050m).
  • Climb Ixtaccihuatl (5260m). Drive to Amecameca (2419m).
  • Morning in Amecameca. Afternoon drive (2 hrs) to Tlaxcala (2230m).
  • Drive (1 hour) to base of Malinche (3450m). Climb Malinche (4462m) and return to Tlaxcala.
  • Drive (5 hours) via Tlachichuca to Piedra Grande hut (4230m).
  • Climb Orizaba (5636m) and return to hut. Drive via dinner in Tlachicuca to Puebla (2200m).
  • Day for relaxation in Puebla.
  • Departure day. Transfer (2.5 hours) to Mexico City Airport.
Fri 02 Dec - Thu 15 Dec Code MVC /01/16/ Adult$3,220 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Mexico Volcano Climber
  • The departure reference for this tour is MVC /01/16/
  • This tour begins on Fri 02 Dec and departs on Thu 15 Dec
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $475 - Single rooms are not available in mountain huts.
The dates shown are for the LAND ONLY itinerary, joining in Mexico City. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Mexico City airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers', and 'Flights' sections in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • peaks
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Mexico City. A single timed group transfer is provided from Mexico City Airport.

    Meet at the group hotel in Mexico City. A single timed group transfer is provided from Mexico City Airport. Most flights arrive in the late evening, but if you arrive earlier then you will have time to enjoy some dinner at the hotel restaurant and a little explore. The hotel is centrally located and a perfect situation for the start of this holiday.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Guided sightseeing tour of Mexico City.

    Our first day in this fascinating country takes us on an all day city tour. Mexico City is at an altitude of around 2250m, helping us with our acclimatisation. During the morning tour we visit the 'District El Centro' which is home to the largest cathedral in the Americas - The Metropolitan Cathedral. We then go to the Palacio Nacional, a grandiose colonial palace with its famous murals by Diego Rivera depicting the history of the Spanish Conquistador, Hernan Cortes, who caused the fall of the Aztec Empire to the revolution in 1910. This is also home to the offices of the president and the treasury. We stroll through the colourful indoor food market of Mercado San Juan. In the afternoon we drive to the massive archways of the Revolution Monument, and visit then the National Museum of Anthropology which houses artefacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian heritage.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Climb Volcan Ajusco (3930m) and return to Mexico City.

    Driving south out of the city, we now make a training and acclimatisation climb of Volcan Ajusco (3930m), also known as Malacatepetl. This is the highest point in the Mexico Federal District (in which Mexico City is located) and is a relatively easy walk so is popular with local people. After the climb we transfer back to our hotel in Mexico City.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 800m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 670m

    • Time 7 hours

  • Visit the Basilica of Guadalupe, the ancient city of Teotihuacan and drive to Toluca hut (3800m).

    As we depart the city we stop off at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This huge church built next to the old Basilica in 1974 can accommodate 50,000 people, and certainly is a sight to behold! We then continue our transfer north to the ancient city of Teotihuacan. This belittling 'City of the Gods' was the largest Pre-Columbian city in the America's, with a population of 150,000. Built around 300-150 BC, with the enormous Pyramid of the Sun (one of the largest pyramids in the world), the various temples and vast Avenue of the Dead, it is a spectacular place. After our dip into the culture of this fascinating region we head westwards and in just under 3hrs we arrive at our overnight accommodation, the mountain hut on Nevado Toluca (3800m). We cook dining here at the simple mountain hut before having a briefing about our walk the next day and getting into our sleeping bags early.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to Estation Meteorologica (4050m). Climb Nevado Toluca. Descend and drive to Taxco (1800m).

    At dawn we drive up to the meteorological station (4000m) where we begin walking. A good trail takes us upwards over a small saddle before descending to the crater lakes of Luna (Moon) and Sol (Sun). The ridges around the crater are magnificent and we can see our route upwards to the summits. This barren landscape is very stunning. We begin our ascent on the scree, and then onto the ridge were we scramble and climb on loose rock to the summit of Nevado de Toluca. The highest point, 4691m is Pico de Fraile. We descend to back to the meteorological station and drive to Taxco where we overnight (approx. 3-4hrs driving).

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 480m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 480m

    • Time 7 hours

  • Morning sightseeing in Taxco. Drive via Xochicalco to Puente de Ixtla (900m).

    We have some time to explore the 'Siver City' of Taxco, which is an attractive old Spanish colonial town. We then drive to the UNESCO site of Xochicalco to visit the exceptionally well-preserved Aztec ruins here. After a couple of hours exploration of this fascinating site, we drive for approximately 1 hour to Puente de Ixtla (900m)..

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

  • Day of relaxation at the hotel. Evening drive to Atzomoni hut (4050m).

    We have a day to relax at our hotel and make any final preperations for tomorrow's climb. In the evening we will drive via the town of Americameca and the Paso de Cortez to the trail head at La Joya where we stay in the National Park's Atzomoni hut (4050m) between Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Climb Ixtaccihuatl (5260m). Drive to Amecameca (2419m).

