cotopaxi NATIONAL PARK 1/3
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Cotopaxi National Park is the second  National Park declared in mainland Ecuador with 33 393 hectares, the boundary was established by Ministerial Agreement No. 0322 on July 26, 1979.



Cotopaxi National Park, created on August 11, 1975 by Interministerial Agreement No. 0259-A, is located between  the provincial boundaries, Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Napo, south and southeast of Rumiñahui, at the mountain knot  Tiopullo. Its highest elevation is the Cotopaxi volcano with 5897 meters.


According to archaeological researchs, the first inhabitants of the region were descendants of the Chibchas, pre-Columbian family (that inhabited the highlands of Cundiboyacense altiplane, Colombia), and later many migratory movements for Cayapas, Colorados, Quijos, Atacameños, left descendants, like  Cacicazgos (territory belonging to a chieftain) of Tacunga, Mulliambato, Píllaro,  Quisapincha and others which populated the region before the arrival of the Incas.


 Aborigines say Taita Cotopaxi was the husband of Mama Tungurahua and once upon a time they had a fight for jealousy because Taita Cotopaxi had undue relationships with the young Tionilza (North Illiniza). The hurt wife took adventage in the absence of South Illiniza, during a visit. She went to her rival to give tremendous beating until leaving her battered as it looks now. Taita Cotopaxi aware of it with much fury burst attacking his wife but she defended with an eruption. In this moment Carihuairazo and Altar Volcanos appear to defend her, but Taita Cotopaxi increased its forces leaving the first skeletal and the second sank and killed. (Latin American Legends, CIESPAL 1,986).


The National Park has two majestic works of nature: Cotopaxi and Rumiñahui volcanos. Cotopaxi has an elevation of 5897 meters, is located 50 km at the south of Quito. It is part of the mountain “Nudo de Tiopullo” (mountain range formed by volcanoes Quilindaña, Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, Sincholagua and Antisana). Cotopaxi name comes from the native language Quichua and means "Throne of Moon." The last eruptions were recorded in 1877 and 1904, and in 1942 presented an activity of lesser magnitude. This volcano is the second highest in Ecuador, after Chimborazo, and is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. It also houses glaciers in the eastern part of the 4,800 meters.


how to get there

The entry to the Cotopaxi National Park is located on the highway from Quito to Latacunga at a place called the Caspi.


The entrance is about 60 km from Quito, 30 km from Latacunga and 70 km from Ambato.


Before arriving at the Cotopaxi National Park you must go through the National Recreation Area “El Boliche”, another tourist destination, to which you could arrive by rail that goes from Quito.


There are many tour packages that include Cotopaxi as a destination, find out by contacting your travel agent or tourist operator of choice.


The Rumiñahui volcano has a high of 4757 meters.
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