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Cajas National Park
At a distance of 30 km from Cuenca, this protected zone has 275 lakes and a large extension of primary forest. Various rivers are born here and flow both towards the Pacific Ocean and towards the Amazon forest. It houses many species of flora and fauna and its temperature does not pass 10 degrees Celsius. It is the perfect site for long and interesting hikes. But it is necessary to get help from guides that known the land because of the size of the region.

Chopsi Ruins
In the province of Azuay is a cave that contains the Chopsi ruins with its wall writings. It consists of large quadrangular constructions surrounded by other smaller ones and protected by a rock wall. A site where you come into contact with the Pre-Colombian history of America.

On the slopes of Pugila, 64 km from Loja, is the land of the Saraguro Indians who still maintain their traditions of dance, music and dress. The black poncho is a signal of the promise of mourning that they made when the Spaniards killed Atahualpa. The sector offers beautiful landscapes and very nearby are other communities like Catacocha, Celica and Gonzanamá.

Ingapirca Archeological Center
An ancient Incan ceremonial center settled on top of a rock that forms a pedestal to an elliptical platform. Ingapirca means "Incan Wall", whose meaning speaks to us of the grandeur that it enjoyed during Incan times. It is divided into three parts or departments and is considered to be the most important Incan site in Ecuador.

This monument is found in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes in the parish of Ingapirca in the canton of Cañar. Within the archeological complex is the Temple of the Sun and the interior rooms; the ceremonial Plaza, the Condamine Area, which is nothing more than the external rooms. There are also a warehouse, workshops, Pilaloma, the Cañari Temple, ritual baths and a stone street.

Podocarpus National Park
Podocarpus National Park is one of Ecuador's great treasures. The park encompasses typical Andean cloud forest and varies in altitude from 900 to 3600 meters. The park extends across 146,280 hectares overlapping from the province of Loja into the Amazonian province of Zamora. Podocarpus comes from the scientific name of the only conifer native to Ecuador, whose common name is romerillo.

Mega floral biodiversity is another of Podocarpus' attributes. Over 3000 botanical species can be found here of which 360 have been identified as orchids.

The park is also a haven for birdwatching. Over 600 species of birds, including 60 types of hummingbirds, toucans, tanagers, Andean cock-of-the-rock and a myriad of parrots, have been identified here.

The most distinctive aspect of Podocarpus, however, is its system of lagoons. Over twelve high altitude lakes are located within the park. Pristine waterfalls and small creeks connect the lagoons; granite walls define them. This amazing aquatic network is the birthplace of most of the rivers that cross Ecuador's southern Andes.

Where to Stay
We recommend these informative GoEcuador links:
Cuenca Hotels
Cuenca Hostels
Loja Hotels
Loja Hostels
Vilcabamba Hotels, Hostels


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