My hotel, Hostal Mariscal, is located in the historical/colonial district of Cuenca. I decided to walk to the Bioparque. Big mistake! It took me two hours and after climbing the last 800m uphill to the entrance, I was tired. After paying the $6 entry fee I began my 3 hour adventure. I was really disappointed at first because I couldn’t find the bear to save my life. Nor the deer. I thought I had wasted my time. Five minutes later though, my attitude had completely turned around! From that point forward I was immersed in the animal world. The inhabitants of the park were everywhere.
The Bioparque in Cuenca is often referred to as a “zoo” because there are animals there for visitors to see. As a “zoo” it doesn’t compare to any of the big ones I’ve visited in cities like San Diego, SF, Sacramento or elsewhere in the world. It just doesn’t contain the number of animals big zoos have. That is not its’ mission.
Reason One: the mission
The Amaruu Bioparque is all about education and experience. The bioparque doesn’t just tell about the animals. It creates an awareness of environmentalism by demonstrating the perils of pollution, fire, and illegal animal trafficking. Not only are many signs posted along the natural dirt trail, but demonstration sites, such as plastic bottle waste, trash sites, fire damage, and real dead animals are situated throughout the bioparque.
Reason 2: A natural, wild experience
I spent 3 hours hiking along the dirt trail, looking everywhere for the inhabitants because you never know where you might see them! I had a monkey jump onto the railing, outside of any enclosure, right next to me! I saw parrots and small mammals hanging out in areas that were not enclosed but inside of the park. There are also several areas where you walk among different birds. Don’t forget to look up as well because there are wire highways for the monkeys to travel throughout the compound.
Before I was done I was thinking about how great it would be to bring my grandkids out here to experience this amazing place!