Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi Volcano, Tanicuchi: Address, Phone Number, Cotopaxi Volcano Reviews: 5/5

Cotopaxi Volcano
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381 reviews
Very good

Caracas, Venezuela9,752 contributions
To climb volcanos or access national parks in Ecuador, you must make a previous request to the environment ministry.
The access is free but at the entrance, if you are foreign they will try to force you to pay for a local guide (around 50USD).
Only 1.7km round trip to get to the shelter.
I didn't get to the summit but I willl next time. I totally recommend
Written June 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bangkok, Thailand84 contributions
When in Ecuador it is very difficult to miss this impressive volcano.
But given the weather conditions get there early in the day to enjoy with more certainty the majestic view of the volcano.
Clouds close in soon and one may miss the full view.
Written January 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Janet O
France317 contributions
The views were amazing as we approached the volcano. The coach went into the carpark and if you wanted to walk up to the lodge it was a further couple of hundred metres. It was very windy and of course the altitude poses a problem, especially for people like me with dodgy heart rhythms. People were getting headaches before they even started. I and a few others decided to stay on the coach. We were well rewarded with the appearance of a beautiful Andean Fox. He stayed for some time around the coach. We wondered if it was his usual haunt as he was obviously looking for food.
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sol L
Tel Aviv, Israel121 contributions
The reserve allows to learn about the flora and fauna in it. The Visitor Center provides quality material. It is not mandatory to take a reserve guide. If you decide to climb to the point of refugee house you can get a breath of breath and a wonderful view. The climb from this point will only be done through a reserve guide
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

35 contributions
This was the best organized travel experience I have had. First, I made it to the summit. Cristian Rivera is a great guide and person. He got me to the top. I can’t say enough good things about him. He was directive as he needed to be. Checked on my condition often and was very accommodating to my needs. For example, he knew I needed a little extra time to get to the top so we left a little earlier. Left at 11:20 and summited at 6:10. Took us almost seven hours. Back at the refuge by 9. Five stars for Cristian.

Fabian was also great as my guide for Iliniza Norte. Pasachoa had been more difficult than expected so Iliniza was going to be the true test of whether I would be ready for Cotopaxi. He guided me through a difficult, but doable climb. Five stars for Fabian.

Papagayo. What a special place. Perfect for someone who needs a place to relax between and before climbs. The staff was helpful, friendly and accommodating. All of them. They went above and beyond. Yam is also a perfect person managing much of the operations involving clients. Five stars.

All aspects of my adventure would have earned the same ratings even if I did not summit. Jeremy at Gulliver took care of everything.

I am a 60 year old male. Summiting Cotopaxi was hard. If this is something you think you can do and you are in good shape and have a strong desire, Gulliver can take you from where you are and support you every step of the way.
Written May 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Caio Pertile
Uberlandia, MG6 contributions
This place is something else, very beautiful. I recommend a lot for those who enjoy riking. Recommnedations: use sun blocker, bring something to cover your head, mouth and throat, use safe shoes (one that isnt old). Also try to go with an open sky (sun).
Written January 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Valley Forge, PA389 contributions
Cotopaxi is the second highest peak in Ecuador rising to 19,347 ft. From a distance, it is a beautiful, snow and ice covered cone reaching into the sky. Closer up it can be a bit intimidating. In fact, the route to the summit is nicknamed “Rompe Corazones”, the heart breaker. Gazing up at Cotopaxi, the question I asked myself was, “Could I summit?” I was in good shape but I had limited experience hiking with crampons and no experience with an ice ax, self arrest, roped climbing or hiking on a glacier. If you are asking yourself the same question the simple answer is yes. You do have a good chance of success – if you prepare.

1. Get yourself in good climbing shape – You do not need to be a mountain stud but you do have to be in pretty good shape. Get used to carrying a 20-25lb pack and more importantly get used to carrying 4-5lbs on each foot because that’s what your boots and crampons will weigh. It typically takes 7-8 hours to summit from the parking lot and an additional 2-3 hours to descend.

