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. The hotel provides an airport shuttle for a small charge.
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Mexico City.
  • Climb Volcan Ajusco (3930m) and return to Mexico City.
  • Sightseeing at 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
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*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • peaks
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Mexico City. The hotel provides an airport shuttle for a small charge.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Guided sightseeing tour of Mexico City.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

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

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 800m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 670m

    • Time 7 hours

  • Sightseeing at Teotihuacan and drive to Toluca hut (3800m).

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

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

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 480m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 480m

    • Time 7 hours

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

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

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

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

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

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Ascent 1330m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 1330m

    • Time 10 hours

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

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

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

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1460m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 1460m

    • Time 7 hours

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

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

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

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1400m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 1400m

    • Time 12 hours

  • Day for relaxation in Puebla.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

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

    • 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

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.

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.

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 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

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.

At the present time, nationals of countries which are members of the European Union and nationals of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa need only a valid passport for entry into Mexico. A visa is not required. A Tourist Card is issued on arrival. Nationals of other countries should contact the embassy or consulate of Mexico in their own countries for information on how to obtain their visa.

Passengers intending to travel via the USA, please note the following:

Your passport must have a machine readable bar code if you are transiting through the US. You must complete an online application form to travel to, or transit through the USA.

Under the new Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), all travellers, including children, from the 27 countries under the US visa waiver programme will have to fill out an electronic travel authorization form online ( prior to boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship. You can also use this site to check whether your country is part of the visa waiver scheme.

You will be required to answer questions about criminal records, communicable diseases, past history of visa revocation or deportation, and basic biographical data such as name, birth date and passport information. Changes in address and itinerary can be made online after the ESTA form has been first submitted.

You will not be allowed to board any US bound aircraft without completing the online ESTA form.

If you have a criminal record (including criminal driving offences), you will be required to obtain a visa in advance of entering or transiting the USA.

We do keep our information up to date but be advised visa requirements are subject to change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant embassy or commission in the case of recent alterations.

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’
  • Snow gaiters
  • Shoes / Trainers or similar
  • Socks
  • Trekking trousers
  • Windproof and waterproof overtrousers
  • Underwear
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Thermal baselayer shirts
  • T-shirts or casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper/sweater
  • Windproof and waterproof jacket with hood
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat and thermal balaclava
  • Eyewear – Sunglasses (Cat 4)
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Warm and waterproof over-gloves or mittens
  • Headtorch with spare battery
  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2
  • Sleeping bag comfortable to 0 degrees 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 (band-aids) and 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 / memory cards/ batteries
  • 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. / 3ft.)*
  • 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.

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

Know before you go

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.

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.

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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