South of Cuenca

Driving from Cuenca in a southwestern direction to Machala one descends from the Andes mountains to the Pacific coast. About halfway, 20 km past the little town of Santa Isabel, the landscape changes in color from green to greybrown as the vegetation suddenly disappears. It is here that clouds roll in from the southwest, giving moisture to a very attractive bromeliadspecies that forms large, lightgrey colored cushions on the rocks and hillslopes. This is the habitat of Tillandsia tectorum.

Between the cacti the other prominent bromeliad here is the large Tillandsia lymanii and there are several other species present, less in numbers, such as Tillandsia disticha and Tillandsia mima. Only the green valleys of some small rivers, like that of Rio Jubones running parallel to the road for some distance as the borderline between Azuay and El Oro provinces, offer a change in the barren landscape here.