El páramo del Cajas, reserva de agua local y mundial. Ecosistema único donde se puede apreciar el nacimiento del agua, el inicio del recorrido del agua hacia los bosques y las ciudades. Agua cristalina en su estado natural. Here in Cajas you can witness how the water sprout from the soil. This black soil an intrisenct element of the Paramo land (territory located above 3500meters above sea level). It was declared Biosphere Reserve byUnesco. It has 235 lakes, harbor 71 endemics species (it means it can only be found in this geographilc site in the entire planet). Extension 32ooo hectares.
How to get there.
From Cuenca, you can take a bus that goes to Guayaquil or near towns of Cuenca, and the bus will drop you by the main entrance (let the driver knwo you are going to Cajas National Park). The ride takes around 40 minutes. By car take the route that goes to Guayaquil to Parque Nacional Cajas, aroudn 25 minutes ride. Alog the way, there are couple of resaturants that offers local food, and also places for fishing.
It is wonderful witness how the landscape goes changing from cattle settlements, trough eucalyptus and pine forests, to higlands covered by paja (type of straw, it is also used to make thatch). There 11 routes to do hikking, climbing from easy to high risk.
I will highly recommend to hire a guide if you planning to hike the route number 3, or any route that takes goes inside the National Park. (there is some info about it at the edn of the post, in links)
It is a Paramo land, whcin means it is located above 3500msnm. Rain and fog are part of the lands scapes. Fog can be very heavy and it is easy to lost track of the trail. I was lucky and the day I hike did not rain at all. Arrive aerly (8am), do not hike if you arrive a midday, the chances of heavy rain are 90% if it is not raining already (winter time: Febraury-April)
If you planning to hike better bring:
- warm clothing
- rain jacket
- hikking shoes
- water bottle
- some snacks and water (do not leave any trash inside the park, take with you back to your hostal or place where you can put in trash bin)
The first hike was up to a “mirador” lookout point. It is a short hike called Tres Cruces. 20 minutes up to stairs (4000meters above sea level). You have a great view of some lakes and gives and idea what the park includes. It is a easy walk
The second hike we stared at the main entrance. It took around three hours and I walked trough a forest of polylepis, cross over creeks, walking along rivers. sourround by steep mountains, birds signiging and the smell of fresh air and paramo soil, and many lakes. It is a medium strenght walk
#allyouneedisEcuador #Parquenacionalcajas #reservarnatural #hikking #trekking #birdwatching
Information for groups visitors
Info for services. The National Park has a lodge, you can stay overnight and early in the morning is possible to do bird watching.
Google maps info
Once rutas para disfrutar el Cajas. Diario El Comercio
Guía de anfibios, reptiles y peces en el Parque Nacional Cajas. ETAPA Cuenca
Guía de 100 plantas silvestres Parque Nacional Cajas. ETAPA Cuenca
Libro Rojo de las plantas endeemicas del Ecuador. Puce