Parque Nacional Podocarpus, Ecuador

Our final stop in Ecuador brought us to Loja. A modern city surrounded by beautiful nature and a massive national park. Try as we might we never fell in love with Loja. Food was our biggest problem, fast food seems to have taken hold here so strongly that finding a healthy and home cooked meal was a chore. Also, there were a few events in the main square that we happened upon. Nowhere else in latin america have I heard good music playing in an open space and seen no one dance – my preconceptions were shattered.

We did take a few fun side trips. First, to the hippie enclave of Vilcabamba where we ate organic flourless pastries and laughed at the dreadlocks. Second, we hiked through the National Parque Podocarpus for spectacular views and interesting fauna.

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Scott Dusek is a writer and photography originally from Seattle, Washingon.

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