There are several tour operators in Latacunga offering tours to Cotopaxi, both daytrips and climbing tours.
Before coming to Latacunga I had heard that it was necessary with experience to climb Cotopaxi, but I had also heard from someone that it was not necessary, so I hoped to be able to do the climb.
When I came back to Latacunga after a week of hiking in the Quilotoa area I went directly to Tovar Expeditions to ask. The man at Tovar Expeditions said that after a week of hiking around Quilotoa I could definitely climb Cotopaxi, it is not a technically difficult mountain but being well acclimatised to high altitude is most important and acclimatised I was.
If you are two persons with one guide it was $190 per person and for one person with one guide it was $280 (August 2011). Even if there had been another person to share the cost with I would have chosen to go alone with a guide. I didn’t know if I would make it to the top and I didn’t want to be the reason that someone else had to turn around, and I didn’t want to turn around because of someone else.
At Tovar Expeditions I could borrow all clothes and equipment that I didn’t have but needed for the climb. The evening before going I tried out the boots and the rest of the things I got when I arrived to the agency at 10am the next morning. At the agency there were also three French tourists that were climbing Cotopaxi and two guides (one were coming later, directly to the refuge of Cotopaxi). At 11am we left Latacunga.
When we came to the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park we paid the admission that was $2. A bit further up we stopped at a house to eat. We got bread with butter and coca-cola to drink. At Tovar I had been told we were getting soup for lunch, so after the bread I waited for the soup and was very surprised when it was time to leave (we got more to eat later though, and breakfast before going back to Latacunga). Before we left the house we were told to put on the waterproof/windproof trousers and the boots. Our guides wanted us to use the boots when walking from the parking lot up to the refuge to get used to them.
From the parking lot up to the refuge it took 45 minutes.
I will soon add more information about the refuge and the climb on my Cotopaxi page.
The next day we were back in Latacunga at 11am
Just about everything in Latacunga is off the beaten path once you walk outside a four block radius. We passed a school that seemed entirely serene until the girls were let out at which point the streets surrounding it were full of their laughter and chatter. Another interesting building was a stone convent across from the Parque Bolivar. It certainly looked like a place tourists might like to visit but in little Latacunga it wasn't even an option. Not open to the public. Finally, I was snapping some photos through the gate of another courtyard that looked like a convent and I was asked by a girl if I'd like to come in for a closer look. I did and she explained it was now a local TV station!
You will never see such a scenery twice in your all life !!! So, enjoy it !!!
Vous ne verrez jamais cette scene deux fois ! Alors, profitez-en bien !!!