Leaving behind the cocoa plantation, our tour began to climb high into the Andes. Before reaching the highest point on this segment of our trip, however, our tour guide granted us a stop at a group of local fruit stands along the road.
This stop was a crowd-pleasing one, as we were still a ways from our lunch destination. Besides the bananas you see above, also available were passion fruit, guava, soursop, and many others I have no idea what they’re named.
But I do know pineapple when I see it:
After a long trek uphill our tour bus stopped at a lookout point in the Cajas National Park. The roads in Cajas reach elevations of up to 4,130 meters/13,550 feet. I have no idea if we reached that altitude, but I know that I definitely could feel the short climb up the hill to the overlook. Here you can see our bus and the surrounding area:
There are animals that can flourish at these altitudes, including llama and alpaca. Here is a sampling of the latter:
While I may have gotten a bit winded at this altitude, the scenery more than made up for the effort:
Leaving the park and beginning our gradual descent toward Cuenca, we still had one stop to make in the high Andes. It was lunch time at the Dos Chorreras Resort.
The restaurant at Dos Chorreras is quite the sight, with massive beams supporting tall ceilings in a bright, airy dining room with lots of color:
And if the rock is too big to move, then don’t move it:
How fresh is the food here? Take a look at what’s outside the entrance to the restaurant: