Things to do in Cotopaxi Province

Our most recommended things to do in Cotopaxi Province

Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Full-Day Tour

1. Cotopaxi National Park & Quilotoa Full-Day Tour

Depart by bus from through the Panamerican Highway admiring the diverse ecosystems of the route, as a clear sign of the majesty of the Andes. Continue to the Cotopaxi National Park, arriving at the foot of the impressive active volcano. Visit the Museum Park, the Limpiopungo Lagoon and and through an interesting hike will reach the forest of chuquirahuas to 4200 meters. (if the weather permits). See the Quilotoa Volcano. With a stunning turquoise lagoon in its crater, it's one of the most beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. Take a short hike to appreciate the magnificent view of the volcano (if weather conditions allow) and enjoy time for lunch at your own expense.

Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

2. Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour from Quito

Visit Cotopaxi National Park in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. The park is home to the active Cotopaxi volcano that towers 19,642 feet above sea level. When you reach the park your naturalist guide will show you the exceptional variety of flora and fauna. Hike to the Limpiopungo lagoon, located on the slopes of the volcano. Stop at the lagoon for a short rest to take in the landscapes and the spectacular views of the volcano. Continue the hike to the Jose Ribas shelter and experience the environment at almost 16,000 feet above sea level.

From Cuenca: 4-Day Ecuador Exploration Tour

3. From Cuenca: 4-Day Ecuador Exploration Tour

Day 1: After getting picked up from your hotel in Cuenca, travel to Alausi, where you will have a litlle city tour and also you will admire beautiful Andean landscapes and watch an Andean music performance along the way. Afterward, break for lunch before beginning the journey to Riobamba. Stop along the way to visit Ecuador's oldest church and the beautiful Colta Lagoon, then you will visit the highest peak of Ecuador " Chimborazo 6300 meters". Spend the night at a hotel in Riobamba. Day 2: After breakfast, head to the charming city of Baños to admire a spectacular waterfall. Afterward, hop on a cable car and ride towards a viewpoint where you can enjoy a ride on the "swing at the end of the world". Return to Baños after your swing ride and get a good night's sleep before tomorrow's activities. Day 3: Today, visit Pujili and do a spot of shopping at the town's indigenous market, where you'll find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to clothing. Later, visit Tigua, where a small indigenous community lives. Immerse yourself in the daily life and culture of this community before heading to Quilotoa Lake, which is often referred to as the most beautiful place in Ecuador. Here, enjoy a stroll around the edges of the lake or even take an optional donkey ride. Spend the night at a hotel in Quilotoa. Day 4: Rise early to travel to the Cotopaxi National Park, where you can go for a walk around the Limpiopungo Lake. If the weather is clear, admire panoramic views of one of the world's most active volcanoes. Afterward, travel to Quito where you will say goodbye to your guide and spend the evening exploring the city at your leisure. 

Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

4. Quilotoa Lagoon: Full-Day Tour from Quito

Drive south from Quito to the Quilotoa area and visit its famous lagoon. Along the way, you'll admire the beautiful Andean landscape and stop at the Shalala viewpoint. Next, you'll visit the community viewpoint and descend to the lagoon. Once there, you'll have free time to hike and explore the area. You'll return on a path that connects the lagoon to the community viewpoint. It's an intense walk, so if you're not in good shape, simply climb on a mule that will pack you back to the viewpoint. After a lunch break, you'll also stop at a Tigua craft workshop, famous for its colorful products, and visit the Toachi's Canon.

From Quito: Cotopaxi and Quilotoa 2-Day Trekking Tour

5. From Quito: Cotopaxi and Quilotoa 2-Day Trekking Tour

Day 1: Depart from Quito to the Cotopaxi National Park. Visit the Limpiopungo lagoon in the slopes of the volcano. Stay to enjoy the landscape and take beautiful pictures of the volcano and the lagoon. Visit the Mariscal Sucre Interpretation Center and take a trek to the José Rivas Refuge. Leaving the Cotopaxi National Park, savor lunch and spend the night in the Hacienda. Day 2: After breakfast, head through the Andean landscape to the Quilotoa area. Stop at the Shalala viewpoint, recognized for its transparent structure, and admire the beautiful Quilotoa lagoon with its incredible turquoise waters. Visit the community viewpoint, and start to descend towards the lagoon. Take some free time to explore the area. Start the return, a strong walk. Make a stop for lunch. Make your way back through a Tigua craft workshop, famous for its colorful pictures, and visit the Toachi's Cañon before you return to Quito.

From Quito: 4-Day Nature & Culture Tour

6. From Quito: 4-Day Nature & Culture Tour

Start your four-day Quito adventure with a visit to the Cotopaxi National Park where you can walk around Limpiopungo Lake and enjoy the scenery of one of the highest and most active volcanoes in Ecuador. The next day, explore the charming city of Baños to enjoy the famous Avenida de las Cascadas. Visit the Pailon del Diablo waterfall where you can try what’s known as the “swing at the end of the world.” The following day, get picked up by your guide and travel to Chimborazo Faunistic Reserve. Walk around and enjoy the scenery of the highest mountain in Ecuador, Chimborazo. Spot some vicuñas. Take time for lunch before visiting Balbanera church, and then traveling south to Ingapirca, the most important archaeological complex in Ecuador, where you will learn about the Cañari and Incan cultures. Stay overnight in Cuenca, known as one of the most beautiful cities in Ecuador which you can continue to explore the next day with a visit to the historic center, and Cajas National Park or Gualaceo and Chordeleg.

