Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hot Tub in the Mountains, Volcanic Crater Lakes, and an Unfortunate Turn of Events

Our view of beautiful Cotopaxi Volcano
As we turned off of the Panamerica Highway headed for Cotopaxi, the road quickly turned to cobblestone for the next 20 km, which unfortunately is not the best case scenario for the motorcycle.  We came across another couple from Germany who had just started a motorcycle trip on a new BMW.  Their bike had broken down on the side of the road so we stopped to see if we could help.  They were really nice but the bike seemed to have problems beyond a road-side fix, so they got the bike running well enough to get them back to Quito.  We headed onward to the Secret Garden, an eco-hostel located at 3,500 meters and right next to Cotopaxi Volcano.  We drove down a long strip of difficult dirt road to find llamas, horses and dogs running up to the fence to greet us.

One of the dogs "playing" with the llamas
Lacey, a volunteer that had lived at the hostel with her boyfriend Luis for three months, got us all settled in to our home for the next few nights: our tent down set up down by the main house.

Campsite with a view!
We started talking to Lacey and Luis over lunch (the food was definitely one of the more unfortunate aspects of the eco-hostel experience) and discovered that they had been driving the land cruiser parked outside through Central and South America for over two years.  It was really fun getting to talk with a couple taking a similar trip (albeit on a larger scale) and we quickly made friends with them.  We didn't accomplish too much in Cotopaxi but we did manage to take a hike to a beautiful waterfall with a couple of new friends, a dalmation and a weiner dog that lived at the hostel.  It was pretty hilarious watching his short, tiny legs make it up and down some of the terrain we were climbing over.

The waterfall we climbed up to...the water was pretty chilly!

The dogs warming up by the fire after the hike...Mash found a way to dry off a little faster :)
 We drove to the National Park where we were told that motorcycles weren't allowed in so we drove around the surrounding area and took in the sights.

No matter which direction you looked in, there was a beautiful view to take in...

A panoramic view of the volcanoes in front of the hostel

They also had a hot tub with glass windows with a picturesque view of the volcano which we spent some time in too.

Having a nightcap in the first hot tub of the trip!
The most fun we had though was sitting around the fire with a glass of wine and getting to know the other travelers staying at the hostel. 

Ty chopping wood for the fire with the volcano in the background
After a few days, we decided we would drive the Quilatoa loop and see Lago Verde Quilotoa, a beautiful high altitude lake located in the crater of a volcano.  We said goodbye to our new friends and headed off on a ride that would turn out to be one of the most beautiful (and also one of the more difficult) rides of the trip.  The views were spectacular at every turn.  We didn't get to spend very much time at the lake although we were glad we made the trip and were able to see it. 
The road leading to Lago Verde Quilotoa

A panoramic of the Quilotoa Loop

The beautiful Lago Verde Quilotoa
That evening we made it to Latacunga not knowing that things were about to take a turn for the worse.  We checked into a hotel thinking we would stay there for the night and that we would leave for Banos the next day.  Unfortunately, I woke up that morning as sick as I can remember being in recent memory.  We ended up staying in Latacunga (not the most exciting town, not that I knew the difference, but no fun for Ty) for almost a week.  I was so lucky to have Ty there to take care of me...not sure what I would've done without him!

Being sick is no fun!
Once I was finally feeling somewhat back to normal, we decided to make our way to Banos, which was only a few hours away.  It would have been nice to get sick there instead as it was a much nicer town!


  1. Sorry to hear about Jill's illness, but happy that you're back on the road. You guys are taking some amazing pictures. Not sure which is my favorite in this post - the volcano panorama or the shot of Lumberjack Ty.

  2. It was nice meeting you guys and nice to find your blog... Now we can keep track of you adventures. Sorry to hear of sickness after your uneventful Cotpaxi stay... Glad you are back on the bike. Regards from Lacey and myself.