El Angel Ecological Reserve

Departures: Every day

The El Ángel Ecological Reserve is one of the most unique natural areas of Ecuador. It is located all the way up north of the country, close to the Colombian border. The reserve is well known for is mysterious landscapes with frailejones and Polylepis paper trees. In the area live deer, wolves, reptiles and even condors. Despite the extraordinary features of this place, the reserve is considered an unspoiled gem as still not many visitors know of its existence. In this excursion you will visit the frailejones forest for a hike in this special scenery. The frailejones can grow up to 7 meters (22 ft) high and take up over 11 hectares. During the drive up here you will enjoy the scenic views of valleys against mountainous backdrops.


From Otavalo you will head north to the Carchi province where the Ecological Reserve El Ángel is located. During the 2,5 hours drive you will first pass the ‘white city’ of Ibarra and the Chota valley, that due to its relatively low altitude makes for optimal conditions for the many sugar cane plantations in this area. Grapes, tropical fruits and a range of other crops are also being cultivated here. This region has a history of slavery that started in the colonial period, which explains the predominantly black population up until today. The last part of the road up to the ecological reserve is uphill, leaving you at the entrance at and altitude of about 3800 meters (12,467 ft). From here the hike in the frailejones forest of about 1,5 hours will start. You will hike up to a viewpoint from where you look out over the Voladero lagoon. Some smaller Popylepis paper trees can also be found along the way. After enjoying a box lunch you will head back Otavalo.

Included and excluded

  • Box lunch
  • Activities as described in the itinerary
  • Bilingual guide
  • Transport

Not included:

  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
What to bring?
For this tour we recommend to bring the following:

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Rain and windproof jacket
  • Warm clothing
  • Comfortable (walking) shoes
  • Camera
  • Water and snacks
Private tour
USD $100 p.p. (min 2 pax)



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