A made my visit to the Cotopaxi Park with a private tour guide, was a great experience. Pedro Tite has a small tour company, and he´s an expert on Ecuador. The tour cost me $80, with meal included (sandwichs and cheese at the Refugio)The perfect tour and the perfect guide.
Cotopaxi is a bit difficult to explore without a 4 WD vehicle, so be sure that is the case, if you plan to rent a car. Otherwise, all of the tour operators out of Quito and Latacunga will provide you with sufficient transportation. We were happy to hire our own guide and vehicle, which gave us the freedom to do what we wanted when we wanted without having to worry about being with a group. We were even allowed to drive the vehicle whenever we wanted.
You can actually arrange and do a trip to Cotopaxi National Park from Quito and many do just that. To be honest if you are just going for the day it’s probably the easiest thing to do. But there are many other places to base yourself if you want to see or do more in the park. You can get to them quite easily from Quito via local buses. We took a bus to Machachi which took about an hour and cost about 75 cents. We jumped (literally, it was pulling out as we pulled up!) on another local bus towards El Chaupi. We told the driver we wanted to go to Hosteria Papagayo and he let us off right at the bottom of the road heading up to the hostel. They did tours into the park from there but we lucked out and met a couple who shared a taxi with us. It was $60 for all four of us. We lucked out again at the end of the trip when we got a ride with a local man and his two sons from the lake all the way back to the hostel!
Oh, aside from that, it's all walking, walking, walking while carrying everything you need to survive.
This Ecuador trip was organised by the Dutch travel agency Baobab. And the advantage of this organisation is that almost always they use an own bus as form of transportation.
Same this day, we went up the Cotopaxi Volcano with our own bus.
But of course when there is snow on the road, then it would be impossible to climb up with this kind of vehicle.
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