Cajas National Park
Located in the province of Azuay, it covers 28,808 hectares.
Most of this park is found in the "paramo" (alpine tundra) ecosystem,
made up of various water sources that form 232 lakes spread throughout
The animal species found here include: bears, tapirs, deer, condors,
wild guans, tinamus, hawks and falcons. Its flora is made up of epiphytes,
ferns, moss, orchids, "chuquiraguas", lycopodia, reeds, rosemary,
valerian and some species of quinua.
The lakes in the park provide the opportunity for sport fishing for
tourists, trout abound in almost all of the lakes in the park. It
is the perfect place for hiking, camping and touring the forests.
Located in the provinces of Loja and Zamora-Chinchipe, it
has a size of 146,280 hectares. This park has two ecosystems, one
in the lowland zone and the other in the highlands of the park. The
lowland zone ranges between 1,000 and 3,600 m in altitude.
The park takes its name from the Podocarpus tree, commonly called
little rosemary, which is abundant in the sector along with the cedars.
The biodiversity is another of the attributes of Podocarpus national
park. More than 3,000 species can be fore here and of them, only 360
have been identified as orchids. Another interesting species from
the medical point of view is "cascarilla", Chinchona succiruba
, the only source of quinine in the world, a drug that is use
to treat malaria.
Bird watching is another delight in Podocarpus. More than 600 species
of birds can be identified here, including 60 types of hummingbirds,
toucans, cock of the rock, and a myriad of parrots.
But maybe the most distinctive aspect is its system of lakes, the
"Lagunas del Compadre", made up of more than 12 highland lakes within
the park. Pristine waters and small streams connect the lakes. This
impressive aquatic chain is the place where most of the rivers in
the southern Andes of Ecuador are born.
Puyango Petrified Forest
Located in the provinces of El Oro and Loja near the frontier
with Peru. The Petrified Forest of Puyango covers 2,658 ha that has
conserved fossils comparable to those of the Petrified Forest in Arizona,
USA. Some of the fossil examples date to 100 million years old.
An ancient sea was located in this area, that after drying up allowed
the growth of the forest of the species Araucarioxylon fosilizada,
that along with some fossilized fishes and dinosaur bones show
the archeological importance of the forest, maybe the largest collection
of fossilized wood exposed in the world. After some cataclysm, the
forest was buried and then exposed to us so that we can enjoy a view
of relics of the planet during our short period of life.