The volcano Cuicocha is part of Ecuador’s western Andean volcanic cordillera, together with some 16 other active volcanoes. It represents today the fourth most dangerous active volcano in Ecuador after Chalupas, Pululahua and Quilotoa, but before Cotopaxi. The volcano can reactivate at any time. Therefore it appears that tourists are visiting the volcanic caldera of Cuicocha to enjoy the extremely beautiful area in the same way a bird is stepping into a crocodile’s mouth. Scary huh?? Enough with the tension, let’s dive into the unknown!
How to get there.
Cuicocha Lagoon is located 110km from Ecuador’s capital Quito and some 25km northwest of Otavalo, in the province of Imbabura. There are several ways to get there, depending on where you come from. If you are travelling from Quito then the best way is to take a bus from the Northern Terminal in Quito, direction Otavalo. The journey takes around 2 hours and it costs 2$. From Otavalo there is a bus going to Quiroga which is the closest village to the Lagoon. The journey shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes and it costs 0,35$. From there unfortunately there is no other option than taking a private “camioneta” or a taxi which costs around 5-6$.
General info about the Lagoon.
Circumference of crater rim: 14 kms
Approximate duration of hike: 3-5 hours, depending on experience
Altitude range: 3100m – 3450m
Walking from Quiroga town: 2-3 hours
Special hire pickup truck from Quiroga: US$5 (negotiable).