Ecuador: Zamora - welcome to the jungle
We arrived here to rest for couple of days and we met no tourists. Thanks to the altitude of 970 meters, it is much warmer here than in other towns we have visited. Zamora is teh capital of Zamora Chinchipe province. The terrain is hilly which makes it different to other provinces of Amazonia.
A huge clock is one of the major attractions in the city. The clock sits on the slope of „El Tejar“ and cover 1 600 m2. Geobars on the slope prevent soil erosion. Clock hands were made of selected metals to withstand weather. Special software was developed to make the clock work on leaned surface. The lenght of a minute hand is 14,67 meters and weights 375 kilograms. The main hand is 11,07 meters long and weights 325 kilograms. Everything is controlled from the main control panel - the clock, lights, and the melody marking every passed hour – from 5 a.m. to 21 p.m. The inner decoration of the circle clock consists of decorative flowers in the colors of the province flag. The scribing says "Zamora, the land of birds and waterfalls."
Monumento a Naya o la Chapetona statue is situated close to city's terminal. It depicts the main hero of the works by writer Manuelo Belisario Moreno. The memorial scelebrates courage, solidarity, and the spirit of fight for equality and justice as personified by this woman. Her traits should be inspiration for future generations.
Zamora is a nice city. There is a beatiful main sqaure and a church. Nature and Podocarpus national park are the main attractions here. The national park is situated in the area of vast biodiversity in this south region of Ecuador. Podocarpus consists of two parts. The section at higher altitude consists of alpine ecosystem páramo at 3600 meters of altitude in Loja's surroundings, and at 900 – 1600 meters in the Zamora region. There live over 600 bird species, 60 humming bird species. You can even spot a puma, spectacled bear or tapir.
The park is considered Ecuador's botanical garden. Over 4000 plant species and trees grow there. For instance, cinchona tree, the national tree La Cascarilla of the country. It was used to cure malary. Moreover, there grows Podocarpus tree, the only conifer tree native to Ecuador.
You can reach the low areas of Zamora either on foot or get there in a taxi. The entrance of Bombuscaro is about 6 kilometers down the road. We took a taxi. But we had to step off the cab early. It had been raining there for several days which casued landslides. The road was impassable. We wanted to go around the park by following the Rio Bombuscaro river. On the other hand, we couldn't corss it as well. The road there was destroyed. Bombuscaro means "clean water" – the name refers to a number of endemic birds living in the area. We register ourselves in Centro Administrativo. Then we learn about where we do sightseeing. Unfortunately, there is not much to do and the rains are partly responsible for that. The narrow road goes right to the river. There is a small beach. You can swim in water but it was not possible when we were there because of the rains. Orquideario is another great place to see. Unfortunately, no orchids blossomed then. Eventually we went to see some waterfalls. La Chismosa means „gossiping“ – perhaps it was named that way because its sound at night resembles people talking. La Poderosa is another waterfall and it is 10 meters high.
A walk in Podocarpus national park close to Zamora is a different experience. It is sort of a jungle. It is hot and humid there. We are all wet. We dry ourselves out by walking down the Rio Zamora river. It is a nice walk.
Text and photos: Tomáš Novák
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