    We make an early start and follow the trail which climbs to the 'Ridge of the Sun'. This is the normal route to the summit of Iztaccihuatl (5260m), Mexico's 3rd highest peak.from where the views extend to Popcatepetl and Mexico City. After the climb, we descend to La Joya and drive to Amecameca where we check in to a hotel. A brilliant day of 10 - 12 hours trekking and climbing!

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Ascent 1330m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 1330m

    • Time 10 - 12 hours

  • Morning in Amecameca. Afternoon drive (2 hrs) to Tlaxcala (2230m).

    A well earned rest day. In the morning we can relax by the hotel pool. In the afternoon we drive for 2 hours to the small attractive town of Tlaxcala. We check into our hotel and have further time to relax and enjoy the ambience of this old colonial town.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Drive (1 hour) to base of Malinche (3450m). Climb Malinche (4462m) and return to Tlaxcala.

    After breakfast we drive for approximately 1 hour to the base of the peak known as La Malinche. This is Mexico's 5th highest peak and provides an excellent but technically straightforward ascent. A good trail leads to rockier ground on the summit ridge. It will take us 4 - 5 hours to reach the summit (4462m) and a further 2 - 3 hours to return to our vehicle. We then drive back to Tlaxcala.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1460m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 1460m

    • Time 7 - 8 hours

  • Drive (5 hours) via Tlachichuca to Piedra Grande hut (4230m).

    We drive for approximately 2 hours to the town of Tlachichuca. From here we continue a further 3 hours in 4x4 vehicles up the flanks of Orizaba to the Piedra Grande hut (4230m) on the north side of the volcano just above the tree line.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

  • Climb Orizaba (5636m) and return to hut. Drive via dinner in Tlachicuca to Puebla (2200m).

    We make an early start for the ascent of Orizaba (5636m). The trail leads to easy angled snow slopes which we follow to the crater. We then follow the ridge to the summit, which is marked by a cross. We have views across the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the central plateau to the west. Returning to the Piedra Grande hut, we drive to Tlachicuca for dinner before continuing to our hotel in Puebla.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1400m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 1400m

    • Time 12 - 14 hours

  • Day for relaxation in Puebla.

    Puebla has been awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage City. In the morning we have a city tour. There are many fine buildings here, the most notable being the cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The afternoon is free. There is also a thriving arts culture and the city is very vibrant. Our tour bus will be on hand if we decide to make any excursions outside the city.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

  • Departure day. Transfer (2.5 hours) to Mexico City Airport.

    In the morning, we drive back through rural Mexico to Mexico City airport (2.5 hours) where KE Land Only package services end. We can arrange extra nights in Mexico City if required.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • English-speaking local climbing leader
  • Experienced local mountain guides for the main summits
  • Single timed group transfers from/to Mexico City Airport
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • All road transport required in private vehicles
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Tips for local staff
  • Airport transfers other than the group transfer
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

Mexican cuisine is enormously varied and deservedly famous. In Mexico City every type of international food is available. Although Mexico has a reputation for very spicy food and indeed these options will be there, not all Mexican cuisine is hot and there are many regional differences. The food in some of the establishments that we stay is very good and made with local ingredients and traditional dishes. When we are at mountains huts were we have brought our own provisions, the guides will prepare the meals with help from the group. The food here will be suitable for climbing days, but not elaborate or fancy!

All meals breakfasts, 7 lunches and 5 dinners are included in the trip price. Where there is a wide range of dining options and budgets, it makes sense to leave this choice to you. We have therefore not included meals other than breakfasts while staying in major towns or cities except for the last evening in Puebla where we will have a farewell group meal. Clients will be expected to pay directly for 5 lunches and 8 dinners and you should allow approximately US$10 - 20 per meal.
The group will rendezvous at the group hotel in downtown Mexico City. A single timed group transfer from Mexico City Airport is provided. This transfer will depart the airport at approximately 19:30. The hotel also provides a regular airport shuttle which leaves every 30 minutes for a fare of approximately £8.00. At the end of the holiday the group will be taken to the airport on the last day of the Land Only itinerary, arriving there at mid-day. We can arrange additional nights in Mexico City if required.
The group will have 3 nights in minimum 3-star hotel accommodation in Mexico City. The group will also have a total of 7 nights in comfortable hotels or haciendas in Taxco, XochicalcoI, Tlaxcala, Puente de Iztla, Amecameca and Puebla where rooms are twin or double share with en-suite facilities. We also have a total of 3 nights at mountain huts. All mountain huts are basic with non-segregated dormitory accommodation and no electricity or showers. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex for the hotel nights. Depending on availability, it may be possible to pre-book single room occupancy for the hotel nights. For single supplement costs please refer to the website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

On this trip the group will be accompanied throughout by a professional local leader. In addition we will be accompanied by 2 or more local mountain guides during the ascents of Ajusco, Malinche, Nevado de Toluca, Ixtaccihuatl and Orizaba.

