I cannot speak highly enough of this tour! I recently did a 2 day trip with a group of friends at Cotopaxi and the Quilotoa crater. It was very easy to book last minute and it was a great value.
My mountain biking skills leave much to be desired, but I successfully stayed on my bike this whole trip. Our wonderful guide, Fernando, took the time to make sure we had all the right safety information and some other tips to make each section of the ride easier. He was always happy to snap pictures for us. He also did a great job keeping an eye on everyone in the group from the fastest Dutchmen to us gringitas still on the learning curve. It was very reassuring to know he had great medical training just in case and that there was always the option of taking a ride in our trailing Jeep.
Cotopaxi Park is absolutely incredible! While it was not perfectly clear, the volcano gave us the privilege of a few glimpses between the clouds that I will never forget. I felt like I was on another planet with such stunning scenery. Lunch at the Incan ruins was delicious (pasta, quiche, tea, carrot cake!!) and I don't think I stopped smiling the entire ride. I loved that most of the ride is downhill and the uphills were just enough to get your heart racing at the altitude. They never lasted too long.
On the drive to Quilotoa Fernando impressed us with his knowledge and passion for Ecuador. His English is probably better than mine. We also loved that he made a stop at a great panaderia for us.
We stayed at the Alpaka Quiolotoa Hostel. It was beautiful! Nice clean beds, linens, down comforters, pillows, and towels. Hot tea always available. Dinner was excellent ($5) and even guests from surrounding hostels joined. Private bathrooms with showers were clean. Staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Loved having wood burning stoves in our rooms. It is chilly in the hostel and rooms, but I love hanging around a fireplace for warmth and there were plenty of blankets on the beds. Just be aware that you'll be sleeping at about 12,500 feet. We had been in the Quito area for a few weeks and did fine with the altitude.
On Day 2 we had a great hike along part of the rim of the crater. It was nice we had a few options for our morning adventure. Prettiest view ever and Fernando helped us capture some awesome pictures.
The second day of biking was great fun too! I just wish I had some nice bike shorts since my rump was a little sore from the day before. Definitely not required though as I survived just fine. Did some descents on paved roads as well as dirt roads. Lunch was excellent again. The few uphills weren't too overwhelming.
All in all, I think that this is the best way to experience Ecuador, and I would come back again in a heartbeat to do a longer trip! I was so sad when it was over. Just don't forget some warm clothes and layers as the mountain weather can be unpredictable! Thanks, Fernando and Biking Dutchman!
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