Sucos is a beautiful lagoon in the "Virgen de Papallacta" area, less than 1 hour from Quito and almost at 4000 meters high. A short hike allows us to enjoy the beauty of this "paramo" and lagoon; where it's very common to find the “achupallas” leafless, a sign that the Andean bears were feeding on them; although these animals are very shy and difficult to observe.
National Park: Parque Nacional Cayambe Coca
Antisana from the Sucos Lagoon
Eastern Cordillera; 39 kilometers in a straight line to the east from Quito. Take the Pifo – Papallacta highway (E20) towards the east; already at the highest paramo pass, more or less at 4000 meters high, is the "La Virgen de Papallacta" monument in the Cayambe Coca National Park; it's just here that the highway begins its descent towards the Amazon jungle. There are two routes for approaching the Sucos Lagoon:
1) Normal Approach “Old Refuge”: Just passing the "La Virgen de Papallacta", on the right you can see an old refuge (now completely abandoned), it is where you should start the hike to the Sucos lagoon, going down the road for a few minutes towards Papallacta and taking a path that points directly towards the East for just over a kilometer until you reach the lagoon north shore.
2) “Dam” Approach: passing the "La Virgen de Papallacta", for approximately 6 km, you should take a barely visible 4x4 road to the left, it goes north until the lagoon southern shore. It´s possible to arrive by vehicle only to the viewpoint because the last descent is practically impassable.
|Normal Approach “Old Refuge”:|
|Quito - La Virgen de Papallacta - Old Refuge||51km||1h|
|Old Refuge - Lagoon north shore||1.2km||35min|
|La Virgen de Papallacta - Detour to the lagoon||6km||6min|
|Detour to the lagoon - Laguna Viewpoint||4km||10min|
|Laguna Viewpoint - Lagoon south shore||200m||10min|
- The easiest way to get to this lagoon is by following the "Old Refuge" route.
- The Dam route requires a 4 kilometers hike following a 4x4 road.
- Some time ago it was possible to fish large trout in this lagoon, unfortunately the overfishing has practically led to its extinction.
- The Papallacta paramo is cold and extremely humid; It's suggested to always be warm, with rain protection, and be very cautious because the frequent fog and unclear paths easily get people lost.
- Rubber boots work great for hiking in these swamps.
- Nowadays it is not possible to go down to the lagoon with a vehicle.
There are some attractive routes:
- Sendero del Oso: from the "Old Refuge" through Sucos Lagoon, Sucos 2 Lagoon, to the Baños Lagoon and the Cayambe Coca National Park Visitor Center.
- Sucos Lagoon encirclement trail (the path disappears in many sections)
- Visit to the Inca Trail (conquerors route to the Amazon)