Provincia de Cotopaxi Things to Do

  • Rumiñahui from Tambopaxi
    Rumiñahui from Tambopaxi
    by toonsarah
  • Laguna Limpiopungo
    Laguna Limpiopungo
    by toonsarah
  • Rumiñahui from Tambopaxi
    Rumiñahui from Tambopaxi
    by toonsarah

Provincia de Cotopaxi Things to Do

  • How high will you go?

    After leaving the rose farm it was time to head for the mountains – well, for Cotopaxi specifically, the main object of our trip. We drove back north a little, and turned off the main road to enter the National Park that surrounds and protects the mountain, although on these lowest slopes the land is nevertheless used for timber and shows too many...

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  • Rumiñahui

    Rumiñahui is another of the park’s volcanoes, but unlike Cotopaxi itself is dormant. It is 4,721 metres high, so rather lower than its neighbour and just below the snowline. It is named after an Incan general who fought against the Spanish conquerors, leading the resistance against them in this part of the country. Defeated by them in a battle near...

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  • Laguna Limpiopungo

    After our lunch we retraced our route back past the turnoff to Cotopaxi and stopped a little further along the road at the Laguna Limpiopungo. This is a beautiful and tranquil spot, and an oasis of sorts in the paramo for all sorts of birds. A short walk from the car park brings you to a viewing platform where a notice board helps with...

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  • Arriving to Volcán Cotopaxi and Refugio...

    The parking area is situated at an altitude of 4500m and the refugio at 4800m, so if you are not acclimatised to high altitude it can be a hard walk. We had put on the climbing boots for this hike, just to get used to them, in my hands I carried the crampons and ice axe and on my back I had a heavy backpack, where I also had a lot of supplies for...

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  • Climbing Volcán Cotopaxi, to 5897m

    After dinner we had gone to bed at 19.00. We were supposed to sleep until midnight, have breakfast and leave the refugio around one in the morning. I couldn’t sleep at all so when the Canadian couple went up at 23.15 I soon went up as well. I went to the bathroom which is in an adjacent building and was very happy to see that it was a beautiful...

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  • Descending VolcánCotopaxi, back to the...

    My guide Fausto had walked first during the ascent, but during the descent I was in the front. It was very easy to go down and I was not tired at all. Soon the sun appeared above the clouds and we were rewarded with fantastic views. Above the clouds we saw the tops of many other volcanoes. We passed the Spanish couple who were taking photos and...

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  • Tour from Latacunga to Cotopaxi

    There are several tour operators in Latacunga offering tours to Cotopaxi, both daytrips and climbing tours. Before coming to Latacunga I had heard that it was necessary with experience to climb Cotopaxi, but I had also heard from someone that it was not necessary, so I hoped to be able to do the climb. When I came back to Latacunga after a week of...

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  • Cerro Ruminahui

    Just behind Lago Limpiopungo, which lies at around 3800 meters, are the 4700 meter high peaks of Cerro Ruminahui. While not as visually striking as the nearly perfect shape of Cotopaxi, this small range of jagged peaks is nonetheless a beautiful backdrop for exploring the unique ecosystem and landscape of the paramo that surrounds the lake.

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  • Cotopaxi

    I must admit, seeing this volcanic peak was one of the main reasons I came to Ecuador and I would have been extremely disappointed if weather conditions would have made visibility too poor to glimpse this impressive sight. Fortunately, we were able to see the 6000 meter spectacle in an almost unobstructed view. Cotopaxi is one of the highest active...

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  • Museo Mariscal Sucre

    Located fairly close to the entrance of the park, you'll find this small museum. Unless you really have to use the bathroom, it's kind of a waste of time. There wasn't much to see here and there wasn't much in the way of educational materials. There is a small model of the park if you want to get your bearings, but hey, that's what a map is for....

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  • llamas

    Llamas are known mostly as domesticated camelids but some do exist in the wild in places like Cotopaxi National Park. Their ancestry is never completely removed and they are far more approachable. I saw them from a distance and we figured we better sneak up on them. They sat in an interesting formation with one looking in each direction to see if...

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  • Vicuñas

    Vicuñas are members of the camelid family and one of only two wild species in South America. While sightings of llamas are common place in markets and even the wild, vicuñas are much more skittish and getting a good photo of them involves some sneaking up and having a decent zoom lens. I spotted this one from quite a distance and was happy he let...

