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How to explore Peguche Waterfall: an Otavalo must-do

While visiting the Otavalo markets is on most people’s bucket lists for a day trip from Quito, many come for the markets and not much else. In fact, there’s a bunch of great activities to do around Otavalo, enough to spread across a weekend, but also to squeeze in to get the most out of your day trip. Making your way to the amazing nature of Peguche Waterfall is one of them!

Cascada de Peguche, or the Peguche Waterfall, is a stunning 18 metre high waterfall and it’s super-close to Otavalo and the famous markets. It’s a real fun (but easy!) adventure to get there and requires some gentle walking along the river that the waterfall flows into.

Peguche Waterfalls is also a spot of ceremonial significance for the nearby indigenous people, and has purification baths held in June each year.

How to get to the Peguche Waterfall Track

Getting to the track is really simple! You can either take a taxi directly from the market or city centre, it should only cost around $1.25. The taxi will probably drop you off at a car park on the other side of the falls. However, if you’re feeling energetic pop on those walking shoes and walk off all that delicious market food.

It takes about forty minutes to walk from the centre of town all the way to the stunning waterfall. Half of the walk is through the suburbs and along the railway track, while the rest is the river track! If you take a taxi to the start it will take you around twenty minutes to get your first glimpse of the waterfall.

Once you get out of town you can spot this sign. The track gets even more spectacular from here!

We just threw ‘Peguche Waterfall’ into Google Maps and that got us along the railway tracks to the start of the walk. From there, follow the signs saying ‘Cascada’ and you’ll be golden.

Which track to take?

As you walk along the river you’ll have a few options to cross via large suspension bridges. We took the first bridge, crossing the river to our left. If we did it again, we would just stick to the right hand side the whole way.

This was one of the better bridges to cross.

The left hand track has very hungry insects, so remember bug spray. It also has a few particularly muddy sections where you need to clamber over rocks or risk ruining your shoes. It’s a fun adventure, but if you’re looking for the easy route remember to stick to the right.

You can also do both sides – at the waterfall is another large bridge, so you can do the entire track as a loop!

What to bring to Peguche Waterfall

Bug spray. For the love of god, please bring bug spray with you. The insects are particularly vicious around here, and if you stand in any one spot too close to the river they will attack. They’re the only tiny bugs we’ve had that will draw blood straight away. Our legs looked like they had had a hundred needles injected into them by the end. Long sleeves would also be a plus.

Apart from that:

  • Sunscreen (a lot! The sun can be hot in Otavalo)
  • Water (we were good with about 600ml per person)
  • Camera (duh)
  • Bathers and a towel – yes, you can swim at the waterfalls! There are a few pools around to make it ultra safe, or you can swim in the river at the start of the track.
  • Rainjacket – if it looks like rain
We half-expected to see elves and fairies on the walk to Peguche Waterfall.

Are there shops and toilets at Peguche Waterfall?

Yes! If you take the left-hand side track you will come across a camping ground with access to toilets for $0.20, and a few small snack sellers. Once you reach the waterfall, on the right-hand side is a cluster of restaurants and snack sellers. Prices seemed reasonable.

How much does Peguche Waterfall cost to enter?

Freeeee! Is there any better word? Of course, a donation for the local people is always appreciated, or you can support them by buying some snacks or souvenirs.

What else is there to do at Peguche Waterfall?

The walk to the waterfall is easy, but completely immersed in nature. To make the most out of it, bring a picnic blanket and some snacks and sit by the river with a book. Otherwise, pack your swimsuit and cool off with a dip in the river!

Peguche Waterfall is a stunning mini-hike when going to Otavalo.

Is visiting Peguche Waterfall worth it?

Yes! While Otavalo Markets are fun to stroll through, they’re also on the edge of being ‘too’ touristy. It’s well worth it to get out of town and into the nature, particularly considering it is so close!

Have you made the walk to Peguche Waterfall? Got a tip to add? Drop it in the comments below!

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