The Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve is located on the
western slopes of the Andes Mountains where the bio-geographical area
of the Chocó - recognized as the wettest in the world - enters
Ecuador, the reason for the occurrence of such a high biodiversity
in the zone.
The Cotacachi-Cayapas is the Ecuadorian Protected Area
that has the largest number of life zones within it. It is also true
that of the total number of endemic vascular plants recorded in the
country, 20% of them belong to the western area; in spite of the area
having been studied very little, there is a generalized agreement
that this area houses one of the richest ecosystems on the planet.
The Ángel Ecological
In the middle of the alpine tundra (paramo) where the Frailejones
(plants unique to the paramo) stand out because of their form and
size is the El Angel Reserve. The soil here retains a large quantity
of water which is why it is considered to be a true "sponge" that
supplies the whole province of Carchi with this vital liquid.
It is the birth place of many rivers that will eventually
discharge their water into the important river basins of the Mira
and El Angel; it is not in vain that it is considered to be the wettest
paramo in Ecuador. Lakes for fishing, hiking and camping are the main
activities and its biological importance as an oasis among Ecuadorian
paramos has helped prevent the introduction of activities like cattle
raising and agriculture which would destroy the natural habitat.
The Municipal Cemetery
of Tulcán is internationally known for its intricate
cypress sculptures. There are other destinations near Tulcan like
the Chapues mountain with pre-Colombian remains. One kilometer from
the city you can find the thermal baths of Tres Chorros.
Oyacachi is an off-the-beaten path village located on the south
eastern edge of the Cayambe-Coca Reserve. The town is forty five minutes
southeast from the city of Cayambe. Oyacachi came into existence because
of its natural location as a gateway to the jungle. The town is famous
for its natural thermal hotsprings. There is at present no tourism
infrastructure. However, the townspeople will gladly prepare a delicious
but simple meal of trout, rice and potatoes. Rappeling down waterfalls
is another recent activity possible in Oyacachi.
Where to Stay
We recommend you visit these informative links:
Hotels & Hostels
Haciendas & Country Inns in the Northern Andes