Location : 2 hours south of Quito.
Altitude : Ranges from 11.152 ft (3400m) to 19.342 ft. (5897m)
Weather : Ranges from 0 to 15 degree Celsius and drops down to -20 degree Celsius at the Cotopaxi summit.
Area : 33.393 hectares.
Creation date : 1975
Accessibility : With ease, by car or bus. A licensed guide who works with the Cotopaxi National Park is required to enter the premises.
Description of Cotopaxi Park
Cotopaxi National Park is a protected area in Ecuador with the most visitors per year. It is an iconic and worthwhile place in Ecuador, which must feature on all nature lovers’ itineraries.
In addition to its accessibility due to its roads being suitable for well-maintained vehicles, Cotopaxi Park offers magnificent landscapes. The high plateaus that are located at an altitude of about 3600m are made of low vegetation and sometimes impressive volcanic stone blocks that abound in the plain. A few wild horses and cattle gallop through its landscapes.
Among the points of interest in the National Park, we find the beautiful Limpiopungo Lagoon as well as the Inca remains of Pucará de Salitre.
Located in the heart of the National Park, the Cotopaxi volcano dominates the highlands with its summit that risesto an altitude of 5890m. In open weather, the Cotopaxi volcano is grand and its colours intermingle. In addition to the blue sky that is covered with clouds and the white glacier, you will observe on the volcano slopes the colours red, green, and brown.
The mountain people consider Cotopaxi volcano to be one of the most beautiful and perfectly shaped volcanoes in the world. Without climbing the volcano, you can drive up to the José Ribas refuge (4800m) to enjoy a breath-taking view of the entire Park.
Activities in Cotopaxi Park
Trekking and hiking :
– Trekking in Cotopaxi Park (6 / 7h walk).
– Boliche trek (8h walk)
– Walk around the Limpiopungo lagoon that is located at 11.808 ft (3600m) altitude (1 hour walk).
– Climb to the José Ribas refuge that is located at 15.744 ft (4800m) altitude (1 hour ascent). Possibility of climbing to the glacier that is at around 16.400 ft (5000m) altitude (1 hour additional ascent).
: Accessible to everyone
: Regular walker
: Regular athlete
Ascents in Cotopaxi Park
Cotopaxi volcano 19342,2 ft (5897m): Supervised by a specialised high mountain guide, the Cotopaxi glacier climb is accessible to anyone in good physical condition. Before attempting the climb, it is essential to prepare yourself with a good, gradual acclimatisation in Ecuador. Glacier walking, while physical, is not technical. A half-day ice school will be sufficient for novices.
Equipment needed: Mountaineer’s clothing, crampon shoes, crampons, harness, ice axe, and helmet.
Guide : essential.
Rumiñahui volcano 15.484,9 ft (4721m): Located opposite to the Cotopaxi volcano and overlooking the Limpiopungo lagoon, and recognisable by its three chiselled peaks, the Rumiñahui volcano is not technically difficult. However, please note that we do not recommend attempting the ascent the day after arrival. Prior to this climb, a few days in Quito and one or two hikes are recommended in order to perfect your acclimatisation.
Equipment needed : Warm and breathable clothing and hiking shoes.
Guide : Highly recommended.
Sincholagua volcano 16.134,3 ft (4919m): Located to the north of Cotopaxi volcano, you will recognise the Sincholagua volcano by its chiselled and pointed summit, which is often icy. Although the start of the ascent is not technically difficult, the last vertical part will have to be done in climbing.
Equipment needed : Warm and breathable clothing, hiking shoes, and climbing equipment.
Guide : Essential if you do not know the volcano and do not have a good experience in free climbing.
: Easy ascent
: Moderate ascent
: Difficult ascent
– Horseback riding