Ecuador 1b: Avenue of the Volcanos – Cotopaxi and capital Quito

Cotopaxi -maybe the most beautiful of the lot. Evacuation signs remind the visitor that it is still an active volcano.

Entlang der Strasse der Vulkane ist der Cotopaxi relativ leicht zu erreichen. Die Umgebung und der Park um den Vulkan sind besonders und wir haben deshalb einen zweiten Tag dort verbracht, bevor wir nach Quito weiter fuhren. Eine Übernachtung bei Gerd im Hostal Zentrum ist interessant, wenn auch laut, wenn man im Dachzelt schläft und nicht in einem seiner Zimmer.

Our next overnight stop was the campsite at Cuello de Luna, Swiss owned and attended by Adrian with 3 large St.Bernhard dogs. Volcano Cotopaxi was not yet visible on our arrival and we hoped for clear weather.

While cleaning our vehicle next morning, we discovered that a mouse had joined us in our vehicle – and despite our best efforts, we could not catch it (a nuisance for the next three weeks until only poison proved to be a solution). The weather cleared and our afternoon drive took us to the parking below the refuge at the foot of Cotopaxi -one of the most beautiful volcanos. Cotopaxi errupted last in 2015 and grey ash still covers the glacier while smoke is still emitted.

On the next day the weather was even more perfect and visibility very clear while we again decided to visit the park and we took time to drive a circular scenic route in the park observing Cotopaxi from different angles and enjoying the flora. Again we were delighted that there were no entrance fees into this park.

Camping inside this nature area is also permitted at designated spots -well worth it if there is little or no wind, however we did not make use of the opportunity and remained at Cuella de Luna.

Our route then took us via Rumipamba and Sangolqui to the capital Quito, where we camped in the city at Hostal Zentrum run by the German Gerd -85yrs and full of interesting stories -offering the best breakfast imaginable. Gerd emigrated to Ecuador at the age of 72yrs and started the hostal then. Hostal Zentrum is conveniently close to the city – however, sleeping in our rooftop tent proved to be noisy due to the busy street.

Be aware of your vehicle’s height -ours just fitted in.

Excursions took us to the old city, grande plaza, saw the golden La Compania church and took the teleferico cableway up to the high viewpoint over Quito, quite spectacular.

Pity we did not have a view of the surrounding volcanos due to cloud cover, but we had clear views of the city and the old town section.

A visit to the president’s palace in Quito on the Plaza de Armas is possible and was interesting: it is where the cabinet operates from and where the official residence is. All official gifts from different countries are on display and form part of the nations heritage.

Our trip concluded with visits to the cathedral and Virgen del Panecillo.

Leaving Quito we headed for Otavalo with its interesting craft markets.

This post covers the period 23rd to 28th August 2016

Author: Dieter

A passionate traveller and photographer with an urge to share the beauty of our planet.

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