Cotopaxi – It Literally Takes Your Breath Away

I now firmly believe that there are just some things which should remain the purview of youth, for example hiking. That theory was tested on my trip last year to Cotopaxi.

What a joy it is to be young fit and adventurous! Sadly I’m unable to check the boxes for all.

Cotopaxi is an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains, located in the Latacunga canton of Cotopaxi Province, about 50 km (31 mi) south of Quito, and 33 km (21 mi) northeast of the city of Latacunga, Ecuador, in South America. It is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft). It is one of the world’s highest volcanoes.

There is a refuge/lodge (Refugio José Rivas) about 4,800 metres up, on the way up to the summit.

Usually, a tour with a licensed guide, would take you in a 4WD up to a certain point and then you hike the rest as the route really consists of shifting volcanic ash and pebbles.

The climb to the refuge takes about an 1 hour, but I did it in a panting 1.5 hours with the guide Geraldo, literally pulling me up. If I was 50lbs lighter he would have carried me on this back, such was the pathetic state in which I was, on embarking on this adventure. There was a group of 15 of us on this tour plus a driver and a guide.

We made it to the refuge, hung around for a little while, stomping on snow and with me drinking lots of coca leaf tea for the altitude.

The descent wasn’t too bad, even though it took a toll on my knees as it was steep.

We got back to the “truck” to begin another adventure, that is the bike ride down to the Limipiopungo lake. Sensibly, I passed on this one. I can’t even ride a stationary bike properly, lest riding a dirt bike down a steep hill. I did my descent to the lake on the truck, but two of the “riders” gave up on the way down and joined me on the truck.

Cotopaxi takes your breath away literally!

About the writer:

A Private Wealth Manager by day who recently started blogging about her travels. For now she captures special memories with her iPhone or iPad . There are still many countries to visit on her bucket list. Where do you recommend that she visits next?

26 Replies to “Cotopaxi – It Literally Takes Your Breath Away”

  1. Im in decent shape and this looks though! both the hike and the altitude! But beautiful, I hope it was worth it. I have never been to South America! Maybe head to Antarctica next 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your photos, especially the third one. The fog makes the shot so much more dynamic. I’ve only begun hiking recently, but i’m hoping to make it a more frequent hobby.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is near the top of my bucket list. I appreciate the info and the photos. Luckily I live at a very high elevation, so altitude is no issue. I really feel inspired to start saving and planning now. Gotta make this happen!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an amazing experience! I visited Bolivia about 15 years ago and this brought back some fond memories. I really like your photographs and the pun on the last time (it takes your breath away, literally) made me laugh out loud 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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