El Cajas National Park is located in the Ecuadorian Andes, specifically in the province of Azuay in the south of the country. It is part of the National System of Protected Areas of Ecuador. In this park you will be able to appreciate the wonderful landscapes of plateaus, the cloudy forest, the Andean moor and hundreds of bodies of water.
In El Cajas National Park “there are about 165 lagoons with more than 1 hectare, and 621 with less than 1 hectare” (MAE, Parque Nacional Cajas, 2018). In fact, one of its most famous lagoons is La Toreadora, which is located at 3,900 metres over sea level. This lagoon is one of the most visited places in the park, which is why it deserves to be part of your visiting schedule while you are in Ecuador.
Best Trip Ecuador offers you the El Cajas National Park Tour. You are invited to enjoy the mysterious silence of the mountains and to explore its incredible trails bordering some magical lagoons. During the walk, you will see interesting endemic plants and birds of the Ecuadorian moors.
Enjoy the natural wonders and the fantastic lagoons of Cajas National Park! We are sure that the unique riches of the Ecuadorian Andes will leave you amazed.
Activities during the tour
First, we will pick up our passengers through the 5 main hotels in the city of Cuenca. Time to be determined by the participants, preferably no later than 9:00 a.m. Later, we will go to El Cajas National Park which is located at 33 km from Cuenca.
Visit to the lower part of the Cloud Forest
The tour begins with a visit to Llaviucu, the lower part of the park, where we will walk during one hour. We will be at 3.100 metres above sea level (low difficulty). Then we will move to the highest part of the park, called “Tres Cruces”, located at approximately 4.160 metres above sea level. There you can make fantastic photographs and get an explanation from the guide.
Visit to La Toreadora lagoon, tundra and Polylepis forest
After visiting “Tres Cruces” we will go to La Toreadora lagoon, where we will make the second walk. This time the height will be 3,900 metres above sea level. In this lagoon, located approximately 40 kilometers from Cuenca, it is located the technical office of the National Park, an interpretation center and the access to the different trails.
On the way we will visit the Polylepis Forest called San Luis, Lagunas Unidas (United Lagoons) and Totoras, Patoquinuas. We will walk during 2:30 or 3:00 hours (the difficulty of the hike is medium-high, depending on the weather).
The forest is a magical place with short pastures and full of Polylepis better known as the “paper tree”. The Polylepis forest, is described as a millenarian hierarchical forest, considered unique in its kind by the exclusivity of it specie, with an age between 2 and 4 million years.
You will enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant (drinks and other personal consumption are not included).
Once the activities are completed, we start to head back to the city of Cuenca to disembark the passengers at the same boarding points.
What to bring with you?
To start this adventure, do not forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, hiking shoes, sweater and raincoat, sunscreen, and a camera.
Do not miss El Cajas National Park Tour which offers you a fantastic excursion through the La Toreadora lagoon, the cloud forest, the tundra and the Polylepis forest, a set of unique natural wonders of El Cajas National Park.