Posts Tagged ‘Quito


Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park (Parque Nacional Cotopaxi) is about one and a half to two hours south of Quito.  Encompassing 33,393 hectares on three provinces (Cotopaxi, Napo, Pichincha), and contains its name sake, the beautiful stratovolcano, Cotopaxi.  With a summit altitude of 19,344 ft (5896m), it is one of the highest active volcanos in the world.

The volcano is typically the highlight of those who seek adventure and want the challenge of climbing its steep slopes.  I myself have been up to the refugio on several occasions as well as had a failed summit attempt due to equipment failure.  Not the kind you would see at the Super Bowl halftime show.  My latest visit to the park this past December 2010 was quite different, I spent many hours seeing the park.  I was amazed at the beauty all around me.  Wonderful rolling hills mixed with debris from ancient eruptions.  Herds of wild horses, and lovely picturesque streams and even an ancient archaeological site were a delight to photograph.

There are well established but very rough dirt roads which take you throughout the park.  Be careful after a rain and make sure you have four-wheel drive.  The weather in December was very pleasant where a lite jacket with perhaps a sweater under was adequate even when setting out on foot for a little bit here and there.  I highly recommend visiting the park in this manner if you are not inclined to partake on the extreme of high altitude climbing.

There are a few hostels sprinkled throughout the park providing comfort for those who wish to stay over night, or better yet, several nights in the park.  Do a little research, or contact me for you next vacation plans to Ecuador and Parque Nacional Cotopaxi!!!

Entrance fee is $2.00 for locals, $10.00 for Gringos.


Here is a picture of Cotopaxi taken from the refugio.

Entrance map

 At the park entrance you will find this map which gives a general idea of the park.  You should have a more detailed map on hand though if you are planning on driving throughout the park.

Wild horses

Wild horses can be found roaming the park.

Heer is an example of what to expect from the roads.

Cotopaxi National Park

December was rainy season, so broken clouds were abundant.

Cotopaxi National Park

Wonderful landscape!

Cotopaxi National Park

It’s breathtaking to see in for real.  I hope this photo can express just a little of the actual beauty.

Cotopaxi National Park

Bone from presumably a cow.

Cotopaxi National Park

This I was told, is the head water of one of the countless streams feeding the Amazon.  How exciting is that!

Cotopaxi National Park

Another gorgeous landscape.

Cotopaxi National Park

Yep, that’s a bull.

Cotopaxi National Park

Dead horse carcass.

The most disturbing thing I saw was inside the stone building was one colt, and outside the other.  Each had two legs tied together so they couldn’t get away.  I didn’t know what to do, cut them lose, or just get out since I was unsure as to what kind of people would do this, or maybe they have every right to.  I didn’t know.  These were near the dead horse in the above photo.

Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park

Ancient ruins near where the horses were held.

La Florida Archaeological site

Located at the foot of Pichincha in suburban Quito is what I consider to be a real jewel of a museum and archaeological site, La Florida.  The site contains several shaft tombs where human remains and a variety of other artifacts left behind by Quito’s earliest inhabitants have been excavated. 

The tombs are sort of clover shaped with three shafts immediately adjacent to each other.  The shafts are approximately 15 meters deep with the bottom two or three meters smaller in diameter creating a sort of shelf.  This is to belive to have been a sort of tier system where each shaft containing members of one family with the most important person were buried in the smaller area at the bottom, and lesser important people, perhaps cousins were placed on the shelf and then subsequent “scaffolding”.

The staff has done a remarkable job of recreating the burials and displaying some of the artifacts that have been removed.  There is also a small museum on site containing very nice cultural artifacts such as textiles, shells, and metal.  The museum guide was very knowledgable and happy to answer all my questions.

If you are interested in learning about Ecuador’s early culture, this site is highly recomended.  For me, and I have been traveling to Ecuador since 1995, it was one of my best experiences.

You can find this site at the intersection of Calle Roman and Antonio Costas, Quito tel 099 234 351,, hours of operation, Wed to Sun 0800-1600.

La Florida Burial Tomb

La Florida Tomb


Burial Re-creation


Burial Re-creation


Pottery Artifacts


Pottery adjacent to Tomb


Catwalk and excavation site


Excavated Tomb


Viudas Fin de Año 2010.

I don’t think there is any other country in Latin America or the world for that matter, that celebrates the New Year like Ecuador. 

On December 31 the “Viudas fin de Año”, or widows of the old year, take to the streets. These lovely men in drag come out in their finest woman’s fashions primping and shaking their money makers stopping traffic for a few pennies.

They are always found in groups, and they are almost always found drinking beer. Which as I can imagine, gives them that little extra loss if inhibition.

Indulging these guys was such a great time. We rode around for a couple hours laughing and getting some great pictures of what to me is the funnest way to celebrate the coming of the New Year. Of course I myself was sort of a Viuda in my own right.

Change please.


Shake it!




I've been caught!


Nice Boobs?


Love at first site:-)




Yours truely:-)

January 2019
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