Parque Nacional Cajas #1

 

cajas 13

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 by Unesco.  It has 235 lakes, harbor 71 endemics species (it means it can only be found in this geographilc site in the entire planet). Extension 32000 hectares.

 

How to get there.

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TIP: GET/BOOK A TOUR TO CAJAS NATIONAL PARK, IT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE AND THE TRIP EASY AND PLEASANT. I BOOKED MY TRIP IN CUENCA.

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 know 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, around 25 minutes ride. Along the way, there are couple of resaturants that offers local food, and also places for fishing.

cajas
Panorama, desde el mirador Tres Cruces

It is wonderful to witness the journy trough differents enviroments and landscapes from cattle settlements to eucalyptus and pine forests, to higlands covered by paja (type of straw, it is also used to make thatch). There are 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 other route that goes inside the National Park. (there is some info about that at the end of the post)

This is a Paramo land, which means is located above 3500msnm. Rain and fog are part of the lands scapes. Fog can be very heavy and it is easy to lose track of the trail. I was lucky and the day I hiked did not rain at all. I arrived early (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)

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Caminando a través del bosque de Polylepis

If you planning to hike better bring:

  • warm clothing
  • rain jacket
  • gloves
  • sunblock
  • hikking shoes/rubber boots
  • water bottle
  • hat
  • some snacks and water (do not leave any trash inside the park, take with you back to the hostal or in trash bin outside de park)

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,  I walked trough a forest of polylepis, cross over creeks, walking along rivers; sourrounded by steep mountains, birds signiging and the smell of fresh air and paramo soil, and many lakes. This hike is consider by the guide a medium strenght walk.

Cajas flor bromelia
Flor de Bromelia

 

#allyouneedisEcuador #Parquenacionalcajas #reservarnatural #hikking #trekking #birdwatching

Links

Information for groups visitors

http://www.etapa.net.ec/Parque-Nacional-Cajas/Visitar/Operadoras-Turismo

Info for services. The National Park has a lodge, you can stay overnight and early in the morning is possible to do bird watching.

http://www.etapa.net.ec/Parque-Nacional-Cajas/Visitar/Servicios-turisticos

Recomendations

http://www.etapa.net.ec/Parque-Nacional-Cajas/Visitar/Reglas

Google maps info

http://www.parque-nacional-cajas.org/location.html

Lonlely Planet

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ecuador/parque-nacional-cajas/introduction

Once rutas para disfrutar el Cajas. Diario El Comercio

http://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/ecuador/11-rutas-disfrutar-de-cajas.html

Guía de anfibios, reptiles y peces en el Parque Nacional Cajas. ETAPA Cuenca

http://zoologia.puce.edu.ec/Vertebrados/Recursos/publicaciones/Cientifica/Arbelaez_Vega_2008.pdf

Guía de 100 plantas silvestres Parque Nacional Cajas. ETAPA Cuenca

http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/paramo/pdf/GuiaPlantas.pdf

Libro Rojo de las plantas endeemicas del Ecuador. Puce

http://gesneriads.ua.edu/pdf/Gesneriaceae_%20Libro%20Rojo%20Ecuador%202011.pdf

 

 

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