Cajas National Park, Ecuador. 2nd stop | Saga South America
I was in Cuenca on my 1st stop and that day I had planned to go to the Ingapirca Ruins but I got up late. I still went to the bus station and decided to go to the Cajas National Park, about 2 hours from Cuenca. I had heard something about the place but I did not know that I was going to find a place where The Lord of the Rings could have been filmed.
On the way a magician got on the bus and made a dollar that I had disappear, not because he stole it from me but because I bought him a chocolate called “Golpe”. I arrived at the park and when I got off the bus a group of tourists asked me to take a photo of them, I said no and then left.
In fact, I did take their photo and also, I asked them if I could join their group to walk along the path of the Park. It is thanks to this moment (as well as other things) that I would get to do a trail called the “O” of 110 km camping for 7 days and 6 nights in the Patagonia of Chile, in the Torres del Paine National Park, a site that I had never heard of and that I finally found out of its existence weeks later in Bolivia. All for being in Cajas.
The Cajas National Park is great, the landscapes are beautiful. We did a trail of about 5 hours passing through small rivers, Polylepis trees. Someone said that a forest resembles Hogwarts from Harry Potter, in a way it does. It has like a mysterious energy, mystical and kind of dark (I don’t know if it was because of the weather) but it was a very good trail, I really enjoyed it. There are parts that look like the Cayambe – Coca Reserve.
Finally we returned to Cuenca and at the terminal I bought a ticket to leave the country to my next stop: Máncora, Peru in 2 days. Part of the Cajas trail group also was also going to this Peruvian beach. Something to consider, it is more common to start the trip from Ecuador and go down to Argentina and Chile and not the other way around. More people travel like this and that gives the opportunity to create small groups of backpackers traveling to a common destination.
I arrived at my hostel, late at night, and we went to eat in the Historic Center where we went to another hostel with a bar and live music. It was a long day and I had planned to go to the Ingapirca Ruins the next morning. So here you can read on how that went. In the meantime here are some tips for when you can travel because of the virus.
- Always travel from north to south, you will find more people on that journey which allows you to travel accompanied and make groups
- Try camping, if you like it, in the Cajas National Park, it’s something I wish I had done
- Travel light if you are traveling for many months. Don’t take too many clothes. If you are going to do trails in mountains, mainly take a waterproof sweater or windbreaker, a warm jacket underneath, a small backpack and a water bottle. Do not go in blue jeans and try to use hiking shoes, the ones I had were of rubber and were very slippery
- The hostel bar is the best place to meet people who are on the same journey as you