This shot was taken during a flyover of the region. This is Cotopaxi Volcano, clearly showing the volcanic crater.
The Cotopaxi National Park is located about 90 minutes due south of Quito. Visitors have two basic tour options: (1) a naturalist day trip; or (2) a 2 or 3 day climbing package. Mountain biking, horseback riding and a visit to a hacienda are alternative options in this Park. There are a number of interesting haciendas (working farms) in the area, such as San Agustin de Callo, Hato Verde and Yanahurco to name a few.
The Limpiopungo lagoon area (at the base of the Park) attracts a variety of birds, especially the Galleteras, ducks, Andean Gull and Sparrow hawks. Apart from the panoramic views encircling the lake, one may be lucky to witness curiquingues, deer, rabbits, llamas, paramo wolves and the Andean condor. The lake lies at 3850m and encompasses 200 hectares.
There is a steep, one-hour climb from the parking area, situated at 4500 m, to the refuge (4800 m). If you intend to climb to the peak, it’s wise to settle into the refuge by mid-afternoon as you will have to leave the comfort of your sleeping bag between midnight and two o’clock in the morning.
Cotopaxi volcano, at 5897m (19,350ft), claimed to be the world’s highest active volcano. A novice climber can summit the peak with the a highly qualified mountain guide & appropriate equipment. The views from the summit (weather permitting) are incredible.
Temperatures on Cotopaxi vary little throughout the year. The average daytime temperature is 45°F (7°C). Seasonal variations and night-time temperatures range the temperatures between freezing and 68°F (20°C). Visitors to the Park are recommended to bring several layers of clothes including a warm sweater and protective rain-wind jacket, hat and gloves.
The rainy seasons run between January and May and October and November. The main dry season of June to September though the strong winds are known to occur. December also has a short dry season and the time around Christmas is normally considered the best weather of the year.
In general the best weather (least chance of rain or cloudy skies) is around the full moon. Climbers are recommended to plan assents around the full moon whenever possible.