- THINGS TO DO OUTSIDE THE PARK
Magical and peaceful, Cotopaxi is considered one of the world´s highest active volcanoes and is at 5897m. The first assent of this volcano was on the 28th of November 1872 by Wilhelm Reiss and Angel Escobar. It is in the Cotopaxi province of Ecuador and is protected by Cotopaxi Parque Nacional.
COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK TOUR 1 DAY
Departure from Quito through The Panamericana South Highway, enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the place, we will visit the Saquisilí market (only Thursdays) where native people of the region expose and sell their handicrafts, continuing we will arrive at the impressive active volcano Cotopaxi (5.897 m. High). During our staying at the National Park we will visit its museum, the natural environment of the place, its animals and plants, stop a the Limpiopungo lake , continue to the typical hacienda where a typical appetizer will be served and then visit to its installations optional to this you can have lunch (optional) , ride horses or walk trough their nature paths.
COTOPAXI HORSEBACK ADVENTURE
(2 DAYS , ANY DAY)
- Cotopaxi - Hacienda El Porvenir:
Upon arrival at Cotopaxi National Park, we will visit
the interpretation center where descriptions of the local
flora and fauna as well as a history of the major eruptions
from the worlds highest active volcano are provided. From
the parking lot, we will begin climbing up to the refuge
where we will rest and enjoy a snack. Back to the parking
lot, a decision will be made as to whether we down quickly
on mountain bikes to Limpiopungo Lake, or continue the
visit in a 4x4 jeep. The exciting journey will continue,
whether by bike or in a jeep, amidst streams and large
rocks through El Pedregal valley where the remains of
large mud and lava flows that came down from the volcano
during ancient eruptions are still evident. We pass the
Pucara de Salitre, a strategic military fortress of the
old Inca Empire, and the drive ends at the farmhouse in
Hacienda El Porvenir, where a delicious dinner will be
ready for us.
2: Hacienda El Porvenir - Quito:
A brief lecture will be given
in the morning to teach us how to ride and get acquainted
with the horses. Wearing the typical "chagra"
attire, we will begin a visit to the foothills of the
Rumiñahui volcano, riding side by side with herds
of wild horses and brave bulls and, if luck is on our
side, perhaps we will catch a glimpse of the majestic
condor. We will reach the base of the dormant volcano
peaks - a foreboding site - and while we enjoy a warm
cup of "zunfo" tea, we will learn about the
meaning of the word "Rumiñahui."
Returning by the lowermost route, we will pass the impressive
Chusig cave and the valley known as Condor Machai, or
refuge of the condor. A delicious lunch consisting of
local dishes will be waiting for us at the farmhouse.
In the afternoon we will go down to Santa Rita "hacienda"
on the foothills of Pasochoa volcano where we will walk
along paths through the native Andean forest. After a
two or three hour trek, we will reach the place where
we will begin our return to Quito.
2 days, 1 night
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
What to bring: Comfortable-warm clothing.
(Includes: Transportation, English speaking guide, necessary equipment (poncho, chaps, wool hat), nice gentle horses, 1 night stay at local hacienda El Porvenir or similar, meals as listed in itinerary(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
Does not include: Cotopaxi park entrance fee $20 & extras) .
HORSEBACK RIDING IN THE HIGHLANDS & HACIENDA8 hours
We will take you to the Andean highlands
to visit a traditional "hacienda"
of 5.000 acres. We will dress you up like a cowboy
as they call them in Ecuador, with zamarro,
poncho and a hat to go horseback riding
for 3 hours fields of impressive snowcapped
We will eat lunch in the house of the hacienda in a welcoming country atmosphere. Agriculture and cattle production play the dominan role including the breed of the fierce bulls or Ecuadorian festivals.
