Mexico Mountaineering


Trip Plan:

We start the trip with some acclimitazation in Mexico City then a day at the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, home to the second largest pyramid in the world. We then quickly progress in height to La Malinche (14,636′), Iztaccíhuatl (17,159) and finally Pico de Orizaba (18,490′).

**Notes on the below itinerary: This itinerary turned out to be perfectly planned. Brett, having had two attempts under his belt already, had enough experience to know exatly how to set up the trip for maximum success for everyone. Malinche, then Izta and then Orizaba with 4 days minimum on Orizaba in case weather came is the way to go.

Pico de Orizaba, also called Citlaltépetl (Star Mountain) is the highest in Mexico, third highest in North America. Iztaccihuatl (or Izta for short) is the 3rd highest peak in Mexico and is said to depict a sleeping female figure. This mountain is made up of 4 summits which look like the head, chest, knees and feet. Izta is only 44 miles southeast of Mexico City but is often not visible due to the air around the city.

This trip is designed for the novice but excited mountaineer. We will spend time working our way up the peaks and teaching the skills you need to be successful and safe on the mountain. Our goal will be the summits but sometimes weather does not always cooperate. This is the peak of the Mexico climbing season. In 2003 we were hit by a good storm on the mountain, we made it safely back down but it was a good reminder of the power of mountain weather.

Mexico City Ruins Section
12/27 1


Arrive in Mexico City
12/28 2 Mon Visit Teotihuacan (7500’), evening transport to Malintzi resort where we have a cabin reserved.  A restaurant is also available.
La Malinche Climb
12/29 3 Tue Early hike up La Malinche (14,736′), return to Malintzi resort.
Izta Climb
12/30 4 Wed Transport to Izta, stop in Amecameca, to La Joya, hike to hut area for tent camping.
12/31 5 Thu Glacier School and New Year’s Eve!
1/1 6 Fri Climb Ridge of the Sun or Ayoloco (preferably Ayoloco) Descend to La Joya and pick up, transport to Tlachichuca where we will stay at the Reyes family compound.
Orizaba Climb
1/2 7 Sat Rest day in Tlachichuca, breakfast and dinner included.
1/3 8 Sun Depart for Pico De Orizaba 10am, breakfast included.
1/4 9 Mon Acclimatization hike
1/5 10 Tue Summit day.  We will transport down the mountain this evening unless we pre-arrange to head out the next morning.  Dinner at Reyes if we do head down.
1/6 11 Wed Weather Option day and pick-up, return to Tlachichuca If we arrive back in Tlachichuca on the 5th we will use this day to tour Puebla.  If we stay in Puebla the lodging is not included but we will find it together.
1/7 12 Thu Tlachichuca (or Puebla)  to Mexico City
1/8 13 Fri Depart Mexico City


Trip Costs:

Guide $1,300
Flight $585
Food $300
Taxis $40
Gifts $40
Total $2,265

Totals Meals needed:
Breakfast – 7
Lunch – 8
Dinner – 5-6
Eat out 14 times

*Notes of Trip Costs: If you want to save some cash, you can certainly eat out less and/or eat at cheaper laces that we sometimes did. Also, these costs do not include taxis/rides to and from US airports. Only in country transportation was taken into account.

Hotel Isabel
Isabel La Catolica N° 63
Centro Historico.
Ciudad de México, D.F. CP 06000
(0155) 5518 1213 al 17

From: and


Arriving at the Mexico City Airport:

The international arrivals gate is located at the far west end of the main terminal. There are luggage carts in the baggage-retrieval area but these are not allowed past the arrivals gate. There you will find porters anxious to help you with your luggage (charging between 10 and 20 pesos per bag depending on the size and how far they carry them).

If you arrive on an international flight, after picking up your luggage you will go through Immigration, and then Customs. Make sure you fill in all forms prior to landing to make this an expedite process. Sometimes the airline will hand them out on the flight. There is a $300 Dollars duty allowance that include new clothing, tobacco and liquors. The Mexican customs law allows passengers to bring free of duties a laptop, an mp3 player, a digital camera, a tripod, a video camera and used clothing.

You will also be required to fill out a Migratory Form for Foreign Tourist, Transmigrant, Business Visitor or Council Visitor which must be stamped by the customs officer, who will give you an obsolete number of days for your visa (up to three months). This form has a bar code on it and a blue stripe across the top saying "Estados Unidos Mexicanos." Be sure not to lose this form as without it, you will not be able to leave the country. If you lose or misplace it during the visit, you must visit the immigration office at the airport to fill out a new one. If you plead ignorance they may let it go, but otherwise there's a 440 peso fine.

After going through customs you will pick up your luggage, then pass through screening. You will press a button for a red or green light. The red means they will search you, the green means you can go.

The entire process, from when the plane arrives to when you are done with customs, usually takes about an hour. After completing customs you will go through large doors to the waiting area for international arrivals. Be prepared to see a lot of people in this area. It is a custom for families to pick up their loved ones at the airport and the hall is rather small for a city of its size. There are carriers who will offer to carry your luggage. This is a service authorized by the airport and is safe - they will be uniformed with white shirts, navy blue tie and dark blue pants, and will carry a wheelie (or keep it nearby) with the union logo on it. There is no fixed price for this service, but 15-25 pesos should be fine, unless you are traveling in a group or have a lot of bags.

Currency conversion

The airport can be a good place for converting your currency. There are many currency changers, some offering better rates than others, or not charging a commission. The converter near Gate E1, in the arrival wing offers the best rate. This will need to happen here or on the Zocalo.  You can also pull out Pesos from the ATM and get a great exchange rate.  Make sure you let your bank know you’ll be in Mexico so they don’t lock down your card for potentially fraudulent transactions.

Transportation to and from the Mexico City Airport: Ground transportation

Taxi— The airport offers a service of licensed and secure taxis known as Transportacion Terrestre. These cabs are white and yellow with black airplane stickers on the doors. You should buy a ticket in the marked counters inside the airport. You can ask one of the wheelie guys for "Taxi Seguro", or "Boleto de Taxi" and he'll take you and your luggage to the Taxi counter. Be sure to get the detachable piece of the ticket back. Prices range from 5 to 25 US dollars for the taxi service, depending on the size of the car and the zone of the city you are going to. A drawing of a car on the ticket will tell you what type of car the ticket is valid for. Some ticket vendors are known to sell more expensive tickets for huge vans to single persons with moderate amounts of luggage. Be aware the airport is not located in the best area of the city, so it is not recommended for tourists to walk outside the airport terminal in search for cheaper taxi service unless you have pre-arranged your service. Definitely do not attempt this if you are not comfortable speaking Spanish.

You will wait in the Taxi line outside to catch your taxi. 

Mexico City's airport is located about 8 miles (13 km) east of central Mexico City. Travel time will depend greatly on traffic, so be sure to leave plenty of time to get there before your flight.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

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