Only 30 minutes away from Cuenca, going west by car, you will reach one of the highlights of Ecuador, El Cajas National Park. The park has an area of 28.500 hectars and several ecosystems that range from the highlands or paramo, to the cloud forest towards the coast.
You can hike in that area for a short while, for about one hour or stay in a campsite for many days. There you can see some Inca archeological remains, although these are not very well known; additionally, you may be able to identify a great variety of animals: birds, mammals, and insects. Although the National Park is located high in the Andes, the flora there is extremely diverse, and here is one of the few places where I have seen a tree with a carnivorous flower. An expert botanist from Germany showed it to me, as we were hiking there on the Garcia Moreno route towards Cuenca.
There ae many things you can do there, just in a couple of hours or during a longer trip. The weather is extremely variable, as in many other places in the highlands of Ecuador, anyhow, while visiting this place; you will have a great experience.
We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.