Day 8: To Old Quito, Cotopaxi & fly back

On 1 Oct 2017, our last day in Ecuador, we had a long day planned ahead. We traveled through Old Town Quito to Cotopaxi “avenue of volcanoes”. We had already packed and checked out of hotel by 8:00 AM. After the all day Cotopaxi tour, we were dropped off at airport in the evening for 9:00 PM flight back to USA. 

Cotopaxi, an active volcano at a height of 5,897 m. During our stay at the National Park we visited its museum to learn about the natural environment of the place, its animals and plants, and visit the Limpiopungo lagoon. Then we walked approximately 1.5 hours to the refuge at 4,800 m. Unfortunately the weather conditions did not permit us to go all the way up to the crater.

We drove and walked through the old city center of Quito for about 1 hour.

Finally we reached El Panicello. El Panecillo is a 200-meter-high hill of volcanic-origin, with loess soil, located between southern and central Quito. Its peak is at an elevation of 3,016 meters above sea level. The magnificent statue of Madonna (A towering aluminum statue of the Virgen de Quito) was completed in 1976.

The view of the Quito city was simply superb. We had a very nice sunny day (a bit chilly though).

After spending about half hour there, we drove to Cotopaxi volcano. The drive was uneventful, but ever changing landscape kept us alert. As we approached, the protected area of Cotopaxi, we picked up a local guide. The volcano started to emerge in the horizon displaying its great majestic presence.

Covered with thick fog the mountain stood in the middle of flat land.

It was cold, mild breeze making it bit too cold. We were informed the crater of the volcano is closed for visitors. We were disappointed, but the landscape was still worth spending time and effort.

Some of us walked around the 2.5 mile trail around the Limpiopungo lagoon.

After spending about 1 hour around the lagoon, we started driving back. Stopped at the small hotel for some hot soup and food. The food was awesome and we were starving.

Our drive back to Quito Airport was relaxing and we started to prepare mentally for overnight international flight, while ruminating over past 8 days experiences.

Certainly a very memorable and exciting trip. There are still some larger island in Galapagos like Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago, and Santa Maria which we have not covered. We do plan to visit them in future.

In my next series, I’ll post about our travel experience in Chile. Till then so long.

Live well, Travel and Enjoy!

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