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Sightseeing:
In Quito
Local Trips
Northern Andes
Papallacta
Baños
Southern Andes
Cuenca
Oriente
Pacific Coast
Manabí
Galapagos



 

My-Quito.com : the Southern Andes


Cañar and Ingapirca
The provincial capital, Azogues is well known for its colonial architecture. However the thing that brings most visitors to the province is Ingapirca, Ecuador's most important archaeological site. The Incan stone ruins here include the famed Temple of the Sun as well as cemetaries, observatories, storage rooms, priests' chambers, roads and plazas. Day trips can be arranged from Azogues and Cuenca.
  • Ingapirca 360 -virtual reality view of the ruins from destination 360.
  • Ingapirca -information about the site from Cuencanet.

Cuenca-Cathedral.JPGAzuay and Cuenca
Cuenca
Azuay province is the home to the World Heritage City of Cuenca, one of our favourite places. The City lies at the end of either a long drive (roughly 500km along the Panamerica) or a short flight from Quito. The drive is great if you have time to explore, or alternatively the early flight will leave you in Cuenca in time for breakfast.
 
Cuenca is Ecuador's third largest city and enjoys a more relaxed atmosphere than Quito. The citizens are very proud of having achieved the status of a world heritage city in 1999. Cuenca is a gloriously unspoilt colonial town -look into the many courtyards to see houses as they were in Spanish colonial days.
 
Chordaleg town square.JPGCuenca is a good base from which to explore the province -more on our Cuenca page.
 
Villages and Towns
Chordeleg
To the east of Cuenca is a delightful small town that can be reached by bus from Cuenca. It is famous for its silver jewellery and with most of the jewellery shops arranged around the town square, you can happily wander from shop to shop comparing designs and prices until you find something to suit you.
 
Gualaceo
A short distance from Chordeleg, is also noted for its handicrafts.
 
making a Panama Hat.JPGSigsig
Well known for its high-quality, toquilla straw Panama hats. Not far away you can visit the ancient ruins at Chopsi Cave.
 
Parque Nacional Cajas - Lakes and Primary Forests
Just 30 km from Cuenca are the moorlands of Cajas National Park. At an altitude of 10,500 feet and covering nearly 30,000 hectares with over 250 lakes, the park is a perfect location for both short and long treks, as well as trout fishing trips.
 
There are many interesting trails for walking and hiking in the park but it's advisable to go with a guide, and be properly equipped -it can get very cold in the nights. Walkers can be rewarded by seeing a huge range of birds and animals, including the Andean Condor.

Loja
The province of Loja comprises paramo, cloud forest and jungle landscapes. Its capital city, Loja, is one of the oldest in Ecuador, having been founded in 1548 by the Spanish, following the destruction of the original city by an earthquake. Located at an altitude of 2100 meters in the Cuxibamba valley, the city enjoys a temperate spring-like climate all year round, although evenings are cooler. Its narrow streets and colonial architecture of the old town are worth exploring, including the Cathedral, which is the centre of the Vírgen del Cisne religious festival in September.
  • Lojanos.com -site in Spanish, with good set of maps and photos.
 
Vilcabamba Valley
Known as the "Valley of Longevity", Vilcabamba is located just south of Loja. No doubt aided by the benign climate and local hot springs, its inhabitants have traditionally enjoyed a long lifespan, although some of the claims made have to be taken with a pinch of salt. The peaceful setting and beautiful views attract many visitors every year.
  • vilcabamba.org -visitor guide to the area.
  • Cabañas Rio Yambala -in the foothills of the Podocarpus National Park, the cabins are a great base for hiking, horse trekking, birding or just relaxing in Vilcabamba's warm climate, picture book valleys and clear mountain rivers.
 
Podocarpus National Park
The on the road between Loja and Zamora , the Podocarpus National Park is popular with hikers. The park is situated in the cloud forest between 1000 and 3000m altitude and with many lakes and waterfalls is home to numerous types of plants and animals. It is named after the Podocarpus or Romerillo tree, the only conifer native to Ecuador.
 

 
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Featured books:

Trekking in Ecuador
by Robert Kunstaetter, Daisy Kunstaetter (Paperback )
Twenty-nine detailed trek descriptions, with photos, topographic maps, and elevation profiles.
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Ecuador (Moon Handbooks S.)
Julian Smith
Avalon Travel Publishing,US
Paperback
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