Ecuador Volcano Treks – Cotopaxi
The volcano of Cotopaxi rises majestically above the Andean Cordilleras and is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador. With its perfect cone shape reaching the top of this volcano is a must for every budding mountaineer. It is technically not a difficult mountain, but a good physical condition is a basic requirement for a successful climb. From the peak you can enjoy a beautiful view over the wide Andes landscape and with a clear view you can even see all of the snow-capped mountains of Ecuador. Glancing into the crater with a diameter of 800 m, from which a sulfide steam is still flowing you can imagine how powerful the forces of nature must have been to create a natural beauty of this kind.
Day 01: Quito – El Chasqui – Cotopaxi National Park
Early in the morning you depart from Quito over the Pan-American Highway to the South, to El Chasqui and from here on you drive to Cotopaxi National Park. Short stop at the museum of nature to learn about the flora and fauna of the park and then continue to the Lagoon Limpiopungo at ca. 3.800 m altitude. On a short hike you learn about the typical high altitude flora and if the weather permits have great views on the Cotopaxi Volcano on the other side of the high plain. Afterwards you drive up the slopes of Cotopaxi to the parking area on 4.600 m. From here you walk in about 1 hour to the “Jose-Rivas-Refuge” at 4.800 m. After a short acclimatization hike in the afternoon you will have an early dinner before you try to rest and sleep early.
Day 02: Climbing Cotopaxi – return to Quito
After a small breakfast at about midnight you start climbing up. Depending on the conditions you will need about 6-7 hours to reach the peak. If the weather is good you will have a breathtaking view from the top and the possibility to take lots of photos of the snow topped summits of the famous “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Later you start climbing down and will reach the hut after ca. 3 hours again. In the afternoon you return to Quito.
Private 4WD transportation, qualified mountain guide (one guide for every 2 climbers – usually English/Spanish speaking), meals according to the program and overnight stay at mountain refuge. For climbing: mountain boots, ice axe, crampons, harness, rope, entrance fee for the National Park.
Personal equipment, sleeping bag, tips, mountain equipment: gaiters, warm and waterproof clothes, sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves etc.
What to bring with you:
Sleeping bag, sun glasses, sun block, rain wear, warm clothes, torch, hat, trekking shoes, warm clothing, canteen, camera.