Cotopaxi National Park
The Cotopaxi National Park is a 32,000-hectare park, easily accessible (one hour and thirty minutes by car) from Quito on a day tour. The park itself is the second most visited national park in Ecuador after the Galapagos Islands.
The Cotopaxi Volcano is truly an amazing site. Its perfect cone shape and ever-present glacier skirt allow it to be seen from many provinces but there is nothing like seeing its majesty up close. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world. It recently (back in 2015) became active and had small eruptions. Because of this the national park remained closed to visitors for about a year. It’s now fully open and if you would like to climb to the summit let us know and we can help with that.
Why is it called Cotopaxi?
There are many legends regarding the volcano’s name. Some say it refers to “Cuello de luna” which translates to “neck of the moon”. During certain full moons, you can see the moon align perfectly with the cone-shaped volcano resembling the moon’s neck. Others say the name means quite the opposite “Neck of the sun”.
Activities in the Cotopaxi National Park
The park itself has plenty to offer visitors.
You can visit the Limpiopungo Lake with its awe-inspiring paramo treks and fascinating wildlife including llamas, wild horses, fox, deer, the elusive spectacled bear, and Andean condor.
And you can hike up to the refuge and glacier and take in the beautiful landscapes from above.
**Other activities include biking down the mountain to the lake or horseback riding around the national park. If you would like to take part in such activities you can contact us and we can schedule a private tour of the Cotopaxi National Park.
Today you will be picked up from at 7am.
After picking up all the tour participants you will make your way to the Cotopaxi National Park.
Upon arrival you will first visit the Mariscal Sucre Interpretation Center, where you will learn about the National Park, the Cotopaxi Volcano and the wildlife found in the area. Here you will acclimate to the low oxygen level and high altitude with a cup of Coca tea (a special and traditional drink of the Andean region).
At the interpretation center you also have access to a souvenir shop and cafe. After the visit you will trek for 30 minutes and climb up to the lookout point, 4500 meters above sea level to take some amazing pictures of the beautiful landscape.
To finalize the visit you will walk around the Limpiopungo Lake to marvel at the beautiful flora and fauna of the paramo.
Return to Quito.
*Since this is a private tour you can choose to trek and mountain bike or horsebackride.