Visit Latacunga


The Historic Center of Latacunga is a meeting of colonial architectural and construction elements erected from the Spanish conquest, named Cultural Heritage of Ecuador in 1982, and includes architectural ensembles of great testimony and historical significance such as: The Cathedral, the Temple of Salto , the Temple of Santo Domingo with its square whose historical value is recognized because there the patriots dominated the Spanish forces and sealed the Independence, the temple of La Merced, the Monserrat Mills (Cotopaxi House of Culture Core), among the Republican buildings include the "Casa de Artes y Oficios" (University of the Armed Forces), where the first gunpowder factory in Ecuador operated.

It covers about 30 blocks around Vicente León Park, where the oldest colonial and republican buildings of the city date back to the 19th century, keeping a dameral layout (checkerboard).


It is one of the most representative buildings of the city of Latacunga, comes from the colonial era, in the middle of the seventeenth century and destroyed by the earthquake of 1768, the new reconstructed building dates from 1830.

Inside there is an altar worked in pumice stone, it has artistic works and images from the colonial period, the construction is in Romanesque style, in the tower there is a set of bell towers, in the lateral altarpieces are the images of the Blessed Virgin, under the invocation of El Carmen with the Child in her arms and the image of Saint Joseph, patron saint of the church.

One of the contributions of the nineteenth century to construction is the parapet of popular crafts, additionally in 1975 was intervened to perform restoration work and ornamentation.

It is the place where the Virgin Protector of the "Virgen de La Merced" Volcano is located. Its construction began in 1648, through the request to Felipe VI, built on the plane of a Latin cross of a single ship with two cruisers.

On the altar there is a Mestizo Virgin with very long human hair and is known as the Virgin of the Volcano, holding Jesus in her left arm and holding a scepter in the right.

The altar is decorated with gold leaf technique, Baroque and Byzantine style, one of the walls is an image representing the protection of the Virgin to the city of Latacunga 2 m wide by 2.1 m height, the walls are decorated with ogive paintings and stained glass.

The building was built by the Jesuits in the year 1676, remodeled in 1736 and 1967 by the Culture House Cotopaxi Nucleus, in its time this architectural group took advantage of the flow of the Yanayacu River for the operation of a grain mill, reason why which were constructed channels, aqueducts and stone dams, designed strictly for its proper functioning.

In this construction of limestone that has resisted the eruptions of the Cotopaxi volcano, the Ethnographic Museum now has three rooms: folk art, archeology and folklore. There is also an art gallery (for the exhibition and permanent exhibition of plastic arts). Inside the museum, behind the new stairs, is the image of the Virgin of Monserrat made on stone, it is seen that the Virgin holds 2 children, one child sitting on his left arm and another child standing behind the first.

In the building there is also a library, an agora, two modules dedicated to workshops for theater, painting, puppets, drawing and modeling courses, administrative offices and other spaces.

It is the place where the liberating campaigns were developed, it has an octagonal design on which, in 1900, pedestrian paths and gardens were laid out, around what used to be a large pool, in 1925 a monument was placed in honor of Vicente León, philanthropist of the city, which was made in Italy, since it bears the name of this Illustrious benefactor Latacungueño.

At the moment it is a remodeled park on its original design, because it consists of different works where it is possible to be observed that the zócalo is of white andesite stone of quarry, jointly owns a fence of wrought iron that surrounds it, to the south side of the park is the Cathedral , around it are also the buildings of the Government of the Province and the Municipal Building.

This construction of the seventeenth century, was an important point for commercial and textile development, since it worked as a obraje.

The building is highlighted by the round columns in the corridors. It also has a colonial church, called "Sanctuary of Miraflores", which maintains a single nave defined by a barrel vault, built of pumice stone, material from which the complete construction is made. It has a stone patio that allows access to a well of crystal clear water, in the back there is a large garden and relevant historical elements such as the sundial, and the filtering system of pumice water with coal.

By the year 1850 it was a plain with natural water sources, agricultural use and laundry laundries for noble families, on which in 1920 the artificial lagoon was built, which has an oval shape, with an "islet" which is accessed by an ornamental bridge of modern design.

