Wild llamas in the Cotopaxi National Park

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. The 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.

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”.

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.

Cotopaxi Shared Tour Itinerary

Today you will be picked up from 6am -7am, exact pick-up time will be included in voucher sent on the day prior to the tour.

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.

How much does this adventure cost?

$70 USD per person


  • Touristic Transport
  • Bilingüal Guide

Not included

  • Entrance fees to attractions
  • Meals
  • Tips
  • Other expenses not specified on the itinerary

Important information

  • The tour to the Cotopaxi National Park will take you up to 4500 meters above sea-level, its easy to get altitude sickness here so please take it easy while trekking, climbing or doing any physical activity. You will be able to have some coca tea upon arrival, this will help with the altitude.
  • As mentioned on the packing list, you should dress in layers, this way you are ready for any climate change during the day.
  • You should have valid travel and medical insurance.
  • If you have any medical conditions please let us know to advise the guides.
  • Let us know if you have any dietary requirements to also let the guides know about this.

What to pack for a trip to the Cotopaxi Volcano

  • Layered clothes (gloves, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, waterproof shoes and pants, rain jacket and windbreaker)
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Passport and travel documents
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Trail mix and snacks

Pick-up locations:

North Quito: Dann Carlton and Sheraton Hotel
Mariscal area: All hotels
Old Town area: All hotels

Pick-up time:

You will be picked up from 6 am -7 am, exact pick-up time will be included in voucher sent on the day prior to the tour.