The extinct volcano Cotacachi lies in the nature reserve “Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi Cayapas” some 65Km north of Quito. The reserve extends from the volcano down to the tropical lowlands on the Rio Cayapas in the east. The volcano Cotacachi (4939m) rises impressively above the lagoon Cuicocha forming a beautiful wild landscape. Its first ascent has been made officially by Whymper and the Carrel brothers, but as the mountain is most time of the year snow free the Inka might have explored it already long before. It is a long and demanding climb up to its top, but if the weather permits an impressive view on the northern Andes including the peaks of Imbabura and Cayambe is the reward!
Day 01:Cotacachi (4.939m)
You leave Quito very early in the morning and driving north on the Panamerican highway through the villages of Calderon and Guayllabamba to Otavalo and on to the village of Cotacachi. From here you follow a little road up the slopes of Cotacachi towards the lagoon Cuicocha. The beautiful lagoon is in the crater of the extinct Volcano Cuicocha at the edge of Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi Cayapas, which is a protected area at ca. 3.200m. Just before the lagoon you drive on a cobbled road up to the starting point of this hike. A small trail leads you to the west side of the Cotacachi (4.939m) where you start the climb to the top. A sandy gully and a section with loose rock at the summit ridge make this climb quite demanding but if the weather permits the fantastic views from the top will make you forget the strain. It will take you about 3-4 hours to reach the summit and another 2 hours to hike back to the car. In the afternoon you drive back to Quito which you will reach in the late evening. -/L/-
B: Breakfast / L: Lunch / D: Dinner
USD 150, - per person with minimum 2 people
USD 270,- with one person
Included in the Price:
Private transportation, qualified English speaking mountain guide for every 4 climbers, meals according to the itinerary, nature reserve entrance fee, for climbing: rope, first aid kit.
Not Included in the Price:
Personal equipment, tips, travel insurance, mountain equipment: warm and waterproof clothes, sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves etc.
What to bring with you:
Personal equipment, travel insurance, mountain equipment: warm and waterproof clothes (Fleece and Gore-Tex), sunglasses, headlamp with batteries, gloves, sun block, hat, trekking shoes, canteen, and camera.
Please note: The climb of Cotacachi is quite technical in the upper part, the high altitude complicates the ascent and there is some rock climbing involved at the summit ridge. Therefore a good physical condition is necessary for this climb. Ideally you do some acclimatization hikes before climbing Cotacachi as a good acclimatization is essential for a successful ascent.