2 or 3 days

Skill Level:

Max Guide Ratio:

Recommended Season:
All year

Prior Trip Suggestions:
Old Town Quito & Teleferiqo,

Follow Up Programs:

Trip Highlights:
The spectacular views along the ascent of Cotopaxi reflecting in Lake Limpiopungo.

Hiking around the shores of the sparkling blue glacial Lake Limpiopungo.


is located 28 miles/ 45 km south of Quito. It is a huge caldera open to the northwest with three main peaks: northern (15,492 ft/ 4.722 m), central (15,203 ft/ 4.634 m) and southern. The route to the summit begins at Cotopaxi National Park, near the shores of Lake Limpiopungo. It is a straightforward climb up Rumiñahui, with an occasional rock scramble near the summit. The ascent from the lake to the Central Peak is roughly 4 miles (6.5 km).

On the first day, we drive by the Mariscal Sucre Museum on the way to the basecamp. We will stop here and learn more about the unique natural history of the park. Then drive to the lake for an afternoon hike on the Limpiopungo Plateau. Hopefully we will spot some of the abundant wildlife, such as the many species of birds, herds of wild horses, llamas and páramo foxes.

Lake Limpiopungo means ‘clean entrance’; this was named after the winds that blow through that drive the clouds away. The high number of clear days gives climbers an opportunity to enjoy the many lookouts along the approach and on the summit. On the hike up Rumiñahui you will have fantastic views of the national park and nearby volcanoes, with an especially spectacular view of Cotopaxi reflecting in Lake Limpiopungo.

Rumiñahui massive is an important historical location in Ecuador’s past, marking a pivotal Spanish victory during the conquest of the Incan empire. After the Incans were betrayed with the murder of Atahualpa, their emperor; General Rumiñahui hid the gold treasure ransom that the Incans were promised would free the imprisoned Atahualpa. The stoic general then led the fight against the Spanish conquistadores, and Rumiñahui massive is the location where he and his troops were finally defeated. The peak was named after this brave general.

photo gallery

trip itinerary

Day 1:
Drive 2 hours to the Cotopaxi National Park. Here we will enjoy a day hike around Lake Limpiopunga, enjoying its diversity of plants and animals.

Note If you are connecting to this trip directly after climbing Pasochoa, refer to Day 2 of this Itinerary.

Day 2:
After breakfast, we will start our ascent at the shores of Lake Limpiopungo. We hike west up a steep-sided valley to the ridge that leads up to the Central peak. At the summit, we will enjoy our lunch while taking in the view of Cotopaxi and the valley below. We return to the lake, and drive back to Quito.

Sincholagua Extension:

Note If you are planning on climbing Sincholagua next we can set up for the night at the nearby Sincholagua base-camp. This will allow you to summit Sincholagua on day 3.

Day 3:
Refer to the Sincholagua itinerary.

Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary, but unforeseen circumstances may require last minute changes. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns and the health of climbers can all contribute to schedule alterations. Please be prepared to be flexible when necessary.

see enough? ready to sign up?

Go top