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By Carolina Segarra

The flowering of the Guayacanes is an event that attracts thousands of domestic and foreign

tourists every year. The route of the Guayacanes is in the canton of Zapotillo, located in the Cazaderos district, which is southwest of the province of Loja. It has an area of 11808.7 hectares and an altitude of 160 -1000 meters above sea level with an average temperature ranging between 18.3 and 32.3°C. The road is currently easily accessible by SUV, but it is not recommended for sedan vehicles. The experience is completely worth it, so if you don’t have a vehicle, you can certainly go on a guided tour.

Guayacanes are strong, large, majestic trees that bloom only once a year. The scientific name of this wonderful tree is Tabebuia Chrysantha. It has an average height of 12 to 15 meters, with a strong, compact, straight, cylindrical trunk of approximately 60 centimeters in diameter. It is a tree native to the intertropical zone of America. It is common all around Ecuador in areas with altitudes around 200 to 1200 meters above sea level. This means it grows in warm regions like Loja, in the canton of Zapotillo, and other parishes like Mangahurco, Bolaspamba, and Cazaderos. These are parishes that have at least 40,000 hectares of Guayacan forest in them. You can also observe this tree on the road to Manabi, Crucita, and other coastal regions, but on very few occasions you will observe it in bloom, which is probably why you have not noticed it before. In addition, the Guayacan is considered one of the hardest and most resistant woods of the American continent; its bark is brown, blackish and scaly, with a deep root system and large leaves with yellow flowers.

The lovely parish of Cazaderos, which is located in the province of Loja, gets its name from the activity of hunting that the land owners from the surrounding estates, including Guayaquil, engaged in during colonial times. Currently, this small town enjoys an unparalleled landscape, but the residents of this parish have limited resources, so if you visit and you have a good heart, bring gifts, especially for children who are the ones who enjoy these events the most. Because it is uncommon to visit this location at other times of the year, the government has forgotten many of these nearby villages, which has stunted these people's growth and prevented their development. Take comfortable clothing, sports shoes, and water with you because the road to see these lovely trees is long and hot. If you go in your own car, drive carefully. The road is in good condition but it is narrow because locals rarely use it, and sometimes they drive at high speeds, which could give you an unpleasant surprise. It is important to drive slowly and lightly use the horn when you approach curves. In addition to taking in the majestic trees and their yellow foliage along the journey, you will also likely see gorgeous colorful birds perched on the trees and rare exotic flora. The place is a paradise.

If you have more time on your tour, don't miss the Baños del Inca, which are naturally formed stone resting places that were used for ceremonies and baths of important Incas who visited this place at certain times of the year. These resting places are filled once a year by the heavy rains in this area. Another must-see site in the area is the beautiful Petrified Park of Puyango, which is a protected natural reserve for its faunistic beauty, flora, and the impressive discoveries made in the area. The park is easily accessible with the minor difficulty of walking, and people of all ages visit it without difficulty. Our main recommendation is to always take mosquito repellent because, although there aren't many of them in the area, they can be annoying.

Last but not least, try to include in your tour the town of Alamor. This region is little known to tourists but definitely worth seeing. Alamor has a clock with eight dials that was manufactured in Germany at the request of the priest Dr. Lautaro Loaiza, a philanthropist from Gonzanameño. Dr. Lautaro Loaiza had the clock built with his own money in Berlin and later moved it from the port of Hamburg to Guayaquil, passing through the province of El Oro. This beautiful clock, which can be observed from anywhere in the town, was installed on November 1, 1924. Thanks to the meticulous requests of the buyer, who made sure the clock would function in a hot, humid climate and instructed the manufacturer to take into account that the metallic amalgam needed to be of such consistency that the clock itself and the hands of the clock dials are preserved from all types of oxidation, it is preserved in perfect condition. Another curious fact about this clock is that it was built in separate units and this is the reason for its rarity.

The majority of these quiet towns become more popular as tourist destinations during the Guayacanes' flowering season. The picturesque landscapes you will see along the way will astound you and each destination you visit will be magical for you. Make sure you try the local cuisine, bring a good camera so you can capture these memories forever, and, most importantly, pack minimally so that you can travel light and comfortably. It will be an unforgettable experience and if you are not very fond of sleeping outdoors, you can find good places to rest in Alamor, as well as in Zapotillo which is the closest area to Cazaderos.

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