• Altitude meters:
• Min. visit time hours:
TROPICAL MOUNTAIN FOREST
PODOCARPUS NATIONAL PAK
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• Max. visit time hours:
ADDRESS & ACTIVITIES
ADDRESS OR VENUE
OPENING HOURS (or DATE if it is an event)
Cajanuma Refuge, Podocarpus National Park, 23.5 km south of Loja City, Ecuador
Monday to Sunday 08:00 - 17:00
The spectacled bear is known by several names. Andean bear, South American bear, spectacled bear or by the native words ucumari and jukumari. An ancient aboriginal legend tells that they originated from a race of strong men who one day went into the jungle. The relationship is due to the fact that the people of the mountain range consider them similar to men.
The main characteristic of this Andean mammal is the white-haired spots on its eyes, nose and chest, which resemble glasses. Hence its name. It is the only bear in South America. It lives in the Andes Mountains, from Venezuela to Argentina. In Ecuador, a protected and megadiverse habitat, where the spectacled bear can be observed, is the Podocarpus National Park, 15 kilometers south of the city of Loja on the road to Vilcabamba, where a control post is located.
To reach the Cajanuma Refuge and Interpretation Center, take a third order road from the Park's Administrative Center. It is 8.5 km. Here is the access point to the "Spectacled Bear Trail". It is a footpath with self-guides and interpretive signs of the flora of the cloud forest and the bush paramo. In a small and easy route of 560 meters, the visitor ascends from 2,689 to 2,720 meters above sea level. Species of Andean birds and mammals can be observed, and with luck a bear. From Cajanuma, the trail to the Compadre Lagoons also starts.
The Podocarpus National Park is named after its emblematic tree. In 2007 it received a special designation from UNESCO, the Podocarpus-El Cóndor Biosphere Reserve, which integrates the Yacurí National Park and the Cerro Plateado Biological Reserve.
Podocarpus has 4,000 species of plants, with some varieties of romerillo and the cascarilla or cinchona tree (Ecuador's national tree), orchids, 622 species of birds, such as wild turkeys, cocks of the rock, parrots, hummingbirds, toucans, tanagers and birds of prey, 40 species of mammals such as the dwarf deer, puma, deer and wolves of the moor. There are important populations of spectacled bears, spider monkeys and tapirs. Countless amphibians and reptiles.
The natural scenery of the Podocarpus is made up of crystalline rivers, waterfalls, canyons and approximately 100 lakes. It began to receive visitors in 1980.