Our Favorite Acclimatization Programs for Hiking Cotopaxi
Ecuador is generously composed of volcanic terrain in a concentrated space, making it a climber’s dream. Frequently remodeled by fire and ice, this small but dramatic country is sure to give you an adventure of a lifetime.
At Hostería PapaGayo, we are located in the middle of an expanse of volcanoes. Because of our perfect location, our 150-year-old charming hacienda is the destination for many climbers looking for a relaxing base in between climbs. Set at around 10,500 ft (3,200 m), PapaGayo is an excellent place to stay while acclimatizing for hiking Cotopaxi. Our guests are diverse with some wanting to come for yoga and relaxation, others wanting to tackle some of Ecuador’s most formidable volcanoes, and some wanting a little bit of both. Start planning your mountain climbing trip among the Ecuadorian Andes. We’ll help you begin by highlighting our favorite volcanoes in Ecuador, all easily accessible from PapaGayo.
Hiking Cotopaxi – Experience climbing an active volcano
Of course, we are going to begin with the mighty majestic Cotopaxi. With increasingly growing fame, people are traveling to Ecuador daily in hopes of hiking Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi is the second highest mountain in Ecuador and the tallest active volcano. Standing at 19,347 ft (5,897 m), conquering Cotopaxi is certainly a challenge but one that can be done by beginners and experienced climbers alike. It is not highly technical, but it does require proper equipment and a certified guide as dictated by Ecuadorian law.
Climbing to the summit is an overnight experience. Climbers hike to the Jose Rivas refuge on the first day and are instructed on how to use equipment such as harnesses, ice picks, and crampons. After a hearty dinner, climbers try to sleep for a couple of hours before departing at midnight. It takes around 6 hours to arrive to the peak. Those who can claim a successful summit have the opportunity to watch the rising sun from above the clouds, what many describe as an unforgettable experience. Cotopaxi overlooks Cayambe, Antisana, Chimborazo, and Tungurahua, and on a clear day, you’ll have the heavenly view of these majestic mountains.
If the arduous climb to the summit isn’t for you, a visit to Cotopaxi is still a must. Many people visit the mountain in a day trip, hiking to the refuge and back. The Jose Rivas refuge sits at 15,750 ft (4,800 m). From the parking lot, it takes around one hour to reach the refuge. Guests can enjoy warm empanadas and even warmer hot chocolate, a refreshing snack before descending. The descent can be enjoyed either on foot or by mountain bike, depending on which you prefer.
Ascending Cotopaxi exposes you to altitudes that most people aren’t accustomed to. Even the toughest climbers can fall victim to the effects of the high altitude. It is highly advisable to acclimatize with several mountain climbs prior to Cotopaxi.
Hiking Pasochoa – 13,780 feet / 4,200 meters
Pasochoa is usually people’s first acclimatization climb upon arriving in Ecuador as it is among the easiest. Pasochoa is inactive, and this collapsed volcano contains a beautiful well-preserved cloud forest inside the crater. This humid Andean forest reserve is a refuge for a wide array of wildlife, containing flora and fauna unique to Pasochoa. Also on the hike, you might be fortunate to see pumas, wild horses, foxes, and even the Andean condor. Standing at 13,780 ft (4,200 m), Pasochoa has an incredible view of Cotopaxi if you catch it on a clear day.
Hiking Rumiñahui – 15,489 feet / 4,721 meters
Rumiñahui, a peak consisting of three summits, has an altitude of 15,489 ft (4,721 m). The ascent takes you through rolling hills of tall paramo grass vegetation, and perhaps you might spot some wildlife lurking in these tall grasses such as rabbits, foxes, and deer. Maybe you’ll observe the elusive Andean condor with its 10-foot wingspan flying overhead. This climb culminates with a short but exciting scramble ending. Like all mountains, the view depends on the dispersal of the low-hanging clouds, and given good weather, you’ll want to stop and savor the view of volcanoes Ilinizas, Corazon, Sincholagua, and Cotopaxi.
Hiking Corazon – 15,715 feet / 4,790 meters
Corazon is another common acclimatization climb. Climbing a bit higher, Corazon’s altitude ranks at 15,715 ft (4,790 m). Its name means “heart” in Spanish given its heart-like shape. Most of the hike guides you through wild paramo grasslands and finishes with a bit of rock climbing at the end. With clear weather, you have views of Ilinizas and Cotopaxi as well as the surrounding Andean terrain from the top of Corazon.
Hiking Ilinizas – 16,818 ft / 5,126 m (North Iliniza)
Twin peaks, North Iliniza and South Iliniza, are a pair of volcanoes separated around 1 km apart. It originally began as a single-peak volcano, but its last eruption caused it to separate into two. South Iliniza is a technical climb due to its glaciated peak. North Iliniza is challenging although not technical, and this mountain is the perfect last stop before hiking Cotopaxi. Reaching 16,818 ft (5,126 m), North Iliniza offers a beautiful hike among sandy volcanic topography and a paramo ecosystem. After a fun scramble towards the end of the climb, climbers can enjoy stunning views from the summit of neighboring South Iliniza and of Cotopaxi. South Iliniza is also a great acclimatization climb and is more often tackled by experienced climbers.
Click here to check out all-inclusive climbing programs, all beginning with acclimatization climbs and culminating in hiking Cotopaxi.
There are plenty more mountains in Ecuador to choose from, and these are just a few highlights. Stay in Hostería PapaGayo and discover these Andean gems. Contact us today to inquire about our mountain climbing programs or customize your own mountain climbing trip!
Start Planning Your Summer Trip To Ecuador
The new year has begun and people everywhere are beginning to plan their summer vacations. Why is Ecuador the perfect place for your summer trip? Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, or with the family, Ecuador offers something for everyone. Hostería PapaGayo is your hub during your summer trip, a charming inn that provides exquisite Ecuadorian cuisine, cozy rooms that invite you to nap, and sprawling acres of land snuggled among the Andes mountains. Located in the Avenue of Volcanoes, Hostería PapaGayo has a tranquil atmosphere with adventure waiting just around the corner. From waking up and doing yoga in the morning to hiking around a shimmering lake in the afternoon, your summer stay at PapaGayo offers a host of activities. Meditate surrounded by mountains. Hike active volcanoes of grand imposing height. Don’t just go horseback riding, but really connect with your horse. The choices of things to do in Ecuador are endless; read on for a detailed description of your vacation at PapaGayo.
Climb Cotopaxi and Surrounding Mountains
Ecuador hosts an array of mountains that bring visitors daily to the country to hike. From PapaGayo, you can easily reach some of Ecuador’s iconic mountains. Dazzling scenery and impressive mountain climbs are just within your reach. PapaGayo is conveniently located in the Avenue of Volcanoes, famously coined by German explorer Alexander van Humboldt in 1802. The most well-known of the volcanoes is the beloved Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in Ecuador standing at 19,347 ft (5,897 m).
Cotopaxi is a 40-minute drive from PapaGayo, and travelers can enjoy many different activities such as hiking and mountain biking. We recommend first stopping at Limpiopungo lagoon, located near the entrance of the park. In this wetland, you will find tremendous sightseeing of birds endemic to the Andean paramo and a trail that goes around the lake. To the left of the lake, you can continue up the road until you arrive at Cotopaxi’s parking lot, where the trail and adventure begins. Hiking to the Jose Rivas refuge is a popular day trip. The hike to the refuge (at 15,750 ft / 4,800 m) takes around 40 minutes to an hour. At the refuge, warm up and reenergize with some hot chocolate and empanadas. With good weather conditions, you can continue hiking up to the glacier, about 650 ft (200 m) up from the refuge. Visitors are not permitted to go beyond the glacier without a guide and proper equipment. You have the option of descending on foot or on bike. Biking ends at Limpiopungo lagoon. Check out PapaGayo’s Cotopaxi bike tours for more information. Those who are daring might consider summiting Cotopaxi. It is mandated by Ecuadorian law that you must summit Cotopaxi with an accredited guide. The hike from the refuge to the summit takes around 6 hours, and climbers ascend around midnight after spending the night at the refuge. Climbers return to PapaGayo in the afternoon where they can enjoy a celebratory lunch after conquering the summit of majestic Cotopaxi.
“Cotopaxi’s shape is the most beautiful and regular of all the colossal peaks in the high Andes. It is a perfect cone covered by a thick blanket of snow which shines so brilliantly at sunset it seems detached from the azure of the sky.” – Alexander Von Humboldt
Because of it’s altitude, visitors are highly encouraged to acclimatize by visiting other nearby volcanoes first. It is advised to climb other mountains prior to attempting Cotopaxi. We recommend Pasochoa (13,800 ft / 4,200 m), Corazon (15,720 ft / 4,790 m), Rumiñahui (15,490 ft / 4,721 m), and Iliniza Norte (16,820 ft / 5,126 m). Acclimatizing with a series of mountains prior to Cotopaxi will give you a higher chance of successfully summiting. Contact our experts at PapaGayo to plan your perfect hiking itinerary.
Yoga Retreats in the Andes
Optimize your summer days by taking time to recharge with yoga. Whether yoga is a part of your vacation activities or you come here dedicating your trip to a yoga retreat, Hostería PapaGayo offers the chance to distress and connect with your mind and body. Summertime for many is a chance to take some well-deserved vacation from work, and there is no better time than vacation to practice yoga, returning to work refreshed and functioning better. Destress from your busy life and enjoy the benefits of yoga. Cleanse your body and mind with both yoga and healthy delectable dishes from PapaGayo’s restaurant, La Bolivia. Breathe in the fresh air and connect with nature, doing yoga in the morning and hiking in the afternoon for example. When planning your travels to PapaGayo, don’t forget to ask how you can incorporate yoga into your vacation.
Horseback Riding tours in Ecuador
During the summer, people often escape to Ecuador to horseback riding among the bright sun, vegetation of Andean paramo, and native wildlife such as alpacas, wild rabbits, and condors. PapaGayo offers limitless opportunities for unparalleled horseback riding whether you want to learn how to horseback ride within the grounds of the hostería or you want to ride and explore on the trails throughout the Andes. From beginner to expert, PapaGayo can customize your horseback riding experience. This not your standard horseback riding tour. Our instructor focuses on developing a genuine connection between rider and horse, creating a truly unique experience. You have the chance to ride past snow-capped peaks, so contact PapaGayo to incorporate horseback riding in your next vacation.
For more inspiration as you plan your 2020 summer trip, contact PapaGayo, and together we will plan your one-of-a-kind trip.
Your Romantic Getaway in Ecuador
If you’re wanting a romantic escape this Valentine’s Day or any day of the year, look no further than
Papagayo. Whatever your idea is for a romantic getaway—a cozy fireplace with a glass of wine,
meals using farm fresh ingredients in a dimly lit restaurant, sipping on a cocktail in an outdoor hot
tub—Papagayo has what you are looking for. You can sleep all day in our nap-inducing rooms or go
on an adventure for two. Romance doesn’t just apply to the month of February, as couples looking
for a romantic getaway in Ecuador throughout anytime of the year seek out Papagayo.
Papagayo is your perfect cozy escape. From organizing tours (trekking, horseback riding) to using the
freshest ingredients in La Bolivia to accommodating any and all of our guests’ requests, Papagayo
goes above and beyond to craft an exceptional experience for our couples seeking a romantic
getaway in ecuador. We offer a special package for our couples. In addition to your stay at Papagayo,
this offer includes a romantic dinner for two, nighttime bonfire, breakfast, access to the sauna and
outdoor hot tub, and a yoga session for two.
