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The Cotopaxi National Park & Cotopaxi Volcano

The Cotopaxi National Park is the country’s most visited mainland park and has around 33,390 hectares protected area in Ecuador situated between the Cotopaxi, Napo and Pichincha Provinces, roughly 50 km south of Quito.

The Cotopaxi National Park has spectacular views of the Paramo landscape with the 5890m cone-formed, snow crested volcano Cotopaxi as the center of the attraction.  the Cotopaxi volcano (supposedly meaning smooth Neck of the Moon) that lends its name to the park is located within its boundaries, together with two others: the dormant Rumiñahui volcano to its northwest and the historical Sincholagua volcano (last major eruption: 1877) to the south east.

The Cotopaxi is among the highest active volcanoes in the world; its last significant eruption took place in 1904.

The Cotopaxi National Park General Information

Cotopaxi Volcano
The Magnificent Cotopaxi Volcano, which rises 5897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level.

The Cotopaxi National Park is a large protected area in Ecuador spanning parts of Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Napo provinces. It’s known for the active, snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano and vast Limpiopungo Lake. Wildlife includes Variable Hawk, Andean Condors and Weasels. In the east, mud flows and stones from past eruptions dot Valle Encantado (Enchanted Valley). Trails weave through pine trees in nearby El Boliche National Recreation Area.

The imposing Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, dominates the landscape of the protected area, which also includes two smaller volcanoes close by; Morurco (4,880 m) and Rumiñahui (4,722 m). Cotopaxi is located in an area called “Avenida de los Volcanes”(Avenue of the Volcanoes), named by German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt in 1802 referring to volcanoes of the central and northern Ecuadorian highlands.

Map of the Cotopaxi National Park

The Cotopaxi National Park is located in the Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Napo provinces, in  Ecuador.

Located roughly 50 km (31 mi) south of the capital City of Quito.

Where to Stay?

Things to do

  • Birdwatching

  • Hiking

  • Camping

  • Trekking

  • Climbing



The Cotopaxi National Park has the Pita River running through a channel that winds through the forests and agricultural areas outside the park, where it forms impressive waterfalls. This is one of the rivers that provide drinking water to Quito.


The majority of ecosystem in the Cotopaxi National Park is Moorland, with its own unique flora and fauna. Vegetation is principally scrub and small, low shrubs.



The Mammals of the Cotopaxi National Park, you can find several endemic Ecuadorian Mammals such as Mountain Mice, the Ecuadorian Cotton Rat and Porcupine. There is also the endemic El Cajas Watermouse. Other mammals in the park include Rabbits, Mountain Wolves, White-tailed Deer and Pumas. In Total The Cajas National Park has 43 mammals listed.

The Mammals of the Cotopaxi National Park, you can see Brazilian Rabbits, Skunks , White-tailed Deer and Andean Weasels, Andean Fox, Mountain Mice, the Ecuadorian Cotton Rat and Puma.



The Birds of the Cotopaxi National Park is diverse, you can see Andean Condors, Variable Hawk, Cinclodes. In the Limpiopungo lagoons there are water birds like the Andean Ducks, Andean Coot and Andean Gull.

Other Critters

The Cotopaxi National Park has Marsupial frogs, pristimantis Rain Frog, Andean Lizards.

Best Tour

Conservation Status


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