Cuicocha (kucha = lake) is a 3 km (2 mi) wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano in the Cordillera Occidental of the Ecuadorian Andes. Its name comes from the Kichwa indigenous language and means "Lago del Cuy" or Guinea Pig Laguna in English. It was given this name due to the guinea pig shape of the largest Island in the middle of the laguna. These animals play a significant part in the everyday life of Ecuadorians, as they reproduces rapidly and need a minimum of food and care to survive. They make for a high protein meal especially for populations living in high altitude.Cuicocha Crater Lake, is also Known as the "Lake of the Gods" it is located 12 km Southwest of Cotacachi at 3.068 m / 10.250 ft. It was the maximum sanctuary for the religious cult of the local inhabitants, and it is one of the few provincial crater-lakes. Cuicocha lake has a scenic lookout point, this is located on the high part of the crater rim around Lake Cuicocha, and from here the panoramic view gives over almost all of the Imbabura Valley: Lago San Pablo, Otavalo, the Mojanda peaks and Atuntaqui. The lake sports two islands, Teodoro Wolf and Yerovi, separated by the Ensueño canal. This lake is apt for sea-kayaking, powerboat cruises and even high altitude scuba. The lake also has a loop trail, Gorky Campusano, apt for a 4-6 hour fairly strenuous hike. The intra-caldera islands, on the other hand, support some wildlife, most notably the Silvery Grebe, which lives around the reeds and feeds on small fish, frogs, crayfish, small water snakes, seeds of water plants, and insects. The bird is found in upper temperate and lower páramo zones throughout the Andes, but little is known about the species. In 1974 a census was taken of the population of grebes at Cuicocha and 44 birds were found. Cuicocha forms the southern end of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve. During the second day of Inti Raymi (or Sun Festival) every summer solstice, indigenous shaman use Cuicocha as a bath for ritual cleansing and purification. The Cuicocha Lake, a crater lake within the Cuicocha caldera contains four dacitic lava domes which form two steep forested islands: Yerovi, the smaller, and Teodoro Wolf, the larger. People are prohibited on both. The rim of the caldera is extremely steep — so steep, in fact, that the accumulation of sediment is insufficient for most hydrophyte vegetation. An older lava dome from the Pleistocene forms part of the eastern rim. The lake, which is 200 m (656 ft) deep at its deepest point, is highly alkaline and contains little life. It has no known outlet.
|Posted by Jack Abercrombie on June 23, 2013 at 1:12 PM||670 Views|