Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve – Ecuador National Parks


The easiest way to access the Cotacachi Cayapas Reserve is by visiting the Cuicocha Lagoon, which is in the north-central highlands of Ecuador, a few kilometers from Cotacachi. This lagoon was formed when water filled the space left by the collapse of a relatively new crater of Cotacachi. The Cuicocha landscape is very attractive, along with the great variety of flora, and the possibilities of adventure tourism. The extension of protected land begins at the Cuicocha Lagoon, and includes the páramos of Cotacachi and Piñán, together with the very exuberant montane forest that heads towards the coast, to the province of Esmeraldas. This low section is known as the “Chocó” and is famous for its enormous biodiversity, one of the largest in the world. There is also access to the lower part of the Cotacachi Cayapas Reserve, navigating the Santiago or Cayapas rivers, towards the towns of Playa de Oro and San Miguel, which border on the reservation.

Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve
Info Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve
Protected from 1968
Area 243638ha
Elevation 35 – 4939m
Facilities Cuicocha Lagoon: Ruta Sagrada and Gorky Campuzano trail (around the lagoon), Cerros Cotacachi and Yanahurco de Piñán. Lower zone: trails in Playa de Oro and Charco Vicente (Sector San Miguel)
Activities Mountaineering, hiking, cycling, photography, camping, climbing, canoeing, jungle tour