Things to Do in Cotopaxi Province

Cotopaxi National Park, Cotopaxi Province: Address, Phone Number, Cotopaxi National Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Cotopaxi National Park
National Parks • Nature & Wildlife Areas • Volcanos
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Named for the highest active volcano in the world (5,897 meters), this national park is dedicated to protecting llama and other animals such as bears, wolves, puma and deer.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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1 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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642 reviews
Very good

Rodney B
Waukesha, WI1,104 contributions
Oct 2021 • Family
We visited the park on a tour with two of our teenaged kids. There are bathrooms shopping booths, and a restaurant at the entrance. After picking up some sweaters we headed in and drove the road up to a parking area below Cotopaxi. We then hiked up to the refugio. Having spent 5 nights in Quito really help us acclimate as we made it up to the refugio at almost 16,000 feet with no problems. The refugio has a café, bunks for those hiking to the summit, and a small bouldering cave. We then easily hiked down and had lunch in the park at Restaurante El Gran Volcan. The food was good. During lunch we watched the lightning over Cotopaxi as afternoon thunderstorms are common. After lunch we went horseback riding. The horses were really easy to ride and it was really fun riding around the volcano and the beautiful scenery. Before leaving we stopped at the Lake Limpiopung and saw the local waterfowl. This is a beautiful volcano and national park!
Written November 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lexington, KY40 contributions
Jul 2021
We hired a driver/tour guide to take us between Quito and Banos and he arranged for a Naturalist so that my husband could walk to the refuge (I sustained a knee injury in Banos and had to stay in the car, unfortunately). You can't enter the park without a naturalist. The area driving into the park is beautiful - mountains, flowers, interesting terrain. We saw two foxes and a hawk. The photos from my husband's walk were phenomenal and some of the best from our vacation. We were lucky and got to see the top of Cotopaxi the day we were there.
Written July 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Toronto, Canada50 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
You can see it from a distance but driving up to it on switchbacks is the way to go. Once you get to the parking lot at over 12,000 ft., you have the option to walk higher to the rifugio which is a hut whee you can get food and has bathrooms. Be advised that it's pretty windy and cold up there so gloves, a hat and warm layers are advised. The scenery driving down is pretty good too. Once you get to the road at the bottom there's a small restaurant and a very good souvenir shop a few miles away.
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Elliniko, Greece22 contributions
Nov 2020
I don’t recommend visiting the park during Covid- I don’t know what it’s like prior to covid. The rules are inconsistent and the Park Rangers make it very difficult for tourist. The first problem, they would not let us into the park with our own taxi, even though we had a letter from our lodge saying we were staying in the park. We had to change to one of their drivers and were charged an unreasonable amount for the ride. Second problem, we were in a car arranged with our lodge to explore the park when a ranger stopped us again. He would not let our driver take us anywhere, he forced us to turn around even though two tourist were already in the car during a pandemic where tourism is dead in this country. Our lodge knew nothing of this nor did we read anything about this online. The ranger also informed us we could not even hike around on our own through the endless marked trails, even though there was a bike race of 20+ bikers entering the park in their own cars and biking. The bottom line is the park is running a monopoly and making it very difficult for tourist to enjoy on their own and nothing is listed online with the rules. It is an inconsistent mess. The lodge is amazing, and it’s no fault of theres.
Written November 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mumbai, India5 contributions
Oct 2019 • Couples
Nice but overrated. It is a long way from Quito and when we reached Cotopaxi was clothed in clouds and we could see little. The clouds did part and the mountain is indeed a marvellous sight. We met a local whowas amazingly knowledgeable about the herbs and plants. If you can manage the time and permits I presume the trek up the volcano will be wellworth the effort. However beware, food and refreshments are limited.
Written August 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kalamazoo, MI24 contributions
Dec 2021
Don't go with a dog. We were told that we could not come in because we brought our dog. They was a shady person renting dog cages so small that the dogs could not move. There were three other cars with dogs that had the same problem. Why have a huge national park and not let dogs in? I tried to tie my dog up on a tree ( I brought its bed and had lots of water and food, but was told that my dog was going to hurt the tree. No real attempt to help. No empathy for the fact I just drove over an hour from my house to get there. As normal in Ecuador there was really bad customer service.
