A day in the National Park Cotopaxi

An exciting day trip! I left Quito at seven in the morning after having met the guide, chauffeur and the group of people I was off for an adventure with. On our way to the Cotopaxi National Park the guide pointed out all there was to see on our way (various volcanoes…) and told us quite a bit about everything we saw, history and so on. We stopped for breakfast in a local restaurant: eggs, fruits, juice, tea, coffee… all we needed to be full of energy for the day!

After this nice breakfast we went in direction of the National Park. We had one last stop before arriving: the store. There we could get snacks for the trip, water and coca leaves. Yes, coca leaves. They are well known in the Andes to prevent altitude sickness, tiredness… and is supposed to be very good to go hiking up such an elevated volcano!

We then drove a bit more to the entrance of the park and up to the parking lot that is at an altitude of 4500m. During the ride we admired the countryside, the lagoon, the wild horses and overall the volcano. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather and had the nicest view!

Once arrived, we all jumped out of the bus and after a few explanations started our ascension to the Refuge, at 4800m. I couldn’t exactly say how long it took. It is quite steep and sometimes it felt like I was never going to make it. Although I’m not a particularly athletic person I did make it up to the Refuge without suffering too much. I was then determined to get right up to the glacier. Luckily, the weather still being perfect, we could hike up. When I arrived at the glacier I felt amazing. Touching the snow, breathing in fresh air, admiring the marvelous view of the park, seeing above and underneath the clouds… It was just a great feeling.

We then hiked back down to the parking to meet our chauffeur and bus and… bikes! The most experienced bike riders descended from the parking lot, going around the hairpin turns at high speed. I started biking a little later. We biked across the park down to the beautiful lagoon. There we spotted various birds (one of which was having a bath in a puddle, so cute!), rabbits, flowers… And generally just relaxed in front of the stunning landscape!

After a bit it was time to get back into the bus to go for a well-deserved lunch! We stopped in the same restaurant we had on our way there. Mmmmm! A nice warm soup and great food! Just perfect after such a day!

After lunch we started heading back to Quito. We all thought we’d dose off on the route, but we didn’t. Our guide entertained us big time until the end with stories, jokes, a bit of Ecuadorian history and so on.

When I got back home I couldn’t wait to tell my roomies about my adventure! It was a really amazing day and I’m so happy to have hiked the Cotopaxi and to have pushed myself beyond my limits.

 

Written by: Chesca Lonbay