Quito to Cotopaxi


The night is spent at Secret Garden Hostel, in Quito. I’d read Quito was the most beautiful cities in Ecuador. The view from the rooftop at the hostel indicates it is indeed beautiful. Another semi colonial/ Spanish influenced city. Still, appreciation where appreciation is due.

Tomorrow, I travel to Cotopaxi, for nature and a 3 day break from wifi and cooking. The objective is to summit the Cotopaxi Volcano. A $250USD price tag and a 50% success rate to summit quickly alters this objective. No Gracias.


A couple of hours by bus to Cotopaxi, I arrive at Secret Garden Hostel Cotopaxi. It’s not so much a hostel.. more a revolving community of like minded travellers, staff and volunteers in a stunning countryside setting.

Flower filled gardens, veggie patches, cows, llamas and 5 resident dogs. Ollie, a German guy greets us and provides an orientation. The property has a composting toilet, jacuzzi (for use 24/7), and a giant swing. Breakfast, lunch, dinner are included… plus an unlimited supply of banana bread, cooked during the day by the lovely local ladies who make up the kitchen staff.

Sitting in the nets off of the balcony (like the ones on catamarans), gazing off into the sky watching clouds dance around Cotopaxi volcano from dusk to dawn. It’s going to be a rough few days.

The dorm I’m assigned is a two story loft. I’m on the top level with Sid, Matheo and Maurat. From here, a window on one side of the dorm showcases the sunrise in the morning, on the opposite side, the sunset. It’s perfectly positioned.

High altitude and winds mean it gets cold in the early mornings and evenings. Numerous fireplaces in dorms and common areas are lit each night to keep guests toasty warm. A limited amount of communal ponchos are available for use too (if you get in early enough or have someone give you theirs).

Showers and toilets with a view to Cotopaxi and the surrounding mountain ranges are a special touch. In the corner of the each outside toilet and shower, a star jasmine vine grows up out of a hole in the concrete.

Vegetarian soup for lunch and onto the first activity. A hike to a waterfall. The hike proves short and the water, so cold, I temporarily lost feeling in my legs.

Dinner is wood fired pizza… I’m sat next to my Italian roommate, Matheo. You can imagine being Italian he is the authority on pizza.

You remember how Katy Perry kissed a girl and she liked it… well, I ate guinea pig on a pizza, and I liked it.

Half way deep in a bottle of semi drinkable white wine and end up in deep conversation with Matheo. Italian, handsome, aggressive and smart. Being Albanian born and living in London took some of the edge off how “full on” some Italian men can be. He’d kindly given me his poncho, we shared a dorm, drank together, had in depth conversations about the impacts of porn on society, sexual liberation… laying in the nets under the stars, watching a lightning storm on the ridge, sunsets and sunrises, jacuzzi at our disposals…. they were dream hook up scenarios, yet I couldn’t get past the severity of his dominant nature to allow it to happen despite the advances. He said, if he didn’t try, it’d be considered cowardly. Fair enough.


Today I’m doing the Pasachoa hike. The hike took slightly longer for me as I ended up deviating severely (2kms) in the opposite direction to home and the path. Pushing and falling through a mountainside of waist high grass, I eventually made it to a dirt track and commenced running, in hopes to get back by nightfall. Somehow I managed to be the second back home… despite getting lost.

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