Lagunas de Mojanda, Ecuador
Consisting of three lagunas, the Lagunas de Mojanda sit high in the alpine páramo (grasslands) of the Northern Sierra. Cold winds deter many travelers from stopping here, however, the deep blue colors of the lagunas and the austere landscape can make for a peaceful, uncrowded experience.
Climbing a bumpy cobblestone road above the town of Otavalo brings you to the Lagunas de Mojanda. These are situated in the highland páramo and are bordered by mountainous hillsides. The largest laguna is set within a volcanic caldera, just like other lagunas in the region. Towering above the lagunas is the Fuya Fuya Mountain—exposed volcanic rock gives the surrounding hillside a black, charred look.
There are hiking trails around the lake that bring visitors to a handful of overlooks and beaches. On a clear day, a hike to the top of Fuya Fuya provides panoramic views of the Northern Sierra. In Quechua, “Fuya Fuya” translates to “Cold, Cold,” a name which accurately describes the climate here. If you plan to hike in this area, be sure to bring warm clothing.