Laguna Cuicocha
Laguna Cuicocha
4.5
About
Located west of the Chota River, this extinct eroded volcano is best known for its deep crater lake and two lava islands.
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Top ways to experience Laguna Cuicocha

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles858 reviews
Excellent
526
Very good
275
Average
52
Poor
3
Terrible
2

Bucket_To_Do_List
Surrey, Canada272 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
A beautiful view of an unspoiled vista. It’s possible to hike around the lake (4-5 hours) but we took the tourist trail for about a 30 minute walk, one way. No access to the water that we saw. The trail was maintained, with lots of stairs.
Not touristy at all. Good for a short stop. There is a fee to enter.
Written February 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fernanda F
1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
Beautiful Cuicocha Lake 40 minutes from Ibarra, located in Cotacachi, a small town full of color, clothes and handcrafted crafts. Its climate is warm but it is always good to wear a sweater to break the cold of the environment. Admission is free which gives you an additional point! You must register upon entry. Excellent place!
Written August 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

colonial
County Galway, Ireland160 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019
I do not know why people are rating this natural beauty average. It is ethereally beautiful. There is however a man at the property above not the beautiful hotel below who will harass you to go on tours with him but this does not take away the beauty of the laguna which is majestic. It is usually shrouded in fog which makes it more alluring. I ate at the restaurant and enjoyed the breathtaking views.
Written March 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rebekah281
Baltimore, MD2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
This is a stunning spot. A well-maintained and well-marked hiking trail takes hikers up and around the lake following a high ridge. The hike is about 5 hours for those unaccustomed to the altitude and well worth the effort. We took taxis to and from Cotacachi, a town also worth visiting lower down the mountain
Written August 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin S
Pontypridd, UK6,253 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
A water filled caldera with some islands formed by the last of the lava in the centre. A wonderful sight, but I am partial to good volcanic scenes.
A visitor centre offers lakeside views and boat rides, a restaurant. But 200 metres before that a smaller building has a walk uphill to the right to good viewpoints just 600m or so. Our best views were from a farmer’s home made viewing platform 5 km away on the road to San Antonio de Pucara. Great views for $1 per person. But there was no one there and no honesty box to drop some money in. A pity, its deserved for great views.
Written February 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maggie M
Ascot, UK88 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
We walked most of the way around the lake and really enjoyed it. The plants and the views are amazing. I have pics of the lake from all sides now. So many orchids and other plants - I’m glad we had a guide to explain what everything was.
Quite a tough walk but mainly due to the altitude. We’ve only been in Ecuador a couple of days so it was a bit high.
I’m very glad we did it though - and we could have stopped at any point if it was really too hard.
Written February 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janet O
France323 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
It was really windy up there but was well worth visiting as the views were stunning. Some people walked down nearer to the water but it took some time. The high altitude was bad enough without exerting oneself. Plenty of places to choose from for refreshments and shopping.
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

amy2k
Chicago, IL39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Family
We came from Otavalo to the lake for a morning hike. The taxi dropped us off at the Visitor Center. We took a quick look of the exhibits, then proceeded to walk the trail counter-clockwise up the hill. The morning air was a little chilly,but fresh & crisp. The sky was deep blue with no clouds. It was a perfect day for hiking. We could see the 2 islands that supposedly look like the back of a guinea-pig to give the lake's namesake (Cuichocha = Guinea pig lake). Although I lack the imagination :-) the lake was calm and beautiful. There were boats on it but I saw no activity down below. We first came across a stone structure -- a sun dial. We oriented ourselves and were able to verify the time. Next, we saw a square of "calendar". Facing the sun's direction, there were 2 arrays of pegs, 7 on the back row and 6 on the front. We could not figure out how this functioned. I wondered if the ancient people included the leap month in their count. The 3rd structure we encountered was a star shaped thing, much like a skeleton star fruit. There was no sign to explain its function, except it made for a nice photo backdrop. The fourth and the last structure we saw on our hike was a square platform with stone pebbles on it to mark circles. On the corner of the platform, there was a big stone cauldron. We learned that this was a place to offer stuff to the Gods. The serene setting makes for a fitting sacred site.

Beyond this point, we passed a large "administration" building where the rangers work. From there on, the more challenging hike began, complimented by the majestic view of the distant volcano. We could admire the lake to our left and the volcano to our right. Since it was in the early morning, we had the whole trail to ourselves! We walked in leisure, took time to savor the view and took many pictures of the lake, the land, and most importantly, the "new" plants & flowers that we had not seen back home. We hiked for about 2-hours before retreating back. It was a fun hike. We enjoyed it immensely. We were grateful that we had packed a hat and a wind breaker, plus water and snacks to make the walk more pleasant. We also helped keep the trails clean by bringing our trash out.

Since we found little info on the transportation to the Lake, I'd like to share how we got there and back:
1. From Otavalo bus station, take the bus to "Quiroga", 25cent.
2. Ask the driver or conductor to call a taxi to the Lake at/before Quiroga, $4-5
3. Get off the taxi at the Visitor Center. From the center, follow the trail marks to hike the lake
4. To come back- walk 50m pass the Visitor Center to the Quichocha Hostal,
ask the reception staff to call a taxi to get out

In our case, we took the taxi to Cotacachi ($5) to enjoy the afternoon. We briefly toured the town, had a yummy Hornado meal (roast pig), shopped for some leather goods, finished the day with coffee break before taking the local bus back to Otavalo (25cent).
Written October 12, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Salinas de Guaranda
Salinas, Ecuador54 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Couples
From Otavalo or Ibarra city you can get a taxi, it takes around 35 min to arrive at lake. This lake is part of Cotacachi-Cayapas Echologic Reserve, then at entry you need register your dates in the office. You can ask for some information to employers, they are so kindly. After you can walk around the routes where you can watch andean birds and plants. In the middle of the lake there are two small islands where birds live, like wild ducks, bumble birds,
Written October 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cortneyse14
Puyallup, WA35 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Solo
I started the hike on a Tuesday at 9am. There was no one else around and it was quite peaceful, plus the weather was warm but the sun wasn't glaring. It took me an hour and forty-five minutes to get all the way around to the road. The trail no longer goes all the way back to the start, it puts you out on the road a few km from the entrance. Apparently it typically takes 3-4 hours but I had little time in the area and a lot I wanted to do, so I was going at a quick pace and only stopped to take photos. The views are great the first half and then a decent portion of the trail goes around the hills where you don't have a view of the crater or the towns. It is a great work out with a lot of steep climbs and desent throughout the trail. Make sure to bring repellant because the moment you stop the mosquitos are on you. Once I got to the road there were no taxis (I was told that you can go back to the Laguna and there are sometimes some waiting there). I walked all the way to the road of the Laguna before the first car going in my direction came by. They were nice enough to give me a ride to Cotachi. The leather goods there are awesome (in Calle Cuerpo or leather street), and you can eat for cheap in the central market which is located in the same block as the bus terminal. There you can catch a bus back to Otavalo for $0.35, it takes about 25minutes.
To get to the Laguna from Otavalo take a bus from the terminal headed toward quiroga, it's $.35 and takes about 20 min. From there you'll have to take a taxi, the fare is $5 but can be split if there are more people headed the same direction.
Written October 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Laguna Cuicocha - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions about Laguna Cuicocha




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