Not everyone makes it to Zamora Ecuador. Located in the far southeast of the country, it's quite a hike to get here, but it's worth the journey to check out the beautiful Parque Podocarpus with its hiking trails, birds, rivers, waterfalls and lush jungle scenery.
We drove to Zamora from Tena down the main highway that runs through the jungle provinces... Napo, Pastaza, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipre. The drive is remote and beautiful, and the road is in good repair. We were a bit squished into a rented truck (we rented a van, but it was in an accident the day before we were to pick it up) which made the trip uncomfortable. And the drive is long. Really long.
It took us all day to get into Zamora. Driving through the mountains from Tena (Tena - Riobamba - Cuenca - Loja - Zamora) would have taken even longer.
From Loja it's about an hour and a half to Zamora. The drive is a typical curvy mountain road. At the highest point of the road, it is very windy. Like so windy it can knock you over.
This small town is set in a river valley among the Andes foothills. You would think you are in the mountains, but at just over 3,000 feet above sea level, Zamora is quite warm. I hear it can even be hot, but the days we were there it was perfect. Nice and warm in the sun. A bit of rain in the afternoon. Cool, but not cold at night.
The Bombuscaro and Jamboé rivers run through and converge in Zamora. There is a nice river side area along the Bombuscaro.
There are hotels and restaurants, but Zamora Ecuador isn't really orientated toward foreign tourists. We had a hard time finding options for vegetarian/vegan family members.
Zamora is a perfect place to visit Podocarpus National Park. The park spans parts of Zamora Chichipre and Loja provinces. There are two entrances: one from the mountinous Loja side and a lower elevation entrance just outside of Zamora.
From the parking area on the Zamora side, you have to walk about 20 minutes to the visitors center.
From the visitors center there are several different hiking trails. Some are really long, requiring the entire day. Others are short walks...we did a couple of these short hikes to nearby waterfalls.
There is a small camping area nearby the visitors center as well as a weather monitoring station.
The park is lush and green. There are beautiful plants and flowers everywhere. Plus birds and butterflies. It was definitely the highlight of our trip to Zamora.
The hiking trails we did were easy to moderate. There are quite a bit of steps to go up and down.
Zamora itself might not be a huge tourist attraction, but the hiking trails in Podocarpus National Park are definitely worth the visit. The proximity to Loja makes Zamora a great option for a day or weekend trip.
You may also enjoy these pages...