This is one of the adventures I have enjoyed the most. It took one year to finally observed the blossom of Guayacan trees in a dry forest landscape.
First lets located this wonderful place, Ecuador the country, Loja the province, south of Ecuador, Zapotillo county border with Peru.
What we did, was flight from Quito to Loja province (40minutes). The airport is in Catamayo city, then we rented a truck, to go south west to Magahurco….this yellow poscard I’ve seen many times on TV. “LLévanos a Mangahurco”
Magahurco is part of Zapotillo county.
Cazaderos, border with Peru, 2014
Well from Catamayo to Zapotillo takes around 5-6 hours by car, from up north in the province to south west. Basically we did a Loja loop tour to arrive to sort of our finally destination Mahaurco. The roads are a mix of urban and rural escenarios.
Some parts are very cloudy, and indeed we did a stop in “Suicide spot” well know place among lojanos called Catacocha. Jumping off the cliff many have comited suicided in this town…you can see the picutres below of the cloudy tourist/suicide spot.
Half of the trip is on main roads, the other half secondary roads. Discovering the insights of a farmland, and very dry nature.
Before continue in the story, I have to explain something I did not know before.
Guayacan is a woody tree that is native to the semi-arid regions of South America. Its branches have a wispy, weepy character. Guayacan is usually evergreen in milder climates, with doubly compound leaves that emerge as a rust color, gradually turning bright green. Small clusters of bright yellow flowers lend a sparkly appearance in the spring and summer. (source Guaycan Brown Elbony http://www.copehardwoods.com/)
In Ecuador this area was deforested and wood sold overseas to Peru, USA and Europe. The trees that nowdays bring us the spectacular blossom are “retoños” thrunk are thiniers and have curvy shapes. The flowers from Guayacan trees are the first food animals have in the beggining of srping. This event it also importan and waited for animals in the region birds, goats, donkeys, lizards, rats and many more.
Here a link to Retuers report about the event (it is short, two minutes)
The south of Loja in Mnahauro region is arid, and has a dry forest that looks dead and matches the sunny dust athmosphere that surround us for couple of hours.
However, all these “dry” trees, blossom once a year, after and only after the first rain in January; turning it in a bright yellow paiting that colored and scent the whole land, becoming surreal.
Because this is a natural event, there could be a risk about timming blossom. It will varies every year between a week or hours or not happening at all. Becuase it is necesary the first rain to come, otherways it will stay still, not yellow flowers.
In Zapotillo county, around the region of Mangahurco, Bolaspamba and Cazaderos, there is a large forest of Guayacanes, the largest in Ecuador (40 thousands hectares). When we arrived to Manhahurco (nowdays every year there is a tourist festival during this season) the land was in mode “brownish”, just a few trees had bloomed, it was pretty sad, that after almost 9 hours of traveling (our trip began in Quito) there was only a few yellow spots in the horizon.
This is the tourist video you expect to see
What you dont know is the yellow breathtking landscape needs the rainy season, and this flower explosion can last only up to 7 days. So that time in Mahaurco, everything was ready for the flower show, but the rain never came.
My aunt (traveler partner) was asking around and people said that in Cazaderos the trees have blossomed. Then we recharge with energy, eating some typic food, I had “chivo al hueco” we decided to hitch-hike in search for Cazaderos village, another hour in a bumpy road.
The atmosphere in Manhaurco was of festivity, tourist can do different activities, there is even bikes for rent. However we want to see first the fu…fabulous trees and later enjoy the tourist party.
And at last Cazaderos!
y los árboles de Guayacan florecidos!!!!!!!
Cazaderos is a tiny village not mobile signal, or internet. Pure nature and a cocktel of escents floating, colours, and quietness. Quietness something impossible to have or recreate in this era of noise and electronic distraction.
We were already in the border with Peru, we only need to walk one minute and crossing it.
From this point every minute was unforgetable, amazing, espectacular….the room where we stayed overnight has it own shower but no lock in the door. However this village is quite and pacific as it seems.
Next day, people from the village offered us a tour in motorcycle, best decision ever. We did many stops and walked around, after we also went to watch some baby cocodriles!!
One more stop to visit some new born cocodriles, if we wanted to wacth, we had to move smoothly and quietly. I saw a couple of them swimming in a lake, her mama was watching us and them from far.
Back in Cazaderos, ready to eat and enjoy more of myself
The way out from Cazaderos another adventure, hitch-hike the only form to do it. We wait, wait until a truck took us back to Manhaurco….30 minutes in a rough bumpy dusty road.
We stayed a night in Zapotillo city, and ate some typic food (chivo al hueco of course), have dessert and chat for hours with a lugareña, that welcomed us in her house without knowing her. We enjoyed the night, listenting to “leyends of Loja”….next day we began our Loja loop trip by bus for another 6 hours to Catamayo and flight back to Quito.