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Top Ecuador

Northern Andes

The Northern Andes region in Ecuador begins at the edges of Quito and continues all the way up to the jagged line defining the Colombian border. This mountainous and hilly region features a wide range of ecosystems that run the gamut from dry to wet, playing host to a land filled with some unbeatable Andean fauna, culture and landscapes.

It’s here that you’ll be able to withdraw from the tourist mainstream, humbling yourself with the magnificent scope of Volcán Cayambe (the country’s third-highest volcano) while drawing nearer to witnessing the heart and source of all kinds of artisan goods in towns like Otavalo. And to the west, bird-watchers from around the world and weekenders alike heed the call of Mindo, as they flock to indulge in its abundance of bird species as well as experience its incredibly relaxing rainforest ambiance.

Whether it’s ice-climbing, trekking through unspoiled páramo (grasslands), exploring rural villages (where the pace of life remains the same after centuries), getting the best deals and widest selection of artisan goods or simply soaking in the Arco Iris hot springs, the Northern Andes is a region you won't want to miss.

06 Mar 2013

Lakes and Lagoons in the Northern Andes

Lagunas de Mojanda

101652The area around Lagunas de Mojanda is one of the most popular spots for hiking in the Northern Andes. The lakes are located 17 kilometers (10.5 mi) from Otavalo and are set in high páramo grassland ...
Lagunas de Mojanda, Around Otavalo, Otavalo, Ecuador

Cuicocha Lake

125702 Cuicocha, which means “guinea pig lake” in Qechua, is a crater lake situated at the foot of Cotocachi Volcano, at an altitude of 3200 m. Emerging from the dark waters of the 3 kilometer wide ...
City Zone
Cuicocha Lake, Around Otavalo, Otavalo, Ecuador

Laguna Yaguarcocha

If you’re looking to escape the city, Laguna Yaguarcocha is a pleasant side-trip on the outskirts of Ibarra. What is now a peaceful lake set among rolling green hills, was once the site of a bloody ...
Ibarra, Ecuador

Top Towns to Visit in the Northern Andes


Altitude: 2,377 meters (7,800 ft) Population: 10,000 Phone Code: 06This pleasant pastoral town rests at the foot of the dormant Cotacachi volcano. It is best known for producing cheap but ...
Cotacachi, Ecuador


Located two hours east of the town of Cayambe, Oyacachi is hidden just below the paramo in a lush cloud forested valley that serves as the cusp of the upper rim of the Amazon basin. Nearly everyone ...
Oyacachi, Ecuador
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