We depart from Quito in the morning and head south, driving through the famed “Avenue of the Volcanoes.” If the weather is good, we’ll see a number of snow-capped and glaciated peaks as we drive. After arriving at Cotopaxi National Park, our first stop is Limpiopungo Glacier Lake, located at the base of Volcan Rumiñahui. Limpiopungo is home to abundant highland waterfowl, and we’ll spot gulls, ducks, falcons, and more as we
begin our hike. We also learn about the endemic paramo landscape, the unique tropical tundra endemic to the high northern Andes. Our path continues through the foothills of Rumiñahui and past several other small lakes and rivers. As we
hike, we take in magnificent views of Cotopaxi’s massive, glaciated cone, looming over the high plain directly across from Rumiñahui. We also search for llamas, wild horses, deer, hares, and the endangered Andean Condor. After our hike, we refuel with a delicious, scenic picnic lunch.
Finally, we visit the Pucara Inca ruins, where we learn about the Inca presence in Ecuador. We leave the park in the afternoon and head back to Quito.