The best way to get to know this place is by the hand of a Local Guide, depending on the weather conditions, time of entry and the disposition of your time, he will be the one who helps you to program the places to visit.
I leave this guide to the activities that can be performed, the order of visit of the attractions is not necessarily the one detailed, that will depend on you and your guide.
To obtain food, ride a horse, descend by bicycle or spend the night in the shelter, it is necessary to coordinate with your guide so that you can book these services, otherwise you will not be able to perform these activities.
Control Sur Caspi, Entrance to Cotopaxi National Park. The Cotopaxi National Park has two revenues, “El Pedrega” North Control and “El Caspi” South Control, 98% of visitors enter through the South Control, since the access road is paved about 15 km from the Pan American Highway, Here you will find a Cafeteria, Hygienic Services, Local Guides and handicraft shops, at this point you can buy what you need for this trip (Water, sweets, fruits, caps, gloves, ponchos, etc.).
Registration in this place is mandatory, at the time of hiring a Local Guide, he will be responsible for doing it and from that moment will be responsible for you or the whole group, you must provide your name, passport number, age and tell you if you suffer from any Illness or possible discomfort that may affect you in the upper area, while your guide records your income, you can take pictures and buy whatever you need.
Most of the names of the place are quichua words, your guide will give you the meaning of these names and will tell you the history of the place, at this point you will be able to observe the destruction that lahars can cause (volcanic material mixed with earth, stones, water, mud, etc.) in a possible eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano. These lahars are those that occurred in the month of February and April 2016, the strongest eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano is the one recorded in the year 1877, your guide will tell you what caused this great explosive eruption is a story that you will stay amazed.
Mariscal Sucre interpretation center.
On a completely clear day it is good to take advantage and know the volcano personally, but if it is a cloudy day the place is perfect for you to have a clearer idea of the Cotopaxi National Park, in the Botanical Garden your guide will provide you with information of the flora and fauna of the place, the healing properties of the plants, their uses and other information, here you will find plants such as the romerillo, the sigse, the deer chub, the mortiño, the sisán, the valerian, mosses, the achupalla, etc.
You can also find a Cafeteria, a souvenir shop, postcards and hygienic services, take advantage of the place because it will take you about two hours to reach the Refuge to find other bathrooms.
LIMPIOPUNGO LAGOON 3.892msnm
The Limpiopungo Lagoon, is one of the main attractions that are located within the Cotopaxi National Park at approximately 3,900 meters above sea level, if you do not want to climb to the upper part (José Rivas Refuge), it is the perfect place to enjoy with your family, especially with the smaller of the house, take pictures, look at birds such as the Andean seagull, coots, ducks and other birds of the place, you can also take a gentle walk along its edges that depending on your physical condition will take 40 minutes to an hour in travel it, because it is 2.5 kilometers
In addition to being a tourist attraction and a good place to take photographs, its great importance lies in the fact that it is considered one of the wetlands in the province of Cotopaxi according to the inventory of the Ministry of Environment.
The parking lot 4.600m.
At this point it is where all the vehicles arrive, to get here it is advisable to have an all-terrain vehicle (4X4, 4WD), if you go in a small vehicle and you cannot reach this place, secure your vehicle on the road together with other traction simple and start walking, depending on where your vehicle arrived it will take you one to two hours to get to the parking lot.
This is where we prepare to start a hike to the José Rivas refuge, depending on your physical condition it will take you 40 minutes to an hour, the best route to climb is to take the Zigzag, it is approximately 1500 meters but it is much softer, and if you are in good physical condition you can take the line “the heartbreaker” is 900 meters, it is shorter but harder.
José Rivas Mountain Shelter 4,864 m
The mountain refuge provides lodging and food services, here you can enjoy a Snack, hot drinks like chocolate, coca tea and if you want something stronger you can find an exquisite soup “potato locro”, here is a good place to take pictures and rest, once you assess your physical condition along with your guide they will decide to continue towards the glaciers or descend to the parking lot to return to the Caspi control.
To get to the glaciers you must make an additional walk of approximately 30 minutes, and returning to the parking lot takes about 20 minutes.
Glacier zone 5.100 msnm
At 5,100m is where the glacier area begins where you can find snow, here you can take pictures, design your snowman and play with it, many sit in the snow to take pictures and tend to get wet, so I recommend you bring a light change for a change of change when you return to the vehicle.
The best way to end the view of the Cotopaxi Volcano is to take a horse ride through valleys and small rivers, sun, rain or the weather is perfect to ride between volcanoes, the sound of birds and wind has no point Comparison, depending on your time, you can take the walk for an hour or more, personally I recommend the two hour ride.
Lunch in Tambopaxi
If you like good food, La Hosteria Tambopaxi is the only place where you can find specialized food, it is located within the Cotopaxi National Park and its view of the volcano is privileged, it can be a bit expensive but it is worth spending the night in this place .