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Home > South America > Ecuador > Andes > Northern Andes > El Ángel > El Ángel Activities > El Ángel Ecological Reserve
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El Ángel Ecological Reserve - Other Activity El Ángel - Ecuador

The 15,700 hectare reserve of El Ángel is a wild area of golden páramo (spongy grasslands) which lies in the northern region of the Carchi province, at an altitude ranging from 3,700 to 4,800m. The reserve is best known for the curious frailejón flowers that dot the landscape. The frailejón, which resembles a pineapple with oversized furry leaves growing on the end of a meter-high stick, is only found in this region of Ecuador. Another curious plant is the polylepis, also known as the “árbol de papel” because it sheds papery bark. Some visitors to the park have also been lucky enough to spot condors, foxes, deer and rabbits.

There are two main circuits in the park. The one going through the Bosque de Polylepis starts on the small private property of the Polylepis lodge, which is in fact operating without a license in the reserve, and charges visitors for access. The other circuit (about one hour long) takes you past the El Voladero lakes and on clear days offers views of the Chiles volcano on one side, of the valleys towards San Gabriel on the other.

The park ranger office at the entrance of the El Voladero area gives out maps and information. There also are two rooms with bunk beds (one of two, one of four) where you can stay overnight. Camping (for free) is also permitted on the grounds of the reserve. 

Entrance: $10 foreigners, $2 nationals and residents

To get there: the road to the reserve is an unpaved one, full of potholes, accessible only in a 4x4, and the ride takes just under an hour. You can hire a camioneta (pick-up truck) from El Ángel for about $15-20 (return trip + two-hour wait). There is no other form of public transport.

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