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The Cordillera de los Andes, which rises up from the Pacific coast, is a product of the constant activity between the marine and continental plates, which impact the Continent of America. Here, one of the most beautiful active volcanoes on the planet has been created: Cotopaxi, which translated from the quichua language means 'moon neck', encompassed by remarkable biodiversity just 70 kilometres, from the equator line.

Two hours from Ecuador's capital city of Quito, Cotopaxi National Park is accessible amid valleys and volcanoes. The park covers 33,393 hectares, straddles three of Ecuador's provinces, and has an altitude ranging between 3,400 and 5,897 metres. In the very heart of this, the largest volcanic region in the whole of Ecuador, lies Hotel Tambopaxi Lodge, a great option for accommodation in Cotopaxi.

There are three regular routes into Cotopaxi National Park

1. The first one leaves Quito to the South, either on the Pan-American Highway or through the valley of Sangolqui. After about an hour, you arrive at Machachi. From this town's main park, you head towards El Pedregal. It's a pretty, 20km journey along 2nd and 3rd class roads marked with signposts leading to Cotopaxi hotel, Tambopaxi.

If you leave Quito by bus, you need to take either the Mejia or the Brito bus company, which go as far as Machachi, (or any other bus which leaves Quito to the south and can drop you at the entrance to Machachi). From there, you may hire a truck to take you to Tambopaxi, or catch another bus, this time with the Dolorosa bus company, which leaves Machachi twice a day for the tiny village of El Pedregal. From there it is 9km to Tambopaxi.

2. The second route from Quito begins in the same way as the first but does not take you into Machachi itself. Instead, you continue southwards on the Pan-American Highway for about 30 minutes. Just before you get to the village of Lasso, there is a sign on the left hand side showing the entrance to the Cotopaxi National Park. From here, it's about 26 km to Tambopaxi. Despite being somewhat longer, the road surface on this route is a little better.

If you leave Quito by bus, you could ask the conductor to drop you at the entrance to Cotopaxi National Park. From there, hire a truck or taxi up to the National Park entrance gate and on to Tambopaxi.

3. The third route begins at el Colibrí, Sangolquí in the direction of the Hacienda Santa Rita all the way through Club Los Chillos. From here it is 36 km.

Whichever route you choose, it is better to get to the Cotopaxi National Park before 3pm and have your reservation confirmed at Tambopaxi.

The taxi rate from Quito will have to be settled with the driver before leaving but it should be between 30 and 50 dollars. As for the returning trip to the city, it can be arranged at Tambopaxi.

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Tambopaxi Lodge 2020 - Cotopaxi National Park - Ecuador | Created by Notus Digital | We accept: credit cards