Se llama Llama

September 11, 2009

Ever heard of the Motorcycle Diaries? The film about two young idealistic men who travel across South America on a motorcycle? Well, inspired by their journey, I'd like you to meet my new pet: SeƱor Llamabeans. I got him in Ecuador in exchange for my mp3 player. He'll be accompanying me on my quest, and hopefully be my ticket to movie stardom.

Just kidding, of course. I snapped a pic of this guy on a recent trip to Parque Nacional Cajas in Ecuador. Cajas is right outside of a magical city in Southern Ecuador named Cuenca. But let's talk about the park for now.

Cajas National Park spreads over an enormous swath of land and passes through several climate zones, allowing huge variations in terrain and plantlife. It also has 270 high-altitude lagoons. Probably a little too cold too go for swim, though. The scenery was so different than anything I had ever seen before, that I felt like I had been transported to another planet.

Trekking over the unearthly landscape eventually led us to an enchanted forest of dense, twisting trunks. Pictures can hardly do justice to the grandeur of this place.

The rivers of Cajas flow down into Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador and, many argue, its most charming. The historic core is a tapestry of charming Spanish colonial architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and beautiful churches and plazas. In fact, Cuenca feels so much like Spain that I immediately felt at home (I studied for a semester in Granada, Spain). I met many fascinating travelers here, including a Spaniard who is funding her journeys through South America by singing and playing guitar in bars and restaraunts wherever it is that she may be. One sunny afternoon we brought our guitars to the main plaza and played for passerbys. Cuenca is truly a place I wouldn't mind coming back to.

From Cuenca, It was a 5 hour bus ride to get to the Peruvian border. In the past 9 days, I had traveled from the northeast edge of Ecuador to the southwest frontier by bus. How much does it cost to travel the 30 hours or so it takes to accomplish this? About $25. Buses may not always be comfortable in South America, but they sure are cheap! Onward to Peru, and surely more memorable experiences to tell....


  1. Hola again, Adam! Just read your post on Cuenca and noticed you spent a semester in Granada. So did our daughter who went to CAL. I have not been able to open your "About Me" link and I always enjoy a little background information on who I am following. Keep up your wonderful wanderings! Saludos, Laura

  2. Thanks for reading Laura! I've taken your suggestion and updated the "About Me" page. Hope you continue to follow along and have a great day!