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Near Cuenca on the Cuenca-Molleturo-Naranjal Road

Near Cuenca on the Cuenca-Molleturo-Naranjal Road

After Cuenca our next leg took us to the coast of Ecuador. This two-day journey via Guayaquil was, by Google Map’s calculation a five-hour 40 minute, 400 kilometre journey. It turned out to be a  16-hour, 625-kilometre journey, which included getting lost and some detours and a wonderful seafood lunch at Sao Pablo.

Only 25 kilometres from Cuenca is the El Cajas national Park where we had our first stop.

Entering El Cajas national Park

Entering El Cajas National Park

Parque National El Cajas

Parque National El Cajas

We continued along Highway E582, climbing steadily as the road twisted and turned and the weather changed from the bright sunny day we enjoyed in the National Park to misty and cloudy conditions. The vegetation changed from the greens of the National Park to brown, tussocky grasses.

Near the summit

Near the summit

Ecuadorian Road hazard

Ecuadorian Road hazard

Down from the summit and onto Highway E25 through Manglanes Ecological Reserve and to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, for our overnight stop

Manglanes Ecological Reserve

Manglanes Ecological Reserve

The next morning we ended up with all sorts of problems trying to get out of Guayaquil, initially we wanted to head north on a short 204-kilometre drive, but ended up driving west then north. It turned out okay as we stopped at Sao Pablo and had a wonderful seafood lunch on the beach as we watched the birdlife and locals enjoying their weekend.

Frigate bird, female

Frigate bird, female

Sao Pablo beach

Sao Pablo beach

Pelicans

Pelicans

After luch we drove past the salt flats just north of Sao Pablo, headed inland into the misty mountains, down through Puerto Lopez and along the coast to Manta as evening descended upon us as we ended our 10-hour 425-kilometre journey.

Resting at the salt flats, Sao Pablo

Resting at the salt flats, Sao Pablo

Puerto Lopez

Puerto Lopez

West coast Ecuador

West coast Ecuador

Nearing Manta

Nearing Manta

As is evident in the few photos that I have published, Ecuador’s scenery is very varied and the wildlife is abundant.

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