Cotopaxi National Park, Protected Areas, Tourist Attractions

The Cotopaxi National Park is a massive nature reserve and the most popular in Ecuador. This Ecuadorian national park encompasses an area of 33 393 ha and extends into the Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Napo provinces. The park is also well known for the four volcanoes within its bounds. Located beside Cotopaxi National Park is the El Boliche National Recreational Area. This stunning park possesses both natural wonders and a fascinating history. For a magical journey into Ecuador's natural heritage, be sure to visit Cotopaxi National Park.

Many years ago native Ecuadorians in the Cotopaxi vicinity built homes beside the Rio Pita, the ruins of which still remain. The people worshiped the volcano of Cotopaxi. In 1534 Spanish conquistadors were warring with natives during which time Cotopaxi began erupting, sending everyone scattering in fear. The best-known eruption of Cotopaxi took place in 1877 when ash spewed out of the volcano reached Machachi. Even the city of Latacunga was buried in mud and ash. It was a devastating time. Other volcanoes in the area are Rumiñahui, Quilindaña and Antisana.

Cotopaxi National Park surrounds Cotopaxi Volcano with its altitude of 19 348ft. There are a variety of vegetation zones within the park. Snow prevents the forming of flora high up the volcano of Cotopaxi. Humid Mountain Forest dominates the low elevations, particularly around Lake Limpio Pungo. Not many native trees remain after deforestation, but there are pine trees and paramo grasses. This is an especially good area for bird watching. Rainy Sub-Andean plains in Cotopaxi National Park are noted for their Pajanol and Paramo grasses as well as mosses. The Rainy Andean Tundra features saturated soils with poor nutrient content. Plants that grow here are low growing mosses and lichens. All-in-all there are some 200 plant species in the Ecuadorian park. This fine area is home to an abundance of animal life such as pumas, marsupial mice, llamas, Andean wolves, deer and many birds. El Boliche Recreational Area near Cotopaxi consists of 227ha and is home to flowering plants, llamas, hawks and more.

The national park of Cotopaxi in Ecuador offers tourists a remarkable experience. Visitors can engage in a number of thrilling activities, including hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, camping and horse riding. There is also a fascinating museum to visit. The best months to visit this lovely region are December to April. Campsites can be hired out at La Rinconada and Condor Huyaco. Cotopaxi National Park is not to be missed.

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