Emma Morgan, originally from the UK and a good friend of Rachel and Santiago’s, has been living in Quito, Ecuador since 2002. She first visited the country leading educational trips for British teachers and has now been working in tourism in Ecuador for the last 15 years. Emma is married to Andres, one of Ecuador’s top naturalist guides and they have an 8 year old daughter, Emilia.
Emma has recently set up her own company, Original Ecuador which runs Ecuador hiking trips through the Andes and she loves to explore the mountains on foot with her family whenever she can.
Here are Emma’s thoughts on family activities in Cotopaxi.
Why I love Cotopaxi
From the first time I came to Ecuador back in 1999, Cotopaxi Volcano has always held a special place in my heart. I can still remember the anticipation of visiting a real-life volcano, and on top of that a real-life volcano in the South American Andes. My first glimpse of the snow-capped peak of Cotopaxi is a moment that will stay with me forever.
Just before Christmas last year my family and I were lucky enough to return to the Cotopaxi region, along with Rachel, Santiago, Gabriel & Noah and we spent a wonderful couple of days in this unique environment where we discovered there are lots of other interesting family activities that you can get up to, in addition to volcano gazing!
After arrival at Hacienda Porvenir, a cosy mountain lodge where we were staying, we set off on a short one hour hike with the children. It was a perfect opportunity for them to stretch their legs along a trail which, to their delight, followed a small mountain stream where endless variations on the game of ‘pooh sticks’ were invented.
The trail brought us to an Andean forest within which we discovered a hidden waterfall. We then returned to the hacienda, blessed with a sweeping view of the surrounding volcanoes, across the green valley below.
The next morning, it was time to don ponchos and leather chaps, ready to undertake a beautiful horse ride along a trail up towards the stunning three peaked Ruminahui Volcano. The hacienda has horses for all levels of riders, from first-timers to the more experienced. Some rode for an hour, others for two, and since I am unable to ride (horse allergy!) I followed behind on foot. As we ascended the foothills of Ruminahui, the views across to the snow-capped summit of Cotopaxi were truly breath-taking.
The hacienda also has two ‘rope courses’ – one for adults and one for children – a bit like ‘Go Ape’ in the UK. The children put on their safety harnesses, helmets and gloves and were guided around the course of cables, bridges and wobbly walkways while elevated about 1 metre off the ground, all the time securely clipped on to the safety cables. Needless to say they loved it! Some of the parents attempted the adult course which was much higher and much more challenging (only one member of our group made it all the way around) but it was certainly very entertaining to watch!
Other activities which can be enjoyed in this region include mountain biking – there are some great trails within the Cotopaxi National Park, and a new zip-lining course which Hacienda Porvenir will be inaugurating very soon. My family and I will definitely be returning to enjoy these activities in the near future.
Cotopaxi National Park is located one and a half hours south of Quito. The Cotopaxi Volcano (5897m), renowned for its perfect cone-shape, is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.
Emma runs walking tours across the whole of Ecuador through her company Original Ecuador www.originalecuador.com