2. You need to be acclimated – If you do not live and/or climb at altitude on a regular basis then I would recommend you spend at least one week at altitude before attempting Cotopaxi. You can start acclimating in Quito (altitude 9,000 ft.). There is also a great hike that you can do while you are there. The peak of Rucu Pichincha is in Quito. To get to the trailhead you can take the telefercico up to 13,000 ft. and from there the summit is only a 2,400 ft. vertical ascent. Up and down only takes about 5 hours and you do not need a guide. It is an easy trail to follow. I have written a review about climbing this peak (See Pichincha on Trip Advisor). This is a great acclimation climb for Cotopaxi. My other suggestion would be to spend the last few nights before your climb at the Tambopaxi Lodge in Cotopaxi National Park. The elevation is 12,500 ft. and there are gorgeous views of the mountain from the lodge. They offer both dorm style bunks and also private rooms with wood burning stoves. The food is very good and many of the people staying there are about to climb, or have just climbed Cotopaxi so it is a great place to get some first hand knowledge about conditions on the mountain and suggestions from people who have just been on it. The lodge is located a short 20-25 minute drive from the trailhead.
One last thing about altitude. Many climbers, including myself, use Diamox to help prevent altitude sickness. It works well for many but not everyone. If you have never used it before and are considering using it on the climb I recommend that you test it at home for a few days first to familiarize yourself with the side effects you may have. On the full dose I felt lightheaded but had no symptoms taking a half dose and on the mountain I had no problems with the medication nor the altitude.

3. Choose the guiding service/guide that’s right for you – A guide is mandatory for climbing Cotopaxi. There are really two ways to go here. Many of the foreign, and larger Ecuadorean, guiding companies want you to sign up for their 7-14 day packages. The advantages here are that you will do some acclimatization hikes with them, they will review/teach climbing skills, and you can be pretty sure the quality of the guides will be good. The negatives are the much higher cost and lack of flexibility (you are on their schedule). Local guides are relatively inexpensive and more flexible but unless one is recommended to you from someone you trust you run the risk of getting one who doesn’t meet your expectations. I used Gulliver Expeditions, headquartered in Quito, to arrange a local guide and I was very pleased with Gulliver’s services and the guide himself. The cost was $350. One last caveat, many of the local guides speak little or no English.

4. If you lack mountaineering skills or experience compensate for this. There are a few things that helped me. The first was to hire a private guide who could be giving me his full attention and instructing/correcting me on certain things I was doing. This was very beneficial. The second thing was to meet with the guide early that day to review some basic techniques. We did all of this at the lodge in less than 2 hours. No you will not be an expert afterwards but with the right instructor you can learn a lot in a short period of time. Some guides recommend hiking up to the glacier on that day to review these techniques on ice but it is a 2 hour (1 way) hike climbing 1,500+ vt ft to reach the glacier. I thought this was too much physical effort for me 8 hours before the summit hike.

5. Plan on hydrating and fueling properly – It is extremely important that you do this. You must eat and drink small quantities on a regular basis to maintain the energy you will need to summit. Pack high energy food that you can eat while you are walking or during a short break every hour or so like energy bars. And keep a water bottle within easy reach so you can sip from it every 15 minutes or so. I carried 2 1/2 liters of water and it was sufficient.

6. Bring the proper gear – Cotopaxi has mountain weather. Snow, high winds, rain, etc. are all a good possibility and the weather can change rapidly. Make sure that you are carrying what you need to handle different conditions. A warm jacket, gloves and hat, a windproof/water proof jacket, pants, and good boots are a must. Talk with your guide for further recommendations.

7. Pace yourself – It is important that you walk slow, especially in the beginning. Don’t worry about the pace of other climbers. Climb your own climb and if there is any question in your mind that the pace may be too fast slow down. We started slow and yet we were the second of the eight groups that started that day to summit. Four of the eight groups never reached the top.

I hope this helps and I hope that it encourages you to prepare and give it a try. Climbing on Cotopaxi at 3am with a sky full of stars and the lights of Quito glittering below is something special. Enjoy!
Written January 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cheltenham, UK615 contributions
The volcano here sits within a giant caldera of a super volcano which encompasses the national park. The volcano stands at a huge height of 5800m in which it is possible to climb. We did just a small tour in which we cycled down and only hiked to the snow line at around 5100m. The views are quite extraordinary and offers picture perfect sights of the snow-capped peak and the vast valley below. It will take you roughly 1 hour to hike to the cabin from basecamp or the parking area and is of a moderate difficulty.
Written February 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

London, UK23 contributions
Climbing Cotopaxi is an amazing experience and not difficult. There are four main reasons why you may fail to reach the summit -

Dehydration - Drink lots of water the day before, during and after the climb. Many people claim they have altitude sickness because they have a headache but this could also be due to dehydration. Take a bottle you can put inside your jacket so the water doesn't freeze.

Lack of fitness - You'll need to walk roughly 7 hours to reach the summit and another 3 get to get back down. You need to be in reasonably good shape.

Altitude sickness - This is the main reason why people don't manage to reach the summit. A lot of the tour agencies that run trips to Cotopaxi advise climbing Pichincha Volcano (4,784m) to see if you are sufficiently acclimatised. It is located just outside Quito and can be accessed from the top of the teleferico.

Weather - Cotopaxi has it's own micro climate and it is impossible to predict the weather. will give an idea but you just have to be lucky with the weather and snow conditions.

