Natural Attractions

Natural Attractions in Cotacachi

There are numerous natural attractions in the canton of Cotacachieach with it’s own distinct beauty, wildlife and picturesque landscape.

Cotacachi Volcano

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Cuicocha Lagoon

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Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve

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Intag Cloud Forest

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Natural Attractions near Cotacachi

These popular natural attractions are within 1 hours drive of Cotacachi and can all be enjoyed as a day trip.

Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve

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Peguche Falls

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San Pablo Lake

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Explanation of Natural Areas in Ecuador

Ecuador has an extensive system of classifaction for it’s natural areas. We have provided a short description of each for your understanding and a list of which areas are in each classification. The number in the circle represents the total number in each classification. This information will help you plan your expediations and know if you need a guide or more information.


National Parks

Large conservation area (more than 10,000 ha) whose main objectives are conservation landscapes, complete ecosystems and species. Their environments must remain slightly altered, with a minimum of human presence. Priority activities will be related to environmental research and monitoring, the development of nature tourism being feasible as a support activity for the conservation of natural resources. The level of restriction of use is high (restricted).

-Parque Nacional Galápagos
-Parque Nacional Machalilla
-Parque Nacional Cayambe Coca
-Parque Nacional Cotopaxi
-Parque Nacional Llangates
-Parque Nacional Sangay
-Parque Nacional El Cajas
-Parque Nacional Podocarpus
-Parque Nacional Yacuri
-Parque Nacional GSumaco-Napo-Galeras
-Parque Nacional Yasuní


Wildlife Refuge

Small conservation area (less than 5000 ha) whose main conservation objectives will be threatened species and their related ecosystems. The general state of conservation of the area has to be little altered, with a minimum of human presence. Priority actions are related to habitat and species management, environmental research and monitoring, ecosystem restoration and environmental education. The level of restriction of use will be high (restricted).

-Refugio de Vida Silvestre La Chiquita
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre Estuario de río Esmeraldas
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre Estuario de Río Muisne
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre El Pambilar
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre Isla Corazón y Fragatas
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre Marino Costera Pacoche
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre El Zarza
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre Manglares El Morro
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre Isla Santa Clara
-Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa


Ecological Reserve

They are natural areas of variable extensions with little human intervention. These are areas with outstanding natural resources or sites of species of great national significance. The main objective is to save genetic matter, ecological diversity, scenic beauties, special phenomena and environmental regulation for the scientific investigation of natural elements and phenomena and environmental education. When there are no conflicts with research and education, recreation and tourism activities are allowed in limited areas, as long as the characteristics of the resource permit.

-Reserva Ecológica Manglares Cayapas Mataje
-Reserva Ecológica Mache Chindul
-Manglares Churute
-El Ángel
-Cotacachi Cayapas
-Los Illinizas
-Cofán Bermejo


Biological Reserve

Área de conservación de tamaño grande (más de 10.000 ha) que tiene como objetivos principales de conservación ecosistemas completos y sus especies, poco alterados y con mínima presencia humana, al menos en el área de distribución del objeto de conservación principal. En este tipo de reservas, las actividades prioritarias serán la investigación biológica, ecológica y ambiental, siendo posible también la educación ambiental como actividad secundaria. El nivel de restricción de uso de sus recursos naturales será muy alto (muy restringido) para garantizar el desarrollo de los procesos ecológicos.

-Reserva Biológica Limoncocha
-Reserva Biológica El Cóndor
-Reserva Biológica El Quimi
-Reserva Biológica Cerro El Plateado
-Reserva Biológica Colonso Chalupas


Flora & Fauna Production Reserve

Medium-sized area (between 5,000 and 10,000 ha) whose priority conservation objectives are ecosystems and species that can be managed, which should be poorly altered, but have a medium level of human presence (depending on local biological resources). Priority actions are related to sustainable wildlife management, environmental education, ecosystem restoration and nature-oriented tourism. The level of restriction of use will be low (little restricted).

-Reserva Puntilla de Santa Elena
-Reserva Manglares El Salado
-Reserva Chimborazo
-Reserva Cuyabeno


Marine Rerserve

Areas of variable size, whose priority conservation elements will be ecosystems and marine species and related to this environment. They should be little, or moderately altered, and the human presence will be related to the intensity of fishing that is carried out in it, which must be adjusted to the conservation needs and zoning defined in the management plans.

-Reserva Marina Galera San Francisco
-Reserva Marina El Pelado
-Reserva Marina Galápagos


Natural Recreation Areas

Medium-sized area (between 5,000 and 10,000 ha) whose main objective of conservation is the natural landscape that may be moderately altered, mediumly supports human presence. The main activities are related to tourism and recreation, ecosystem restoration and environmental research and monitoring. The level of restriction of use will be low (little restricted).

-Playas de Villamil
-Parque Lago
-Los Samanes
-Isla Santay
-El Boliche


Geo-Botany Reserves

It is an extension area for the conservation of wild flora and outstanding geological resources. Protect in a natural state the areas with diverse ecosystems, landscapes and exceptional geological formations, in order to ensure the continuity of the evolutionary, natural processes, and at the same time tend to the recovery of the areas altered by human intervention; They are important objectives of this categorization. Due to its historical, cultural, landscape and scientific value, it offers tourist and cultural education recreational opportunities to national and foreign visitors and tourists. It constitutes a germplasm bank of flora and fauna species in danger of extinction.

-Reseva geobotánica El Pululahua