In its surroundings, facilities such as a wooden platform for shows, children's games, outdoor exercise machines, library, play area for children, green spaces, signage, 4 m wide paved cycle paths around the park, night lighting have been added. from the lagoon, ecological garbage dumps, rest areas such as benches, tables and a pedestrian path for those who enjoy hiking.

La Mama Negra, known as Santisima Tragedia is a traditional festival typical of the city of Latacunga, it is a symbiosis of indigenous, Spanish and African cultures. It takes place in the month of September organized by the La Merced and El Salto markets, in honor of the Virgin of La Merced who calmed the fury of the Cotopaxi volcano in its eruption of 1742, which is why the Latacungueños proclaimed it " Lawyer and Patron of the Volcano ".

Initially it was celebrated on December 9 with the appointment of two priostes, "One of the whites and another of the smudges", until the year of 1877 when the Cotopaxi reactivated and erupted, and in the year of 1945, renew the vows to the Virgin of the Mercedes proclaiming her "Patron against the Fury of the Volcano", and the party is definitely transferred to September 24.

This celebration consists of a parade of several colorful characters who make a comparsa through the streets of Latacunga, where five main characters stand out representing a part of the Pre-Columbian history of the region: the Moorish King, the Angel of the Star, the Standard-bearer, the Captain and the Black Mama, which goes through the streets riding with a very peculiar dress, where the embroidered shirt, multiple ornaments and long shawls stand out; He carries a doll with which he dances, but the most characteristic thing during this procession is the container full of milk and water that falls on the spectators.

The Cotopaxi National Park is the first at the continental level and the second national level after the Galapagos National Park, created on August 11, 1975 and declared a National Park within the National System of Protected Areas on July 26, 1979.

It has a total area of 33,393 hectares, its altitudinal range includes from 3200 to 5897 masl The average annual rainfall is 1072 mm, and its average temperature is 7.7 ° C with snowfall between May and September, due to the irregularity of the terrain It has microclimates that give rise to a variety of flora and fauna determined by the areas of life Montane very humid forest, Sub-alpine pluvial Paramo, Alpina and Nival rain tundra.

The fauna is represented mainly by waterfowl - dotted duck, masked duck, lonely wallades, shield rooster, brown golden plover lesser, cattle heron, curiquingues, veraneros, gigles, candores, pigs, dorsirojo hawks, Andean gulls, partridge are frequent of paramo, dorsirojo hawk, quequilico, belfry owl, gaspar compadre, fine ubillus quinde, big chungui, chirote, big blackbird, tile; among the birds besides some mammals like; raposa, marsupial mouse, shrew, Andean lean bat, wild rabbit, field mouse, among other species.

In the Cotopaxi National Park is the Limpiopungo Lagoon and the Rumiñahui volcano, the visits also include the Lagunas de Santo Domingo and Cajas, El Manantial, Peñas Blancas and the archaeological ruins of Salitre.

Among the facilities it offers, we find the Interpretation Center, entrance guards and camping areas.

It is the morphological result of the Cotopaxi lahars; that is to say, it has been formed by the sudden melting of the ice and snow cap, when coming into contact with pyro plastic and / or lava flows. Its physical characteristics show that it is a mesotrophic lagoon, therefore, its water is somewhat cloudy except in the central and deep part where it retains a blue hue, its average temperature is 10 ºC.

This lagoon is the natural habitat of Andean seagulls (Larus serranus), Gallaretas (Folic sp.), Andean duck (Anas andhun), and gligles (Vanellus resplendens). Shrubby vegetation and wildlife species such as rabbits and wolves are observed in the páramo, as well as the flight of chilica (Falco sparverius) and curiquingues (Phalcoboenus caruncullatus).

