Hiking, mountain biking, horse-riding, bird-watching and climbing – you can do it all within the spectacular high altitude setting of Cotopaxi National Park. Named after the symmetrical snow-capped volcano that towers above, Cotopaxi is the most visited National Park on Ecuador’s mainland. Glistening lakes, dramatic mountains and rolling grasslands are the main draw here, although the park is also rewarding for wildlife enthusiasts. A visit is likely to include sightings of swooping Andean condors, grazing llama, wild-horses and timid deer. The spectacled bear and a rare type of high altitude hummingbird are also residents of the area, but sightings are extremely rare.
Cotopaxi’s last notable eruption happened during 1904. Activity is monitored extremely closely as it continues to be one of the most active volcanoes in South America. Travel restrictions were put into place in 2016 during the volcano’s most recent ‘active’ phase. Fortunately for the inhabitants living in surrounding areas, this phase only produced sporadic gas emission and minor ash clouds. The area is now back up and running, and visitors are free to enjoy the beauty of the area.