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  • Writer's pictureCharlys Trevino

Southern Ecuador -Cuenca


Ecuador is not a big country and if you look at a map as the crow would fly, it's not that far from one end to the other but then you throw in a significant mountain range like the Andes and it makes for slow traveling. Unless, you are a local bus driver with a schedule to keep then it makes for a very exciting ride!

I spent some time in Southern Ecuador discovering some really great places with diverse climates. It was hard to wrap my head around all the micro climates that exist in this country. There aren't really defined seasons as we may expect. It's summer the dry season or winter the wet season, sorta like it was in Mexico. Though this year in Ecuador the wet season seemed to linger a bit too long.


The southern sierra has a few national parks and some great cities that attracts tourists all year around. Cuenca, known for it's beautiful colonial architecture is a city that has a European feel. It is the third largest city in Ecuador, so it's fairly large. The city has three rivers that run through it and it had plenty of green space.

I loved the vibe in Cuenca. It was a artsy fartsy sorta of city and it reminded me of Austin in many ways. Cuenca is home to several colleges so there is an abundance of young people and a huge population of retired expats mostly from the US and Canada but I did run into some Europeans as well.

I visited Cajas National park and did a small trek which in itself for me was a feat at 13,00 ft. altitude. The landscape was amazing! I also visited a beautiful animal park which also was about a 3 hour trek high up on a hill overlooking the city. I am not much on zoo like parks but this place was super educational and the animals were in natural habitats with not many visible cages.

I spent a week in Cuenca checking out the city. I experience my first earthquake there as well! A strange feeling, not one I want to have again. There is something about the earth rattling under foot that makes for a surreal experience. You really have no where run from this type of natural disaster.


I caught wind of a shuttle that went from Cuenca to a town I was curious about seeing called Vilcabamba , which was further south. The shuttle was a courtesy for Izhcayluma Hosteria in Vilcabamba. It was one of the coolest places I stayed in Ecuador. It was built on a hill with some beautiful views. The lodging was amazing and my room had a porch with a hammock overlooking a beautiful landscape. On the way to Vilcabamba I met Robin on the shuttle. Robin was doing a tour of Ecuador to discover where she would want to live when she retired. Robin and I ended up doing a few trips together before she headed back to the States. I met some really great folks along my travels in Ecuador.


I am going to save my experience in Vilcabamba for another post. I am way behind on my posts! I promise to catch up soon. Blogging is like journaling, which I suck at by the way, it needs to become a weekly thing. I could use the excuse that I am too busy traveling and experiencing to blog but that wouldn't be entirely true. In my down time, I just want to watch netflix! True confession. Funny thing is that when I go out somewhere and take pictures I immediately download them to have a look. If I was as diligent with blogging all would be right with my world!

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