Otavalo is a top destination in Ecuador for travelers. It’s famous for its large market, but most backpackers only visit here as a day trip. There’s so much more to do here, and going to Cascada de Peguche is one of those things!
Peguche Waterfall is easy to get to and is an affordable activity for the whole family. You can turn this into a mini-hike and enjoy the vendors here while taking in the breathtaking waterfall.
In this guide, I’ll review everything you need to know about Cascada de Peguche and if it’s worth visiting.
What is Cascada de Peguche?
Cascada de Peguche is a 50 ft waterfall (18 meters) in the town of Otavalo. It’s considered an indigenous site because of the ceremonial baths here.
There’s a legend about the Peguche Waterfall that speaks of a golden bowl located inside. Next to this bowl, the devil sits. Once the sand washes away, the devil will take away the person who decides to enter the waterfall at that moment.
Where is Cascada de Peguche Located?
Peguche Waterfall is in Otavalo, a two-hour journey by bus from Quito. If you take the bus like we did, it’ll be closer to 2.5 or 3 hours, depending on the traffic.
We traveled to Otavalo from Mindo. This is a long travel day and we knew that. So we took a day off after doing the Mindo Waterfall Hike and then set out.
If you’re coming from Mindo, too, you must get a bus back to Quito and another bus to Otavalo.
Quito to Otavalo
If you rent a car in Ecuador, simply type in Otavalo in Google Maps and start driving!
If you want to take the bus from Otavalo to Quito, you’ll want to go to Terminal Carcelén. This is the far north bus terminal in Quito and is 20 minutes away from Terminal la Ofelia, where you’ll go if heading to Mindo.
The taxi only cost us two to three dollars from Ofelia to the Carcelen bus station.
The bus from Carcelen to Otavalo will cost $3.50. Not too bad!
How to Get to Peguche Waterfall from Otavalo
It’s pretty simple to get Cascada de Peguche from anywhere in Otavalo. You can walk, take a taxi bus, and even find a tour with this as part of its itinerary. We were in closer proximity to it, so we decided to walk. Below, I’ll go over the options for getting here in more detail.
Our walk to Peguche waterfall was rather straightforward based on where our homestay was. It was easy to follow Google Maps until we got to the “trail”. This trial is marked and cuts across the land, past some new buildings being built, and to a bridge.
From here, you can go either way. Keep going straight or cross the bridge, but most keep going straight and take the bridge back.
This walk took us about 30 to 40 minutes and was very easy.
If you’re short on time, the bus is an easy and cheap way to get here. Simply walk to the main bus terminal, where you will get dropped off when arriving at Otavalo.
Look for the bus company Imbaburapac cooperative or ask around for Cascada de Peguche. The cost is only 35 cents and will take around 15 minutes. This is due to it stopping a lot.
If you’re really short on time, I’d suggest taking a Taxi. Most drivers will know where Cascada de Peguche is and won’t have a problem taking you.
The cost will depend on where you’re taking it from but it shouldn’t cost more than $2 or $3.
As I said, Otavalo is a popular destination on a day trip. If you’re short on time, then you might opt for this. Tours leaving Quito will stop by the famous markets as well as Peguche Waterfall.
The cost isn’t too bad for what you see and do daily.
Things to Know Before Visiting Cascada de Peguche
I don’t see Peguche Waterfall on many itineraries when visiting Ecuador. That means not many people know about it, or there’s not enough time.
Below are more details you might want to know before planning your trip to Cascada de Peguche.
Things to Bring
Here are some things you might want to bring with you when visiting Peguche Waterfall.
Depending on what time of the year you visit, or what mode of transportation you’re taking, it’s good to be prepared.
Best Time to Visit Peguche Waterfall
Cascada de Peguche is another fantastic activity that can be visited year-round. The temperature will stay around the same but the rainfall might increase.
The best time of the year to visit without rain would be during the months of June to October. It didn’t rain at all during our time in Otavalo in July.
