Rising majestically 60 kilometers south of Ecuador's capital city,
Quito, is a perfect cone shaped volcano named Cotopaxi. In indigenous
tongues, Cotopaxi means "piece of the moon."
Surrounding the volcano are lakes, lava beds, spectacular mountain
scenery and, of course, sparkling white glaciers. This is Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi became a national park on July 26, 1979. The park encompasses
33,393 hectares and occupies parts of the provinces of Cotopaxi, Napo
and Pichincha. Altitude within the park varies from 3400 meters above
sea level to 5897 meters at the top of the volcano. Cotopaxi is the
second most visited national park after the Galapagos Islands.
Upon entering the park, the first destination for many
day trippers is Limpiopungo Lake. The lake lies at 3850
meters and encompasses 200 hectares.
Apart from the panoramic views encircling the lake, one
can witness the flight of native birds such as the gaviotas
de páramo, ducks and quilicos. Glimpses of curiquingues,
deer, rabbits, llamas, paramo wolves and the Andean condor
can also surprise the fortunate visitor.