Altitude: 2600 m / 8528 ft
Level: Easy to Moderate
Departure: 8 am
- Private or semi private transportation
- Bilingual guides
- Horse and equipment
Trekking to Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Volcano
A few minutes after leaving Quito at 6:00 am, we make a short stop on the mountainside to take in a bird's-eye view of Quito. We then take the Panamericana highway south along the famous AVENIDA DE LOS VOLCANES (Avenue of the Volcanoes). This route, which travels through the mountain ranges of the Ecuadorian sierra, offers the opportunity to see beautiful rural landscapes, including corn, bean and potato farms, which produce the staples of the local diet.
We then continue eastbound along a countryside road where we begin our ascent by car into the Cotopaxi National Park (3800 m). With the change in altitude, we can observe the transition to a colder climate, smaller highland vegetation, and different wildlife: wild horses, white-tailed deer and Andean foxes.
Also, as the last major eruption of VOLCAN COTOPAXI took place in 1877, we can follow the lava tunnels and debris along the side of the volcano and throughout the park, which results in a lunar landscape.
We continue our journey to an altitude of 4500 m, where we will leave the vehicle and proceed on foot to climb the awe-inspiring snow-capped Cotopaxi (5897 m), one of the world's highest volcanoes. It is a 45 minute walk to the Refuge (4800 m) and a further 15 minutes to reach the glacier, for stunning views of the Park.
After our descent from the refuge and the glacier, our hike continues through the paramo highland vegetation towards LAGUNA LIMPIOPUNGO, a small picturesque lake, where we will stop for a picnic lunch.
There is an optional 30 minute walk around the lake, which is a good place to spot some of the Park's abundant birdlife.
After passing by Pujili another traditional Indian pueblo, we continue to the highlands of Paramo, reaching up to 3800 m with an amazing and multicolour landscape, where you will see the "choza" mud huts typical of the indigenous villages and farms of the region.
The road winds through a patchwork of farm fields where potatoes, onions, beans and corn are grown. You will also often see llamas along this road.
In the evening, we have a typical dinner in the nice small village of CHUGCHILAN, where we also are going to spend the night.
On Sunday, we set off after breakfast to visit the impressive QUILOTOA CRATER, an extinct volcano crater which holdsa vivid green lake. The impressive QUILOTOA CRATER has a diameter of 2 km and a depth of 500 m from the crater's rim!
From here there are two options:
30 minute walk down to the lake, with
a steep 1 ½ hour return climb (through the "ecological
taxi" option of ascent by mule is
also available for an additional $3.00), or
· A 5 hour walk around the edge of the crater.
After the walk, we will enjoy a picnic which consists of typical food from the region.
We then drive to the small town of PUJILI to visit its Sunday market. Later in the afternoon we will return to Quito and should be back by 7pm.
Heading south of Quito through the avenue of the volcanoes, we will reach and typical indian market. We will visit the market, depending on the day: Pujili (Wednesday and Sunday), Latacunga, (Tuesday and Saturday), Saquisili (Thursday). Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the Traditional Hacienda Facilities.
In the morning tour to Cotopaxi National Park. We will visit Limiopungo Lake (paramo grasslands/ Ecuadorian equivalent of the arctic tundra), drive up to 15.000 ft and trek up to Padre Rivas mountain climbing refuge (11/2 hr). Box lunch, walk to the glaciers and return to Quito.
OUTSIDE THE PARK
Hacienda Yanahurco: Styled rooms with fireplace. They run several day programs and a rodeo
every year in November. It is located Southeast of the park surrounded by paramos and
mountains. The area itself has several haciendas managed by Fundación Paramo.
Hacienda San Agustín de Callo Suites with fireplaces. Horse riding and mountain bike tours. Located south of the park in a hill called Cerro San Agustín (Cerro Callo), with some Inca structures in the base of it. The hacienda entrance is north of the southern park entrance, just a 10 minute ride from the highway.
Cuello de Luna: A converted hacienda with outstanding views at 3,120 m. Located one kilometer
west of the Panamericana.
Cuello de Luna: Dormitory accommodation, horse riding and mountain bike tours. Located close to the northern access to the park.