Horseback riding for couples
Last, but certainly not least, enjoy a beautiful romantic trail ride among the stunning vistas of the
Andes mountains. An exceptional bonding experience, horseback riding is a time of connection –
connecting with your horse and spending quality time alongside your partner. Whether you are a
first-time or an experienced rider, we can assure you that horseback riding at Papagayo will be an
unforgettable experience. Safety is our number one priority and our strong yet gentle horses are
well-trained. When making your reservation, don’t forget to inquire about horseback riding and
indulge in this peaceful and romantic experience.
Yoga isn’t just good for your body; it’s good for your relationship as well. You and your loved one
can enjoy a session of couples yoga together. Yoga at Papagayo is an unparalleled experience given
the serenity of the backdrop and the beauty of the natural surroundings. Yoga is a great way to both
practice self-love and generate mindfulness about your love for others. It can strengthen and
enhance your approach to love and human connection. Our couples package includes one session of
yoga, and if you and your partner desire more, don’t hesitate to contact Papagayo and request
additional classes during your stay.
The ultimate gift is spending time together. What a better way to spend time together than in the
great outdoors? Trekking is a great way to unplug and unwind together. Papagayo is a short drive from
many of Ecuador’s most famous mountains and can help you plan your trekking expeditions. From
scenic paths along the Ecuadorian Andes to more challenging climbs such as Cotopaxi, Papagayo
can work with you to customize your experience. Take in the sparkling turquoise water of
Quilotoa. Feel proud of yourself after tackling some high altitude climbs such as trekking to the
refuges of Cotopaxi or Chimborazo (or consider summiting them for those daring couples!). After a
long day of trekking, hunker down in your warm cottage with a well-deserved hot beverage.
People also choose Papagayo for their outdoor hacienda weddings. Our alluring hostería provides
the idyllic background for your outdoor wedding. We will work with you on every detail to make
sure your big day is exactly how you imagine.
In addition, the hostería is also a honeymoon destination for those who want a relaxing or
adventurous honeymoon or a mix of both. And what’s perfect about Ecuador is that you can visit
year-round no matter the season given the relatively consistent weather around the equator.
Whether you’re looking for Valentines plans or a romantic vacation or honeymoon plans, we cannot
wait to welcome you. So get nestled by the fireplace in one of our cozy cottages and make a toast
celebrating your love. Make your ideal romantic getaway in Ecuador memorable and contact Hostería Papagayo to make your reservations.
After accommodating a large number of satisfied travelers over the last years, Hosteria Papagayo Cotopaxi and its management believes it is time for some modernization measures. For this reason the property will start with a complete renovation of the interior in the next few weeks.
One of the biggest modifications will be in the restaurant and terrace area. The hosteria is a property that was built in the 1800s and can tell many stories about the Ecuadorian independence activities that took place in the surrounding areas of the property.
Its historical heritage includes, among others, the fact that the liberator Simon Bolivar held various meetings with other likeminded people on this place. Here some of the plans were made for the liberation of Ecuador from the Spanish conquers that lead to the countries independence.
Based on this historical foundation some of the rooms were named after some important leaders of that time such as Bolivar Suite, Marqueza, Duquesa and many more.
To achieve a modern look while keeping an historic vibe, the patio will be reconstructed with big pillars, which are contributing to the colonial atmosphere, the terrace will be equipped with a panoramic window panels in order to reduce the use of electrical energy, including natural green colors from various plants from the area as well. By this measure, our guests will receive the opportunity to fully enjoy a full view of the beautiful surrounding nature while having the comfort of sitting inside on the colder days.
To create more opportunities for socializing, the hosteria is getting a build a bar with various high class liquors, cafe and delicious snacks to enjoy on the patio or on one of the comfortable couches and armchairs.
To keep the colonial charm, new furniture and decorating elements were carefully considered. While having the goal in mind to create a cozy atmosphere, a new fireplace will be added to generate a homely warmth and achieve the vintage feeling of the historic land house which the hosteria is. Subtler modernization lays in the detail. Armchairs are being added, different decorations like rugs, plants, art objects and indirect lightning.
We will keep you updated so you can admire the final result of this modernization while guests can continue enjoying the services and comforts of Hosteria Papagayo Cotopaxi during this transition.