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  • wild horses couldn't drag me away

    The first time I saw a wild horse I was on a trail in Peru and it was truly a magical moment so on this occasion it was perhaps not as special as it wasn’t as much of a surprise. That said, we got closer and got much better photos this time around. Research shows that these are not true wild horses but feral ones, meaning that they have...

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  • Chimborazo

    Chimborazo does not lie within the national park boundaries (over 100 kilometers away!) but its peak, the highest in Ecuador at 6385 meters, can be seen on a clear day. Not only is it the nation’s highest peak but being so close to the Equator it also holds the distinction of being the point furthest from the Earth’s center from top to core. It’s...

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  • Laguna Limpiopungo

    The national park's big lake, Laguna Limpiopungo is a bit of a disappointment as mountain lakes go. Though it is home to some interesting bird life it is on the smallish side and lacks the emerald green or turquoise color of say lakes in Peru or the Canadian rockies. That said, it does provide the opportunity of getting reflection photos of...

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  • Sincholagua

    Sincholagu is another beautiful peak in the national park that is not visible from the lake unless you get a little elevation. It only takes twenty or thirty minutes to get up high enough to view the impressive mountain but if not so inclined you can continue along the four wheel drive track in the park either in a vehicle or on foot and it will...

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  • Rumiñahui

    Rumiñahui is one of the National Park’s other beautiful volcanoes, standing just over 4700 meters. Though inactive its jagged contours are nonetheless impressive and a straight forward non-technical climb is quite possible. The valley in which it rests is quite peaceful and makes for a perfect camping spot. One could easily use it as a base to...

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  • Cotopaxi

    Most people visit this park for one reason and one reason only: to see Cotopaxi. While there are lots of other things to see here and it could be a national park even without its special aura, Cotopaxi is perhaps the most impressive volcano you are likely to see. Unfortunately, visitors short on time may make the effort and find them futile when...

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  • Cotopaxi National park

    A plateau on 3'900 m with the highest active volacano in the world (5'900 m) where you meet wild horses and if you are lucky a herd of 3'000 lamas.

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  • Best view

    So this was the best view we did get that day.It had no sense to wait longer as at that the time it was partly free from clouds, but as you can see on the picture, new clouds were already there to re-cover the big volcano again.But everyone was happy, as we did get a good view on the Cotopaxi Volcano. Especially because our day started super...

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  • Hopefully waiting

    After we had admired the unique High Andes vegetation, we noticed that the big clouds which surrounded the top of the Cotopaxi Volcano were slowly disappearing.So we waited for some time, hoping to see a full, clear top of this wonderful Cotopaxi Volcano.

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  • Colourful vegetation

    We all enjoyed walking through the typical Paramo vegetation of the High Andes.It was a great opportunity to make some pictures of these remarkable and unique plants.However it was not always easy as on this high altitude there was a strong wind.

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  • Chuquiragua

    While we were driving down with our bus, we stopped several times on general demand.Like this we had the possibility to admire the high Andes vegetation and to make some pictures.This flower is named the Chuquiragua; it is the native flower of the high Andes.This is the most significant plant of the high altitude Andes regions. It belongs to the...

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  • Unique Paramo vegetation

    The Cotopaxi Volcano (5897 metres) is the second highest mountain of Ecuador. And in many books it is described as the world highest active volcano.However the activity of the Cotopaxi is reduced in the last 10 years till some steam production and the ejecting of sulphur.On the slopes of this volcano you admire the green Paramo vegetation, notice...

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  • Walking down

    So we went up the Cotopaxi Volcano with our own bus. We stopped at the parking lot at 4500 metres.So most of the group climbed up to the Refugio at 4800 metres.But some group members had problems with their heart in the past, so their doctor had given the advice not to do severe efforts at high altitude. So these guys did walk down from the parking...

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  • Snowy trial

    As you can see on the picture, at this altitude, between 4500 and 4800 meters, there was no more vegetation.Some parts of the trail were even covered with snow. That was a nice experience, however it was more difficult to climb up and at some parts it was pretty slippery.

