Environmentalism in Ecuador series
by Steven Beardsley
|On the balcony by the Park Center|
This past Sunday I went with several other teachers to Cajas National Park, a park that is just about thirty minutes outside of Cuenca. Cajas became a national park just 20 years ago in 1996. It is an important place for Ecuador and especially Cuenca because it gets all of its clean water from the naturally forming lakes and rivers in the mountains. There are over 12 different routes you can take ranging in difficulty based on whether you want to hike a flatter trail or rock climb some of the major hills. Another past time in Cajas is trout fishing that was mentioned to me by more than several cab drivers. You can also camp out in the park for another $2-$4 dollars and rent camping equipment. Learn more about planning a visit to Cajas National Park.
Meeting *Matteo the Majestic Alpaca
|One of the many Alpacas we saw by the Park Center|
Biodiversity in Cajas National Park
|The "Quinoa" Forest|
Another cool thing about Cajas is that it is home to "at least 600 species of vascular plants, 43 mammals, 157 birds (including 24 hummingbirds), 17 amphibians and 4 reptiles". Route A had us traveling through a mix of the moorland and paper trees that are known locally as “quinoas” (although they aren’t the actual grain that you can have with a salad), and several lagoons and marshland. In Cajas you can see Condors (we didn’t see one sadly D: ), wild horses, cows, alpacas, Andean parrots, hummingbirds, and many other animals.
Archaeological & Scientific Research at Cajas National Park
|We were over 12,000 ft. above sea level!|
|Part of the Route A path we took; It was a beautiful day|
Luckily, we had a very beautiful and warm evening. I definitely want to visit this ecological paradise again and see more of the Incan ruins and meet the various wildlife. You can learn more about Cajas National Park through the links in the post. This month and December I hope to travel to other ecological places in Ecuador such as the Banos in Cuenca, the Amazon rainforest, and some islands in the Galapagos Islands.
Hasta Luego-Until then.
|Me and the other CEDEI Teachers at Cajas National Park|
*We didn't know if they named the Alpacas, but I decided to call this one "Matteo."
*More great pictures of the park below