(Guest Post by Erika Anton about Cascada Peguche just outside of Otavalo. Thanks LilE!)
On my second trip up to Otavalo with Nicole, Greg and Ali we made a quick run (and by run I mean a $2 cab ride) up to Cascada Peguche. A few weeks before, Nicole and I had hoped to see the 18 meter waterfall, that resides 3km northwest of Otavalo, but didn’t get to it.
The entrance to the protected forest where the waterfall is located does not have a fee for people that want to walk up to the falls. Near the entrance is also a parking lot for people with their own vehicles. I imagine there is a parking fee when it is busier around the summer solstice and during festivals like San Pedro y San Pablo and Inti Raymi, but it was very quiet when we went up on a Monday during the early afternoon.
A cobblestone path closed in by paralleling stone half walls winds through most of the eucalyptus forest up towards the falls. Parts of the trails get muddy. There are also diverging paths that take visitors over the San Pablo River via suspended bridge. The bridge has some broken boards so watch your step. The San Pablo River that flows off the 18 meter drop comes from nearby Laguna San Pablo that originates at the southeastern base of Volcano Imbabura.
At a leisurely pace and plenty of pausing to take pictures, it took the four of us maybe thirty minutes to walk up to the base of Cascada Peguche. The rocks directly below the mist of the waterfall get slippery, so mind your footing. For more photo opportunities, there are two bridges spanning San Pablo River and a lookout that is about halfway up the falls. If you brave walking up to the top of the falls from either side of the river there is a harry crossing with a 20 foot drop down and 25 feet up river from the top of the drop off.
In the area there is also a place to camp, two small pools, a few shops (selling similar things as the market in Otavalo) and a few places to eat. However, if it is busy, it maybe be difficult to get anything in a timely manner and I suggest just catching a taxi back to Otavalo.