Tour of the Cajas
Key information: Tour of the Cajas
- A gorgeous 3 day meander through the high lands of this harshly beautiful and dramatic range.
- Walkopedia rating84
- Natural interest16
- Human interest4
- Negative points0
- Total rating84
- Length: Your choice
- Maximum Altitude: 4,167 m
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
El Cajas is a secluded area of high, rugged, eroded mountains and lakes in the last southern gasp of the Western Cordillera, with a huge variety of landscapes and thus of walking. It ranges from peaks at up to 4,450m, to high and exceptionally attractive páramo grass and shrublands, to a rare example of cloud forest on the eastern flanks of the western cordillera at some 3,100m. There is a rich variety of plant and animal life, as might be expected with such a range of habitats.
While there are plenty of alternatives, a 3 day tour of the NP as recommended by Lonely Planet’s Trekking in the Central Andes would be an ideal choice.
Starting near the 4,167m Tres Cruces pass, drop steeply south to the fabulous Laguna Larga and Laguna Togilacocha lakes, then cross the Inca road to pass Languna Luspa and reach lovely Laguna Canutillos for the first night (3.5-4 hrs).
Day 2 crosses two passes to reach dramatically sited Laguna Osohuaycu, then descends to finish by some Inca walls (4-6 hrs).
The third day descends down a valley into rare and interesting cloud forest to Laguna Llaviuco, itself a roadhead; you can continue walking on to the Cuenca road (4-6.5 hrs).
Note that most paths are not marked, so a map and good map-reading skills are needed if you are planning a longer walk.
This can be tough walking in high, remote mountains with unpredictable weather,frequently cloud-bound and thus difficult to navigate and with a reputation for being cold. You will have to be self-sufficient. Altitude can cause problems. Come fully prepared, including proper acclimatization.
Have a look at TripAdvisor – there are tens of millions of reviews, so you may get good, current views on guides, places to hike and places to stay in the area.
This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by recommending your best walks, making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!
For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Cajas NP walk page.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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