We recently went to a beautiful lake in the Cajas National Park (Parque Nacional Cajas). It is located in the highlands of Ecuador, about a 20 minute drive from Cuenca.
On this trip, we went to Llaviucu (Zorrocucho) Lake.
A Nice Place To Go With Family And Friends
Some local friends told us about the lake and wanted to show it to us while Bryans parents were visiting. I was excited because I love nature and we used to spend time around lakes every summer in Canada.
We packed a picnic for lunch, and headed out around 10 in the morning. It was sunny here in Cuenca but we dressed in layers because we had heard that the Cajas can get cold and damp. The layers turned out to be a good idea because it was raining and cool at the lake. Despite the weather the lake was beautiful and we had a wonderful time.
We brought our dog along but found out when we got there that pets are not allowed. I was happy that it was raining and cool because if the sun was shining we would have had to bring the dog home and go back. Our dog is used to spending time in her bed so with the windows cracked she was happy cuddled up in the truck. The walk was only about 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours longs, so I was not worried about her.
When we arrived at the entrance to the lake there was a little booth where we had to stop and write down information like our name and where we were from, but admission was free. They gave us some flyers with park information and pictures of the different birds that we might see.
Bird Watching And Beautiful Scenery
The Cajas National Park is known for bird watching so we were excited to see the birds. We didn’t get to see very many but the ones we saw were beautiful. It was hard to get good pictures of them and because of the weather the colors didn’t stand out that much. One of the birds (I think it was a Collared Trogon) was really colorful, I had never seen one before. We also saw what I think was a big Toucan, but he was gone in a flash so I can’t say for sure.
There was a trail all around the lake which took us through the woods. It was very muddy in spots but they have boards down so the walking was easy going. There were lookout areas with nice views of the lake, excellent for taking photos.
We really enjoyed seeing the forest, it was very different from what we were used to in Nova Scotia Canada. There were hanging vines, air plants, orchids, and lots of plants that I had never seen before. It felt so good to be walking in the woods! When I was a little girl I used to walk in the woods around our house and it always made me feel relaxed and happy.
Be Careful Of The Ortega Plant!
There is a plant that you need to watch out for, it’s called Ortega (also spelled Ortiga). The Ortega plant is likened to Poison Ivy and Poison Oak. Both Bryan and one of our friends touched it (different times, different locations) and they said it felt like their skin was on fire. It was more than a little uncomfortable and Bryan got blisters from it. So be careful about touching the plants.
A Favorite Spot
This is definitively a new favorite spot of mine and I look forward to going back. There are some restaurants on the main road, but we really enjoyed eating our lunch by the lake. We haven’t done any more exploring in the Cajas yet, but we want to. I hear it’s fun to go fishing there, so maybe that will be next.
Have you explored the Cajas yet? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.