Mexico Volcanoes Orizaba (18,880')  •  Ixtaccihuatl (17,338')

Mexico Volcanoes Frequently Asked Questions

This information should answer many of your initial questions and also guide you through the next stages of preparing for the expedition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need javascript enabled to view it

What is the route like?

It has been said that these volcanoes are an ideal training ground for climbers who would like to get into high altitude mountaineering. The routes on these peaks are not particularly difficult technically but are very worthwhile ascents.

Both climbs involve extended cramponing on moderately steep slopes with hard snow conditions. Approximately 3,000 - 4,000 vertical feet of snow can be expected on each peak. Crevasse problems will be minor. Climbing Ixta or Orizaba can be compared to climbing Mt. Rainier from the 10,000 foot level up.

How should I train?

You cannot over train for high altitude climbing. Concentrate on your heart, legs and lungs. Climb or hike at any opportunity. You will enjoy the trip more if you are properly prepared. An aerobic program of either running, swimming or bicycling, plus a conditioning program for the thigh muscles is strongly recommended. Running stairs, weight training or similar programs are excellent.

What skills do I need?

Prior knowledge of ice ax arrest, 10 and 12 pt. cramponing and rope team travel are REQUIRED. Everyone must have these REQUIRED climbing skills.

Is a visa required?

The procedure for entering Mexico is very simple. You MUST have a tourist card (obtainable from the airlines) and a passport. Upon arrival, you will be asked to show both your tourist card and passport so be sure to have both handy upon your arrival in Mexico. I also suggest you bring an extra copy of the front pages of your passport in case of loss, along with a couple of extra passport photos.

How do I get there?

Flights to Mexico City are easily booked from almost any area of the United States. Because of this, the group meets at the Marina Cristina Hotel in Mexico City. We encourage you to make your reservations early.

International Mountain Guides has worked for many years with the staff at CTT Destinations to provide professional travel service for participants in our programs. For help with your plans, we urge you to contact Pirjo at CTT Destinations: 800-909-6647 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need javascript enabled to view it

Try to arrive in Mexico City as early as possible on Saturday afternoon. That's Day 1 of the program. You will take a government regulated taxi from the airport to the hotel. The taxi ticket window is located just outside of customs at the Mexico City Airport. Remember, you are responsible for making all of your own flight arrangements.

What kind of insurance do I need?

We invest in insurance coverage for commercial liability and medical and disability insurance for our employees while participating on our programs. We cannot insure you for your personal needs, but we do expect you to be as fiscally responsible as we are. We require that you insure yourself against potentially expensive difficulties that may arise. First, Trip Cancellation Insurance may provide financial relief should you be forced to withdraw from the program before it even happens. Next, make sure you have adequate Travel Insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip. Medical care and evacuation in remote locations can be expensive. For more information, please see our page on Trip Cancellation and Travel Insurance.

We again remind you that no insurance of any kind is provided for trip participants.

What immunizations will I need?

No immunizations are currently required to enter Mexico. It is recommended that you consider the following:

  • Tetanus/Diphtheria: There is no natural immunity to the tetanus toxin and since it is found throughout the world, immunization is a universal recommendation regardless of age. A combined tetanus/ diphtheria booster is available, good for ten years.

  • Hepatitis Vaccine: New vaccines are available for both hepatitis A and B.

Please consult your physician or local health department for their recommendations.

You should also ask your physician for a prescription for a course of the antibiotic azithromycin ("Z-Pak"). Please consider this to be part of your required equipment.

We recommend that you visit the travel clinic at a major University Hospital or your local Public Health Department for the most up to date info on travel requirements, or check the Center for Disease Control Website at

What's included in the expedition fee?

Costs Included in Trip Fee:

  • guide fees
  • double accommodations in hotels
  • shared accommodations in huts
  • group transportation
  • group equipment including stoves and fuel, ropes, cooking gear, group first aid kit, technical climbing equipment, radios, etc.
  • meals while climbing except for lunches (i.e. snacks)

Costs Not Included in Trip Fee:

  • airline tickets of any kind
  • airport taxes
  • airport taxis
  • meals while not climbing
  • personal clothing and climbing equipment such as boots, packs, sleeping bag and pad, crampons and ice ax
  • snack foods or items of a personal nature