Cotopaxi is an active volcano in the Andes Mountains, about 30 miles south of Quito. We did a day trip to Cotopaxi National Park with CarpeDM tours. Normally, the tour would include climbing up Cotopaxi to the snout of the glacier at over 16,000 feet. However, due to volcanic activity, it’s been closed to hiking since August. So instead, we hiked up its neighbor volcano, Rumiñahui.
When we arrived at Cotopaxi National Park, the weather was near perfect and we were fortunate to have clear, sunny skies, which provided unobstructed views of Cotopaxi. The volcano is a BEAUTY. Its cone is almost perfectly symmetrical, which reminded me of the stunning Mt Fuji in Japan.
Cotopaxi’s summit sits at over 19,000 feet elevation – wow! Which explains why there is a glacier on top year-round, even though it’s located near the equator. When Cotopaxi got active in August, a huge chunk of the glacier melted and slid down through the park. You can see the aftermath in this photo…
Since August, Cotopaxi has continued to release gas. As we stood there admiring the volcano, periodically, gas would puff out the top. Our guide gave us instructions in case it erupted during our visit…if it erupts, be sure to get good pictures…you’ll have about 5 minutes to get pictures. 🙂
Our hike up the Rumiñahui volcano started at Limpiopungo Lagoon. From there, we made our way to the summit.
By the time we reached the summit, the top of Cotopaxi was covered in clouds. It was still impressive cloaked in clouds, but so glad we got to see it unobstructed earlier.
We had such a fun group for our day at Cotopaxi. We all exchanged contact info and plan to stay in touch. One person in the group, Reid, is a talented photographer and does a video log. Check out his cool vlog of our day at Cotopaxi. Around the 3-minute mark, you’ll see me in a pink shirt waving to the camera as I pass by on my mountain bike.
After we descended Rumiñahui, we took a short break for hot tea and “ecuadoreo” cookies, and then mountain biked 20km back to the park entrance.
What an awesome day!