"Papallacta Pass" Ecuador Off The Beaten Path Tip by traveldave

Ecuador Off The Beaten Path: 75 reviews and 94 photos


Papallacta Pass is not a tourist destination in itself, but anyone taking the main highway from Quito to the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains will cross the pass. The highway follows the "Cinnamon Trail" which is the route taken by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana in 1542 as he crossed the Andes Mountains searching for gold and spices.

The pass is around 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) in elevation, so visitors not accustomed to high altitudes will experience difficulty breathing, and could even suffer the effects of altitude sickness. The weather can also present some problems to the visitor, including clouds and mist, rain or snow, and extremely strong winds.

Papallacta Pass is popular among birdwatchers who visit the Quito area. The Cayambe Reserve, which protects high páramo grassland and wetland habitats, is one of the best places in the Andes region to find the difficult-to-see chestnut-bellied seedsnipe, as well as other high-altitude species of birds, including ducks, condors, hawks, falcons, cinclodes, canasteros, antpittas, and tapaculos.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 27, 2009
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