Pico de Orizaba & Iztaccihuatl, Mexico

Discover Mexico's Aztec Giants

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Climb Pico de Orizaba & Iztaccihuatl

Right in the heart of Mexico lie the exquisite, volcanic peaks of Iztaccihuatl and Orizaba – also known as the Aztec Giants.

Upcoming Dates

Oct 12 - Oct 21

Oct 22 - Oct 31

Nov 1 - Nov 10

The Aztec Giants, Izta and Orizaba, tower majestically over the landscape at heights of 17,160 ft. (5230m) and 18,491 ft. (5746m). On this unforgettable journey, you’ll summit two spectacular mountains, and experience Mexico’s outstanding cuisine, hospitality, culture, and history.

Izta, “the sleeping lady” is located 50 miles southeast of Mexico City and this is Mexico’s third highest peak. The mountain itself comprises four peaks whose features are named for various parts of a sleeping female figure: the head, chest, knees and feet! Depending on the team’s ability, we will climb one of two routes: the Arista Del Sol Route along a majestic and classic ridge or the more technical Ayoloco Route. From the summit you will have close-up views of the highly active Popocatepetl and even Mexico City depending on conditions.

We recover and replenish in the city of Puebla before our next aim: Pico de Orizaba. Orizaba (5746m) is Mexico’s highest peak and the third highest peak in North America. Its prominent height even makes it visible to ships arriving at the ports of Veracruz.

The climb itself from the trailhead to the glacier is relatively straightforward. But once on the main flanks of the glacier the trail steepens and the slope increases to make the crampon work both steady and adrenaline fueled. Once cresting the summit rim we’re rewarded with a few a across central Mexico and out to the sea.


Day 1: Our first day! Arrive early in Mexico City, where you’ll meet and connect with your guide and other expedition members. This first day is spent visiting Mexico City's sights and recovering from the journey. We also begin preparation for our first climb: a group equipment check, orientation and trip briefing.

Day 2: Today we visit to the famous Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacan, including the Pyramid del Sol - the world's 3rd largest pyramid. After lunch, we drive to the small town of Amecameca. Situated in the highlands at 8200 ft. (2500m), Amecameca rests at the base of Volcanoes National Park, and marks the beginning of our journey both upwards, and away from civilization.

Day 3: After final preparations, we drive to La Joya (12,200 ft./3720m) and hike to the Altzomoni Hut, our Base Camp for our first mountain, Iztaccihuatl. A steep, picturesque hike with around 2300 ft. of gain in 2.5 miles, is the perfect warm up for our adventure ahead. We’ll spend the night in the Altzomoni Hut (13,000 feet/ 3,060m) with the beautiful Itza above us.

Day 4: Today we move up to our Izta High Camp at around 15,000 ft. (4572m). Our packs will be heavy and the air thin, encouraging us to move slowly and tae out time to absorb the stunning surroundings.

Day 5: Izta Summit day! We wake up well before dawn in our high camp to embark on summit bid of Izta, North America's seventh highest peak. The excitement of reaching the top is a tremendously satisfying reward. After soaking in the spectacular view of the Mexican landscape, we descend to the trailhead and head to Amecameca for a delicious, well-deserved dinner and a great night’s sleep in a local hacienda.

Day 6: Rest day! We travel by car through Mexico's countryside, experiencing the local hospitality and culture while navigating the scenic terrain. We’ll spend a comfortable night in the colorful town of Puebla (7,000 ft./2130m.), where we restock supplies, relax, and refuel on home cooked, local cuisine.

Day 7: Today we drive to the small town of Zoapan (9800 ft./2991m.),  departure point for our second objective, Pico Orizaba - Star Mountain - Mexico’s highest peak at 18,491 ft. (5746m.). This night is spent in a wonderful hostel, as the mountain looks down from the sky above. This is our time to rest, repack, and prepare for a morning departure.

Day 8: After packing all our gear into rugged 4x4s, we drive up the mountain to Piedra Grande (14,000ft./4267m.), where porters are waiting to help carry our equipment to our High Camp, around 15,000ft. (4572m.). A night here helps to further our acclimatization and puts us in a strategic position for a successful summit bid early the next morning. After setting up camp, we'll spend the rest of the day exploring the local area, and relaxing in preparation for the next day’s climb.

Day 9: Orizaba Summit Day! We awaken pre-dawn and start out, following the Glaciar de Jamapa, before picking up the classic route that brings us to the crater rim. From here, we follow the edge of the crater around to the summit - officially marked with a cross. We will be treated to breathtaking views across the Gulf of Mexico and the central plateau. After spending time on the summit, we descend back down to Zoapan, returning to Puebla for dinner, celebrations, and well-deserved rest.

