In Yantzaza there are more than 20 waterfalls where you can practice adventure sports such as rappelling; caves like the one of guayacanes and the one of the bear.

The Ecuadorian Amazon jungle is full of enchanting places and a unique tropical climate. One of these is the Yantzaza canton, known as Valley of the Fireflies, a place that thanks to the work and dedication of its people is considered the main tourist and economic center of Zamora Chinchipe.

The Valley of the Fireflies is crossed by the warm waters of the Zamora River. Its natural and cultural attractions impress and call to immerse yourself in the leafy mountain.

Martín Jiménez, mayor of the canton, says that this is a welcoming town of ancient origin. “Several cultures converge here, one of the most important being the Shuar nationality that have been settled for hundreds of years,” he says. It is one of the benefits of Yantzaza, the Valley of the Fireflies.

Jiménez affirms that its name comes from the Shuar words “yantsa” (firefly) and “entsa” (stream or river) that undoubtedly lies in the exuberant nature that surrounds it. You can find in the surroundings species of flora such as guayacán, pituca, yumbingue, almond, laurel, romerillo, cedar and numerous fruit trees in the wild. As for fauna, there are species such as tigers, tapirs, deer, armadillos, among others.

Circuit of the Guayacanes


In the La Luna waterfall, locals and foreigners pose along the bridge, where impressive photographs are obtained.

After a short journey from Yantzaza, you reach El Salado, in the Chicaña parish, where a rustic door welcomes travelers to the "Allishamushka" tourist center in Los Guayacanes. There the murmur of the vegetation and the chirping of the birds are perceived and there is an impotent waterfall named Luna with a waterfall of more than 20 meters high.

María Ajilla, originally from the area, comments that this waterfall has its own legend. On full moon nights, a beautiful and charming woman stands out from its waters and captivates the spirit of those who visit her.

Ajilla assures that there are more tourist spaces such as the Corazonada waterfall. Its name is due to the heart shape of the lagoon. “Trails, rivers and waterfalls make nationals and foreigners have unprecedented contact with nature, come and enjoy”, he adds.

In the area there is also a huge rock with a waterfall called Tobogán, due to its peculiar shape. Matilde Morales, a guide, affirms that this place is ideal for practicing extreme sports such as canopying, which can be done for prices ranging between $10 and $15.


In Los Balcones tourists have direct contact with the flora and fauna characteristic of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Morales indicates that there are also Los Balcones, some fascinating rock formations that hang from the top of the mountain. From its bowels springs of clean waters arise to drink and live in harmony with nature.

He maintains that a few meters away lies an imposing tunnel mouth where its shape leads to the circuit of the Caves made up of stalagmite walls, stalactites and hidden rock relics that accommodate families of bats that flutter in the dark.

Goblin Circuit


La Pileta waterfall is one of the most exuberant attractions of the Del Duende circuit.

In Yantzaza, the Valley of the Fireflies, tourists enter the Duende circuit, a trail made up of numerous natural charms and surrounded by mystery. Its name is due to the fact that a leprechaun travels along that route. Alejandro Chuquimarca, a local, explains that on the way there is a stone in the shape of a hand.

“This circuit is a spectacular range of waterfalls such as Arcoíris, Yacuzi Natural, La Pileta, Encañonados and La Guarida del Águila, which is said to fly around the place. It seems like an endless journey, since its hybrid richness and rocky spheres give life and purify the entire environment”, says Chuquimarca about Yantzaza, the Valley of the Fireflies.

The jungle has more attractions such as La Misteriosa, a waterfall that breaks through due to its greatness. Jorge Chica, a tour guide, affirms that his name comes from a legend that dates back more than a century: “One day a group of the Shuar nationality went out to fish with barbasco and when they began to collect the fish they suddenly pounced a crescent on them, they say that they were saved by a miracle, hence their name”.

Chica indicates that venturing into this life site is amazing. Each waterfall represents a unique design and different stories. There also stands out the Shuar Man's Bath, mirrors of water on large rocks.

turismo en yantzaza valle de las luciérnagas

The Labyrinth is made up of three caverns that go in different directions, inside there are figures of animals.

Chica says that Yantzaza, the Valley of the Fireflies, has hidden enigmas available in the caves, a circuit that contains a series of caverns formed thousands of years ago with varying depths and where the light from the lanterns allows one to visualize the works of the nature, nests, sculptures, slopes that run between a series of narrow and wide paths.

He adds that another attraction is in the Los Encuentro parish. At its entrance, in the wooded area, a path leads tourists to the Reina del Cisne waterfall, a water canyon that mocks the rocks with a drop that exceeds 50 meters in height. In this place, two imposing rivers come together in an enchanted valley: the Zamora and the Nangaritza, which give rise to another tourist stop. (I)

Gallery of attractions



The Shuar turn the seeds of the achira, zapote, guaba and other fruits into necklaces, bracelets, earrings and belts.

In the Nankais parish there is a Shuar center, which preserves its customs of housing, clothing and coexistence. Nancy Paqui, an artisan, believes that "you need to have an innate ability to create shawls, scarves, rugs, ponchos and bags." She believes that these garments are the most outstanding in Yantzaza or the Valley of the Fireflies and those are made in order to satisfy the taste of the visitors. Prices for various items range from $15 to $25.

Yantzaza liquor store


It is a product obtained by grinding previously shelled and roasted cocoa beans.

In Yatzaza, the Valley of the Fireflies, the distillers of fine artisan liquors have particular attention. Jorge Álvarez, artisan producer, gives an account of the process that follows, the diversity of flavors and the stimulating and traditional value that these drinks have. “Liquors with the flavor and aroma of cocoa, sugar cane and guava are my specialty, prices range from $15 to $18, depending on the size of the container and the flavor you want,” he highlights.



Panela candy is a kind of candy that is the base of many traditional desserts and sweets.

The flavor of the sweet has its own route as is the one of the mills, this route in the upper part of Paie is made up of a great variety of sugar mills that together give the tourist value that the place exudes. There, Carmen Icaza, an artisan, enjoys obtaining honey, granulated and block panela, but if it is about enjoying the flavor of cocoa and its derivatives, there is nothing better than taking chocolate from the Yantzaza Valley.

Typical dishes in the valley

Ícono de validado por la comunidad

The Shuar wrapped is one of the typical dishes of the Amazon and one of the most delighted by tourists.

In the Chicaña parish, in the streets of San Vicente de Caney, the skills and traditions of the Kichwa Saraguro people are mixed. Thanks to community tourism, locals and foreigners enjoy the most colorful balconies and flowery gardens in the sector.

There, the traditional dishes of the Shuar community also stand out. The chicha de yuca, the chontacuros and the ayampaco are some of the most requested by diners. "The ayampaco comes wrapped in bijao leaves and is cooked on the grill, it does not have direct contact with the fire, rather it is cooked with the same steam or juice that the tilapia releases and has a standard cost of $6", he mentions Hilda Celi, gastronomic merchant.

Distances to Yantzaza

  • From Guayaquil, take the Machala-Arenillas-Loja-Zamora-Yantzaza route, with a time of 9 hours.
  • You can also take the route that goes through Cuenca to Loja and follow the route.
  • From Quito you can go along the Panamericana, through Riobamba towards Cuenca and follow the route to Loja. There are also flights to Loja and it is possible to rent a vehicle.
turismo en yantzaza

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