Cuicocha Lake
Cuicocha Lake
4.5
Bodies of WaterNature & Wildlife AreasHiking Trails
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Duration: More than 3 hours
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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
32 reviews
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24
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3
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1

Esther
Bucerias, Mexico25 contributions
Apr 2019 • Solo
To get there from Otavalo, simply take a bus going to Quiroga, and get of at "el parque" (tell the controler you want to catch a taxi for Cuicocha).
From Quiroga's Parque to Cuicocha, taxi cost 5$.
Once arrived, you just have to give your passport details and the adventure begins. It's free.
The trail took me 5 hours to complete, with plenty of stops to take pictures, catch my breath or have a snack.
Im not particuliarly fit (smoker, and not too much exercise) but I did not suffer too much on this trail. Sure, there are some steep climbs, but as long as you take your time and stop frequently to breathe it should be fine. Take some fruits and candies to eat along the way to recharge your energy.
The views are absolutely breathtaking.
The scenery changes 3 times. I did the trail couterclockwise. It started with a steep trail, plenty of beautiful moutain flowers, beautiful viewpoints, up to the top. Then you start descending again, crossing a forest of lush vegetation. There are some steep climbs again in that forest. Last part is a beautiful path into pinewoods and pastures, the easiest part of the trail, no more climbing. If you chose to do the trekking clockwise, it's probably easier.
I was alone but I did meet a few other hikers and never felt unsafe. I didnt even know that there was robberies reported in the area...
I forgot to take sunscreen, and even if it was cloudy and raining a bit, I got my face burned and looked like a tomato after my shower. Protect your skin!
This trail is so clean and well preserved, I loved it. Take your trash with you and if you see some trash left by others, do not hesitate to pick it Up, the nature will thank you! I hope this trail stays preserved like it is now and I am surprised it is not more famous considering how wonderful it is.
There is a restaurant at the bottom, and plenty of people waiting to do the boat tour. I didnt do it.
If you don't want to pay the taxi back to Quiroga or Cotacachi you can sure find someone to give you a ride back.
I hope this helped.
Written April 21, 2019
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.

JeetKulkarni
New York City, NY170 contributions
Nov 2017 • Solo
If you want serenity then go to Cuicocha. It was the first of the two crater lakes that I visited in Ecuador the other being the more famous Quilotoa lake.
While this lake may not be as popular as Quilotoa, it certainly is no less beautiful.
I did the 10 km hike along the rim of the crater and it was superb. For long stretches of time I did not see a soul and it was extremely peaceful. The trail is really well marked so there is no chance of getting lost even when traveling solo. The view of the lake with the twin islands and the nearby Cotacachhi volcano are mesmerizing. I took me exactly 3.5 hours with plenty of stops for photos. the suggested time to complete the trail is 5 hours but I think anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to do it between 3.5 to 4.5 hrs.
The lake is a bit hard to get to from Quito but this is what I did to get here.
1) Taxi from old town Quito to Cercelan terminal in the North. 8$
2) 2 hour bus ride to Otavalo. Buses leave frequently and cost 2.25$
3) Another bus from Otavalo bus terminal going to Quiroga. You need to tell the driver that you want to go to Cuicocha and he will let you know when to get off. Cost 0.25$
4) Finally if you made this far then you need to hop on a taxi for 10 min ride and should cost 5$

There is a beautiful hostel at the lake tjsf can arrange the return taxi back to Quiroga. From there simply follow the directions in reverse.

if you are not hard pressed for time, then you can save 8$ to get to Carcelan terminal and take the local bus going North from any part of Quito.

Hope this information helps someone interested in Cuicocha!
Written November 24, 2017
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.

Willmar01
Quito, Ecuador60 contributions
Feb 2017 • Couples
Do not miss this destination 2 hours from Quito and 12 km from a beautiful village Cotacachi where you can enjoy shopping.
The Cuicocha lagoon, within a volcano, will allow you to see impressive landscapes and allows you to do various activities such as short and long walks around the volcano, boat trips, take pictures, and many more.
There are not too many amenities on site, but you get what you need.
Enjoy nature, you will not regret it.
Written March 1, 2017
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.

Bryan M
2 contributions
Aug 2021 • Friends
the cuicocha lake is a beutiful place for your family vist! this place is located i cotacachi coty, every year turist visit this pace because is a place good because thera are two mountains in venter the lake and green areas ! I recomended visit this place with your family or friends
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.

A.S.
39 contributions
Nov 2019 • Solo
Cuicocha lake should be in one of your list for activities outside Quito. Easy hiking path, with outstanding vistas. I arranged a cab from Quito. At the entrance, you need to provide info to the ranger. Bring your passport number. Hiking trail is in the garden, next to tourist info service. There's a museum depicting stories of the flora, fauna, and people living in the region's.
Written November 10, 2019
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.

Andrew S
Guayaquil, Ecuador97 contributions
Feb 2019
It can be done in 4 hours if your are fit or up to 7 hours if you take the parents-in-law along. Don't forget that it's at height. Imbabura is 2500 give or take and then you are hiking up some steep inclines. The view of the double island and the blue lake is nice and the path was pretty. We did it in hot sunshine. Not sure how lovely it would be in the rain. Take plenty of water (minimum 1 litre) and plenty of sun protector. Also, could be cold if the sun is not out, so take shed-able layers. It's free. There are a couple of places to eat lunch. Take snacks for energy if not something more substantial. Lone travellers should be cautious - although mugging is very uncommon, just be careful on days with few trekkers; You are probably safe, but occasionally it can happen.
Written March 29, 2019
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.

Makayla W.
Gallipolis, OH64 contributions
Jun 2018
The hike around the lake is beautiful and varied (I took more photos here than anywhere else I visited in Ecuador). It can be a tough hike, particularly if you’re not used to hiking at high elevations. But it is a wonderful experience with mountains, views of farmland, the lake and islands, forestry, and a meadow.
Written January 4, 2019
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.

Rickardo
Sedona, AZ279 contributions
Oct 2018 • Family
As with many National parks in Ecuador, entrance is free. Plenty of free parking and a few shops,
1 restaurant, and bathrooms located near the overlook of the lake. I highly recommend the $4 PP
20 min boat ride.
Written October 29, 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.

johnquinterophoto
London, UK87 contributions
Jul 2018
The Cuicocha Lake is a National Park and opens at 8 am every day. Most of the visitors take a boat ride around the lake but not many walk around the crater which is an amazing experience. Start clockwise and if you don't have a full day to do the loop, go to the top and go back to the visitors centre. Highly recommended.
Written August 13, 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.

simply-peregrinating
Waddington, UK2,758 contributions
Apr 2017 • Friends
Although the weather wasn't particular kind to us, rather cold and overcast we did enjoy our short walk on the rim of the crater with the lake below. There were so many beautiful wild flowers to see a long the way. The views of the lake changed as we walked along the rim. The path was in decent condition on the section we walked which I suspect is the part that is most used. Of interest there were several reconstructed, native Indian sites, like an outdoor exhibit showing their culture.
Written March 31, 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.

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Cuicocha Lake - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)