"Parque Nacional Cajas" Cajas by MalenaN
Cajas Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 103 photos
Cajas National Park is situated just west of Cuenca. The park has an area of 285 sq km and it lies between an altitude of 3100 - 4450 metres. Most of the park consists of Páramo, a high grassland ecosystem, with rugged mountains and over 250 lakes. There are also a few small forests with Quinoa trees (Polylepis) and in the lover part of the park, at Laguna Llaviucu, there is a humid cloud forest. Within the park there are 19 plant species endemic to Cajas.
In the end of 1990s llamas were reintroduced to the park. The chance to see them is much larger than the chance to see other larger animals present in the national park like the Spectacled Bear, Puma and Oncillas. There are also many different bird species in the park, among others hummingbirds, toucans and Condors.
The views over the mountains, valleys and lakes are stunning, that is if you can see it. Cajas is a very wet and foggy place so sometimes, or actually very often, visibility is not so good. The driest months are between August and January, but also then it can often rain. As Cajas National Park is situated at a very high altitude it can also be very cold. At night temperatures can drop below freezing. So bring many layers.
At many places in the park remnants of the old Incan highway, and tambos (way stations), can be seen. The name Cajas probably comes from the Quichua word caxas, which means cold.
There are three main recreational areas in the national park, Laguna Llaviucu, Laguna Cucheros and Laguna Toreadora. They all lie quite close to the Cuenca - Guayaquil road, which passes through the park. At all these places you will find signed trails of different length. At Laguna Toreadora there is an info centre where you can pay the admission for the national park, and get a free map over the area. If you plan to go further into the park you must register at one of the control stations. Besides hiking you can fish trout at some places and go bird watching in the park.
I visited on a guided day tour from Cuenca and I was very happy that we were lucky with the weather (before that sunny day it had rained for two weeks). Laguna Toreadora is situated 34km from Cuenca and as the visitor centre lies just next to the highway it is easy to go there on your own by public transportation.
Laguna Llaviucu is situated in the lower part of Cajas National Park, at an altitude of 3160m. It is the control point... more travel advice
After visiting Tres Cruces we went back to the minibus and drove back down the road, but only for a few minutes. We were... more travel advice
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