Cotopaxi National Park is only a short distance outside of Quito, making it a perfect day trip. But if you’re looking for those stunning early morning and late afternoon views of the volcano, consider staying overnight in one of the several lodges in the region. The best time of year for clear views of the Cotopaxi Volcano is mid-July until early October during the dry, windy season.
Camping has become more difficult since the recent eruption of Cotopaxi in August 2015. The National Park no longer allows camping on park grounds. Your best bet is to head north of the park where there are a few small hosterías on the back roads leading to Machachi and Sangolqui.
The best lodges for visiting Cotopaxi National Park lie outside the North Gate. The road is unpaved, sometimes just dirt, sometimes cobbled and the experience of getting to the haciendas can be part of the adventure.
What to Do? Hike the Laguna Limpiopungo. The Laguna Limpiopungo is a seasonal lake that swells in size during the rainy season. It is home to nesting Andean Gulls which can be seen year-round. Hummingbirds can be observed along the trail along with tiny bunny rabbits and several species of seed-eating birds. The wild horses of Cotopaxi often graze near the end of the trail.