Latacunga Travel Blog

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Me and Hernando walking up to Cotopaxi base camp.

After a couple of rain lashed days back in Quito, we´ve shifted South to the town of Latacunga. This place is a decent base to get out to a few different places in the central highlands. (One tip though - try not to arrive on a Sunday, very little is open. Having said that we did manage to find a place to serve us the local cuisine, I forget the Spanish name but it´s basically pig, corn, pig, cheese pasty thingies and more pig). 

We didn´t think we would get to see much of the much-vaunted Volcan Cotopaxi as, after a filthy grey Sunday, thick clouds were still dominating the horizons on Monday morning.

Volcan Cotopaxi and me.
 Eventually we decided to give it a go and hired a guide (the very pleasant Hernando) and mountain bikes to make our way up to the national park and hope for the best.

In the end the best is pretty much what we got. After getting to the car park by 4WD and then panting our way up another 300 metres we got to Cotopaxi basecamp (4,800 metres). As we finished our lunch, the clouds that had been draped around the summit began to part and we got a full stunning view of Cotopaxi´s frozen cone summit. It was a great moment and I won´t forget it in a hurry. It genuinely felt like luck was on our side and, without wishing to sound like a new age hippy toss piece, I was on a natural high for the next couple of hours.

After the euphoria had diminished a little, we biked down the bone-rattling roads away from the summit and back into the flatter territory of the national park. This was great fun (although a little scary to start with) until Andy and I took a wrong turning and ended up trying to pedal our way uphill to where we had gone wrong. Hernando found us and, knackered by the breathless climb to base camp, we gave up and climbed aboard the 4WD to follow Marie (who had taken the right turning) to the park entrance.                      


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Me and Hernando walking up to Coto…
Me and Hernando walking up to Cot…
Volcan Cotopaxi and me.
Volcan Cotopaxi and me.
The summit clears.
The summit clears.
Me and Marie on bikes having safel…
Me and Marie on bikes having safe…
photo by: AndySD