Illinizas Ecological Reserve, Protected Areas, Tourist Attractions

Illinizas Ecological Reserve, also sometimes referred to as Illinizas National Park, is a 149 900ha protected area in the provinces of Cotopaxi and Pichincha. It lies just 55km from Quito and this makes it a very popular tourist destination. It is known for its beautiful cloud forest and the Laguna Quilotoa. Those who enjoy hiking and mountain climbing should definitely head off to Illinizas Reserve, which is suitable for all levels of hikers and climbers.

The Illinizas Ecological Reserve was established in 1996 and encompasses the twin peaks of Illiniza as well as the stunning crater lake of Laguna Quilotoa. The area consists mostly of Andean Humid and Subtropical Forest as well as páramo or grassland. Also located in the park are the remains of ancient civilizations. The region of Illinizas has many areas that are difficult to reach, so the extent of biodiversity has not been fully explored. Let us investigate the top attraction in the Illinizas Ecological Reserve in more detail.

The Quilotoa Lagoon, or “Laguna Quilotoa”, is located within the crater of the Illiniza Volcano. Its waters are salty and measure 3km across. Nearby the stunning lagoon is the fascinating Zumbahuas community. This gorgeous natural area is steeped in legend. Many traverse the exquisite Illiniza so as to view this sparkling gem, which is also an important water source of the Esmeralda River. Hiking Illiniza is a unique and fulfilling experience. A guide will join you and will be able to provide details on this fascinating locality. The best time of year to visit is between August and December. One hike begins at the quaint village of El Chaupi. After hiking for an hour and a half you will reach the base of the mountain. When you manage to reach North Illiniza’s summit you can enjoy a spectacular view extending right out to Cotopaxi volcano. This is an unforgettable moment.

So, what flora and flora can you expect to see in Illinizas Ecological Reserve? Botany fans will enjoy venturing through the paper tree forest. They will also see walnut trees, laurel trees and many more. Animals to watch out for include squirrels, cuy, snakes, foxes and white tail deer. When visiting Ecuador, you cannot afford to miss the beauty and splendor that is the Illinizas Ecological Reserve.

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