Cuicocha and Cotacachi Cantón

Last Thursday, we left our beloved Quito for some adventurous adventures in Imbabura Province, named after a great inactive volcano. Our agenda included hiking around a lagoon in a volcanic crater, meeting new SST partners, and visiting Parque Condor, a refuge —and kind of a hospital— for birds in the Cantón of Cotacachi.

On the way there, somehow, the bus turned into a karaoke stage and music raged on!

MC Little… oh, I can’t keep up with all the names, nicknames, monickers, stage names… started us up with a real banger!!

The shape of Lagoon Cuicocha resembles a delicious little critter named cuy (don’t be afraid of clicking the link), hence the name. Some say it also has an abundance of this South American delicacy.

Lagoon Cuicocha, given its volcanic origin, is surrounded by a 14K ridge of walkable but demanding terrain.

Our brand new driver had to take a break from all that bus racing, so Jaime was behind the wheel again —to the relief of students, families, and faculty— on our way to Parque Condor. There, we learned that many birds in the area have been hurt by humans or are endangered because their habitat has also suffered. Most birds are released back into the wild, but others are unable to hunt and fend for themselves, so they become flight artists in residence.