Latacunga, Ecuador

From Quito a 2 hour drive down the Pan-American highway takes you to Latacunga. This city is known of its location to Cotopaxi Volcano and Quilotoa Loop.

The town of Latacunga has significantly suffered from previous Cotopaxi eruptions, with layers of debris covering the town, causing the elevation to change from 900m to 2760m asl (at present!). However the eruptions have also resulted in the land being very fertile shown by the dependance on agriculture as the main economy (of broccoli and roses). The town itself doesn’t have much to offer, except a nice breath of fresh air and quietness from Quito as well some amazing 360o views on a clear day of the surrounding volcanoes.

At the moment in time, Cotopaxi summit (5,897m) can’t be reached so tours are taken to the base camp (4800m). It is free entry to get into Cotopaxi National Park, but it is necessary to have a guide- so it is easier to organise a guided tour from Latacunga or Quito. From the car park (4000m) a good 45 minute walk up the slopes takes you to the refugee. Here on a clear day you can see all the way to Quito and the numerous surrounding volcanoes. Some tours offer a bike ride down to the laguna from the car park, which was described to me a ‘thrilling and nerve wracking- but fun!’



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