Cotopaxi Volcano


Cat flies (Spanish Cotopaxi ) - the second highest peak of Ecuador (after Chimborazo) and the highest active volcano in the country (5911 m). Cotopaxi is also one of the highest active volcanoes on the planet.

The volcano is one of the peaks of the western edge of the ridge of the Eastern Cordillera (Cordillera Real (English) Russian) in South America. The dimensions of the crater are 550 × 800 m, the depth is 450 m.

Since 1738, the eruption of Cotopaxi occurred about 50 times. The penultimate eruption occurred in 1877. On August 15, 2015, after almost 140 years, a new eruption began.

History of volcanic eruptions

For the first time, the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt and the French botanist Eme Bonplan tried to explore the volcano. In 1802, they arrived in Quito and attempted to climb three volcanoes - Cotopaxi, Chimboraso and Pichinchu. They managed to conquer only the last, and on Kotopakhi they climbed to a height of only 4,500 m.

The German geologist and explorer Wilhelm Rice managed to climb the summit of Cotopaxi for the first time on November 28, 1872. A year later, in 1873, the volcano was conquered by the German naturalist and volcanologist Moritz Alfons Stübel.

History of volcanic eruptions

Cotopaxi is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. The first recorded eruption occurred in 1534.

The largest eruptions were in 1532, 1742, 1768, 1864 and 1877, insignificant activity remained until 1940.

The most devastating was the eruption of 1768. In early April, a giant column of steam and ash rose from the vent. On April 4, the volcano began to erupt sulfur, lava and pyroclasts. An earthquake began, as a result of which the nearby city of Latakunga and the surrounding settlements were completely destroyed. Later, eruption products were found hundreds of kilometers from the location of the volcano - in the Amazon basin and on the Pacific coast non-authoritative source? .

After almost 140 years of sleep, on August 15, 2015, the volcano became active again: a strong eruption began.

Cotopaxi Volcano (Cotopaxi)

Cotopaxi - The highest of the active volcanoes in the world (5897 m above sea level). It is located 50 km from the city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, in the eponymous national park. About 70 years ago, local residents suffered disasters from powerful eruptions from his vent. Now the volcano is in a sleeping state, and only from time to time there are emissions of sulfur or water vapor. The first European to conquer the summit is Wilhelm Reis, a German geologist who organized an expedition to the Andes in 1872.

General information

The peak of Cotopaxi is also notable for the fact that it is formed by two craters, the older outer and younger inner, both of which resemble an almost perfect circle in shape.

Tourists crossing the road to Cotopaxi see the majestic peaks of the Andes, lined up in a chain. Each such mountain has its own flora and unique fauna. About a hundred species of various birds live only in the valley and on the slopes. If you stroll through the national park without haste, you can hear the most amazing bird's voices.

The rich nature of these places and the regular conical shape of the crater attract not only vacationers, climbers from around the world, but also famous photographers. Snow-capped peaks and western slopes, constantly cloudy, create wonderful panoramic views every day. At the top of the mountain are two perfectly round surfaces of the volcanic vent.

The volcano is constantly monitored by specialists, since many people live in this area, and abundant mud flows from the slopes of the volcano are by no means uncommon. Although the danger of a new eruption, scientists confirm, continues to persist.

The turbulent past of the volcano

Stunning landscapes did not always delight others; 1742, 1744, 1768 and 1877 were noted in the chronicles as dates of powerful emissions of lava, mud, pumice and stones. During the time of these cataclysms, the volcano Cotopaxi brought great destruction and devastation from the fire in the valleys of the Andes at a distance of hundreds of kilometers. Since 1738, the eruption of Cotopaxi occurred about 50 times. Now, in a state of sleep, the peak is covered with snow even when the equatorial summers are hot here. It is often compared to a popular Japanese tourist attraction - Mount Fuji. For Ecuador, it is also a national symbol, invariably present in all geographical photographs.

Fans of walks will enjoy walking along “Avenue of Volcanoes” - a road surrounded by mountain peaks and rare plants. In the western part of the mountains there is a forest in the “clouds”, where thanks to the steep slopes, the sun highlights even the most dense thickets and representatives of the world of flora and fauna that are not characteristic of this climate live. Here you can see the famous miniature hummingbird, Andean lapwing, deer, wild horses and domestic lamas.

The equipment of the mountain trails in the Kotopakhi park is at a high level - on the way to the top there is a place for rest and overnight, camping at the foot and the opportunity to set up a tent camp along any of the roads. Climbing can be done with the help of a professional guide, taking all the necessary things from the base. Along the roads and beautiful lakes there are tracks for tourists who prefer mountain biking. For a small fee, travelers can ride in the park on horseback.

A few words about the volcano

Cotopaxi (Cotopaxi) Is the second highest peak in Ecuador (after Chimborazo) and the highest active volcano in the country (5911 m), it is also one of the highest active volcanoes on the planet.

Cotopaxi is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth. Since 1738, he erupted more than 50 times. His last eruption happened in 1877, after which he remained quiet for almost 140 years. The height of the volcano is 5,897 meters, the size of the crater is 550 by 800 meters, the depth is 450 meters. The last eruption occurred on August 15, 2015.

