21 Feb Quilotoa vs Cotopaxi. What to choose?
Quilotoa vs Cotopaxi. What to choose?
“Both” – answered Canadian couple and we went on a private tour to Cotopaxi and Quilotoa. Ethan and Marika are from Quebec, our guide Sensei is from Quito and I am from Ukraine. We started at 7 am from the Friends Hostel. The first check – wind jacket to stay warm, sunscreen to keep our skin protected and ID to enter the Cotopaxi national park. All good and we were ready to start.
One and a half-hour drive and we were at the entrance to the second most visited national park in Ecuador – Cotopaxi. The first one is the Galapagos. We had coca tea and hot chocolate as a kick-starter of the day. Then about half an hour drive before the hike. At the beginning the day was foggy and we were worried if we will be able to see anything at all. However, “Nunca se sabe en Región Sierra”. You never know the weather in the Ecuadorian Highland. While driving already inside the park, suddenly we were able to see a magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano. It is high and it looks indeed very high.
While taking a picture of the volcano from the road it was sunny and hot. However, once we reached the parking, we had to use all our clothes including glows. Ethan said, that they were preparing for the Galapagos and not for this “just like in Canada weather”! The wind was very strong and the sun was already gone. Sensei reassured us that this is actually not a strong wind for Cotopaxi. Gladly nobody of us got cold as we were climbing up. In about 40 minutes we reached the refuge and had a break. The view was breathtaking.
On the way to Quilotoa we had a local lunch. Local lunch means a big plate of soup, a plate of rice with meat or omelet and of course a glass of fresh juice. While driving we digested the lunch and were ready for the second portion of magnificent Ecuadorian scenery. The Quilotoa Lagoon is technically caldera. Check out the recent Facebook post on our page if don’t know what is a caldera. The hike in Quilotoa has one primary difference from Cotopaxi. Firstly you hike down and then up.
Sensei answered all our questions and gave us a father-blessing to reach the lagoon while he would accumulate power to drive back. The road has lots of beautiful scenery and many dangerous curves, so we were glad to have such a professional driver as Sensei with us. Speaking of driving there is no road down to the Quilotoa lagoon. However, it is possible to get “UBER-Caballo” on the way up. In other words, for ten bucks you can get back on a horse. That is exactly what Marika was intended to do. The horseman accepted $20 bill without any change. He said that caballos works only in pairs because he returned especially for us. I questioned the Caballo-driver about the price “veinte”, because we necesidad solo caballo por chica. He said something that we did not understand and with a disappointed face, he returned the ten-dollar bill to Ethan. Una caballo – diez dollars. Pay attention to that if you are intended to take caballo.
Overall, we saw active volcano Cotopaxi and distinct volcano Quilotoa. On the way back we made a short stop to see the random canyon. It was a nice break as the drive from Quilotoa back to the hostel is taking three hours. During the day Ethan and Marika were asking many questions and Sensei told us many interesting stories about Ecuador. Why our guide’s name is Sensei? Join us for the next tour and ask him yourself!
All the best,
Your friend Dima