Volcan Cotopaxi

Provincia de Cotopaxi Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 48 › view all entries

We got up early to try and book a trip to Volcan Cotopaxi.  However Latacunga was still sleepy from Sunday and none of the tour companies (including tourist office) opened until 9.30.  Eventually we managed to get into our preferred tour soon after (that included walking up to the refuge at the bottom of the glacier before mountain biking back down - Rinallacta Tours US$55).  By 10.30 we were on the road. 

The weather that had looked good in Latacunga didn´t look quite so good out on the road with so much cloud around that you couldn´t even see the mountain as we entered the park.  It didn´t bode well.  Our guide however remained optimistic that we should get a break in the cloud at some point.  Hernando was actually really nice and the first indigenous person we´d come across with any level of English.

  We took the opportunity to practise our Spanish with a back up of English if needed (by the end of the day we were mainly speaking in English !!).  Hernando did a tour of the museum for us and a stop at the laguna before as Hernando predicted, the clouds parted and we got our peak at the mountain towering above us which was an absolutely awesome sight.  However things were to get better as we continued up the mountain to the car park at 4500m.  Hernando, Dave and I (Marie didnt fancy it) continued up a further 300m to the final refuge before the final glacier ascent.   It was a killer of a walk, especially at that altitude but I wasn´t going to let it beat me.   It was worth it.... We´d timed it perfectly as at the point of finishing a light lunch the clouds vanished revealing a blue sky and a perfect view of the summit.
  Dave and I got trigger happy on the cameras as the view of the perfect coned summit could not be bettered (certainly from anything I´ve seen before). 

After spending 45 minutes at the refuge we descended to meet up with Marie at which point the clouds had not only returned but descended as far as the car park and we couldn´t see more than a few metres.  Fun conditions for a 25km descent on mountain bikes down the side of the mountain, especially when the front brake was over sensitive and the back brake was non existant !! We´d found Marie´s fortee and she was off with Dave and I trailing in her wake.   The ride wasn´t too steep but the rocks, bumps and crevices made up an interesting challenge.

  Great fun until Dave and I made the predictable wrong choice in a 2 way split in the track taking us 4km off course.  By the time we´d realised and cycled back up to the junction, we were drained.  Hernando was waiting wondering what had happened probably cursing "bloody gringos" under his breath.  Dave and I quite happily jumped in the car and let Marie take the spoils of completing the 25km (to be fair we had done 17km including 4 uphill and the climb to the refuge !!).

To finish an amazing day, Dave and I treated ourselves to the famous cuy (guinea pig) for dinner.  I got the top half including head with mouth, eyes and cute little ears attached, whilst Dave got the rear including claws.  Tasted lovely - dark meat but tastes similar to chicken.  However there is disappointingly little meat on the bone and we were still starving afterwards.

A day never to be forgotten !!


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