One Scary Reason You May Not Want to Visit Pichincha Volcano

By Rachel McLeod

The Pichincha Volcano is very popular for both tourists and locals alike in Ecuador who enjoy hiking. You can take the TelefériQo up the first part and hike five or so hours from there to the top, or you can add a few hours by walking from the very base. Either way, this hike is challenging with gorgeous 360° views.


Before my friends and I spent an afternoon up here, one of the girls' host parents warned her to be careful because "a lot of people go missing up there."

Not sure what to make of that comment we brushed it off, it didn't make sense anyway. How exactly does one just go missing from the top of a very well-known mountain?

We went up and quickly forgot about the warning. We had a great day and 100% of our group made it back. Maybe, we just got lucky.

Later that week a member of my host family came over for a visit and we got to talking. He was telling me how spooky he found Quito, even though he's born and raised here.

After a few mildly creepy chair-moving-when-nobody-is-there stories, he then told me about one of his experiences on Pichincha.

My host cousin and his friends went up for a typical day hiking on the Pichincha Volcano, a group of over ten. Once evening started to come, the group split up; half of the group wanted to stay the night. My cousin did not want to stay. A decision he is thankful for to this day.

His group of friends that stayed the night never came back, were never seen from or heard from again. No security at any location at the bottom saw them leave. My cousin even helped the search party, nothing and nobody was found.

They simply disappeared into a mountain. His story aligns with stories we had heard before, but hearing from someone who was there makes it way too real.

As these disappearances happen every few years, it's hard to ignore. These are good people, some very young with bright futures ahead of them, not the kind of people to run away, which isn't even possible as you cannot leave this mountain without passing security.

The question nobody has returned to answer is where are these people going? Nobody knows, and it's possible that nobody may ever know.

If it isn't up to you if you return or not...would you hike this volcano?


To keep up with Rachel and her travel adventures by following her on Instagram, @rachellmcleod.