This national park extends over the provinces of Tungurahua, Pastaza, Cotopaxi and Napo.
It is said (and there is historical evidence to support the saying) that Rumiñahui, the general of Atahualpa, buried a 750-tonne gold treasure of the Incas next to a lake in Llanganates in the 16th century. This treasure was the ransom for the release of Atahualpa, which was to be paid to the Spaniards. But when the Inca armies heard that Atahualpa was already being murdered, the treasure was said to be buried in the park. Since the colonial era, many expeditions have attempted, without any luck, to find the treasure. Many of those expeditions, some quite recent, ended with the death of the treasure hunters.
The park’s greatest treasure, however, is its unspoiled natural beauty. You will find – as in so many places in Ecuador – a large number of bird species, mammals and plants. You will find the spectacled bear, the capybara, various monkey species, the andestapir, the jaguar, parrots and toucans.
The normal access route to the park is via Pillaro, a town south of Latacunga. There is another access along a road (under construction) from Salcedo (west of the park) to Tena (east of the park).
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