Following a couple of nights “roughing it” along the Quilotoa loop, we were excited to check into the Secret Garden lodge at Cotopaxi. Not only were we staying in very cute hobbit holes with views looking out towards the towering and majestic Cotopaxi Volcano but (and definitely much more impressive) we had the benefit of all you can banana bread!! Jen was in heaven!
After filling up on more than our fair share of banana bread, we headed off for our first activity. A waterfall hike finished off with a jump from the top of one of the waterfalls into the icy water.
We spent the afternoon relaxing in the hammock enjoying beautiful views of Cotopaxi before tucking into one of the best meals of the trip. A delicious fish red Thai curry.
The next day we were up early to tackle the Pasochoa summit trek. This trek was so muddy that we ditched our hiking books (or in Tristan’s case his joggers) and swapped them for their trusty gumboots. After three hours of slipping and sliding through the mud, we reached the summit of the volcano at 4,220m giving us panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. During our struggles up the mountain we were put to shame by the hostel’s dogs, a 12 year-old Daschund and an even older Dalmatian!
On our last day at Secret garden, Jen decided to have a “chill” day relaxing in the hammocks while Tristan was off to mountain bike down the world’s tallest active volcano. Some members of his group were put off by the condition of the bikes when we stopped to collect them and pulled out of the bike ride but Tristan was determined to continue.
The group drove up to parking area on Volcano Cotopaxi at 4,600m before hiking up to the refuge at 4,800m. After returning to the car park it was then time to jump on the bikes!
Things did not get off to a good start with Tristan’s derailleur snapping in half on the first corner. But a quick change of bikes and Tristan was off again! Descending over 1,000m on a hard tail bike with dodgy brakes over rough corrugated roads was not the most enjoyable experience. Things got worse though when one of the pedals snapped off. Despite the offer of a third bike to break Tristan took this as a sign that it might be time to pack it in for the day and head back to the hostel. It was then time to head to Equador’s capital Quito!