Cotopaxi Volcano National Park, the second most visited atracction in Ecuador, Cotopaxi volcano is a perfect cone of volcano covered with snow, is a really impressing volcano, read more about Cotopaxi Volcano. The Cotopaxi volcano can be visited by train departing from Quito.

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Cotopaxi Volcano National Park


Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Napo
June 1979
33 393 hectares
Altitude Range:
3 400 up to 5 897 meters Cotopaxi Volcano

The Cotopaxi Volcano National Park was created in 1979, and it is the second biggest national park in Ecuador and second most visited after the Galapagos National Park. In 1970 it was built the Refuge named Jose Rivas located at 4 800 meters above sea level.

The Cotopaxi Volcano National Park is located south of Quito, and in it we can find volcanoes as the Cotopaxi Volcano 5 897 meters and the Sincholagua 4 893 meters and mountains as the Rumiñahui 4712 meters and Morurco 4 840 meters. Among these mountains there are numerous valleys, lakes and rivers over 3 500 meters above sea level. To entry the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park you must go in a 4x4 jeep so you will be able to get to the refuge.

The first documented information about the eruption of the Cotopaxi Volcano is from 1534. From that date there have occurred numerous eruptions that even destroyed for 3 times the city of Latacunga until 1877. The last eruption was in 1942 and from then now it is an active volcano becoming the highest active volcano in the world.

The first man ever to climb the Cotopaxi Volcano was a German named Wilhelm Reiss in company of the Colombian Angel M. Escobar. In 1877 a powerful eruption melt the ice of the North Slope, this was used as an easier route to climb up to the top of the Cotopaxi Volcano.

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Today the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park suffers of a progressive cut in its budget, that affects in the number of park rangers and other projects. An alternative for this problem consists to give the administrations of the park to private companies or NGO's.

Other Atractions of the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park are:

  1. Lagoon of Limpiopungo, is an excellent place to take some pictures because it is surrounded by the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua and Rumiñahui.
  2. Lagoon of Santo Domingo, it has a spring that supplies fresh water and it is surrounded by rock walls that were raised by the Incas.
  3. Lookout point of Sunfana, from the lookout point the visitor will see the green pine woods over a great plain.
  4. Pita River, where it is allowed to practice sport fishing of trouts with an authorization of INEFAN. The river has 8 meters width but it isn't too deep.
  5. Mariscal Sucre Museum, in here you can find general information about the park and about the wildlife. Also there are some pictures of the area.
  6. Boliche Recreational Area, its main entrance is by train, in here you can see beautiful sights and it is a perfect area for camping.
  7. Rumiñahui, Sincholagua and Morurco Volcanoes, they are pretty easy to climb but with the adequate equipment and guide.
  8. Military Inca Fortress Pucara Salitre, located to the east aver a hill, where it is found a great oval wall of 1.20 meters of height.
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Flora & Fauna

The flora of the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park is extensive, with a great plantation of Pines of 1750 hectares, and also you can find chuquirahuas, pumamaquis, romerillo, moriño and capuli. The animals found in the park are deer, rabbits, wolves, curiquingues and the famous Andes Condor.

How to Get There?

There are to ways how to get to the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park from Quito.

By Bus:
From the Bus Terminal of Cumanda take a bus of the Mejia Cooperative that goes to Machachi. Approximated time 1 hour. From Machachi you can rent a pick up truck that will take you to the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park.

By Car:
The first way is to drive south from Quito up to Machachi. From there you are 20 km away starting from the main park in direction to "El Pedregal".

The second way is the same to drive south from Quito but driving through Machachi 30 more minutes. Before approaching to Lasso, there is a sign at your left that indicates the entrance to the Cotopaxi National Park. It is a small dirt road that will take you in 30 minutes up to the main entrance of the park.

Entrance Fees
Entrance Fee to the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park: $2.00 / foreign $10.00
Museum entrance fee: adults $2.00; children $1.00 / foreign $10.00 children $5.00
Camping Area: $2.00 / foreign $3.00
Refuge Lodge per night: $7.84 / foreign $16.80

Additional Information and services about the Cotopaxi Volcano National Park
Ing. Edi Coello
Park Director
Phone: (03) 2812-768 / 2506337

Refuge offices in Quito
Pablo Fernandez or Silvia Garcia
Pone: (02) 2222-240 © 2009 Posicionamiento Web Ecuador
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