From Quito: Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour

7. From Quito: Cotopaxi National Park Full-Day Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Quito in the morning, and then depart the city center and travel by air-conditioned vehicle towards Cotopaxi National Park. Enjoy stunning views of the snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains in the distance and the amazing flat lands surrounding the Cotopaxi Volcano. Upon arrival, visit the Interpretation Center to learn more about Ecuador's 2nd highest mountain peak and the Limpiopungo Lagoon. Hike through the surroundings of the Limpiopungo valley for approximately 3 hours, and climb from an altitude of about 3,890 meters above sea level to an elevation of about 4,500 meters. Take in the stunning vistas on clear days, and then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, if option selected. Return to Quito and get dropped off at your hotel on arrival.

Cotopaxi National Park: Private Tour from Quito

8. Cotopaxi National Park: Private Tour from Quito

Depart from Quito at approximately 08:00 by the "Pan-Americana Sur" way, admiring the beautiful Andean landscapes.  Visit the National Park with its interpretation center and learn about the indigenous animals. Stop at Lake “Limpiopungo” and also climb to the refuge of the highest active volcano "Cotopaxi" of 5,897 meters high.   Cotopaxi National Park is a protected area located in Ecuador Latacunga Canton in the province of Cotopaxi in Ecuador. Inside the park and in the territory of the province of Cotopaxi is the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano. Its ecosystem is home to several arboreal species, especially pine, live species of cypress, pine, spruce and ash trees. Finally, rest and enjoy nature at a hotel refuge where you can taste a hot and delicious traditional lunch before returning to Quito.

Cotopaxi Horseback Riding Tour from Quito

9. Cotopaxi Horseback Riding Tour from Quito

The tour begins with early morning pickup from your Quito hotel (Urban zone). After arrival at the ranch, be paired with a suitable horse, mount up, and spend some time learning the basic controls.  Once you feel comfortable, set out on a 2 or 3.5 hour trail ride in the Andes Mountains. Return to the ranch, at around 1:00 PM and enjoy lunch before heading back to Quito. Both beginners and experienced riders will enjoy this activity that provides the opportunity to appreciate the stunning landscapes of the national park.

From Quito: Cotopaxi Volcano and Colonial Hacienda Day Trip

10. From Quito: Cotopaxi Volcano and Colonial Hacienda Day Trip

See Cotopaxi Volcano, the second most popular destination in Ecuador. Begin the adventure at 8:00 am from Hotel Nu House, before travelling to the Cotopaxi Volcano, which is over 5,897 m or 19,347 ft, and be surrounded by pristine forests, mountains, lakes, wild horses and ecosystems which change amazingly according to elevation in this incredible reserve. Observe the exotic fauna during the first hike at Limpiopungo Lagoon, offered by this unforgettable adventure, before driving up to the parking lot located at 4,500 meters above sea level (14,763 ft) to enjoy a breath-taking view of the Avenue of the Volcanoes, and to start a once-in-a-lifetime hike up to the refuge. Hike for one exciting and challenging hour, and then take time to admire the stunning view and visit the world-wide-known Refuge "José Rivas", located at 4.800 meters above sea level (15,748 ft). After finishing the hike, you'll drive downhill way towards a charming 300 years-old-hacienda to be delighted by its charming colonial architecture, history, and delicious gastronomy. Leave behind the noise and stress of the big city to visit Cotopaxi National Park, and experience a feeling of spirituality and love for nature. Return to Quito at approximately 4:30 pm to end this unforgettable adventure.

Top sights in Cotopaxi Province

Other Sightseeing Options in Cotopaxi Province

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What people are saying about Cotopaxi Province

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 212 reviews

This trip was amazing. The volcano itself was stunning but the crater lake in Quilotoa is one of the best views I have ever seen. This tour was even more special because of our guide, Daniel. He gave us insight that only a local person who is able to speak perfect English could provide. Daniel is also super friendly and really enjoys discussing his beautiful country. His enthusiasm gave the whole group a lot of energy.

It was a great experience for those with a tight schedule. We had plenty of time at Cotopaxi National park, but the hike at Quilotoa was considerably shorter. Andres was also a knowledgeable and fun guide. Recommended.

It is a great trip - especially when you are for a short time in Ecuador. Our guides Daniel and Sonja were really good and the communication with Gray Line Ecuador worked pretty well. I can recommend joining the tour!

Andrea was an amazing tour guide. She was super friendly and spoke perfect English. She’s very knowledgeable about the places she took us. Our driver was also very nice but I can’t remember his name. Amazing tour

Very good experience. Climbing up is tough because of the altitude.