Holidays in the Cotopaxi National Park
The Cotopaxi National Park is one of the most beautiful, yet surprisingly accessible National Parks in the whole of South America, with an amazing variety of landscapes, wildlife, and activities, all just a few hours' drive from Quito and we think everybody should inclued Cotopaxi on their holidays in Ecuador.
The Park takes its name from the beautiful, snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano which lies right in the heart of the park, and which is iconic for most Ecuadoreans. Its shape is a perfect cone and its 6000m-high peak is visible from as far away as Quito on a clear day. The National Park isn't just about mountains, however - it includes everything from semi-arid parama scrubland to lush river-fed meadows, and the varied geography makes it a haven for many different animals. It's not unusual to see giant Andean condors in the skies above, or to enjoy a picnic lunch with hummingbirds fluttering around you.
It's perfectly possible to take a day tour to Cotopaxi from Quito, but if time allows we'd really recommend a longer trip, staying for at least one night at one of the historic haciendas in the area. As well as allowing you the chance to see more of the sights in the area (such as the amazing Quilotoa crater lake) it's a great way to enjoy a piece of Ecuador's history - usually with a delicious traditional meal to boot...
Trekking in Cotopaxi
Again, if you have more time available then a great way to see more of the National Park is to look at some of our trekking options in Cotopaxi. Because of the varied nature of the terrain there is a huge variety of treks available, from gentle strolls to full-on expeditions. You can either camp, or take advantage of the haciendas available to do a series of day-treks.
One of the real joys of trekking in Cotopaxi is how accessible and approachable everything is, and even inexperienced trekkers can have a go at 5000m peaks like Illinizas and Corazon, which isn't a bad achievement to take home with you.
Undoubtedly tougher, but still achievable by novices, is the possibility to climb Cotopaxi itself. At almost 6000m, this is a serious mountain but it's a non-technical ascent and so long as you are properly acclimatised there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get a monster mountain under your belt...