Visiting Condor Machay Waterfall Near Quito, Ecuador

The Condor-Machay waterfall is located near Rumipamba. This distance is 17 kilometers from Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Condor Machay translates to “Condor Nest” in the Quichua language.

The two-hour climb to the Condor Machay waterfall is well worth it. The waterfall route features a couple of bridges over the Pita River, as well as beautiful flora and a variety of plants and wildlife.

This family-friendly journey along the banks of the flowing Pita River brings you through elfin woodlands and across iron bridges to the spectacular Condor Machay Waterfall.

I will be sharing our little hiking adventure to Condor Machay waterfalls in this post.

How to Get to Condor Machay Waterfalls

By Bus

To reach there from Quito, proceed to the terminal Terrestre (bus station). It costs $0.50 for a one-way bus trip to Sangolqui/Selva Alegre. Once there, take a $15 one-way cab to the trailhead. You can discuss with the taxi driver to either wait for you or pick you up.

By Car

You can also reach Condot Machay Waterfalls by hiring or driving your own private car. You can just pin the location on your maps and follow the directions.

Be aware though that the directions can be confusing since there is also another waterfall named Machay. 

You can use WAZE to go to Barrio Selva Alegre in Sangolqui, Ecuador. Then follow the road signs going to the waterfalls.

Hiking to Condor Machay Waterfalls

Condor Machay Waterfall


If you are traveling via a private car, someone will most likely be collecting a nominal charge for monitoring your car, especially if you go on the weekend or on a national holiday. If you hike during the week, your vehicle is likely to be left alone. If this is the case, avoid leaving valuable goods in your car. If cannot be avoided, place them in an inconspicuous location.

Use the path going to the right of the parking lot to reach the waterfall. The left track leads to further cascades and looks great to explore as well.

The trail is well-maintained, with several bridges across the Rio Pita. Each bridge offers a stunning view of the river and, in certain cases, the lush vegetation along its banks. Despite the fact that it is not difficult, the route is actually long.

Flora and Fauna

Because there were so many people, bird sighting was nearly impossible. We did, however, see a Caracara nest. These big, black birds frequently resemble vultures flying high in the sky. We witnessed one land on the rock face before it vanished for a few minutes behind it in a little hollow.

We were also fortunate to view a few orchids, despite the fact that it was still early in the season. Maintain your vision above the route, especially in wet regions where sunlight can penetrate the foliage. Orchids like wet conditions, although they also appear to enjoy some sunlight during the day. We had good luck looking around the rocky slope where the creek goes through.

The Waterfalls

The mountainsides were pouring with water when we went hiking during the rainy season. Several waterfalls falling from the rocks caught our attention. The river itself was flowing quickly and had several quite powerful rapids.

The waterfall itself is the trip’s highlight. The wet days contributed to the swelling of the stream that feeds the waterfall, which was pouring down the slope to the pool below. We ate our lunch at the base of this wonderful natural beauty. The wind blew a little water over our tired bodies. Others dipped their bare feet into the frigid water, but no one entered the pool.

We had approximately 10 minutes to appreciate the cascade before being surrounded by around 150 secondary school kids on a trip.

We put up with the shrieking and shouting for about a half hour while eating our lunch, then decided we’d had enough and began heading back.

The return trip took approximately an hour and was pleasant and tranquil… until the kids caught up with us, as they were rushing back to the car park. Yes, call me grumpy but I was longing for peace and quiet.

Overall, it will take around three and a half hours to enjoy the Condor Machay waterfall. There are several waterfalls you can trek to in the other direction from the same parking lot (though some require river crossings – no bridges), so you can easily make a whole day out of it. Add an hour for public transportation from and to Quito (Playon Marin).

Bottom Line

Condor Machay Waterfalls is a great natural beauty worth visiting. If you have time to spare while you are in Quito, you should consider going to this wonder. Nature lovers will love the views here and having a little picnic in the area is also nice for families and groups of friends traveling.

About the author

Oleg Galeev

I'm Oleg, and together with my wife, we've explored Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, journeying through more than 20 cities (Quito, Cuenca, Banos, Tena, Puyo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Otavalo, Mindo and more) and nearly every island in the Galapagos (including iconic ones such as Bartolome Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island and more). In this blog, I give you my real thoughts about each place we visited. This info can help anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or mainland Ecuador. I'm just a traveler, not a tour company, so I'm not trying to sell anything. That means I'll tell you the truth—both the good and the bad — about traveling in Ecuador based on what we experienced.

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