There are a number of impressive national parks in Ecuador, but Cotopaxi National Park has something quite special to offer. Though people going to Ecuador are often instantly drawn to the beaches or the Amazon Rainforest, which indeed are incredible, the often underrated highland ecosystem should not be overlooked.
The highlands in the Andes, el páramo, are an incredibly unique ecosystem, since the high altitude, cool nights, higher-than-average radiation, and quickly changing climate makes it tough to live here year-round and the plants and animals have to have special adaptations which will help them thrive here. For example, you will notice that many shrub-like plants have much thicker waxier leaves to help them stay warm and hang onto precious water when rain is low and winds are high. As well, the culpeo fox, or Andean fox, is built similarly to an arctic fox, with a short stocky body and thick coat to resist cold.
Along similar lines, the cultures that have lived here for generations also have developed a unique lifestyle as they have learned to call these high altitude regions home. As just one small example, the classic panchos you will see in the markets (and will surely want to take home with you) aren’t just a fashion statement, they really do help keep you cozy on a chilly night!
Cotopaxi National Park offers the perfect place to explore, searching for wildlife and observing native highland plants, and to immerse yourself in the unique Andean culture found here. Don’t let the cool nights worry you, our top-notch accommodation is comfortable and cozy and you will be happily sipping warm drinks by the fire after adventuring in this unforgettable landscape! Ask us about our tours in the Andes.