Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas

This 204,420-hectare reserve is by far the largest protected area of Ecuador’s western Andean habitats. Altitude ranges from about 200m above sea level around San Miguel to 4939m at the summit of Cotacachi. Habitats change quickly from lowland, tropical, wet forest to premontane and montane cloud forest to páramo, with many intermediate habitat types. This rapid change of habitat produces the so-called ‘edge effect’ that gives rise to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.

Like most Ecuadorian national parks, this one is free. There's a well-done visitor's center at the reserve entrance showcasing the park's inhabitants, human and other, and it has a killer view (go figure).