This reserve is located just 17 km north of Quito and includes the crater and slopes of the extinct volcano Pululahua (quichua for “cloud full of water”). The last eruptions of the volcano date back to 2,500 years ago.
The crater has a diameter of 12 km; it is still home to a farming community of about 40 families who live from livestock and agriculture.
This area was declared a nature park because of its great biological diversity with more than 2000 plant species and a large presence of birds, mammals and insects.
In the crater you have three elevations: Pondoña, Chivo and Pan de Azucar. There are a number of hiking trails that lead you through the dense cloud forest. You can admire the orchids and other flowers that are pre-eminently present in the area. On one of the hilltops, a very special way of extracting water is used: the soaking clouds constantly hunt over a mountain ridge and fine-meshed nets have been stretched to collect the water from these clouds and lead into the valley where it serves for the irrigation of the fields. .
In the reserve you can visit the hacienda Pululahua, built by the Spaniards in 1825 and later run by the Dominicans.In the area there are also some old lime kilns: the lime mining – lime was very expensive in the past – was an important economic activity and employed many people in the area. In the crater is a small hotel Hostal Pululahua with an organic garden where coffee and corn are grown, among other things. You can rent bicycles and go horse riding. Very exceptional for Ecuador, there is also a camping zone at the hotel. You will find a lot of information about the park on the website of this hotel.
At the top of the crater near the panorama point is the Restaurant El Crater.
A visit to Pululahua is definitely recommended as a day trip from Quito.
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