Ecuador’s Cotopaxi National Park is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking destinations in South America. The park is dominated by the Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Cotopaxi offers visitors a chance to experience the diverse landscape and culture of the Andean region. From hiking to horseback riding, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. Here are some of the best things to do in Cotopaxi and the best times of year to visit.
Best Things to Do In Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
1. Hike the Cotopaxi Volcano
The main attraction of the park is the Cotopaxi Volcano, and hiking to its summit is one of the most popular activities. The hike can take up to two days and is considered a difficult trek due to the high altitude and steep terrain. The best time to hike is from June to September, as this is the dry season with the clearest skies.
2. Explore Limpiopungo Lagoon
Located at an altitude of 3,850 meters, the Limpiopungo Lagoon is a beautiful natural attraction that’s home to a variety of bird species. The lagoon is a popular spot for hiking and birdwatching, and the best time to visit is during the dry season from June to September.
3. Visit the Inca Ruins at Pumapungo
Located in the nearby city of Cuenca, Pumapungo is a fascinating archaeological site that was once a major Inca settlement. The site includes ruins of the ancient city, a museum, and beautiful gardens. The best time to visit is during the dry season from June to September.
4. Horseback Riding in the Andes
One of the best ways to explore the Andes is on horseback. There are many local tour operators that offer horseback riding excursions in Cotopaxi. The best time to go horseback riding is during the dry season from June to September.
5. Mountain Biking in the Park
The park offers a variety of trails for mountain biking enthusiasts. The most popular route is the downhill descent from the Cotopaxi Volcano. The best time for mountain biking is during the dry season from June to September.
6. Visit the Cotopaxi Interpretation Center
Located at the park entrance, the Cotopaxi Interpretation Center is a great place to learn about the park’s history, geography, and flora and fauna. The center also offers guided tours of the park. The center is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season from June to September.
7. Camping in the Andes
The park offers several campsites for visitors who want to experience the beauty of the Andes at night. The campsites are located in scenic areas of the park, and campers can enjoy the incredible views of the Cotopaxi Volcano. The best time for camping is during the dry season from June to September.
Cotopaxi National Park offers visitors a chance to experience the beauty and culture of the Andean region. The best time to visit is during the dry season from June to September when the weather is mild and the skies are clear. Whether you’re hiking to the summit of the Cotopaxi Volcano or horseback riding through the Andes, Cotopaxi National Park has something for everyone.