Cotopaxi National Park

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.

loading the bus in quito...can you tell the streets are steep?

loading the bus in quito…can you tell the streets are steep?

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

cotopaxi

love this picture!

we were here!

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…

glacier damage (the road has since been repaired)

glacier damage (the road has since been repaired)

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. 🙂

watching gas puff out

watching gas puff out

i could have sat there for hours taking it in!

I could have sat there for hours taking it in, but we had hiking and biking still ahead

Our hike up the Rumiñahui volcano started at Limpiopungo Lagoon. From there, we made our way to the summit.

limpiopungo lagoon

limpiopungo lagoon

making our way to the summit

making our way to the summit

can you tell we are having a good time?

can you tell we are having a good time?

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.

 

at the summit

at the summit

on top, we enjoyed an ecuadorian chocolate bar

on top, we enjoyed an ecuadorian chocolate bar

we watched an ornate hawk eagle fly by (we also saw an andean condor, but it was too far away to get a good pic)

we watched an ornate hawk eagle fly by (we also saw an andean condor, but it was too far away to get a good pic)

group picture on the summit

group picture on the summit

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.

biking back to the park entrance

biking back to the park entrance

riding past cotopaxi

riding through cotopaxi national park

back at the entrance

back at the park entrance

What an awesome day!

9 responses to “Cotopaxi National Park

  1. Another exciting excursion with you – so glad you wear colorful tops – really adds to all the beautiful scenery pictures. Glad you had such a perfect day for this ride and sounds like everyone in the group was enjoyable to be with

  2. What a great day! I loved seeing the Vlog too! Make us really feel like we were there with you. Glad you had such a clear view of the volcano at the beginning! What a great experience! (& I know I speak for everyone when I say I’m glad it didn’t erupt while you were there!!) I got to hike up a active volcano in Costa Rica which had a very destructive eruption a couple years after we were there. (Sadly, it Took out a hot springs that we visited too) …just sharing to prove I’ve actually had an adventure too! 😉

  3. Curious whether you thought the “vloging” detracted from his own (or your) experience. I don’t know how much time/effort went into that much video but what a great way to capture it. Such exceptional scenery to experience.

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