Parque Nacional Cotopaxi is a national park in the central Andes of Ecuador about southeast of central Quito. It is a popular hiking destination which is known for the active Cotopaxi and the dormant Rumiñahui volcano.

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Climb Cotopaxi

It's possible to book a guide (maximum two people) and climb Cotopaxi, though it requires a high level of fitness and acclimatisation to the altitude in order to reach the summit. Climbers must start their ascent at 22-23:00, climbing overnight and summiting around dawn, at 6:30-7:00. Much of the climb is on the glacier, so it requires suitable equipment (ice axe, crampons).

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The Refugio is located about half way up Cotopaxi from surrounding elevation and provides temporary and overnight housing for those planning to summit Cotopaxi. Meals are provided and guides are required. Visitors who climb to the Refugio from the parking lot for a short visit can also find water and snacks here.

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Limpiopungo Lagoon

A large lagoon at an elevation of 3,850m, probably left over from glacial activity, is a good place for panoramic views of Cotopaxi and nearby Rumiñahui, as well as seagulls and occasional condors.

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The only lodging available within the park itself, this lodge is popular with climbers and also provides meals. Access to the Refugio on the way to the summit is easy from here.

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Inca Ruins

These are the ruins of an Inca military fortress used to control passage of armies and goods to the surrounding areas. It was discovered in 1987 by Ecuadorian archeologists.

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Climb Rumiñawi Volcano

Unlike Cotopaxi, at 4721m this volcano doesn't require any special equipment to climb and can be done in a morning. A guide with transport should cost about $20.

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Secret Garden Cotopaxi

A hostel an hour's drive away from Cotopaxi. Price includes three meals. Secret Garden in Quito offers a cheap, regular minibus between the two hostels.

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Tierra del Volcan/Hacienda El Porvenir

A traditional working hacienda that offers accommodation, restaurant and a good variety of adventure activities, plus guided tours within the park.

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Cotopaxi Museum and Visitor Center

A small museum featuring a collection of stuffed wildlife (including an Andean condor), a relief map of the volcano, and some explanatory material.

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About Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi, the central feature of the national park, is nearly () in height and is one of the highest active volcanoes on earth, although its present activity is limited to a few steam fumaroles. The landscape of the park is typical of recently active volcanic areas, and there are several peaks in the protected zone well over 4,000 m in altitude.

Source: wikivoyage