Things to Do in Esmeraldas Province

Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, Esmeraldas Province: Address, Phone Number, Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve Reviews: 4.5/5

Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve

Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve
4.5
About
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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4.5
36 reviews
Excellent
25
Very good
9
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
0

John M
Raleigh, NC1,792 contributions
Beautiful views of a crater lake
Feb 2019 • Friends
The ride into this park is lovely. The views around the rim of the crater lake are spectacular. You can ride out to an island in a launch. And you can hike around the rim, some 14 kilometers.
Written March 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

jennywinter23
Bracknell, UK351 contributions
Great Day Out
Mar 2017 • Couples
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 so a real nature lovers area. It is worth noting you are altitude so firstly that makes walking a bit more difficult, secondly it means it can get cold but much easier to get sun burnt. Take water and food with you are there isn't cafes on route.
Written March 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Fred B
Montreal, Canada695 contributions
A beautiful park with stunning lake
Feb 2017 • Couples
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.
Written February 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JoshandCharlotte
London, UK39 contributions
Bring plenty of suncream & water!
Oct 2015
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 - it can get very hot in the middle of the day.
Written January 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

MaryG_from_Toronto
Toronto, Canada158 contributions
Nice view and boat ride. Bring a sweater.
Nov 2015 • Couples
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 a cinnamon tea called Canelazo.

Bring a sweater because it's pretty high up and the boat goes pretty fast and the wind cuts into you.
Written November 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Peter B
Clevedon, UK1,630 contributions
Andean crater lake.
Oct 2015 • Friends
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.
Written October 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Aurora B.
San Diego, CA54 contributions
Beautiful hike
Dec 2014 • Couples
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 up higher on the road. The hike is nowhere near as long that way and you miss the ugly, tiring part at the end. We were lucky but others were less so. We stopped on the way down with our taxi to pick up some French girls on the way down. Be generous that way.
Written January 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

PnRoyce
Silver Spring, MD338 contributions
Beautiful laguna
Jun 2014 • Friends
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.
Written November 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

rogerjm
Olympia, WA1,241 contributions
An unusual experience
Jun 2014 • Friends
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 the rocky stairs up, up and up to the rim. Worth the walk. The views from the rim to the crater and the valleys around it and just great. Like I said, not on my main list of things to do, but worth the 60 to 90 minutes that it took from the center of Cotacachi and back.
Written June 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Reardan
11 contributions
Laguna Quicocha and Cotacachi Summit Bid
May 2014 • Friends
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 because it is a little shorter, but also because it starts you at our favorite part of the hike. If you get dropped of at Los Pinos, you will walk a little ways on a trail alongside a fence blocking off some abandoned buildings. This fence is well worn and there are significant gaps in and under it. My recommendation is to take a picnic, duck the fence, and relax in the abandoned building with probably the best view of the crater and skip the hike. The hike is good and all, but honestly the view from the building is about as good as it gets, for me and my friends at least. Do your best to leave it better than you found it. Getting back from the lake can be a little tricky, but it usually just involves walking back along the road and waiting for another one of the green-lined trucks to pick you up. Fares should be between 5 and 8 bucks. The second time we went to the lake, my GF, a friend, and I decided we wanted to hike for the summit of Cotacachi. After reading on SummitPost that it was possible without a guide, we hired another truck and headed for the lake. Upon arrival, I asked how to get to the summit, upon where I was told hiking above the lake without a guide was prohibited, however having been to the lake previously, I knew there was a road that went up to the antenna about half way through the regular hike. So instead of starting on a road at the entrance, we hiked in the opposite direction to normal around the lake until it meets up with the road. From there we switched and hiked along the road for another 4ish hours until we arrived at the antenna for camp. We were approached by two well bundled guards who asked us if we had permission to be there, whether we had food, shelter, etc, and if it the weather got bad that we could come to their guard station for the night. I think having two blonde American girls along help in that last instance. Anyways, we passed the long windy, rainy night three deep in my two person minimalist tent to an incredible sunrise over the Imbabura Valley. Lots of pictures were taken. After breakfast, we started our hike up to the summit, only to have the usual heavy cloud and fog set in, at which point we forfeited our bid and started our return home. A few weeks later, a friend bid for the summit, also to forfeit, but he said there was another trail at some point along the road that lead straight to the antenna. He said he never was approached by any guards, but he also camped much higher than us, supposedly 30 minutes higher than where we turned around at the "Virgin Mary" picture. I would recommend the hike for the sunrise alone. I volunteered in Quiroga for 4 months with a perfect view of the summit and only saw it a handful of times at random parts of the day. It is almost always covered in clouds. My friend also said that higher up the rock was very week and seemed dangerous. Your mileage may vary.
Written June 20, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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