Andes , Hiking and Treking , Lakes and Lagoons , National Parks , Trails Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve is mostly known for the massive volcano that gives the park its name, and it is no surprise why. Cayambe, the snow capped giant standing at However, what really makes this park exceptional is water. Whether there is fog or rainfall, mist always hovers nearby. Besides, the paramo vegetation is constituted to retain water in the higher parts, lagoons cover large spaces of the ground and then we have the rivers, with drops and falls.
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How to get? From here you access the following places: To Refuge Cayambe. Takes about 45 minutes to the checkpoint through a road that demands the use of a 4x4 vehicle in certain seasons.
To Oyacachi. You take the road that leads to the Cangahua area. From here you travel 40 kilometers on an unsealed road until you reach the checkpoint. In Papallacta, next to the hot springs area, you take an unsealed road 5 km that leads to the checkpoint and access to the trails.
San Rafael Waterfall. From the town of El Chaco to the entrance of the waterfall there is a distance of 50 kilometers, the closest town before arriving is San Luis. Contact High Areas. Rocafuerte Ave.
MAGAP building, 3th floor. Lower Areas. Calle Quito Ave. El Chaco. Napo province. Phone: Lower Area. In the lower area of the park we find El Reventador volcano. Additionally the park has a system of 80 glacier lagoons, fed by the melting of the Cayambe ice. This complex was declared a worldwide important wetland or Ramsar site.
The Papallacta lagoon is very accessible from the Via Interoceanica via Quito-Papallacta , as well as the San Marcos lagoon on the Ayora-Olmedo route, which you can get to by way of an unsealed road. The project is finished and is lending services through a cooperation agreement. Facilities with added value for lodging as part of the adaptation process prior to the coronation of the volcanoes. Facilities with feeding supply for day visitors, that go to see the glacier and snow.
Complementary services include the sale of artisan crafts. Integration to communities linked to the reserve in the value chain.
Zona alta Agua y Vida Highlands, Water and life. Here you can camp and do sport fishing. Medium difficulty trail. A tour guide is required for this trail. Del Oso Bear Trail. Cascada Milagrosa Miraculous Waterfall. From the entrance of the trail to the mirador at San Rafael Waterfall there is a distance of 1. It takes approximately 20 minutes to come down and 25 to go up.
Camping is not permitted at this site. Toward the Andean valleys we find the traditional cities of Cayambe, Olmedo parroquia. This area was inhabited by the Kayambis and Karankis, and to this day there are pre-inca festivities such as the IntiRaymi, to celebrate the summer solstice.
On a side of the park towards the eastern side there are important cities at the foothills such as Baeza, El Chaco and Lubaqui. This was the route taken by the Spaniards on their quest for El Dorado, and on their descent they founded Baeza in Today ancient Baeza is recognized by its beautiful wooden houses adorned with flowers, it has been declared a National Heritage Site.
In the middle of the park there is the town of Oyacachi, a kichwa community famous for its alder wood artisan crafts and also because they now receive thousands of people every year into their hot springs.
This indigenous community is the one that originally saw a virgin apparition inside a cave that was later sculpted in wood. Biodiversity The park is home to endemic plant species, mammal species, species of birds, of reptiles, and of amphibians distributed throughout its ecosystems.
In the great plains of the moorlands close to the lagoons or where the grass mixes with fur-coated shrubbery coatedso as to endure the cold, you can see stag-goats and bunnies jumping through the grass, or watch the curiquingue and the moorland quail slowly making its way through the grasslands.
We can also see Andean chucuri and weasels sliding through the vegetation, as well as some moorland mice, one of which is aquatic. Among the bigger animals we find white-tailed deer, spectacled bear, and the mountain tapir. As night falls, moorland wolves and skunks start to appear. The paper-wood forests or yagual that intertwine together and almost leave no space to walk are mixed with patches of plants such as Tortuga, anchicoria, chuquiragua, romerillo, licopodio, and achupalla.
There are also great dendritic ferns. Andean tucan, wild turkey and quetzal live within these forests. Close to the waterfalls, on the rocky slopes, crag roosters nest, very colorful animals that have a red crest that during early mornings and evening preform a mating dance accompanied by loud squawks.
There are also amazing flowers; platanillos, heliconias, and anthuriums, as well as palms such as chabira, chonta, and palmetto. Here the trees become higher, with larger leaves and the temperature rises, announcing the entrance to the Amazon. Main atractives Cayambe Volcano 5, m The highest point in Ecuador where the equator line passes through and one of the favorite mountains for climbers. The waterfall is meters high, falling from the Alto Coca River, which is born in the confluences of the Quijos and Salado Rivers.
Hot Springs The most famous are the ones of the Oyacachi community and those of the Papallacta area. Reventador Volcano 3, m This is one of the most active volcanoes in the eastern mountain range. It is known for its violent eruptions that expel a great quantity of ash, hot rocks and lava.
Its slopes are still covered with ash from its last eruptive explosion that was in , and little by little, vegetation starts to grow on top of it.
Recomendations Clothing. High areas: warm clothes, water poncho or a water resistang sweater in case of rain or drizzling.
Appropiate shoes, walking boots in case of long or medium hikes. Lower areas: light clothing and comfortable shoes to walk the trails of the area.
GUIA DE AREAS PROTEGIDAS
Parque Nacional Cayambe-Coca