We did it! After my initial panic about altitude sickness, not being fit enough and the weather conditions we can successfully say that we reached base camp of the Cotopaxi Volcano, the second highest in the world! WOOHOO, what a bloody achievement. I am so proud of both of us as it is by far not an easy stroll.
The trip itself was great, we left at 7am from across town so grabbed an uber for $2.33USD – winning! then made our way to the National park stopping for breakfast along the way, including getting to pet a Llama and play with some beautiful puppies – my day was already made!
From there it was a good hour drive to the Cotopaxi National park home to the Cotopaxi Volcano. Our guide was amazing and he taught us so much about the culture, flora and fauna, and facts about the National park along the way. Ecuadorians love to connect with their mountain deities and one way to do this is to hike as high as possible There was an eruption in 2015 and since then, the National Park has stopped all climbing to the glacier and the summit of Cotopaxi but has reopened the trail to the Jose Ribas Refuge at 15,973 feet (4,600 meters) which is where we would be hiking to. The hike up is strenuous, requiring good lung capacity, and the views on a clear day are unparalleled. Our weather was incredibly average, snowy, freezing cold and super windy so by the time we hauled our bodies to base camp, my fingers and toes were ready to fall off.
We then made the ascend to the bottom of the glacier reaching a whopping 16,200ft above sea level. This is where being fit and healthy really comes into play as a lot of our group turned back as altitude sickness kicked in - it was honestly very difficult to catch a breath let alone hike up a mountain by this stage. Yet, again though we made it and the views were incredible, we only had our phones to take pictures so they will never do the hike justice but will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Several companies offer mountain biking tours in Cotopaxi National Park and ours was one of them – which is why I chose Ecosport tours for this trip. We began at the trail head to the Jose Ribas Refuge and speeded straight down the mountain on the windy, unpaved road to Laguna Limpiopungo. This allowed us opportunities to stop for various selfies, take in the views and get some extra exercise before hopping back on the bus for the arvo.
We finished at Laguna Limpiopungo where we saw wild foxes, 3 condors and beautiful mountain views which looked much more inviting from the bottom when the sun was shining! We finished the day with lunch and then drover back to Quito arriving around 5.30pm. Overall this was a fantastic day out, filled with adrenaline, adventure and hiking – the 3 things that me and Leo love to do best!
Oh, and to top the day off we went to see Avengers End Game that night – no spoilers, but it was out of this world good!
Heading to the cloud forest of Mindo tomorrow for 3 nights to do some wildlife spotting, white water tubing and maybe some zip-lining! Cant wait.
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Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!