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North Andes > Provinces > Cotopaxi

Eternal snows and indigenous markets

The province of Cotopaxi’s main attraction is Cotopaxi National Park. Located on the eastern plain of Patate, in the center of the country, Cotopaxi’s climate varies from 12 to 17 degrees centigrade. In addition to Cotopaxi National Park, the province has major indigenous markets and is rich in popular traditions.

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Towns and Villages

Latacunga, showcasing typical Spanish colonial architecture, is the capital of Cotopaxi province. Its name comes from the indigenous words llacata kunka, which mean God of the Lakes. Among Latacunga's interesting sights are the Town Hall, with its pumice stone facade, and Ignacio Flores Park with its artificial lake.

Other towns, such as Pujil?, are known primarily for their agricultural, cattle, and handicraft production. Pujil? is famous for its painted and glazed ceramic. Its central church is another of its riches. North of Latacunga lies

Saquisil?, a colorful village famous for its Thursday market, which encompasses 8 blocks. Here, agricultural products and livestock are sold. This is one of the biggest traditional markets in northern Ecuador.

Very nearby is Salcedo, which also produces an abundance of agricultural and dairy products and is also known for its fruit and ice cream.

Tilipulo, also in the province of Cotopaxi, is famous for its St John the Baptist Monastery, an architectural relic of the colonial era. Among its features are beautiful cloisters, a sundial, a patio, ponds, trees, and a cemetery.

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Cotopaxi National Park

This is a must-see attractions for tourists coming to Ecuador. Cotopaxi National Park, 60 km from Quito, contains the snowcapped peak of the same name. At 5,897 m, Cotopaxi is the world's highest active volcano. Despite its high altitude, the park is home to a wide variety of mammals, birds, and other endemic species. The Paramo Rabbit is one example. The park's recreational area, El Boliche, is a lush forest with varied vegetation, animal reserves, and campsites. Other features of the park are its lakes, such as Limpiopungo, and its pine forests. Cotopaxi mountain has a climber's refuge, open all year round, which can accommodate dozens of visitors.

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Lake Quilotoa - A Green Eye in the Paramo

About 10 km from the village of Zumbahua, on the road to Pujilí, there is a turnoff which takes us to Lake Quilotoa, a breathtaking lake situated in a volcanic crater in the Chugchillán Mountain Range. The mineralization of its turquoise waters does not allow certain species to live there. Around the lake, mountains full of paramos and wildlife abound on all sides. This area, near the Ilinizas volcanoes, is also popular for mountain biking.

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Culture & Traditions

The Mama Negra (Black Mama) Festival, celebrating the earth's fertility and productivity, is one of the country's major street celebrations. It is traditionally held in November, although there is a smaller festival organized in September by the artisans and vendors of markets of La Merced and Del Salto. Other well known celebrations are the traditional dances of Salcedo, Saquisil?, Pujil?, and Latacunga, performed during the Carnival and Corpus Christi festivities.

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Cuisine

Chugchucaras is the region's typical dish. The dish, typically served in gigantic portions, consists of fried pork, pork rinds, white corn, miniature empenadas(pastries filled with meat and cheese), fried plantain, corn on the cob, and popcorn. The drinks that traditionally accompanies this delicious dish are chicha (maize-based alcoholic drink) and beer. Other local specialities are allullas (a kind of biscuit) with fresh cheese wrapped in a leaf, white-corn porridge, and corn flour porridge with cherries.

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Map of Cotopaxi, Ecuador
Province's Capital Road Cities
Hiking Ethnic Group Handicrafts
Cotopaxi Ilinizas El Boliche

| Cotopaxi Introduction | Towns & Villages | Cotopaxi National Park |
| Lake Quilotoa | Culture & Traditions | Cuisine |
| Map of Cotopaxi, Ecuador |


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