You like to hike? And you like to have a bit of adrenaline?
Then a day trip to the Cotopaxi might be the perfect option for you!
This active volacno is situated in the Andes Mountains, 50 km south of Quito, and has the second highest summit in Ecuador. Yes you heard right, it is an active volcano and with 87 known eruptions it is one of Ecuador’s most active ones. The last eruption lasted over six months from August 2015 – January 2016. It is one of the worlds highest volcanos with an altitude of 5.897m and on top of it you can find equatorial glaciers (those start at the height of 5.000 metres) which are really rare to find nowadays. Although it is one of Ecuador’s most popular climbs, many people just come for a look of it’s majesty and the sunset glow of its snow.
The Cotopaxi – which supposedly meaning is smooth neck of the moon – was honored as a ‘Sacred Mountain’ by local Andean people and worshiped as ‘rain sender’ that served as the guarantor of the land’s fertility. Furthermore the summit was revered as a place where gods lived.
An ecological reserve surrounds the volcano, located on the border between the provinces of Pichincha and Cotopaxi. However, the Cotopaxi National Park is a popular destination for visitors looking to hike, climb and trek, as well as those seeking to enjoy stunning panoramas from down below. Cotopaxi’s ecosystem is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including a unique combination of pine vegetation and a wildlife with alpacas, wolves, pumas, bears, rabbits, andean condors, wild horses, white-tailed deers and foxes.
The Lake Limpiopungo is a good place to start hiking though since this high and shallow lake is a habitat for wildlife and a gentle introduction to the park. If you enjoy to experience the National Park differently, there are within 33,393 hectares a lot of astonishing old plantations offering everything from horseback riding to guided climb tours. A good alternative is also to take a Mountainbike on the way down with views of more volcanoes than people see in a lifetime.
But whatever you decide to do in this amazing environment, it is worth a trip!
Don’t miss these fascinating landscapes and just do it… Quito and it’s beautiful surroundings are waiting for you!
Written by: Bianca Schröder