"Ain’t no mountain high enough ..." Top 5 Page for this destination Provincia de Cotopaxi by toonsarah

Provincia de Cotopaxi Travel Guide: 281 reviews and 1,596 photos

Clouds clearing from Cotopaxi

I love mountain scenery, so a visit to Cotopaxi while in Ecuador was a must! And the mountain did not disappoint, although for several reasons I was not at my best that day to appreciate it in all its glory.

We drove south from Quito with Jose Luiz along the Panamerican Highway, here known as the Avenue of the Volcanoes because it passes between the eastern and western ridges of the Andes with several active and inactive volcanoes, of which the highest and most famous is Cotopaxi . It had been bright when we left the city but soon clouded over rather, though some of the volcanoes could be seen – Cotopaxi however was hidden from view.

Cotopaxi means “Smooth Neck of the Moon” and the indigenous people have revered the mountain for centuries. To them, the mountain was the bringer of both good rains and good crops. Pre-Incan civilizations believed god dwelled at the top of the mountain.

But the mountain is also potentially the bringer of disaster. A still-active volcano (it last erupted about 70 years ago), an eruption today would cause the ice in its glacier to melt and to flood the valley below, bringing destruction to nearby Latacunga and as far north as the southern suburbs of Quito.

On the day of our visit the only “danger” was that we might not see it because of the cloud. Thankfully we did, but we had to wait a while before the mountain would oblige and show itself. Meanwhile, at Jose Luiz’s suggestion, we stopped at a rose-growing farm, which proved more interesting than I had anticipated. And after our visit to Cotopaxi we stayed nearby at a beautiful old hacienda, before continuing the next day to Quilotoa (a page on which will follow).

This is one of a number of small pages about a variety of places we visited on our holiday in Ecuador. There is more information about the country as a whole and our experiences there on my overview page, linked above.

Meanwhile to follow our day out in the order that we did, start with that visit to the rose farm

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Stunningly beautiful
  • Cons:The altitude can challenge you if you're not used to it, and unpredictable weather means you may not see the summit
  • In a nutshell:Majestic mountain splendour!
  • Last visit to Provincia de Cotopaxi: Oct 2012
  • Intro Updated Jan 28, 2013
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Reviews (8)

Comments (6)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    A lovely page Sarah! I love the Mountains with the snow too, so different to the mountains I see here.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 15, 2013 at 3:27 AM

      It was beautiful there, especially when the clouds allowed us to see the mountains ;-)

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 15, 2013 at 3:27 AM

      It was beautiful there, especially when the clouds allowed us to see the mountains ;-)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Fascinating tour! Thank you dear Sarah :-)

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 24, 2013 at 2:49 AM

      You are welcome! Thank you for visiting this and all those other Ecuador pages :-)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    What lovely landscapes and the flower is gorgeous. Good tip about the altitude sickness. I am sure many who travel to destinations like this don't even give it a thought until it is too late. Excellent page!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 10, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      Thank you Dee :-) It was a shame the altitude spoilt the day a little for me but I was still thrilled to have seen Cotapaxi so close!

  • Feb 7, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    I do like the look of that hacienda!! Cotopaxi is a definite for sure!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Impressive Cotopaxi! Hacienda La Cienega sounds to be a lovely place to stay in (except for the food of course)! It is so nice to have the wooden stoves at an altitude like that.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 28, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      It was lovely - so much so that I forgave it the food! And the staff were so friendly and keen to help, eg by stoking the fires to make sure we weren't cold

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    A beautiful new page, Sarah. Fantastic photos and texts!


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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