A couple of other tips -

Rest - Do as little as possible the day before you climb. Some tour agencies include ice climbing practice to familiarise yourself with the kit. This can be done on the climb itself without wasting energy beforehand.

Eat - Eat high carbohydrate meals beforehand and take snacks, such as cereal bars, for the climb.

Kit - Crampons, ice axe and harness are required but only to enable you to walk across the snow and ice. The skills you need to use this equipment can be learnt on the climb which is essentially a long walk, with no sections of technical climbing required.

Group - There has to be a minimum of 1 guide for every 2 people. If you are with only one other person who cannot reach the summit you will also have to go back. I recommend joining a larger group which will have more guides because that way if people do feel unwell you can continue with those people that are ok while a guide can take those that are not back down. The ideal is to have 5 people because you will have 3 guides and have maximum flexibility.

I climb with this company and they ticked all of the boxes noted above, provided all of the kit you need, from boots to head torches and had great guides -
Written October 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

917 contributions
Even though Cotopaxi volcano was shrouded in rain and snow when I was there, the volcano is still a must climb when anywhere near Quito. It is a great area to see!!!! First thing to mention: please do NOT expect to land in Quito on one day and the next day climb Cotopaxi with ease. If you live at low elevation, it is very important to acclimatize at least for one day to the elevation. Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level, the third highest capital city in the world, behind Lhasa, Tibet at 11,995 feet and La Paz, Bolivia at 11,942 feet. It is important to take something to give your blood more oxygen several days before climbing. I used coca tea the first day I was in Quito, thanks to the people at the Homestay I spent the nights at. You can also take chloroxygen, liquid chlorophyll or Chlorella tablets, all natural ingredients. Much better for your health than diamox. The second day was spent at the Mindo cloud forest, where there are several nice trails to hike at anywhere from 1,300meters/4,265 feet to almost 3,000 meters/9,842 feet. A really good warm up for hiking Cotopaxi. The next day I decided to visit the Otavalo market at 2,500 meters/8,202 feet, which also helped with climatizing. The next day came hiking the Quilotoa crater, at an elevation of 3,914 meters/12,841 feet, which was the final warmup for hiking Cotopaxi. I feel this was the perfect itinerary to prepare the body for the biggest climb of the trip I was on. The group I was with on the tour was apparently not familiar with the needs for acclimatizing and a good number paid for it. I was twice the age(48)or more of many on the hike and was third up to the José F. Rivas Refugio at 4,800 meters/15,744 feet out of about twenty five, mainly because I was well prepared. When we entered the Refugio, there were several people who didn’t look good at all. I’m sure many ended there, but those in our group that wanted to could go up to 17,000 feet, of which our guide showed us that elevation on the app on his phone. Only about half of our group felt well enough to do it. I feel the reason why I felt so good (despite having asthma,chronic bronchitis and pneumonia) was due to the itinerary above and also drinking lots of coca tea on the way to the starting point for our group. You can buy a cup at or near the Cotopaxi National Park Visitor Center for a nominal price and sip water you put the leaves in until you start the climb. I will not say it was all that easy of a climb, but deep, rhythmic breathing helped immensely as well. Cotopaxi is not for little kids (unless they’re in really good condition) it is for adults who are somewhat to quite adventurous (for those who want to climb to the peak). If you want to climb to the peak, you can stay overnight in the Refugio and you’ll probably leave with your guide at between 12:00am and 2:00am. I highly recommend hiking several hundred feet higher and sleeping lower at the Refugio. Climb high, sleep low principle. You’re likely to feel okay when sleeping a bit. It is imperative to get to the peak and down before 2:00pm, due to potential problems with heavy snow. Just because you’re close to the equator doesn’t mean there’s no snow. There was plenty when I was there. In fact, when we went up to 17,000 feet, there was heavy snow coming down and I fell three times, which happened about 2:00pm. Once we got back to the Refugio, it was raining. The hike up and down to/from the Refugio is simply beautiful!!!! It’s so cool to see wild horses, along with cows in the National Park. You have to see the Laguna Limpiopungo, which has unique ducks, geese and several other species of birds I’ve never seen before. The views of unique trees line the roads, mostly on the right side when in the park. This is a place I want to revisit when it’s sunny out. I can’t imagine the beauty when it’s clear out.
In conclusion, due to the beauty and variety, I think this is an icon to visit in the Avenue of Volcanoes. It is perfectly symmetrical and I (and many others) think it is one of the most beautiful volcanoes anyone could ever see. Visit, explore, hike and climb and you will feel very fulfilled without a doubt. I KNOW I did.
Thanks for reading. If you feel this review has helped you, it would be appreciated if you would tap the 👍 button below. Thank you.
Written November 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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