Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador (with Map & Photos)

Cotopaxi Volcano

The highest of the active volcanoes in the world - the Cotopaxi Volcano, which is 200 km south of Quito, was so named by the Indians in honor of the "shining mountain", which, indeed, can be seen far away on the twilight horizon. And the snow caps of the peaks do not melt even under the scorching rays of the sun.

Cotopaxi Volcano 2
Cotopaxi Volcano

The mountain has two of the same perfectly circular craters. The road to the Cotopaxi Volcano is called "Avenue of Volcanoes", wild horses, domesticated llamas, deer calmly walk along it, hummingbirds and Andean lapwings fly out of the thickets.

Cotopaxi Volcano 3
Cotopaxi Volcano

How to get there

The main entrance to the national park is located a few kilometers from the town of Lasso. You can get there in two hours by bus from Quito along the Pan American Highway. The northern entrance is through the town of Machachi and is usually more free. Entrance fee for foreign tourists is 10 USD.

Cotopaxi Volcano 4
Cotopaxi Volcano

Routes and camps

The foot and slopes of Cotopaxi Volcano are cut by hiking trails, and at an altitude of 4700 m, tourists will find a place to sleep. By the way, there is also a comfortable camping at the foot near the railway station, where for 5 USD you can set up a tent city, and for 12 USD per person you can have access to a village cabin about 400 meters from the entrance for several days. Here you can go to the trail that goes to the Rumininakhui peak (4712 m). Another popular trek around the volcano is the Condor trail, which starts at Papaljakt, passes near Antisana volcano and ends at Cotopaxi. Prices on the page are as of April 2019.

Cotopaxi Volcano 5
Cotopaxi Volcano

Not far from the park are the major cities of Latacunga, Sangolki, San Rafael and Tumbako.

Things to do on Cotopaxi:

  1. Look at the western slope of the mountain, covered with a "cloudy" forest, the flora of which is considered the richest in the country.
  2. For a nominal fee of 1 USD per circle, take a horse ride through the park.
  3. In one of the local workshops, you can buy beautiful silverware, items of the colonial era, woodwork of local craftsmen.

Cotopaxi Volcano Map