Mountain biking in Cotopaxi is a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experience. The biking routes begin at the parking lot near Refugio JosÃ© Ribas, at 4,600 meters (15,088 ft) altitude, and head along the main roads northward and westward, towards the park entrances. You descend, cutting through the thin air at bone-chilling speed. Most of the park is, ironically, very flat due to historical eruptions that caused the glacier to melt and form lake beds around the volcano. This is all good news, since riding uphill at this altitude, you could bust a lung â€“ or two.
All of the tourist routes are day rides. Some of the parkâ€™s hotels loan bicycles to their guests for free or a charge; a guided tour costs extra. In November is the 140-kilometer (86-mi) Vuelta al Cotopaxi (www.cotopaxi.cikla.net), an internationally renowned mountain, two-day bike race around the base of VolcÃ¡n Cotopaxi.
Stay on the approved routes; do not cut cross country, as this can damage the delicate environment. Because you will be sharing the roads with vehicular traffic, keep an eye out for cars and buses.
Relative price: Budget
Travel Skills: intermediate/somewhat difficult.
You Need to Bring:
The national park recommends you use a helmet, knee guards, gloves and other protection.
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