Latacunga is the capital of the Cotopaxi province in Ecuador, about 85 km south of Quito. It is only 25km from the Cotopaxi volcano, which is an active volcano but a popular hiking trek. Because of its nearness to the volcano, Latacunga lies in the path of destructive lahars and has rebuilt several times following eruptions. Despite this, a thriving old city lies hidden among the industrial and agricultural sprawl.
To get to Latacunga, you need to fly to Quito and then take a bus. There is an airport, but it doesn’t serve passenger flights. Quite is only an hour and a half to the north. Alternately, you can take a train from Guayaquil. Transport around town is relatively easy by local bus.
Most travellers who come to Latacunga tend to pass through on their way to the Parque Nacional Cotopaxi or to the Quilotoa Loop. If you’re searching for hostel accommodation in Latacunga, look no further than the main town square and Parque Vicente Leon; there are quite a few hostels right off there. Hostels here cater to backpackers and hikers alike so expect crowds eager to talk about their travels and compare notes on the hiking in Ecuador.
There are two festivals each year that are worth staying for, La Fiesta la Mama Negra. They both celebrate Mother Nature, and the Virgin, who is the “abogada y patrona del volcan” for stopping the eruption in 1742. Both festivals involve a lot of alcohol, dancing, massive street parties, and parades. If you’re in town when the festivals occur (which vary from year to year, so its best to ask), make sure to book your hostel in advance!
Hiking is one of the most popular activities here, in the Ecuadorian Andes. You must go with a guide and should have some alpine hiking experience, no matter what time of year you go. There’s also mountain biking in the summer, and there are several historic buildings in town.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Latacunga hostels. Welcome.