The Cotopaxi Wildlife Reserve extends within the Cotopaxi, Napo, and Pichincha provinces over approximately 33,393 hectares, between 3350 and 5800 meters over sea level. Right in the middle, the Limpiopungo lagoon lies between the majestic Cotopaxi and the Rumiñahui volcanoes.


A great plantation of pines of approximately 1750 hectares has adapted to the environment creating a micro habitat that changes the dynamic of the moor. Deer and many bird species have found an excellent refuge in these forests that extend to the lower lands.


Temperatures vary considerably depending on the area and the atmospheric conditions, ranging from 0° to 24° Celsius with annual precipitations of 500 to 1500 mm.


The reserve is bathed by the rivers Cutuchi and Daule, several creeks, and other streams giving exceptional conditions to the flora and fauna to develop. These water sources supply Machachi, Quito, Latacunga, and the Amazon with water for human consumption and irrigation.


Important industrial activity is generated by the collection of mineral water from springs and underground streams coming from the Cotopaxi volcano.


The park can be divided in 4 separate areas related to the altitude:

The montaño rainforest in the lowest part of the park is located between 3400 meters and 3900 meters with temperatures ranging from 6° to 12° Celsius and annual precipitations between 1000 and 1200 mm. Tree and bush species such as the pumamaqui, pino, capulí, pucunero, mortiño, valeriana, orejas de conejo and gencianas, can be observed in the area.


The rainy subalpine moor is located on the slopes of the volcano between 3900 meters and 4000 meters with temperatures ranging between 3° to 6° Celsius and annual precipitations between 1000 and 2000 mm. The common vegetation in the area is: chuquirahua, ashpa chocho, moor grassland and lichen.


The rainy alpine tundra, the highest part of the Rumiñahui and Cotopaxi volcanoes, is located between 4400 meters and 4700 meters over sea level with temperatures ranging from 1.5° to 3° Celsius and annual precipitations between 1000 and 2000 mm. The flora in the area is very basic and consists essentially of moss and lichen that form colonies of rosettes.


The nival is the area with perpetual snow where nothing grows. On the Cotopaxi volcano, the nival begins at an altitude of 4800 meters, whereas in the eastern part it begins 100 meters below.


Deer, moor wolves, pumas, rabbits and bears are amongst the most common wild animals found in the park. Bird species are mainly represented by condors, red-backed hawks, Andean gulls, moor partridge and owls.


The Cotopaxi National Park is a true wonderland for tourists looking for adventure and thrilling activities in the wild, such as horseback riding, mountain biking down the slopes of the Cotopaxi volcano, canopy, trekking, camping, bird watching and much more.


The following areas are the most popular and must-see visiting sites in the park:

At 3850 meters over sea level, the Limpiopungo lagoon offers a wonderful panorama to take amazing pictures of the surrounding mountains such as the Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, and Rumiñahui. Going up to the lagoon, visitors will be able to notice how ecosystems change with the altitude.


El Boliche recreational area, located northeast of the park, offers outstanding ecological, biological, and geological characteristics. Visitors have to register their entrance to the park before leading to the Sunfana road and then going up to the Rumiñahui volcano. Churupinto and Daule roads also take tourists to the park.


Cotopaxi volcano is undoubtedly the main attraction of the park. From its refuge, tourists can enjoy a spectacular view of the Limpiopungo valley. The ascension to the summit of the volcano is fairly easy compared to the other volcanoes in Ecuador, although climbers are strongly recommended to be accompanied by an experienced guide.


Rumiñahui volcano can be accessed from Boliche taking the Sunfana road. Its name means “stone face” and was given in honor of the last indigenous general. Visitors can also hike from Limpiopungo to the mountain.


Hato Verde

Rooms: 9

La Ciénega

Rooms: 36
Floors: 2

La Posada del Rey

Rooms: 10
Floors: 1

San Agustín de Callo

Rooms: 11

San Mateo

Rooms: 8
Floors: 1

Tierra del Volcán

Rooms: 16
Floors: 2
Tell a Friend
* required fields

Captcha image

Can't read the image? Click here to refresh.

Thank you for your recommendation!

Your email has been sent

Close this window


The Cotopaxi National Park extends within the Cotopaxi, Napo, and Pichincha provinces, and is a must-see in Ecuador, offering spectacular views and thrilling activities on the slopes of its main attraction, the Cotopaxi volcano.
From the Cotopaxi refuge, tourists can enjoy spectacular views of the Limpiopungo valley and the surrounding landscape. The ascension to the summit of the volcano is fairly easy compared to the other volcanoes in Ecuador, although climbers are strongly recommended to be accompanied by an experienced guide.
Where To Stay
Hato Verde, La Cienega, La Posada del Rey, San Augustin de Callo, San Mateo, Tierra del Volcan


" I had a great time on Galapagos! Thanks to you guys, I found the perfect vessel for my family trip. "

Jenny Brown
Galapagos, June 2006


Featured Hotel

Luna Runtun Adventure Spa is nestled within the Sangay National Park dominating the town of Banos. It is one of the top Spa-Resort destination in Ecuador, enjoying a unique location on the slopes of the Tungurahua volcano.
Features / Rates
Spa Hotel - Resort
Rooms: 30
Beautifully designed outdoor swimming pools (filled with hot volcanic water, private and exclusive ecological area of 100 hectares, garden is filled with fresh and natural medicinal plants, fruits, and vegetables used for their natural healing properties at the Spa.
Bottom Line
Swiss-managed and consistently rated amongst the best spas in Ecuador, Luna Runtun guarantees that your trip to Ecuador will be a once in a lifetime experience.