Alexander von Humboldt: Discovering the World from Chimborazo

Alexander von Humboldt, a revered naturalist and explorer, forever etched his name in history with his audacious expedition to the summit of Chimborazo in 1802. This journey not only pushed the boundaries of human endurance but also revolutionized our understanding of nature. Join us as we delve deeper into Humboldt’s epic adventure and its enduring legacy.

The Ascent of Chimborazo

Embodying the spirit of the Enlightenment, Humboldt and his companion Aimé Bonpland embarked on an ambitious journey to ascend Chimborazo, believed at the time to be the world’s highest mountain. With meticulous attention to detail, Humboldt documented his observations about the region’s geography, wildlife, and climate.

Their climb was fraught with challenges, from treacherous terrains to debilitating altitude sickness. Yet, they persevered, reaching an astonishing altitude of 5,878 meters – a world record that stood for three decades.

Read The Surprising Truth about Mount Chimborazo in our next blog

Breathtaking vista of the majestic Chimborazo Mountain.

Humboldt’s Revolutionary Discoveries

Despite failing to reach the summit, Humboldt’s expedition was far from a failure. His detailed observations led to groundbreaking discoveries that reshaped our understanding of nature.

One of Humboldt’s most significant contributions was his concept of ‘Naturgemälde’ or ‘painting of nature’. This was a detailed sketch of Chimborazo, annotated with the diverse plant species he observed at different altitudes. This innovative approach demonstrated the interconnectedness of nature, laying the foundation for modern concepts of ecosystems and biogeography. Humboldt also discovered the relationship between altitude and climate zones, observing how vegetation changed as he ascended Chimborazo. This observation led him to propose the concept of isotherms, lines on a map connecting points of equal temperature, which revolutionized climate studies.

Vicuñas walking at the base of the Chimborazo

Humboldt’s Enduring Legacy

Today, more than two centuries later, Humboldt’s legacy continues to resonate. His holistic view of nature is more relevant than ever in our current era of climate change and biodiversity loss. Moreover, his respect for indigenous knowledge and understanding of the impacts of human activities on nature presaged today’s principles of sustainable and responsible tourism.

At Impactful Travel, we are inspired by Humboldt’s spirit of curiosity, respect for nature, and commitment to knowledge-sharing. Our tours across Ecuador offer travelers a chance to experience the transformative power of travel, just as Humboldt did.

Community at Casa Condor, Chimborazo


Begin your journey at the mighty Chimborazo, where Humboldt’s historic ascent took place. Our guided tours give you the opportunity to marvel at the same breathtaking vistas that Humboldt sketched over two centuries ago.

Take this panoramic tour

Chimborazo Ecuador landscape Impactful Travel
Chimborazo Ecuador landscape Impactful Travel


In Quito, Ecuador’s vibrant capital, you can explore the city’s rich history and culture, just as Humboldt did during his expedition.

The Plaza Grande of Quito is the starting point of our Quito Walking Tour. | Impactful Travel
The Plaza Grande of Quito is the starting point of our Quito Walking Tour.

Tena, Amazon

Venture into the lush Amazon rainforest, where Humboldt studied the region’s diverse flora and fauna. Here, you’ll witness the extraordinary biodiversity that so fascinated Humboldt, while supporting sustainable tourism initiatives that protect this precious ecosystem.

A young woman is practising taking the skin off a bamboo stick with a machete, at Amupakin, Tena, Ecuador. | Impactful Travel
A visitor at Amupakin is practicing her skills with a machete.

Galapagos Islands

Finally, although Humboldt never visited the Galapagos Islands, his work greatly influenced Charles Darwin’s theories, making these islands a fitting conclusion to your impactful journey.

As you explore these stunning landscapes, you’ll not only witness the beauty of Ecuador but also contribute to its preservation and support local communities. Just like Humboldt, you’ll be part of a journey that goes beyond sightseeing to foster personal growth and make a positive impact.

So, are you ready to embark on your own Humboldtian journey?

Join us at Impactful Travel and let’s make a difference together!

Woman sitting on beach with sealions San Cristobal Galapagos
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Impactful Travel's mission is to empower transformative journeys through sustainable and responsible experiences, we are committed to enriching lives - both for travelers and local communities in Latin America.

We seek to connect meaningful tourism experiences with a committed global audience, enhancing communities and encouraging sustainable choices.

Together with you, we improve day by day, on the always-demanding path towards sustainability.


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