The Mojanda lagoons

Diego Arias at the Galapagos Islands


Approximately 17 kilometers from the small town of Otavalo in northern Ecuador are the four lagoons of Mojanda. They lie embedded in the spectacular mountain landscape at the foot of the Fuya Fuya volcano. The team of made an excursion to the lagoons of Mojanda.

Mojanda lagoons

How to get to the lagoons of Mojanda

You cannot travel the distance from Otavalo to the lagoons of Mojanda by public transport. The arrival must be by taxi (for about 20 USD). But it is worth a trip there. It takes about 45 minutes to cover the difference in altitude to Otavalo. Finally, at an altitude of about 3,700 metres, a spectacular view of the unspoilt nature of the park, which has been protected since 2002, will reward you.

From Quito it is about 75 kilometres to the lagoons of Mojanda. You should plan on about two hours for the trip.

What temperatures should you be prepared for?

Due to the altitude it is relatively cold at the lagoons of Mojanda. Therefore you should have a warm jacket, cap and if necessary gloves with you if you want to hike here! Additionally, there is the wind that blows up here. The volcano Fuya Fuya is located in the same area. Due to its 4.263 meters it is suitable for acclimatization for higher mountains like the Cotopaxi! You can find further information about the climate and temperatures in the different altitudes of the Andes in our travel tips for Ecuador.

The "Laguna Grande"

Our excursion led us to the largest of the three Mojanda lagoons. The lagoon Caricocha is also called “Laguna Grande” (Big Lagoon) or “Laguna Hombre” (Male Lagoon). Like the neighboring lagoon Yanacocha (also “Laguna Negra”, in German Black Lagoon) it is a crater lake.

Mojanda lagoons

The biodiversity here is representative of that of the Andes Paramo. It is impressive that the vegetation on the mountains surrounding the lagoon is completely different. Barely overgrown, rough rocks on the one side and smooth, yellow-green hills covered with grass on the other.

When we arrived, the lagoon Caricocha was under a dense, constantly changing fog curtain. It created an almost mystical atmosphere. And this in the heart of the silence that surrounds you in this place.

Mojanda lagoons

Then, as soon as the sun broke through the clouds, the grasses on the hills glowed in a beautiful golden yellow.

Mojanda lagoons

Next to the lagoon there is a small shop where you can buy snacks. Here you can also get the Sunfo tea that is typical in the high parts of the Andes. Sunfo is a herb with medicinal properties that only grows at higher altitudes and may help against altitude sickness.

Hiking at the Mojanda lagoons

It is possible to walk around the Caricocha lagoon partially but not completely. There are also hiking trails between the lagoons of Mojanda. However, please consider the altitude when planning your trip. This could cause you problems during a strenuous hike through the oxygen-poor air. Above all, you should therefore think of sufficient water.

A short ascent through the dense grasses to one of the hills next to the lagoon is worthwhile in any case. Because from here you can enjoy wonderful views. Not only to the biggest of the lagoons of Mojanda itself, but also to the impressive and seemingly endless natural landscape of the Fuya Fuya volcano.

Otavalo and the Mojanda lagoons​

Otavalo itself is popular with tourists not only because of the colourful indigenous market that is held here. The small town is also an ideal starting point for excursions into the surrounding area, which includes the San Pablo lagoon, the Cuicocha lagoon and last but not least the Mojanda lagoons. If you want to combine your visit to the Mojanda lagoons with a visit to Otavalo, you will find more information in our Otavalo blog.

The Mojanda lagoons are highly recommendable for nature and hiking lovers! They offer relaxation, peace and a breathtaking scenery in the middle of untouched nature! Are you interested in exploring the diversity of the Andes with all its volcanoes and crater lakes and spectacular panoramas also in other regions? Then we recommend you to take a look at our Andean tours.

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