It was created by means of Interministerial Agreement No. 0322, published in Official Gazette No. 69, of July 26, 1979 with 1077 hectares and 7,000 adjacent, but as of 1996, the area's surface was reduced to 375.58 hectares. It is located in an area that corresponds to the very humid montane forest (Cañadas 1983), is populated by a forest of pine and typical shrub vegetation such as romerillo (Hypericum laricifo / ium), chilca (Baccharis latifolia), pumama qui (Oreopanax ecuadorensis), quishuar (Buddeja incana), sacha chocho (Lupinus pubescens), mortiño (Vaccinium floribundum), shoes (Ca / ceo / aria lojensis), rabbit ears (Stachis lanata), among others. And the main species of fauna are páramo rabbits, wolves and deer, as well as birds like the curiquingue (Phalcoboenus caruncullatus), the chylico (Falco sparverius) and the pig (Garanoaetus malenoleucos).

It has infrastructure for camping, picnic, playground, lodging cabins, restaurant, an environmental interpretation center of the four regions of Ecuador, under the administration of the Ministry of the Environment, in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism and Railway Company of Ecuador for the tourist visit.

It constitutes a beautiful mountainous group formed by two steep elevations:

The North Lliniza (5126 msnm) of rocky structure and without permanent snow, to climb is necessary to have technical equipment, in case there is snow; and from the top, weather permitting, you can admire the mountains such as the South Lliniza, Cotopaxi, Corazón, Rumiñahui, Pasochoa, among others.

The South Lliniza (5263 masl) is the most difficult mountain to climb so it requires great skill and dexterity. From the refuge it takes four hours to reach the summit in a journey of adventure and resistance as there are cracks and slopes of up to 70 degrees of inclination.

The snow-covered mountains are part of the Llinizas Ecological Reserve and have a great biological diversity.

The Saquisilí Market is one of the largest trade centers in the province of Cotopaxi, which houses an extensive commercial movement and a wide range of traditions and folklore linked to its 7 places distributed in the city:

  • Plaza 18 de Octubre, selling handicrafts and musical instruments such as dulzainas, quenas, zampoñas, drums, drums, charangos, guitars, totora baskets and fabrics.
  • Plaza Vicente Rocafuerte, where the sale of seafood, food, industrial kitchens, metal doors, fruits of the coast and small animals is made.
  • Plaza Kennedy, dry grains, food, vegetables, eggs and fruits from the coast.
  • Plaza Juan Montalvo, sale of shoes and prepared foods.
  • Trace square or animal square, where cattle, sheep and pigs are sold, etc.
  • Plaza Juan Bautista, all kinds of clothing, including cloth hats and indigenous clothing;
  • Plaza Gran Colombia, in this square you can find typical food, sale of potatoes, vegetables, panela and flours, etc.


The Zumbahua Market is a place where you can see the local cultural expression, through people who participate in it from early morning, especially in the Rumiñahui square where merchants are concentrated for the purchase and sale of products, Among the main ones are potatoes and onions together with products from different areas of the country, such as panela, brandy, bananas, plantain, among others. In another area, all kinds of provisions and food are presented, such as potatoes with roasted guinea pig, mote, fritada, chicken broth, among others.

Also, in another space there are handicrafts and garments such as scarves, scarves and hats. And in the square of animals are: camelids, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and minor species such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens.

The Toachi canyon was born in the Community of Michacalá of the Zumbahua parish, possibly formed by strong earthquakes that occurred in the area more than five thousand years ago.

The main characteristic of this resource is its fragility in the surface of the land, caused by wind action, and its texture is sandy, desert with little vegetation cover.

The main stopping points for the contemplation of the geological faults that give rise to a prominent precipice, are located in Pucausha, Ponce, Pilapuchin, Cachiyacu and in the surrounding hills.

The lagoon located in the crater of an inactive volcano, is part of the Los Llinizas Ecological Reserve, with a maximum height of 3940 meters above sea level (top of the caldera). The blue-green color of its waters is due to the large amount of minerals, so it is not advisable for consumption, the water temperature ranges between 16 and -1ºC, has a depth of 250 m and 3 km in diameter .

The cone, where the lagoon is currently located, was formed by the alternative accumulation of lava flows and plastic pyro material. This compound of pumice stone, lapilli and ash, predominates completely over the lavas; what can be clearly seen on the interior walls of the boiler.

Upon access by the Ponce community of the Zumbahua parish, you can find food services, lodging and recreational activities, kayak rental and artisanal gallery through the Community Tourism Organization.