Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Twice now in Macas, traveling the Oriente road in Ecuador's jungle. The first time coming from Puyo in the north, the second time from Limon further south.
Macas is a fairly small place and not overly attractive apart from the Upano river and jungles surrounding it. Macas is known as a place to come to experience living
with an indigenous family or community for a few days and a place to do jungle trips. There are 3 volcanoes nearby in Sangay National Park, they are active and it's
possible to view them as well as some of the wildlife here. Rafting on the Upano river is another activity offered in the city of Macas. I didn't plan on doing any of these things,
I just wanted to have a quick look around the city and move on this time.
Views in Macas
I took a walk to the park and cathedral called Santuario Catedral 'Purisima de Macas'
and payed a coin to go up the stairs to the belltower and balcony at the top. There are some pretty good views of the whole Macas area from up here - the city,
mountains, jungle and river. Up the road from the cathedral there's another lookout point where you can see birds amongst the trees plus more
views of the river.
Bus 6hrs 30mins to Gualaquiza
I was ready to go to the bus terminal. I wanted to get south to Zamora. But first I had to get to Gualaquiza which is 6hrs 30mins away and
then to Zamora from there. The bus ticket from Macas to Gualaquiza cost $8USD, it's around 190kms in distance. It is a great journey through small towns and
villages built amongst the jungle. The bus passes through a bunch of places including El Paraiso, Arapicos, Metsankim, Santa Marianita and stopped briefly in
Sucua at the bus terminal.
Lunch in Mendez
We continued on through Huambi and stopped in Mendez for 30mins for a lunch break. I visited the central plaza and park and took a
few photos while in Mendez. There are monuments to Eugenio Espejo (1747-1795), a writer and laywer and to Eudofilo Alvarez (1876-1940), the founder of Mendez.
Mendez is near the river and there are a few hostels in town, the people seem friendly. A group of guys wanted me to take their photo while I was in the park.
Just over an hour later we pass through the town of Limon
, a small place in the jungle hills with the river running through the middle of it. A short time
later we came to Indanza.
Activities in Indanza
There are a few things to do in Indanza including riding the cable-car across the river and seeing some petroglyphs which are rock engravings
at Petroglifos El Catasho. As you leave Indanza you will see a big mountain or volcano in the distance.
San Juan Bosco
The next place you come to is San Juan Bosco, shortly
after passing through the big mountain is directly on the left. It was starting to get dark when we passed through a village with a small orange church
50mins later, the road now was unsealed and bumpy.
Sleep in Gualaquiza
In the early evening I arrived in Gualaquiza and learned that it was another 3-4hrs to Zamora so I decided
to sleep the night and continue south at first light. Gualaquiza is a lovely little place with steep roads in the center, it was easy to find a cheap but good
bed 5mins from the bus terminal. I rose at 4:30am and cooked eggs on my hot-plate in my room and took a 6am bus to Zamora.
Gualaquiza to Zamora
The journey takes just under 4hrs but
we did stop at various bus terminals along the way. I really enjoyed this leg of the trip, all of the little towns and villages and lots of little jungle churches,
at least 15-20. From Gualaquiza to Zamora
is 117kms and to Loja
is 177kms. To Cuenca
is 157kms, Sigsig 97kms, Yantzaza
72kms, Los Encuentros 53kms, Chiguinda
52kms and El Pangui 35kms.
Cloud Forests Near Yantaza
You pass through amazing cloud forests and cross bridges over the river running beside the road many times. We got to Yantaza and
stopped here for at least 20mins. There is a monument outside the bus terminal of a military man with a gun. Across the road is a hillside full of skinny trees.
From here it is 9kms to Zumbi, 40kms to Zamora and Loja is 97kms.
Stopping next in Zumbi which is a nice place with its park, church and a few monuments. It's
across the bridge on the other side of the river from the main road. A colorful monument of 3 men from different local cultures stands at the junction - a native
Indian with a spear, another with a knife and a man reads from a book.
La Saguea to Zamora
15mins later we arrived at the bridge in La Saguea, in fact there are 2 bridges. The road winds gently through the most beautiful moist green terrain, its paved and in good condition and we go over more bridges. By 10am I had arrived in Zamora
where I planned to spend a few days.