Since the eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano on August 14th, 2015 we get inquiries from worried clients asking about the real conditions when learning Spanish to Quito:

We have just heard about the eruption of Cotapaxi volcano. How are the local conditions? Is there any danger when visiting Quito? Is it secure to study in Quito? Can we move to another school in case the conditions don’t allow to stay in Quito?

About the Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador — © Alejandro Miranda / Pixabay.
Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador — © Alejandro Miranda / Pixabay.

The Cotopaxi volcano is located in the Cotopaxi Province about 50 km (31 miles) South of Quito. It is one of the world’s highest volcanoes and the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft). The Cotopaxi is well visible on the skyline from Quito on a clear day. The Cotopaxi was basically silent for more than 100 years since 1877. On August 14th this year started some steam eruptions and the Cotopaxi emitted an ash cloud with about 8 km (5 miles) height.

Is the Cotopaxi a danger for Quito?

International press always show the worst part of news like people fleeing with masks on their face to protect from the ash. However these images are taken at the close-by areas and villages. For travellers to Quito there is currently no danger. Here are some facts:

  • The Cotopaxi volcano is just spewing out some ash that does not affect Quito. The Cotopaxi is in another province about 50 km away from Quito. For people from Quito the situation almost does not exist.
  • All airports are working as usual.
  • All streets and highways are open and can be used.
  • Only the Cotopaxi National Park is affected which has been closed for visitors. While we offered weekend excursions to the Cotopaxi including hiking onto the volcano or mountainbiking in the Cotopaxi National Park, this is currently not possible. However we offer so many other great activity options you can choose from. It won’t get boring for you!
  • The great thing about Ailola Quito is that we offer multiple locations to learn Spanish in Ecuador. In case the conditions won’t allow you to study Spanish in Quito, we will change your lessons for free to continue at our Spanish school in Otavalo.

Alfonso Tandazo took a great image of the eruption and on Flickr you can see some photos when flying over the Cotopaxi volcano on August 18th, 2015. As you see, it’s not spitting out much ash at the moment.

In any case, we will keep you updated if the conditions change.

Originally published on Ailola by Philip Schilling on August 25, 2015.