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Ecuador’s Oyacachi Recognised as One of the Best Tourism Villages of 2023

Ecuador’s Oyacachi Recognised as One of the Best Tourism Villages of 2023

Ecuador’s Oyacachi has been recognised as one of the Best Tourism Villages of 2023, according to The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
This global initiative sees Ecuador’s villages leading the way in the preservation of cultures and traditions, celebration of diversity, creation of opportunities and protection of wildlife, through tourism as a positive force for transformation, rural development and the well-being of communities. This award follows Ecuador’s success in 2022, where Aguarico and Angochagua received the same accolade.

Oyacachi, Napo

Oyacachi means “face” or “cheek of salt,” a name derived from the weathered and sun-drenched faces of its inhabitants. Located in the El Chaco canton, Napo province, on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountain range within the Cayambe Coca National Park, Oyacachi straddles the Andes and the Amazon. The majority of the community belongs to the Kichwa Kayambi ethnic group and has been settled in this area for over 500 years, preserving a rich natural and cultural heritage expressed through ancestral knowledge passed on and practised in the community. This protected knowledge has been instrumental in the economic, social, and environmental development of the area.

Known as the “land of water” due to the abundance of rivers, streams, waterfalls, lagoons, and hot springs, tourists can make the most of the great outdoors and try their hand at rainbow trout sport fishing, soaking in thermal pools, hiking the forest trails, visiting the restoration of historical sites, and experiencing the community’s craftsmanship - renowned wood carvings, pyrography and paintings were recognised by UNESCO in 2011. Accommodation for tourists is authentic and characterful with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes – Termas de Papallacta Hotel offers access to a relaxing spa, taking inspiration from the nearby thermal waters, whilst the River House offers sleek rooms and picturesque balconies complete with hammock, to watch the sunset over the mountains.

Tourism highlights of Oyacachi:


Salve Fakcha Waterfalls
Wildlife spotting: spectacled bears, white-tailed deer, mountain tapirs, mountain foxes and the Andean condor
Cumilinti Haka Rock Climbing Wall and Viewpoint
Hot springs with temperatures from 23 to 35°C
Paramo landscapes and lakes
El Cisne, Loja

El Cisne has been included in the UNWTO’s 2023 Upgrade Programme. This programme supports communities on their journey to meet Best Villages criteria, helping in areas that need support or development. El Cisne is known for the sacred pilgrimage of the Virgin Swan, which takes place between 17th August and 1st November – welcoming over 500,000 dedicated pilgrims to numerous religious celebrations. Tourists can visit these colourful religious festivals and browse the local artisanal ornaments for sale, such as paintings and rosaries.

Ecuador is delighted to have been recognised for two of its heritage destinations in this year’s awards. Oyacachi and El Cisne have been selected from almost 260 candidates from more than 60 countries, highlighting the important values ​​and strides being made in Ecuador’s rural tourism.

Avianca flights from London Stansted to Quito starting from £603pp from 13th- 20th January 2024. Stay in a standard room at Termas de Papallacta for seven nights, from £1,144.