Day 10: Today we head back to the airport in Mexico City for final departures. Flights should be planned for the afternoon/evening.



Getting There
Most major US airlines offer daily flights to Mexico City (MEX). Flights should be booked to allow for an arrival time in the early afternoon on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Departing flights should be booked for 15:00 or later on Day 10.

In Country Transportation
The provided transportation in Mexico as stated in the itinerary is via private vans.

Entry Requirements 
A valid passport is required when traveling to/from Mexico by air. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected date of return. U.S. passport holders can stay up to 90 days without  a visa.

Upon arrival in Mexico City, you will be required to complete a currency declaration form which will be submitted to the authorities on your departure. You will also need to retain the “stub” of your immigration form for the duration of your stay, and present it upon leaving. Loss of this stub usually results in a fine.

We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a back up. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.

Airport Arrival 
Upon arrival at the Mexico City airport, follow the signs through Immigrations. They will provide you with an entrance permit adequate for your stay.

After picking up your bags, proceed to Customs where there will be a random selection of bags for inspection. As you enter into the main terminal building, you will be greeted by a crowd of baggage handlers. The scene can be a bit overwhelming. Just keep your bags together and look for your BBE guide!

There have been occasional reports of baggage handlers escorting tourists from one taxi desk to another in an effort to get them to pay “additional” fees – baggage fees, excess baggage fees, over-sized baggage fees, etc. These are bogus fees and only intended to take advantage of tourists caught in the hectic pace of a strange airport. Simply be aware of this. You only need to pay the fare once, and you will be given a receipt

All of the meals served on Benegas Brothers Expeditions trips are a combination of the best local and regional fares along with occasional specialty items brought from the US. We are happy to accommodate your dietary restrictions and/or allergies. We practice an expedition motto of “happiness through eating!”

Mountain Snacks
We recommend that you bring snacks to supplement the mountain lunches for 5 days. We may have a chance to purchase additional food in Russia, but we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.

Take snacks that you genuinely enjoy. Eating well is the key to maintaining your strength while in the mountains. And in order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude, it is best to have a variety of foods from which to choose, from sweet to sour to salty.

Lunch snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day while in the mountains. Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, Toffees, Life Savers), Gummy Bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).

Breakfast and Dinners 
The breakfast menu includes items such as instant oatmeal, cold cereals (granola), breakfast bars, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cocoa, cider) and local fresh fruit.

Dinner usually begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course. There are limitations, but the menu is planned to offer good variety and ample portions.

Our international trips feature local standard four-five star accommodations in the larger cities and towns. These hotels offer all of the amenities you would expect; room service, laundry, wireless internet…etc. They are often close to the local points of interest, unique shops and colorful markets, and offer guests a comfortable place to relax between the trip activities.

During our treks and climbs we will be camping with Style.  You might find yourself waking up to a hot tea delivered with a smile right to the foot of your tent each morning, or playing cards in the dining tent during afternoon tea with new acquaintances, or enjoying a fine meal prepared by our cook staff that is present on each trip. Camping will take on a new meaning for you!

The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso. The recent exchange rate was about 9.8 pesos to the U.S. dollar. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.

You will find that $300-$400 for spending money is adequate for restaurant meals, drinks and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.

Cash machines are readily available in Mexico City, but become increasingly difficult to find outside of the main urban areas. There are several cash machines at the airport which makes it very easy and convenient to withdraw cash. While American dollars are widely accepted, we recommend changing money at the airport so that you have Mexican Pesos for airport porters, taxis, etc.

Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.

Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.

http://wikitravel.org/en/Mexico and http://www.lonelyplanet.com/Mexico offer a wealth of information.

Location: Mexico

Length: 10 days

Trip Dates: Oct 12 – Oct 21
October 22 – 31
Nov 1 – Nov 10

Prerequisites: Familiarity with glacier travel techniques, basic snow and ice climbing skills and very good physical condition

Primary Goals: Summit two of the highest Peaks of Mexico

Follow-up expeditions: Ecuador Volcanoes, Aconcagua, Elbrus, Bolivian Alpinist

Guide Ratio: 2:1

Cost: $3,900 (minimum of 4)

Deposit: $750

Trip fee includes:

  • BBE Leadership
  • Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy*
  • All park entrance fees
  • All group transportation in country as stated in the itinerary
  • All meals (excluding branded drinks, wines, beer)
  • All group cooking, climbing and camping equipment

Trip fee does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
  • Bottled water and personal drinks
  • Customary guide gratuities
  • Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
  • Hotel accommodations not indicated in the itinerary
  • Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)

*Accommodations are based on double occupancy.  A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance. The single supplement is not available in huts, tents, or in all hotels.

Express Version!

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