Ecuador // The Oriente //

Hikes around Baeza

There are several relatively straightforward half-day hikes around Baeza – all with good birding potential – that let you make the most of its hillside location. The IGM 1:50,000 Baeza map is a good resource; you may also need rubber boots if it’s been raining, as trails can get very muddy. To access the best local trails, start from the right-hand side of the church in the old town and take the road heading up through the pastureland. About 700m on, you’ll reach a bridge at a fork in the path. If you continue right without crossing the bridge, you follow the Río Machángara up an increasingly thickly forested hill to the southwest. The left fork over the bridge takes you up to the mountain ridge overlooking Baeza. Roughly 1km later, this latter track splits again. The steep, muddy branch to the right leads up through lush forest to some antennas on top of the hill, affording spectacular views of Baeza and the Quijos valley. The other branch continues along the mountain ridge, also with great views, but further along the forest gets very dense and the trail hard to find, so if you attempt this route it’s worthwhile seeking out a guide, which will cost around $20 a day; try Rodrigo Morales (t 06/2320467) or ask at Gina’s restaurant in Baeza. You can loop down from the mountain ridge round on a trail leading back to Nueva Andalucía.