That said, sometimes it’s best to visit a waterfall right after it rains a lot. This will make the waterfall flow much stronger than when it hasn’t been raining.
Even though it didn’t rain for us before going, the Peguche Waterfall was still flowing hard.
Is it Worth Visiting?
Absolutely, Peguche Waterfall is worth visiting! It’s a cheap activity and you can explore a wonderful natural spot just a short way from Otavalo.
My favorite activity in Otavalo was Laguna Cuicocha but this was a close second.
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Peguche Waterfall Hike Details
- Distance: This hike is a 5 mile out & back hike. This number great differs based on where you’re starting from.
- Duration: On average, it will take people 1.5 hours to finish. This depends on your fitness level and how long you stay at the waterfall.
- Difficulty: I’d rank this hike easy because it’s mainly all flat sections.
- Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 150 feet or 45 meters.
- Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public
Best Places to Stay in Otavalo, Ecuador
Otavalo is an awesome town but many people don’t stay here overnight. If you decide to stay overnight, there are plenty of accommodation options. Below are my favorite places to stay in Otavalo.
- El Andariego: If you’re looking for a cozy hostel in Otavalo, then El Andariego is the place. It’s two minutes from the markets and also has its own restaurant on the property!
- Hostal La Rosa Otavalo: This is another superb hostel in Otavalo. Breakfast is included here, and the price for a private room is affordable, even for backpackers.
- Hotel El Geranio: El Geranio is a step up from the other accommodations on this list, but it’s still at a fantastic price! Breakfast is included, which is the quality of a hotel, but it also has a kitchen to use if need be.
My Experience Hiking to Cascada de Peguche
The hike to Peguche Waterfall was a very simple one for us. Our accommodation was located on C. Luis Alberto, which leads you straight to where the trail is.
It took us about 20 minutes to walk down this road until we reached the trail. We had to take no turns or even look at our phones. It was that easy.
When the road started to really turn, we looked for a sign that said Cascada Peguche. Follow the signs and then hook a left at the new buildings being built (they might be finished when you visit).
After passing these buildings, the trail is even easier to follow. We passed some Alpacas or Llamas (still unsure of the difference, oops) and a horse.
The trail and terrain felt really dry and dusty when walking through here. But like I said, it felt like it hadn’t rained long before we visited Peguche Waterfall.
After about 10 minutes, we arrived at a bench with a canopy and a bridge across from us. We stared at it for a while, wondering which way we should go.
Ultimately, we decided to keep heading on the same path as we came and ended at what felt like the entrance. There were restaurants and different shops.
The waterfall was only five minutes or less from where these buildings were located. I’m glad we arrived early because a large tour showed up about an hour later.
We found a good spot to eat our lunch, headed up to the mirador, and then walked back to the bridge.
FAQs about Cascada de Peguche
What is the Cost to Enter Peguche Waterfall?
Currently, there is no entrance. The entrance fee is a gratuity, and oftentimes, visitors will pay $1 to help keep the place in good shape.
I think this is more than reasonable and was worth every penny.
What Can You Do at Cascada de Peguche?
There are lots of things to do here. You can visit the many shops, eat at a restaurant, hike up to the mirador, enjoy the waterfall, or swim in the pool.
Personally, we didn’t swim but we saw others doing it.
What does Otavalo Offer?
Otavalo is a great destination to visit when traveling to Ecuador. You can visit their famous markets, hike around Laguna Cuicocha, Cascada de Peguche, and many other things!
Final Thoughts on Cascada de Peguche
Peguche Waterfall is so close to Otavalo that there’s no reason not to visit it. It’s affordable and a great place to hang out during the day. The little hike to it was also nice, and it seems it will only get better. I highly suggest visiting Cascada de Peguche if you’re here in Otavalo!
Thanks for reading my guide on Peguche Waterfall. I hope this helps you plan your itinerary to this beautiful country!