Cuicocha is a beautiful lake nestled within the crater of the Cotacachi volcano in Ecuador. Getting there is the experience – the view of this stunning area is the reward.
At the foot of the dormant Cotacachi Volcano lies the 3kmÂ wideÂ crater lake of Cuiococha. Within the lake are are two islets, that are home to hundreds of species of wildlife including armadillos,Â foxes,Â rabbits, and the nativeÂ guinea pigs. Keep your eyes open and you may be lucky enough to spot the elusive Andean Condor!
Getting to the lake is an experience all its own. Through moors, over hills and mountains, andÂ through the dense foliage, the hike from Cotacachi to the crater can take up to six hours. Also available are boat rides around the tiny islands – you can view them, but to set foot on them is prohibited. Once used by the Inca and Caranquis people for sacrificial offerings, the islands have been preserved and virtually untouched for Millennials.
If you plan your visit during the Sun Festival (June 21), you can watch the purification rituals of the shamans.
While you may spend the greater part of your day approaching and exploring the Cuicocha Lake, there are accommodations and great food at the nearby town of Cotacachi.
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