El Angel Reserve is located in Carchi Province which is the northern province in the Andes Region of Ecuador. With a temperature in the day between 5°C and 18°C degrees. This reserve has some very distinctive vegetation, one is the paramo with the “Frailejon” plant with its cottoned leaf crown and yellow flowers, and the other one is Polylepis Forest.
The polylepis tree or paper tree because its trunk peals and forms very thin sheets with a reddish-brown color. The torn branches in these very old trees and the mist and fog of the moor make the forest like the ones you will only imagine in a fairy tale.
Its name comes from the greek, poly (multiple) and letis (sheets), that refers to how its trunk and branches look. This is a primary and millennial forest considered unique because of its development in a valley of glacier origin. A forest formed between 2 or 4 million years ago. The sheets of its trunks and branches protect the tree from the frost.
To visit this amazing place you just need to travel north from Quito, and go to the town called El Angel and from there inside the Reserve. In the route, there is a town called Mascarilla were you can find crafted masks very similar to the ones you can find in Africa, with animals faces or black humanoid faces.
Ecuador has a large black population that comes from the African slaves that came to the new continent with the Spaniards. Some of them run away and hide themselves in the forests of the highlands and the forest of the coast. Letting us see the ethnic richness Ecuador has. And the multi-cultural mix found in every place of the country.
Nowadays there are some Afro-descendent communities such as the one settled in the El Chota Valley (Imbabura), Mascarilla (Carchi), La Tolita (Esmeraldas) and Playa de Oro (Esmeraldas). There are some amazing Lodges that provide accommodation and food.
Coming back to the Fairy Forest, there are waterfalls that run through it and form small rivers and ponds that are very attractive for eco-touristic activities. The forest looks enchanted, and there are some tales about goblins that live in this forest and protect it.
Multiple flowers and orchids will give a splash of color to the dark green of the polylepis leafs. The ambiance has a special energy filled with mystery and magic. Each place of the forest looks different just walking in it you will never imagine what you will find, all of a sudden the forest can end, and you will be upon a lake in the middle of a plain.
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