Hi everyone! My name is Brenda and I am an intern at Rebecca Adventure Travel. Here you can read my experience of the Cotopaxi Hiking and Biking tour!

The day starts off early in the morning. I have to be at our meeting point, Plaza Foch, at 06:50. I just arrived in Quito 4 days ago so I got up extra early so I have enough time to get ready and find out where I have to go. I have never hiked before, let alone on a volcano in a country I practically don’t know anything about (yet), so what on earth am I gonna wear? What should I bring? Where do I need to go? At 06.30 I am ready to go. Wearing lots of layers of clothes, wearing hiking shoes, wearing my orange Rebecca Adventure Travel-body warmer, got some water, got my sunglasses, got my sunscreen, and my camera. I look up the meeting point on Google Maps and I see it is only 200 meters from my home. Luckily I have enough time to check to see if I got everything and I slowly start walking towards Plaza Foch. After not even two minutes of walking I arrive at the meeting point. I see a minivan with some mountain bikes on the roof, and I greet our tour guide, Omar. At 07:00 we depart in the direction of Cotopaxi.

On our way Omar explains our day program and once in a while he talks about the surroundings and about Ecuador. When we are outside of Quito, we stop at a local restaurant for breakfast. Here we get delicious pancakes with fresh fruit and a cup of coffee or tea. During breakfast I get the chance to meet fellow travelers. Today I am on the road with a couple from the US, two men from Spain, a girl from Ecuador, a woman from Argentina, and a guy from India. After breakfast we get back into the minivan and we continue our journey. After a while we arrive at the Cotopaxi national park. Omar starts talking about the park’s nature. He explains that very different plants and animals live here because of the altitude and the soil.

Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park

After driving through the park for a while, we arrive at 4600 meters. Here we get out of the van and we start to get ready for the hike. But before I know it, our guide Omar has already left, so I hurry and join the group. Soon enough I find out that Omar was (luckily) joking, because after 20 meters of hiking he stops to gather everyone. Here he explains that everyone can just walk up the volcano on their own pace. There we go! I slowly start walking up, but I am out of breath very quick. On this altitude there is not much oxygen in the air and is it a lot colder here because we are on the snow line of the volcano. But I just take my time and I stop when needed. Along the way I meet Omar who offered to take some pictures for me. After about 45 minutes I arrive at 4864 meters. I am so happy I made it! At the refuge I quickly order some hot chocolate, because I deserved it. I take some more pictures and I enjoy the view. Then it is time to go down again. Luckily this is much easier and faster.

Refuge (1)

Hot Chocolate at the José Rivas Refuge

When we are back down we get into the minivan again and we drive for a while. After about 10 minutes of driving we stop and the mountain bikes are taken off of the van. The bike ride is about 10 kilometers long and all downhill. It is a tough ride because it got very foggy so we cannot see a lot in front of us. Also, the road is bumpy and there are many rocks on the road. Since we are driving downhill I am constantly just breaking. Unfortunately I cannot see that much of the surroundings because of the fog, but all of a sudden I see some horse shadows through the fog. I stop to take a look and luckily the fog clears up a bit so I can see the wild horses. After biking for about 30 minutes we arrive at our finish point. The bikes are but back up on the van and we start driving back towards Quito. On our way we stop at the same restaurant as this morning to have a great lunch. Because of this active day I am very hungry so I am very happy with our almuerzo. For starters we get a vegetable soup and our main course is chicken with rice.

Back in Quito I get dropped off at Plaza Foch again and here I say goodbye to Omar and the other passengers. Tired but very satisfied I arrive at home. It has been a fun day and a great experience!

Cotopaxi Volcano (5.897 m / 19.347 ft.)

Cotopaxi Volcano (5.897 m / 19.347 ft.)

 

Hiking up the volcano

Hiking up the volcano

 

José Rivas Refuge: 4.864 m / 15.953 ft.

José Rivas Refuge: 4.864 m / 15.953 ft.