FOTO FRIDAY: El Cajas National Park

El Cajas National Park Azuay Ecuador
El Cajas National Park - Azuay, Ecuador

This week’s Foto Friday is brought to you by El Cajas National Park and T2T Travel Tip #123: You can’t win them all.

Located 30 km west of Cuenca, Ecuador, El Cajas National Park is known for it’s 270 lakes and lagoons scattered throughout the 285 square kilometer  (177 sq. miles).

El Cajas is supposed to be a beautiful area to view unique plants and animals (including my favorite, the Peregrine Falcon) but on this day, the tourism gods weren’t having it.

A local friend and I left a sunny Sunday morning in Cuenca and jumped on a bus in hopes of swimming around the Lagoons of El Cajas. However, as we approached the national park cold rain set in and we knew it wasn’t going to be the picnic we expected.

The bus driver pulled over and said “El Cajas” and as we disembarked he mentioned that they may have passed the entrance a bit and that we’d need to walk back up the mountain a few miles to reach the park.

A lovely 3 mile rain induced walk along the highway quickly sucked out any energy we had to explore.

El Cajas National Park Azuay Ecuador
Not the kind of hiking we were expecting - The Search for El Cajas

Once we made it to the main entrance we walked around a large lagoon near the entrance, talked to a pissed off llama for a few minutes and then ventured inside the main lodge to dry off and read up on the animals we wouldn’t be seeing.

El Cajas National Park Azuay Ecuador
"They make me stand out here rain or shine, ridiculous" - llama

We waited in the tourism office for about a half hour for the rain to quit, but it never did. So we did.

Luckily, one of the tour guides was done for the day and heading back to Cuenca so we grabbed a ride with him and went back to the city.

Feeling like I was deprived of an adventure, that’s when I decided to loose my Cuy virginity.

El Cajas National Park Azuay Ecuador
This could be a lot of fun on a sunny day
El Cajas National Park Azuay Ecuador
Experience El Cajas National Park: FAIL
El Cajas National Park Azuay Ecuador
My saturated Ecuadorian co-pilot waiting for the bus

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


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