We estimate that US$300 will be sufficient to cover your requirements including the above mentioned meals and incidental expenses such as tips for drivers, local guides and helpers. There is no need to purchase local currency (Pesos) prior to travelling. It is possible to withdraw your money in local currency from ATMs in Mexico City and all major towns and most restaurants in Mexico City will accept credit cards. If you are bringing your travel money with you we recommend you bring it in the form of US dollars in cash as this provides for the easiest exchange.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘Thank you’ for a job well done. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and does not form any part of the wages of trek crews or guides. Most people will want to give a tip at the end of their trip and we would suggest that you do this as a group rather than individually.

There is no baggage weight limit on this holiday other than that imposed by your international carrier. However, we ask you to restrict your luggage to one main bag (your KE Trekbag) and a day pack and generally we would advise travelling as light as possible. During the holiday your main bag will be transported by vehicle and while on the climbs this can be left at the hotel, or in the vehicle.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night close to 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Mountaineering boots - see ‘Mountaineering Equipment’

  • Gaiters

  • Shoes / Trainers or similar

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Thermal baselayer - leggings

  • Thermal baselayer shirts

  • T-shirts or casual shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Waterproof jacket with hood

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses (Cat 4)

  • Gloves or mittens

  • Warm and waterproof gloves or mittens

  • Headtorch and spare battery

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2

  • Sleeping bag (comfort rated -5°C)

  • Sleeping bag liner

  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters, blister treatment, insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite), glucose tablets, and multi-vitamin tablets.

The following items are optional:

  • Travel clothes

  • Trekking poles

  • Shorts

  • Swimming gear

  • Camera

  • Small towel (for mountain huts)

  • Spare laces

  • Ear plugs

  • Personal snacks/energy bars for climbing days

  • Day pack

Mountaineering Equipment

  • Mountaineering boots - See notes below**

  • Ice axe (medium sized walking axe)*

  • Crampons (preferably with ‘step-in’ bindings)*

  • Mountaineering or climbing harness*

  • Karabiners (2 x screwgate)*

  • Sling (120cm)*

  • Helmet*


Mountaineering Boots - For the climb on Orizaba you will need warm and substantial mountain boots designed for Alpine conditions. These should be a minimum grade of B2.

Equipment Hire - Equipment marked * can be provided locally and free of charge if you do not have (or wish not to take) your own. If you do want to take advantage of this, please contact the KE office to reserve the relevant equipment.
Equipment marked with ** including: Mountaineering boots, sleeping bags & thermarests can be hired however there is a charge for this.

PHD Gear Advisor

PHD specialise in cold weather equipment, from the world’s lightest right up to the most protective for Everest or the Poles. It’s a large range. So to help you choose what you need to keep you warm, PHD have listed the gear that is appropriate for this expedition.
 >> Click here to view the PHD Gear Advisor for Mexico Volcano Climber

Needle Sports (specialist mountaineering equipment shop)

Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store. View >>

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Mexico

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis is not usually required for trips in the mountains, however if you are visiting rural and remote low lying areas then they might be necessary. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.


Zika virus has been confirmed as active in this country. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes, like dengue and malaria. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The symptoms are generally mild and self limiting usually lasting 2 - 7 days. 80% of people exposed to the virus for the first time experience no symptoms. Pregnant women are advised to avoid areas where the zika virus is active. For the latest information, please see our 'KE Safe' Updates

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. Our treks can be physically demanding, but more as a result of altitude and terrain than distances walked. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime. Regular hiking or climbing is the best preparation but if this is not possible then regular exercise at your chosen sport is also useful. Jogging, biking and swimming are also good for developing aerobic fitness and better stamina. You should gradually increase your exercise leading up to departure, and in the month before setting off, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country. For this trip it is essential that you have some previous experience of walking on snow slopes in crampons and that you are familiar with the techniques of self-arrest using an ice axe.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The climate of Mexico City and all areas of similar elevation and higher is dry and temperate compared with the coastal plains where its hot and humid. The wet season in Mexico falls between May to October and almost all of the country's rain falls in this period. In November/December, temperatures in Mexico city can be expected to range between daytime highs of 20 to 25ºC and night-time lows of 5 to 10°C. On the peaks, daytime temperatures will range from freezing levels to a pleasant 15°C in the sunshine. Night-time temperatures at our highest camps will fall below freezing. Although our trips coincide with the dry season, mountains do produce their own micro-climate and you must be prepared and equipped for all weathers.

  • Mexico . Lonely Planet.

  • The Rough Guide to Mexico.

250K Topographic Survey Maps

Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, Geografa e Informtica (Mexico Survey). 1:250,000. Topographic mapping from Mexico's national survey. Contour intervals are 20 to 100 metres with relief shading. Various types of terrain are indicated. Map legend is in Spanish only. Three sheets are required to cover this trip. E14.02 Ciudad de Mexico, E14.05 Cuernavaca, and E14.06 Orizaba.

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