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Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve

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Address: Esmeraldas region, Ecuador

This large reserve extends from the Sierra Mountains to the western edge of...

This large reserve extends from the Sierra Mountains to the western edge of the rainforest in the Esmeraldas region and features a crater lake that is located more than 3,000 meters in elevation.

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Book In Advance
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USD 60.02*
and up
Otavalo, Cuicocha Lake and Cayambe Shared Day Tour from Quito
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USD 60.00*
and up
Otavalo Tour full day

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 30 reviews
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    Very good
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Bring plenty of suncream & water!

Amazing views but a reasonably difficult trek - we did it all in about 5 hours walking fairly quickly. Last bit of the trek bizarrely takes you on to a main road, which was a bit... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 11 January 2016
London, United Kingdom
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30 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 11: English reviews
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2016

Amazing views but a reasonably difficult trek - we did it all in about 5 hours walking fairly quickly. Last bit of the trek bizarrely takes you on to a main road, which was a bit less enjoyable but don't think you are lost - keep walking down the road! Stunning views - bring plenty of water and suncream -... More 

Thank JoshandCharlotte
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
66 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 November 2015

This is a lake created in the second crater of an active volcano. Apparently, on some days you can see the water bubbling. Entry to the national park is free but you can take a boat for $3.25 that goes into the lake where you can see some ducks and reeds. No bubbles for us, but the ticket did include... More 

Thank MaryG_from_Toronto
Somerset, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
687 reviews
374 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2015 via mobile

Our visit to the crater lake on a bright sunny day was nature perfectly in harmony with itself as we strolled along the banks attempting to take in the enormity of the scene.

Thank Peter B
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
51 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2015

The trail starts with an uphill climb. Take it slowly to acclimate to the altitude. The lake view and volcano view are amazing. Very rewarding. However, the hike takes you to a road at the end which is very far from the starting place. It is an ugly walk back to where you started. Arrange for transportation to pick you... More 

1 Thank Aurora B
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2014

Laguna de Quicocha is one of my favorite places to visit in Ecuador. My mom is from the small town of Cotacachi nearby. I've never hiked around the laguna before but do love to go and take a a little boat ride around the laguna. It's a very beautiful and tranquil place to visit.

Thank PnRoyce
Olympia, WA
Level Contributor
265 reviews
97 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2014

It isn't everyday you get to walk around the rim of a volcano crater, filled with water at just under 15,000 feet elevation. It may not be a bucket list item, but if you are in Cotacachi this is definitely worth the side trip. There is a little museum - exhibit room, which my wife went to while I took... More 

Thank rogerjm
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2014

My GF and a friend wanted to hike around Quicocha, so we waited for a nice day and caught a truck in Quiroga to take us to Los Pinos and to start the hike from the high side and work our way down, around the lake back to the visitor center and park entrance. I would recommend this way, one... More 

1 Thank Reardan
Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States
Level Contributor
312 reviews
168 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 December 2013

Our group took a short but steep hike around the crater of this extinct volcano. Crystal clear water and a beautiful view. But very high altitude! Start the hike at 9000 ft and climb to over 10000 feet! Take your time and enjoy the view and bring water!

Thank Rhonda A
Level Contributor
130 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2013

It is an ecological reserve national park, a volcano lake was formed after the eruption. The lake was really beautiful , not too big in size, you will enjoy the calm and serene of the envoirnment.or take a boat ride in a sunny day. A nice place to spend an afternoon.

Thank edwinHongkong
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
218 reviews
136 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 368 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2013

This reserve offers a fantastic volcanic crater lake walk which follows the spine of the crater. This can be challenging - especially if you are getting used to altitude. There is lots of climbing, so give yourself ample time, ample water, layered clothing (weather changes quickly), and some energy snacks to keep you going. Don't forget your sunscreen - especially... More 

Thank 2-4-T

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?