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Cotacachi Cayapas

LOCATION: Andes, Coast

Surface area : 503 880 acres /

between 98 and 16 367 ft (30 and 4990 mt) /

Protected since: 1968


This reserve is located in the northern province of Imbabura, 140 km from Quito. This nature reserve is a mix of rainforest and various Andean and subtropical zones. It runs from the high peaks of the Andes to the western strips of rainforest of the coastal province of Esmeraldas. It consists largely of authentic forest – there has been little influence from farmers or loggers here.

The area is of great importance because it contains one of the few remnants of the rainforest in the Ecuadorian coastal region, which is part of the Choco, an internationally recognized bio-system that extends from the south of Panama to the north of Peru.

Due to the size of the park, there is a wide variety of fauna in the nature reserve; there are 500 species of birds along with anteaters, sloths, ocelots, raccoons, foxes, paramo wolves and deer. You will also find many herbaceous plants here, and there is a wide variety of trees, lianas and ferns. More than 2000 plant species can be found in the area.

The famous Cuicocha lake is located in a volcanic crater and is 200 m deep. Three volcanic domes rise from the lake in various places.

The reserve has many volcanic lakes, waterfalls and rapids. A tribe of the Cayapa Indians lives here. You can book 8-day hikes in the park with a guide. The height of the park varies from 30 to 4990 meters. The Cotacachi volcano is located in the park and can be climbed by climbers with some experience.

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Tom, guide in EcuadorI’m Tom from Belgium and I’ll make sure your trip to Ecuador or cruise in Galapagos goes as smoothly and pleasantly as possible. I have been living in Ecuador for a decade and have been working in tourism for 8 years now. Before that, I obtained my guides diploma in Ecuador. Traveling and discovering new places is my passion.
Together with the local travel agency Descubre-Ecuador, we offer tailor-made tours in Galapagos and on the Ecuadorian mainland. Over the years, Descubre-Ecuador has built a reliable partnership with the best hotels and the best nature guides in Ecuador. Our small-scale way of working ensures easy accessibility and a lot of flexibility when traveling.
Customer satisfaction is the essence for us. And even in those rare moments of unforeseen difficult circumstances, we make sure that we are there to make sure your trip runs smoothly.
Explore Ecuador and Galapagos!


Indian woman from SalasacasIn South America, Ecuador is one of the smaller countries, but the country is hugely diverse in terms of geography, climate and population. You can visit the Andes, the Amazon rainforest as well as the tropical coast without taking extremely long domestic flights or transfers. And then you have the Galapagos Islands, a once in a lifetime experience. The diversity of flora and fauna per square mile is enormous. Ecuador is South America in a nutshell. Moreover, the country is relatively safe and little visited. The national currency is the USD and you have a wide choice of direct flights to Quito and Guayaquil from Europe and the United States.


Tom - guide in EcuadorIk ben Tom uit België en zorg ervoor dat jullie reis naar Ecuador of cruise in Galapagos zo vlot en aangenaam mogelijk kan verlopen. Ik woon al een tiental jaren in Ecuador en werk nu 8 jaren in toerisme. Daarvoor heb ik in Ecuador mijn gidsen-diploma behaald. Reizen en nieuwe plaatsen ontdekken is mijn passie. Samen met het lokale reiskantoor Descubre-Ecuador, bieden we reizen op maat in Galapagos en op het Ecuadoriaanse vasteland aan. Descubre-Ecuador heeft door de jaren heen een betrouwbare samenwerking opgebouwd met de beste hotels en de beste natuurgidsen van Ecuador. Onze kleinschalige manier van werken zorgt voor een vlotte bereikbaarheid en veel flexibiliteit bij het reizen. De tevredenheid van de klant is voor ons de essentie. En ook op die zeldzame momenten van onvoorziene moeilijke omstandigheden zorgen we dat we er zijn om jullie reis toch perfect te laten verlopen. Ontdek Ecuador en Galapagos!