Our Visit to the Peguche Waterfall, Otavalo (Full Details and Images)

Peguche waterfalls in Otalavalo featured image

If you’re seeking activities and great things to do in Otavalo, go to Peguche Waterfall, commonly known as Cascada de Peguche.

Las Cascadas de Peguche is a wonderful tourist site in Otavalo and its surrounding area. Because of the cleansing baths taken here a few days before the Inti Raymi ceremony, this majestic 50-foot waterfall is classified as an indigenous Ceremonial Site.

This waterfall rises on the slopes of the Imbabura volcano, exactly at the northern point of San Pablo Lake, which is located 4 kilometers south of Otavalo at an elevation of 8,760 feet. The river of the same name, Peguche, continues downstream, changing its name to Jatun Yacu (large water) soon when it tumbles free down the waterfall.

A Sacred Place

Local community in the natural bath on the way to Peguche waterfalls in Otavalo

The Sun Calendar is the first indicator that the Waterfall site is a Holy Place for most indigenous people. 

Ceremonies are held in and around the Waterfall at various periods. For instance, during the June Solstice (Inti Raymi or Fiesta del Sol, June 21) or New Year’s Day. Many locals meet here on these particular days to take a ceremonial bath. The water in the region gives them strength and chases away evil spirits.

Best Time to Visit

Local shops on the trail to Peguche waterfalls in Otavalo

Peguche Waterfall, like Otavalo, is a year-round attraction. The temperature is normally about 18 degrees; the only variable is precipitation.

From June through October, it usually rains the least, however light afternoon showers are not unusual in the region.

To see the waterfall at its finest, though, it is recommended to visit it after a heavy rain or during the rainy season.

How to Get to Peguche Waterfall

Bridge along the trail to Peguche Waterfall in Otavalo

There are several ways to go from Otavalo to Peguche waterfall. Because of the town’s vicinity, you may either walk, ride a bus, hire a cab, or even rent a bike for more energetic tourists. It is also possible to take a tour from Quito that includes this waterfall.

By Foot

Walking to Peguche Waterfall is the most cost-effective option. It is a 3.3-kilometer walk (one way), and you may choose to trek in both directions or take the bus back. If you have plenty of time, you can opt to visit Peguche by walking.

By Bus

We took the bus to Peguche Waterfall since we were pressed for time. If you wish to do the same, you can just travel to Otavalo’s bus station and get an Imbaburapac cooperative bus to take you to the entrance.

The simplest method is to ask around for the correct bus.

The bus departs from the station every thirty minutes and costs $0.35. The trip would have taken 5 minutes in a vehicle, but because the bus travels through the suburbs and stops frequently, it usually takes fifteen to twenty minutes to reach Peguche Waterfall.

By Taxi

If you want a more private journey, you may alternatively take a cab to Peguche. Depending on where you are coming from, the trip will cost between $2 and $3. It is still a very low cost, especially if you share the trip with others.

By Bike

Another option to go to Peguche is biking. Several travel businesses in Otavalo offer rent-a-bike services for a few hours or even longer.

By Tour

There are also tour packages that include a top at Cascada Peguche. You may book a tour if you prefer to visit Peguche as a stop from other Otavalo attractions

Entrance Fee

The Peguche waterfall is a free attraction but a donation is greatly appreciated. Visitors often pay $1 in the box, so bring change with you.

If you’re seeking free things to do in Otavalo, Peguche Waterfall is one of the books.

We had to sign our names at the entrance. After that, we were free to roam around. We were aware that the site is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Peguche Trail

Hike to Peguche waterfalls

The Bosque Protector Cascadas de Peguche features a well-maintained path system that leads to the waterfalls and the higher portion of them, as well as the surrounding hills. The bridges and chalets are in excellent shape all year. The community “Comunidad de Peguche” manages this Protected Forest.

Riding your bike is enjoyable here, especially if you start in the San Pablo del Lago region. All of the trails/bike routes are suitable for riders of all levels of expertise.

Our Hike to Peguche Waterfalls

Image from Cascada de Peguche in Otavalo

An Inca-style route brings you to the Waterfall in around 15 minutes from the main gate. Once within the park, remember that the region is significant to indigenous people, and the waterfall is even regarded as a holy and spiritual spot, so please be respectful.

The trip to the waterfall is delightful since the route passes through a well-kept park where you can view the animals and plants, particularly the plentiful eucalyptus trees.

We went to the waterfall first, however, it was feasible to turn around and go farther into the park.

When we arrived at the bridge, we crossed it, and we were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the waterfall. It is possible to come closer, and there is one enormous rock that works well for photographs, but you must understand that you will get wet.

Peguche Waterfall from different angle

Peguche Waterfall

The trail, however, does not end there. You may go up to the left or right of the fall, leading to many viewing places or Miradores. If you want to go higher, you can; just make sure you arrive equipped.

We traveled approximately half the distance and came to a little cave. We removed our shoes and crept through the cave, where we discovered a few more photo chances.

Looking behind at the foot of the waterfall, you’ll notice a tiny town where residents sell food and handicrafts.

We returned to the entrance, but after a while, we turned left and proceeded on a trail that brought us deeper into the park. We even came upon a pool, but it wasn’t particularly warm, so we merely took off our shoes and dipped our toes for a few minutes.

Sacred sign at sacred peguche waterfalls

We decided to go outdoors and walk to the bus station after exploring the park a little longer.

Exploring around took us over two hours. Set aside at least one hour of your time if you simply want to see Peguche Waterfall and do not wish to wander around.

Bottom Line

Cascadas de Peguche may not be the most famous or well-known sight in Otavalo, but it is certainly worth seeing. We are glad we included this site on our Ecuador itinerary and that our wanderlust led us there.

If you’re staying in Otavalo for a few days, make time to see the Peguche waterfalls and marvel at their natural beauty.

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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