Hiking Guide to the Cotopaxi National Park


Cotopaxi national park is an inspiring national park in Ecuador. Cotopaxi is the third-highest existing volcano in the world that stands 5897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level.

When to visit?

You should shun traveling to Cotopaxi during rainy months (March-April) to get the most out of a holiday to Cotopaxi National Park you should. The best months to observe Cotopaxi are from June-October. 

It is difficult to know if you will see Cotopaxi or not because of the weather changes. The best experience is from sunrise to midday. There is a higher chance of clouds and rain in the afternoon.

Things to do

  1. Hike the Laguna Limpiopungo:

    The Laguna Limpiopungo is a yearly lake that grows in size during the rainy season. It is home to nesting Andean Gulls which can be seen year-round. Hummingbirds can be recognized along the trail along with little bunny rabbits and numerous species of seed-eating birds. The wild horses of Cotopaxi frequently graze near the end of the path.
  2. Hike to the Refugio:

    Ecuadorians prefer to equate with their mountain deities and one way to do this is to hike as long as possible. Since the August 2015 eruption, the National Park has closed all climbing to the glacier and the summit of Cotopaxi but has reopened the trail to the Jose Ribas Refuge at 14,764 feet (4,500 meters). The hike up is difficult, needing good lung capacity, and the views on a bright day are exceptional.
  3. Bike underneath the Mountain:

    Numerous organizations offer mountain biking tours in Cotopaxi National Park. Most start at the trailhead to the Jose Ribas Refuge and head right down the mountain on the breezy, unpaved road. Others bike the main road to Laguna Limpiopungo. Traveling by bike rather than car allows improved possibilities to photograph wild horses and locate the beautiful Star of Ecuador Hummingbird with its glowing purple head and sparkling white chest.

Important things to know

Even if you are not ascending Cotopaxi itself, the altitude here is high. NYK Daily recommends making sure you drink lots of water and not too much alcohol during your time here, to guarantee you can optimize pleasure during your stay.

Another significant NYK Daily suggestion is that you keep your eyes uncovered in the skies above you during your visit. The mighty condor can sometimes be seen soaring above, and observing this massive bird flying overhead is a pleasure.

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