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  • Big Glacier

    As we were climbing up the steep slope of the Cotopaxi Volcano, we could almost see nothing because of the fog.So we were very surprised as we noticed that we had been walking next to a big glacier. Lucky for us that the fog disappeared on the way down.Maybe you can see how my pants are blown up; well there was a very strong back wind here, it was...

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  • Snowy Cotopaxi

    While we were going down, the thick fog was disappearing slowly.Like this we could see the landscape and also we could what a great nature we passed on the way to the Refugio. On the way down, we stopped to look behind, and as the fog was disappearing we could already see a glimpse of the big snowy top of the Cotopaxi Volcano.

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  • Great View

    With the thick fog on the way up, we did not see anything about the scenery. But as soon as the fog disappeared, we could admire the beautiful scenery.We could even see the parking lot, where we started our walk and where our bus was waiting for us (at 4500 metres).

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  • Sweet tea

    Once we reached the Refugio Jose Rivas, it was time for the picture near the signboard, as prove of our performance. Then we entered the Refugio, here we did see the real mountain climbers. As this Refugio is used by the Mountaineers, who can sleep here, eat and drink before they climb higher up the Cotopaxi Volcano. In the Refugio our guide waited...

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  • Refugio Jose Rivas

    So we started at the parking lot at 4500 metres, and had to climb to 4800 m. You might think bah, it is only 300m difference of height, but I can assure you that at this altitude this is not so easy to do because of the fact that there is les oxygen in the air.But we made it (we = I and my buddy Cecilia), we supported each other on the way to the...

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  • Fog

    When we started climbing up the Cotopaxi Volcano, the weather was very bad, there was a very strong wind and there was a thick fog.Of course maybe the wind is kind of normal at this altitude. But of course because of the altitude, there is less oxygen in the air, and with the strong wind in the face it was kind of difficult to breathe normally. So...

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  • Going up

    As soon as everyone was dressed up with a good coat, a hat and gloves, we started climbing,Our destination was the Refugio Jose Rivas, which was located at 4800 metres.To go up there were two possibilities. There was a trail which went straight up, it was the shortest but also the most difficult. The other trail went up the volcano in zigzag, so...

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  • Start at 4500 m

    So finally we arrived at the parking lot, which was located at 4500 m.At this altitude it was pretty chilly, there was a strong wind and it was kind of unpleasant because of the fog.And because of this fog we could not see anything of this magical volcano. What a pity.

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  • First view on the Cotopaxi

    As we started with our trip early in the morning in Lasso, where we stayed in an old historical hacienda, we could not see the big Cotopaxi Volcano (5897 m).So the atmosphere in the bus was not so good, as we all thought that we had no luck with the weather. But there was no alternative, that the visit of the Cotopaxi was planned so we had to...

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  • Laguna de Limpiopungo

    Our second stop was at a small lake, the Laguna de Limpiopungo.The Laguna de Limpiopungo is located at an altitude of 3880 meters above sea-level.There was a very strong wind here. Of course it was very open here.A very popular hiking trail is to hike around the lake; we had not enough time to do that.

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  • Paramo vegetation

    Near the information centre were we had our first stop, it was also possible to make a short hike (1 a 1 1/2 hours). The trail passed through the very unique highland vegetation. With a local guide you learn all about the typical local Paramo vegetation.At this altitude there were no more trees, only small green plants and small colourful...

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  • El Condor Pasa

    In the museum were we stopped on the way to the Cotopaxi, there were several beautiful aerial photos made of the Cotopaxi Volcano and its snowy crater.Wow, what impressive views. It must be unforgettable to fly so high and have the chance to look into the huge crater.We also did see a stuffed Condor. Unfortunately we did not see a real one, because...

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  • First stop

    After our guide had paid the entry fee, we entered the Parque Nacional de Cotopaxi.This is a pretty big National Park (33.393 hectare).After a short ride with our bus we had our first stop. In fact it was a kind of toilet stop.My Altitude wrist watch showed an altitude of 3600 meters.At this spot there was also an information centre and a small...

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  • The Glaciar

    From the Refugio (The Shelter) is very easy to visit the Glaciar, just walk a little left following the small road.

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  • Climbing the Cotopaxi.

    A visit to this park and the volcano is a must. Its very close to Quito. Then you can climb the volcano to the "Refugio". It´s an easy and fun walk.

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Provincia de Cotopaxi Things to Do

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