About volcano tours

On the volcano, there are both one-day tours to a height of around 5,000 m, and multi-day tours with climbing to the top. You can go to them from the country's capital city of Quito or a town nearby - Latacunga.

The volcano is located in the national park of the same name and is the second most visited in the country after the Galapagos Islands.

To climb to the top, special training is required. Although the peak of Cotopaxi is considered one of the most easily accessible, it is necessary to take into account its height of 5,911 m, which is the main obstacle.

Cotopaxi One Day Tour

Like most tourists, I chose a one-day tour where the maximum climb is 5,000 meters - to the edge of the glacier.
The cost is 50 dollars per person.

If you are looking for a local tour agency with an English or Hispanic guide, I highly recommend CarpeDM. It was with them that I went on a trip to the volcano and was very pleased.

So, at 6:30 in the morning, the bus was picking me up at the door of the Quito hostel, almost all the places were already filled, all that was left was to pick up the last three participants and the group was staffed. It turned out to be as many as 15 people.

First, we were brought to the observation platform, from the height of which the capital of Ecuador is clearly visible.

view of Quito from the observation deck

Then there was breakfast. Although the food was delicious, my grazing llama caught my attention. So, having quickly hammered the stomach with everything that was on the plate, I hastened to meet a new furry cloven-hoofed friend.

The shepherd dog that you see in the background is strenuously guarding the llama. As soon as someone moves in her direction, the dog starts from a place, flies up in a llama and carefully watches new visitors. When he sees that nothing serious is happening, he calms down, keeps himself close, but does not leave. He expects onlookers to retreat to a safe distance and only then returns back to the house.

After breakfast, we drove to the base of the volcano to admire its majesty from below. But the heavy cloudiness prevented me from seeing all the beauty of Cotopaxi. That cloud will float from above, then it will cover its side.

Climb the volcano

And finally, our parking lot. Height is 4,500 meters. From here we have to climb to the base camp, to a height of 4,864 m. The whole journey takes from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. It is better to walk along a zigzag path. It is much simpler. Those who come without a guide do not know about this and complicate their lives climbing the path intended for descent. She is straight with a steep slope.

If the weather below was excellent - the sun was shining, quiet and smooth, then at 4,500 meters the apocalypse was waiting for us. I have never seen such a thing in my lifetime, the weather changed every 10 minutes.

I, as in that fairy tale, met all 12 months, only alternately and within an hour. The sun, rain, snow, meter, strong wind, all that your soul desires.

Refugio, there I have to crawl

Are you weak to climb the glacier?

My heroism was enough to reach only the refugio, height 4,864 m.

Now after a little respite

it was proposed to rise another 150 m up to the edge of the glacier. I found a bunch of excuses for myself, such as - “Another glacier? Have I ever seen glaciers? Anyway, it will be worse than those that were in Patagonia. ”And she started to drink hot chocolate and bask in refugio with a few sloths.

Then we headed back, which was much easier, to our bus, to wait for the rest of the “expedition to the glacier”.

view of refugio from the other side

nice but cold)

Pokatushki from the volcano to the lake

When the whole group was assembled, we went down a bit from the volcano on our transport, stopped and were given bicycles and protection. And now for a long and fun ride down.

There were many tourist buses in the parking lot, but only ours had bicycles on the roof. So, if you want a little extreme, be sure to ask when buying a tour whether it includes two-wheeled entertainment or everything will be boring and monotonously "climbed, descended-home".

Thank God none of us fell and, upon reaching the finish line, to Lake Limpiopungo, we had the opportunity to cast a last farewell look at the majestic volcano Cotopaxi.

Unfortunately, he was still not in the mood and did not want to open completely.

There is a reason to return. 😉
A short video from the trip.

Unverified travel information

If you want to save and get by yourself. This information is not verified and not complete, shared by the guests of the hostel.

1) Take from Quito from the Quitumbe terminal by bus to the entrance to the nat. park (I don’t know the cost, direction too)

2) take a taxi at the entrance, the guys managed to bargain for $ 28 for 4 people.

3) hitchhiked back, caught a truck, he agreed to take him to the exit for $ 2 per person

By the way! When booking a hotel or hostel, do you want to get up to 1000 rubles back to your card after check out?

Then use this link on ➡ click

Details of all conditions: here

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More photos of Cotopaxi volcano ⇒ here

Trip to Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador - May 22, 2018


Spanish Volcán cotopaxi

Volcano Cotopaxi. View from the high plain of Cotopaxi National Park
Volcano shapeStratovolcano
Last eruption2015
Highest point
Absolute height5897 m
Relative height2404 m
First climbWilhelm Rice (November 28, 1872)
00 ° 41′03 ″ Yu w. 78 ° 26′14 ″ s d.HGYOL
A country
  • Ecuador
Mountain systemAndes
Ridge or arrayCordillera Real
  • VOGRIPA: 2592
  • GVP: 352050
  • GeoNames: 3658769