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Cotopaxi National Park

One of Ecuador’s most popular national parks is home to a vast oasis of mountain forests, Andean tundra, hiking trails and an active volcano.

Cotopaxi National Park has an enormous wealth of spectacular natural scenery in the Andean Highlands near Quito. The highlight for visitors is the stunning Cotopax Volcano that looms ominously over the park’s diverse landscape. Traipse through terrain that features páramo (alpine neo-tropical tundra), valleys, lagoons and rivers. Popular activities range from hiking and cycling to horseback riding and camping in the park.

Gaze up at the Cotopaxi Volcano, which stands tall at 5,897-metre (19,347-foot). The Incas referred to the imposing lava-spewing rock as the “neck of the moon”. The most recent eruption of the snow-capped volcano occurred in 1940. Although it is technically active, daredevil climbers attempt to ascend its glaciers year-round.

There are less dramatic ways to enjoy the scenery around the park. You can reserve a trip with a tour guide who will take you on exciting trips. Take part in hikes and excursions in the Pichincha, Napo and Cotopaxi provinces and see three more volcanoes located in the proximity. Discover some of the park’s most fascinating scenery on foot. Peruse the exotic flora and fauna that decorates the landscape. You will find a variation of páramo plant species alongside potential sightings of llamas, Andean wolves, pumas, deer and marsupial mice.

Learn about the science and history behind the park’s intriguing nature at the charming museum and visitor centre in Cotopaxi. Hear tales of the indigenous peoples, find out about types of animals and see a relief map of the volcano. All this takes place at around 4,500 metres (14,764 feet) above sea level so prepare for some light altitude sickness.

You can find Cotopaxi National Park about 53 kilometres (32.9 miles) southeast of Quito. There is a small entrance fee as well as individual charges for tours and day trips. There are many different types of tours with different options for group sizes, meals and overnight stays. The months between November and May are the ideal period for outdoor activities.

You don't have to stay in luxurious hotels or fly first class to have a fabulous vacation. Just get stuck into all the cool things you can do while you're there!

Jump-start your trip to Cotopaxi National Park by checking out one or two of these activities:

If you want to check out a complete list of activities, head to our Cotopaxi National Park things to do page.


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Best Lodging Options Near Cotopaxi National Park

See all 578 Properties near Cotopaxi National Park
Hacienda Los Mortiños $98
Hacienda Los Mortiños

Hacienda Los Mortiños

Santa Ana del Pedregal, Machachi, Pichincha
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in Machachi, this hostal is within 6 mi (10 km) of Cotopaxi National Park, Pasachoa Forest Reserve, and Arcangel Miguel Statue. Tesalia Springs Pool and Machachi Market are also within 12 mi (20 km).

    Hacienda San Agustín de Callo
    Hacienda San Agustín de Callo

    Hacienda San Agustín de Callo

    Av 10 de Agosto, Latacunga, Provincia de Cotopaxi
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Latacunga, this cottage is steps from Cerrito de Callo and Cotopaxi National Park. Toacazo Park is 9 mi (14.4 km) away.

      Hacienda El Porvenir $99
      Hacienda El Porvenir

      Hacienda El Porvenir

      Sector El Pedregal, Machachi, Pichincha
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in the mountains, this spa ranch is 2.6 mi (4.3 km) from Pasachoa Forest Reserve and 12.2 mi (19.7 km) from Cotopaxi National Park.

        Hacienda Santa Ana $150
        Hacienda Santa Ana

        Hacienda Santa Ana

        Near Cotopaxi National Park, Machachi, Pichincha
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated near the boardwalk, this inn is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Pasachoa Forest Reserve and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Cotopaxi National Park. Arcangel Miguel Statue and Tesalia Springs Pool are also within 6 mi (10 km).

          Mauca Pedregal - Hostel $70
          Mauca Pedregal - Hostel

          Mauca Pedregal - Hostel

          Loreto Pedregal, Machachi, Pichincha
             
            1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Machachi, this hostel is 1.9 mi (3 km) from Pasachoa Forest Reserve and within 6 mi (10 km) of Cotopaxi National Park and Arcangel Miguel Statue. Loma Condor Cucho and Cotopaxi are also within 12 mi (20 km).

            Chilcabamba Lodge $82
            Chilcabamba Lodge

            Chilcabamba Lodge

            Porvenir, Machachi
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in a national park, this lodge is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Pasachoa Forest Reserve and within 12 mi (20 km) of Cotopaxi National Park and Tesalia Springs Pool. Machachi Market and Pasochoa Volcano are also within 16 mi (25 km).

              Chuquiragua Lodge & Spa $60
              Chuquiragua Lodge & Spa

              Chuquiragua Lodge & Spa

              Panamericana Sur, Principal SN/PB, El Chaupi
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in El Chaupi, this hotel is within 12 mi (20 km) of Cotopaxi National Park, Machachi Market, and Tesalia Springs Pool. Pasachoa Forest Reserve and Arcangel Miguel Statue are also within 20 mi (32 km).

                Hosteria PapaGayo $73
                Hosteria PapaGayo

                Hosteria PapaGayo

                Panamericana sur km 26, 45min out of Quito, Machachi, Pichincha
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in the mountains, this inn is 2.4 mi (3.8 km) from Machachi Market and within 6 mi (10 km) of Cotopaxi National Park and Tesalia Springs Pool. Pasachoa Forest Reserve is 6.4 mi (10.3 km) away.