August 28, 2009
Just a bit over a one hour drive, north east of Quito, is the lake area of Papallacta, surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery, at the foothills of the immense Antisana volcano, towering above 5000 meters above sea level. This is an area rich in natural diversity, featuring unique species of fauna and flora, unique to the high Andean moorlands. With some luck, you could catch a glimpse or see a full flight of the mighty Andean condor, the bird symbolizing Ecuador. For birdwatchers, the area teems with rare and beautiful species, including some varieties of hummingbirds, only found at very high elevations.
The zone is also famous for its lagoon complex, with the awesome Lake of Papallacta as the highlight of the area. And the area’s popularity has been enhanced by the existence of thermal baths of volcanic origin another good reason to visit. Basking among the splendid scenery, you can either relax and enjoy the amazing and soothing Andean scenery or try a wide range of medicinal and beauty treatments. Also available are a host of outdoor activities and tours which include trout fishing, nature exploration, bird watching, different lengths and degrees of difficulty hikes and treks, horseback rides, mountain bike routes and, for the more adventurous, actual expeditions lasting one or more days can be made to unique locations within the maze of mountains, valleys and forests which form Ecuador’s Andean region.
Being so close to Quito, the cosmopolitan capital of Ecuador, a growing flow of local and international visitors are coming to the area, having brought this month of august a year’s record of visitors and hotel occupancy. The Papallacta zone offers a good number of hotels, hostels and mountain lodgings, for all tastes and budgets. Some of them offer sophisticated spa facilities and therapies for both the body and the mind, and luxurious and comfortable rooms, complemented by unmatched local cuisine, where fresh trout form the neighboring lakes and trout farms are among the specialties. While an overnight stay is recommended to best enjoy the zone’s attractions and services, a one-day visit from Quito is also a viable alternative, providing the visitor with a day filled with sights, sounds, activities and gastronomic delights as well as peace, relaxation or a spa experience. Metropolitan Touring and us at Adventure Associates can customize the tour of your choice and preference to enjoy with ease one more of the superbly diverse attractions Ecuador has to offer.