Another recent excursion with our friends Beverly and Jack, and their driver Juan, found us at Cuicocha Laguna, a caldera and crater lake situated at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano. The name “Cuicocha” is from the Kichwa indigenous language and means guinea pig (“cuy”) lake (“cocha”). The lake got its name from the guinea pig shape of its largest island located in the middle of the laguna. Roast guinea pig or “cuy” is also a popular delicacy in these parts, and has been a standard menu item in most, if not all, of the restaurants we have frequented. It should be noted that we have not tried it yet … and, since Lori had a pet guinea pig when she was young, the chances of us ever trying it are slim to none!
Cuicocha was created about 3,100 years ago with the eruption of the Cotacachi Volcano. The volcano has been dormant since that time, but is not yet considered to be extinct!
[Note: A “caldera” is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption.]