Geo-Botanical Reserve of Pululahua, Protected Areas, Tourist Attractions
Situated in the Pichincha province of Quito, the Geo-botanical Reserve of Pululahua is a relatively small reserve that incorporates an area which is roughly 3 383 ha (8 400 acres) in size. The park is run by the INEFAN and it enjoys a variety of altitudes between 1 600 m above sea level to 3356 m above sea level. It caters for recreational activities by making two camping areas available to the public. The first is known as Moraspungo. It is located near the park entrance and has a relatively high elevation. The second is located at the main office and has a low elevation at the foot of the crater. The Geo-botanical Reserve of Pululahua is just a short 30-minute drive from Quito and the name ‘Pululahua’ means ‘smoke of water’ in the native language. The name was originally given to the massive but inactive volcano that is situated within the boundaries of the park. It is one of four peaks that can be found here. The other three are Pando ña, El Pan de Azucar and El Chivo.
The Pululuahua Geo-botanical Reserve was created in 1966 and has the distinction of being the first area in mainland Ecuador to receive legal protection and recognition. The area was seen as having immense biological importance since it has interesting geological value because of the volcanoes as well as a good variety of habitats. The varied habitats have also become home to an abundance of animal life and provide good examples of endemic plants. There are currently 53 species of plant and 21 species of animal that receive special protection in the area.
When you visit the reserve you will find that it has plenty of wildlife. If you are lucky, you may well spot rabbits, sparrow hawks, chucuris, wolves, bats, lizards, frogs and raposas. Of course, there are many more animals that live in the confines of the reserve, but these are seldom seen by visitors. Many who visit enjoy making use of the mountain biking and hiking facilities that are provided through a number of operators. Attractions within the reserve include the Ventanillas lookout point, the Pululahua Community, Pondoña Hill and Lulumbaba Hill. The two main attractions near the reserve are Mitad del Mundo and the Pucara de Rumicucho. The reserve is easily reached by bus or by car and tour operators often arrange transport on your behalf.