Our 3rd and 4th day in Ecuador have been…eye-opening. When you think of Ecuador, you immediately picture yourself in the middle of a humid, warm forest full of ferns and moss everywhere, right? We sure did…
In just these 2 days, we’ve seen even more different climates than the first 2 days (remember the alpine plants at the Páramo?).
Day 3 – Cuenca to Catamayo
Leaving early in the morning, we had a lot of ground to cover to our next stop in Catamayo. It’s on this track we got to truly appreciate the different climates of Ecuador. Leaving Cuenca, we were in a rather wet climate.
Although...we saw quite a few nice Epidendrum sp. along the way, just clinging to the bare rock.
After about half an hour later on our way to Catamayo, the nature changed gradually, turning into pine trees everywhere. No orchids here, but still amazing to see how climates can change here.
But wait...just another half hour later, we were surrounded by nothing but cacti, agave and Tillandsia. Never imagined we would encounter such desert-like conditions here.
The last thing you would expect here are orchids, don't you think? Well, we were in for a big surprise when stopping at the village of Oña! Trichoceros oñaensis and Trichoceros antenniferum hidden in the dead leaves of agave, in full sunlight with nothing but rock all around...crazy!
Moving on, just 10 minutes later we were in full grasslands again after passing the ridge of the mountain. It's impressive to see how one side gets hit by moisture from the clouds and the other doesn't.
Going down, we were back in our element with lots of trees and yes, filled with orchids!
2 very nice Lepanthes sp.
A huge clump of Epidendrum medusae, no open flowers unfortunately
Some Elleanthus sp.
And finally, a true monster of an orchid: Maxillaria aurea. Those canes easily stood 1m80 tall!
Day 4 - Loja
Not much of a story to tell here, but an amazing day nonetheless! Open landscape at 3000m high, windy, cloudy, wetty...perfect conditions for those cool-growing miniatures we love.
We lost count of how many Trichosalpinx sp. we saw out there...true madness. Most of them bloom in November though, so not many in bloom. Except for this one!
To give you an idea of how big the Trichosalpinx clumps were:
More stuff we found: Epidendrum mancum, tiny Lepanthes sp., Epidendrum serpens and a twig full of Lepanthes
Following the "trail"
Had enough for one day? No sir! Another small stop rewarded us with a very nice Telipogon sp. displaying huge flowers!
Final picture: a nice buddy we found in the car arriving at our hotel
Up next: travelling to El Cisne and the day after, we're off to Zumba! (the city, not the silly "sport")