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
-information about the site from Cuencanet.
- 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.
is a good base from which to explore the province -more on our
- Villages and Towns
- 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.
- A short distance from Chordeleg,
is also noted for its handicrafts.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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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