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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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Great Day Out

This is an amazing and beautiful location. It is moderate to difficult walk depending on you ability, it is undulating with some steep but not lengthy up hills. Worth it as the... read more

Reviewed 27 March 2017
Bracknell, United Kingdom
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32 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 13: English reviews
Bracknell, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
243 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2017

This is an amazing and beautiful location. It is moderate to difficult walk depending on you ability, it is undulating with some steep but not lengthy up hills. Worth it as the views all around and over the lake are excellent. The paths are very good so you can not go wrong. There re birds, trees and wild flowers galore... More 

Thank jennywinter23
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
257 reviews
98 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2017 via mobile

A wonderful site out in nature surrounded by beauty. The trail up and up around the rim of the former volcano overlooks a stunning lake and has many beautiful flowers. The views across the plains also very fine.

1 Thank Fred B
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
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
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
800 reviews
449 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
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
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
45 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 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
283 reviews
99 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
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
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
317 reviews
168 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
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

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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?