Written December 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brentwood, TN113 contributions
Feb 2020
After a quick lunch beside the ranger station, we received our directions and suggestions from the ranger at the main gate. Our plan was to hike up to the refuge, but after about 10 minutes, decided not to continue due to the steepness of the road and the poor visibility. We drove back downtown the interpretation center, then continued to the lake. We had a very nice hike there, going in about 45 minutes. The clouds mostly blew away and we were able to see the peak. We also got lucky and saw a wolf along the trail. We also saw beautiful wild horses roaming on the fields. We enjoyed our 1/2 + day visit to Cotopaxi, but we enjoyed Quilotoa a bit more.
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Richard D
Ciutadella, Spain589 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
We went for a 2 hour horseback ride in the park. My wife is a very experienced rider while I am a relative neophyte, but we both enjoyed it. The further we travelled from the lodge the more beautiful the scenery, particularly the wild flowers. We saw wild horses and some birds of prey, in particular a condor feasting on some carion.
Written July 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ken Q
Denver, United States687 contributions
Feb 2020
We enjoyed a day trip tour to this park. Unfortunately it was cloudy so we couldn't see the top of the mountain but it was still enjoyable. We had a nice walk around the lagoon and saw many different birds.
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Amaya S
Jacmel, Haiti2 contributions
Feb 2015 • Friends
Hiking to the Cotopaxi glacier is a great day trip from Quito!
GETTING THERE: wake up at 6 and try to be on the move as early as possible (best chance of seeing the mountain is in the morning) go to terminal quetumbe in Quito. From there book a bus to latacunga (2 USD). The busses leave very frequently. When you get on the bus let them know you want to go to the Cotopaxi national park. They will let you off a good 30min before latacunga (total bus ride is about an hour and a half.) From here you will want to a) flag down b) hitch hike into the park. If you take a cab, the driver will take you to the park entrance (about a 20min drive). Here you must check into the park. There is no fee but be sure to bring I.d. or at least have your passport number. There is a restaurant and washrooms here. From here there are plenty of vehicles going up to the lagoon or past the lagoon up to the main parking area for the hike to the glacier. It is very common and easy to hitch a ride. The road goes most of the way up the mountain and is about a 45min drive from the park entrance. The hike takes about two hours (up and down) if you take your time. The trail is very obvious and fairly busy. About an hour up there is a hut where you can get tea, food ect.. 20min up from there is the glacier. If it's not cloudy you get a great view of the park. The hike isn't hard but be ready to move at turtle speed if you aren't acclimatized to the altitude. Getting back is straight forward. Hitch a ride down and out of the park,( aim to be out of the park by 4 or 4:30) Ideally towards latacunga. Buses to Quito go by very frequently and aren't hard to catch. You will quite often see groups of people standing at the edge of the road between the turn off to the park and latacunga. If you join them a bus heading to Quito will pick you up for 1USD. However if you are so inclined you can also hitch/get a cab to latacunga where there is a bus station.
WHAT TO BRING: closed shoes (runners or hikers), warm layers (a warm sweater or two, a hat and gloves), a rain jacket (even if it doesn't rain you will want something to break the wind), snacks (optional, there are places to buy food along the way) Water (it's always nice to have water on hand however if you run out you can buy it at various locations), Camera ( if it's clear you won't want to miss a shot of the view!) some cash (entrance to the park is free, the bus is cheap but if you end up needing a cab that can get pricie (20 USD to latacunga from the park entrance) plus food if you don't bring your own.)
I'd recommend if you have time walking around the lagoon, we didn't get the chance but it looked nice. Another option is to just walk off into the park for a bit. The entire area is gorgeous and it's nice to get away from the crowds!
Hope this is helpful! Enjoy your time in Ecuador!
Written February 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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