Papallacta is a small village in Napo Province, Ecuador located at an altitude of 3,300 m in the Andes just off the Eastern Cordilleras on the road from Quito which leads into the Amazon jungle. The scenic drive from Quito to Papallacta passes through several towns and small villages before ascending to a peak of over 4,000 m, from where mountains and glaciers are visible. Descending from the peak to Papallacta, the ecosystems transform from alpine to tropical jungle.
Several hot springs and spas are located in Papallacta. Many of the local restaurants are known for their steamed trout. For lodging, there are several hotels and a resort.
Lake Papallacta and its surrounding watershed previously provided much of the drinking water for Quito, but because of frequent landslides in the region and the fact that the water pipeline and oil pipeline from the Amazon jungle pass in close proximity, a 2003 oil spill contaminated the lake, affecting recreational uses as well as clean water.
The mammals of Papallacta have been studied in detail. The following species have been recorded in the vicinity of the village:
Order Paucituberculata (shrew opossums)
Order Didelphimorphia (opossums)
Order Eulipotyphla (insectivores)
Cryptotis cf. montivagus
Order Carnivora (carnivorans)
Culpeo (Pseudalopex culpaeus)
Pampas cat (Leopardus pajeros)
Conepatus cf. semistriatus
Long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata)
Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)
Order Cetartiodactyla (even-toed ungulates and whales)
Northern pudu (Pudu mephistophiles)
Order Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates)
Mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque)
Order Rodentia (rodents)
Mountain paca (Cuniculus taczanowskii)
Order Lagomorpha (hares, rabbits, and pikas)
Tapeti (Sylvilagus brasiliensis)