Hiking in Cajas National Park
To begin my Round The World tip this year, I visited the southern Ecuadorian city of Cuenca. Highly situated in the Andes mountain range, the temperatures are chilly but the atmosphere is anything but. The Spanish influence is seen everywhere in the colonial town but it’s most apparent in the architectural designs of the buildings. Many structures resemble buildings in central Madrid today. I did quite a bit of sightseeing and I sampled local dishes including meaty empanadas and sandwiches overflowing with ham, onions and even french fries!
My main reason for visiting was to explore the Cajas National Park. The Andean range has some stunning scenery, and the park showcases some of the best. The park has over 250 lakes, around which several hiking trails have been created. I met a group of backpackers at my hostel (Yakumama) and we joined up to give the trail a go. There was Yamir from Peru, Cezar from LA, Paulina from Poland, Sanne as well as Marie and her friend from France.
The views were amazing. I took quite a few pictures but spent most of my time just being in the moment. I saw birds and even a wild rabbit who quickly scurried back into its burrow. I sadly wasn’t well prepared for the hike as I had on flip flops. Since part of the trail was quite muddy, my flip flops broke and Yamir offered to piggyback me the rest of the way. I swear, travelers make the very best human beings!
After we returned to the hostel and cleaned up, the group reunited and went out for dinner. Then we spent the rest of the evening dancing and partying at a salsa club. Four days in Cuenca may not be sufficient for everyone, but I had a memorable visit!