Cotopaxi National Park (also known as Cotopaxi Volcano National Park) lies 53 kilometers (31 miles) southeast of Quito and is the second most visited (and second biggest) National Park in Ecuador.
Cotopaxi National Park's main attraction is its still active volcano, which stands at a towering 19,000 feet (5,900 meters) above sea level, dwarfing the surrounding valleys, rivers and lagoons.
Referred to by the Incas as the 'Neck of the Moon,' the volcano has had over a dozen recorded eruptions, making it the most volatile volcano in South America. That doesn't deter the many climbers who attempt to climb it each year, however. It last exploded in 1877.
We drove thru some beautiful country in addition to the national park. I especially enjoyed the train ride from Quito to the park. Afterwards we had a nice, relaxing lunch with music from a local group at a beautiful hacienda.
The weather was not cooperating, so we didn't see Cotopaxi, but later we were taken to very colorful village market and this was a highlight of the tour.
We had a great lunch lunch in hacienda. Driving in Ecuador seems very dangerous, but thanks good driver we survived and got back in one piece to the hotel.
I liked a lot. The critical point in these tours, however, tend to be: does one carry you higher than the parking area (Parquerado, 4500 m)? But in my case the weather was already a reason not to continue. The most amazing thing was that this tour existed even that I was the only participant (with a driver and with a guide)!
The Cotopaxi National Park is 53 km (31 mi) southeast of Quito. Most people visit the area on a tour, which often includes a gentle hike and lunch at a hacienda and can work out cheaper than arranging to get there under your own steam. You will be required to pay a small fee on entering the National Park.
Only experienced climbers should attempt the more challenging hikes, especially the volcano.