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To the Cotopaxi!

Four thousand eight hundred sixty-four meters above the sea level you can reach to find the most beautiful reward that one has ever had in life.

The mixture of ancestral languages ​​has given the name to this volcano: Cotopaxi, “Cuello de Luna” meaning the Moon Neck.

Climbing Cotopaxi is the adventure that everyone should live, but not because the photos you have seen tell you of the dawn in the countryside or the night under a shower of stars or all the climbing equipment you need to set the perfect dare.

No. At four thousand eight hundred meters you get all sweaty, unable to breathe properly, will have your nose and ears cool red. However, this satisfaction nobody will ever take it from you, and your memory will be your only witness.

The Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world with a height of 5 897 m. It is the main attraction of the Cotopaxi National Park located between the territories of the provinces of Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Napo.

When you arrive at the park, thru the south of Quito, by the Panamericana (E35), you must register your visit and, if you like, could have your passport stamped. From there, the road is transformed from a paved road to a third order, worthy of exploration and venture. You can reach the “first refuge”, which its real name is Cotopaxi National Park Interpretation Center where, in addition to beginning your acclimatization for the ascent, you will receive information and samples of what this protected area is and represents.

After passing through the protective forest, the Limpiopungo Valley begins to expand. Its name is taken from the lagoon that rests on the west side. From there you can already see the snowy summit of the colossus volcano, shrinking to the north by the Rumiñahui volcano.

The vehicles can reach up to one kilometer before José Rivas refuge, from where the climbing begins. There are two ways to climb: the shortest, steepest, and therefore, the most strenuous way; and, the zigzag way, whose layout allows you to take breaks. Remember that the walk lasts about an hour; therefore, it is preferable to arrive early in the morning.

Upon reaching the refuge, at 4 864 m. n. m., you will have a reward difficult to forget: that is the sight that will allow you to see all over the western side of the National Park to beyond the Ilinizas, on the north, and Latacunga, on the south.

Although the weather is usually sunny most of the year, it is always necessary to bring clothes that shelter you and cover you from the cool wind, shoes with hard especial soles, sunscreen, glasses and, of course, your camera.

Have a great trip. Arrive safe. Come back well.

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