Papallacta

  • Altitude: 3.300 meters
  • Inhabitants: 950
  • Region: North-Andes

Papallacta is a small village in the Napo Province and is located at an altitude of 3.300 meters. The scenic drive from Quito to Papallacta passes through several towns and small villages before ascending to a peak of over 4.000 meters where views of mountains and glaciers are visible. Descending from the peak to Papallacta, one passes through the portal where the ecosystems transform from alpine surroundings to tropical jungle. On a clear day you can see the volcano Cotopaxi and Antisana with its beautiful snowcapped peaks. The village of Papallacta is known for the several hot springs and spas. It´s a perfect place to relax while bathing in the thermal waters or enjoy the beautiful surroundings while hiking in the area.

Thermal baths

The hydrothermal value of the thermal baths is thanks to Papallacta’s location between the Cayambe volcano and the Antisana volcano. The source temperature of the thermal baths varies between 30°C and 70°C. At the pools the temperature ranges from 36°C to 40°C. Papallacta´s thermal waters contain sulfates, sodium, calcium, chloride and traces of magnesium which are odorless and colorless but have a slightly salty taste. There are two different thermal places. The public pools are called the ´Balneario´, with more than 25 pools. For a more exclusive experience you can visit the spa pools. Further, it is also possible to book massages here. At both thermal places are also cold water pools if you want to cool off at some point. In case you would like to stay in one of the charming cabins of the Termas de Papallacta Hot Springs Resort, you can also make use of private thermal baths.

Hiking

There are several hiking possibilities around Papallacta. The Fundación Terra, located above Las Termas de Papallacta, manages three short and easy trails nearby (1–4hr). You can walk the trail ´Sendero de la Isla´ by yourself, which will take about one hour, along the Río Papallacta. For the other trails you will need to hire a guide directly at Fundación Terra. More info: www.termaspapallacta.com

The beautiful Reserva Ecologica Cayambe-Coca presents miles of lakes and trails in a preserved and secluded setting. For (multiday) hiking in the Reserva Ecologica Cayambe-Coca, contact the Rumicocha Ecological Foundation. More info: +593-6-2320-637, www.rumicocha.org.ec

Insiders´ tips

  • Try the steamed trout at one of the local restaurants, a specialty of the area.

  • Drink enough water while enjoying the thermal baths, it is important to stay hydrated at all times.

Restaurant tips

  • Sucus restaurant. This restaurant at the hotel Termas de Papallacta serves delicious international dishes. More info: www.termaspapallacta.com

  • La Choza de Don Wilson. Nice restaurant with delicious trout. Address Avenida Interoceánica Vía al Tena. More info: www.hosteriachozapapallacta.com