Foreigners need a guide to enter Cotopaxi national park?
Replies: 23 - Last Post: Mar 7, 2013 11:44 PM Last Post By: chschen
Nov 18, 2012 5:27 PM
Foreigners need a guide to enter Cotopaxi national park?I just went to Cotopaxi national park today with my gf. We are Americans that moved to Quito a few months ago and rented a car to go hiking in the park. When we got to the main park entrance today, a guy waved us into the parking lot and told us we had to register first. Other cars were also doing it so we followed orders. When we walked into the little office to register, we were asked if we had a guide. We told them no, and in return we were told we couldn't enter. The park ranger didn't want to explain this to me well other then that it was a rule. We were speaking in Spanish and while my skills aren't perfect, its decent. I couldn't get an explanation as why this was necessary other then that it was a rule. After we walked out of this office, a man approaced us and offered to guide us for a fee. We were told $25 but it wasn't to actually guide us inside the park, it was just to pretend to be our guide so we can get inside the park and then we would be left alone. Since we had rented a car and came down to the park, we agreed to be ripped off and pay him. The guide walked back into the office, said a few things, walked back out and told us to follow him in our own car. Turns out, he already was acting as a guide and had a car with 2 tourists waiting in the back seat. He must have overheard our conversation in the office and was looking to take advantage of the situation to make a few bucks. Anyways we got into our car, followed our "guide" in his car past the gate (and not sure how the gate person knew that we had a guide but he let us through no problems), drove about a quarter mile down the road, pulled over, paid him and went on our own way. We didn't receive anything from the office or registered our name, nothing.
Inside the park, we drove to the lake and went hiking up Ruminahui on our own. At the lake, I asked an Ecuadorian family about the guide situation, and they told me that they knew nothing of the requirement and that they just had to tell the office how many there were in their group before entering. After we started the hike, we were hiking up behind a guided group from the same hacienda we just slept the night before, Papagayo. At the summit, a guide from another group that we caught upto, asked us if we had a guide (since it was just my girlfriend and I, and we were obviously not Ecuadorian). I said we do have a guide but that we was waiting for us at the lake (it was a 3 hour hike to the summit and I obviously made this up). The guide looked preturbed at my comment but then went on their way.
Has anyone else experienced this? I spent some time looking for this guide requirement online and its nowhere to be found.
Edited by: El_Capitan
Nov 19, 2012 12:24 AM
Nov 19, 2012 1:20 AM
Nov 19, 2012 8:40 AM
3The regulations which state that tourists cannot enter national parks without a guide are not new and have in the past only been enforced in Galapagos, now they are being enforced in all the major parks, so watch out, if you try and enter Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Ilinizas, Sangay, Cajas etc.
If you want to pay for a guide who speaks nothing but Spanish and is really only interested in the money he can make from charging tourists $25 to get them past the park guards then try going on your own and contract one of these people at the park gates. They will tell you practically nothing and barely accompany you on your trip. If you would prefer to spend about the same amount of money and get a bi-lingual qualified and interested guide, then book with a reputable agency in Quito or Latacunga who have the operating permits and won't be turned back at the gates. Your costs will actually be about the same but you'll get some real service for your money like transport and probably lunch too.
Nov 19, 2012 6:28 PM
4If it's true I'm not going to come again in Ecuador. I really hate countries that have this kind of regulations where it's not necessary at all.
Edited by: WILLEMSPIE
Nov 19, 2012 9:22 PM
5After an accident last month where three people died on Ilinizia Sur there is now a regulation that anyone who wants to climb a mountain higher than 5000m must be accompanied by a certified mountain guide. Can this has anything to do with the tighter restriction to enter the national park, I mean if people pass the registration point it is difficult to know if they are just going to the refugio or plan to stay to go higher.
Nov 20, 2012 4:02 PM
6What my original post was that I was denied entry into Cotopaxi national park, not to climb any peaks but to enter the park at all. My plans to enter the park was to hike Ruminahui, which is below 5000m but the park ranger that denied me entry never asked if I was planning on hiking. He said I need a guide to enter the park period.
Nov 20, 2012 4:03 PM
Nov 20, 2012 4:34 PM
8What snowflakes100 said seems to make sense because once you are in the park the person on the gate will not know what you are going to do and whether you are just hiking around the park or going to attempt to climb the mountains to the top etc so it makes sense that they want a guide to go with you for safety to cover their arses if you have an accident and try to sue the Government or something. The other way they could get around this is make everyone entering the park sign a waiver form stating the the Government is not responsible for anything that happens to them.
Nov 20, 2012 7:43 PM
9It seems to me more a story of ripoff and corruption. If the rule ondeed only concerns the peak ascents, then maybe the park officers at the entrance just take profit of it to make some money. I'm pretty sure the 25 $ were shared by the 'guide' with them.
Let's wait to hear from other parks, in particular parks that include no 5000 meter mountains.
Nov 20, 2012 10:59 PM
10If this is legit, rather than a park ranger and guide pulling a scam, it's an excellent reason to avoid traveling to Ecuador.
Nov 21, 2012 7:05 AM
11Then again the say some people from the US are so happy to sue anyone and everyone over every little thing then this could be a way that the country of Ecuador has a way of protecting itself from these people? I can't say I blame them....
Nov 21, 2012 8:38 AM
12Silly Durham, Ecuador has so much to offer besides climbing a volcano.
Nov 21, 2012 4:08 PM
13Yeah, it's also a great place to be mugged.
I've no interest in climbing a volcano, but I could actually understand a rule that required people to take a guide for that type of extreme activity. What is absurd is requiring a guide for some casual hiking. If that's the rule, fine, there's plenty of great hiking in Peru.
Nov 21, 2012 5:53 PM
14Yes, Ecusdor already has an increasingly bad reputation (about safety concerns), thay really don't need this.
The strange thing is that, 2 year ago, the Ministry actually decreased the NP fees, something very unusual worldwide, to boost the tourism (outside the Galapagos), so now they make a 180 degrees tuen.
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