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.