The Cotopaxi (5.897m) is one of the most famous, highest and still active volcanoes in the world. This volcano is a great destination not just for mountain climbers but also for everyone who wants to be fascinated by this perfectly shaped volcano. It is covered by a glacier and its crater is about two kilometers large. On 14th August 2015 it demonstrated again his activity and erupted. Since this day, it keeps on ejecting ash almost every day. The region around the Cotopaxi National Park is closed, but you can see the natural spectacle also from further away. The last grand explosion was in 1877 and it normally happens every 120 years. So the people in Ecuador knew that it can happen anytime. In 1877, the entire glacier disappeared because of the power of the explosion and smaller eruptions followed.
Millions of years ago, the cordillera of the Andes was formed by the collision of two tectonic plates. Since then, the Nazca Plate is pressing under the South American Plate in a westward direction. Because of that, a lot of volcanoes in the Andes are still active like the Cotopaxi.
The Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano. This is a conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava. The lava from these volcanoes typically cools and hardens before spreading far. During an eruption, the temperatures under the surface rise to 1000-1300 degrees Celsius. This causes that the volcanic rock melts under the surface, which determines gas and pressure in the magma chamber. When this chamber is filled up with magma, the Cotopaxi erupts. Like this, the planet releases pressure that arises from the Earth´s core.
An eruption will not infect Quito and the people and tourists in Quito are completely safe. It is an amazing spectacle that happens so rarely that it is definitely worth observing and visiting. When it is a clear day, you have the best view on the Cotopaxi from the summits of Pasochoa and Corazón.
Since the Cotopaxi and also the Illinizas is closed for security reasons, there is no possibility to climb these mountains. But nevertheless there are a lot more amazing mountains to ascend since it is one of the biggest cordilleras of the World. In Ecuador itself, there are 55 volcanoes and additional mountains. So there are a lot of other chances to see the top of the world.
For example Gulliver organizes tours to Cayambe (5.790m), which is the perfect alternative to the Cotopaxi. It is moderate to climb, you have a beautiful view on the other mountains and it is the highest point on the equator line and the only snow-covered point as well.
Another option is the volcano Antisana (5.704m), where we will operate the day tours with the bikes now. It is in an eco-reserve, for that you can see a lot of animals and it is one of the best places to see a rare condor of the Andes.
Since the Cotopaxi and also the Illinizas is closed for security reasons, there is no possibility to climb these mountains. But there are a lot more amazing mountains to ascend.
So as you can see, there is no reason not to come to Ecuador. In contrary, now there is one more reason to visit this stunning country. You might never get the chance again to see a famous active volcano that close.
Come and see this spectacle – it is a once in a lifetime chance!!