Cuenca – Guayaquil via Cajas National Park

Traveling to or from Guayaquil to Cuenca takes you through Cajas National Park famed for its spectacular scenery, flora and fauna. Why not make the most of the trip by visiting the main sites and stretching your legs with a short hike en route? It’s the perfect way to say hello or goodbye to the Andes.


Description

This tour is ideal for those looking to travel between Guayaquil and Cuenca without missing out on the chance to visit Cajas National Park on the way. It’s also a great idea if arriving or departing from Guayaquil airport, helping you kill two birds with one stone by providing private transportation and the chance to revel in nature as well.
 
The hike itself will depend on the fitness level of participants and can last up to three hours. We recommend a moderate hike around a glacier lake, through tundra vegetation and a polylepis forest. Alternatively you can choose to do a shorter hike and combine it with a visit to the Virgin of Cajas. Depending on weather and your particular timeline your guide will take you to enjoy panoramic views at Tres Cruces. A delicious traditional lunch can be included for an additional fee, though the tour price includes a packed lunch.
 

This tour includes

· A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide
· Private transportation
· Pickup and drop off from your hotel
· Packed lunch
 

This tour does not include

· Travel insurance
· Tips
· Any other service not mentioned herein
 

Packing tips

· Warm clothes
· Proper hiking boots
· Rain gear
· Sun protection
· Sun glasses

Highlights

Cajas National Park
Cajas National Park is located about 33 km west of Cuenca in Southern Ecuador. The park covers about 285 km2 at an altitude of between 3100m and 4450m above sea level. It is famous for its characteristic tundra vegetation covering hills and valleys. There are about 270 lakes and lagoons throughout the park. The name of the park comes from the Quichua word cassia which translates as gateway to the snowy mountains, though some link it to the Spanish word cajas meaning boxes due to the hundreds of lakes.
Polylepis trees
Also known as Quinoa or the paper tree, Polylepis trees grow above 3300 meters and shed their bark in thin layers to prevent growth of parasites.
Birds
With over 150 species identified so far, Cajas National Park is a birdwatchers paradise. If you are looking to do some bird watching there are plenty of hummingbirds, including the giant hummingbird. Other birds known to live in the park include the Andean Condor, Curiquinga, the violet-throated metaltail, the great-horned owl, the gray breasted mountain toucan, the powerful woodpecker, turquoise jay, Andean ruddy duck and the caranculated caracara.
Mammals
Cajas National Park is home to a wide range of animals including endemic and endangered species. Within Cajas National Park you might have the chance to see the American rabbit, the common South American fox, white-tailed deer, the domesticated lama and alpaca, different kinds of opossums, cats and bats, pumas, coatis, weasels, skunks, porcupines, shrews and the Cajas water mouse.

Rates

# passengers Price (per person)
1 UR
2 $161
3 $113
4-5 $100
6-7 $78
8-9 $66
10-15 $60
16-25 $58
26+ $57

 

Made-to-Measure Travel

This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of the available options for travel in Ecuador. But keep in mind:

  • We can tailor this trip to suit your needs, tastes, time frame and budget