A local view at Laguna de Yahuarcocha
The story of this tranquil lake is actually a tale of terror and its name, Yahuarcocha, translates to "Blood Lake" in the native Kichwa language. It is reference to a battle that took place against invading Incans, who murdered upwards of 50,000 indigenous, whose bodies turned the lake red for days. You can learn more about this battle and Imbarra in town at the Centro Cultural, which is a worthwhile visit to understanding the areas history. These days, the lake is a favorite fishing spot for tilapia, which you can eat fresh at restaurants at the opposite side of the entrance. Ducks are plentiful amongst the reeds but keep your eyes peeled for other colorful species, like a small neon red bird that I spotted for a moment. Biking, walking or jogging around the lake is good exercise as are the paddle boats available for rent or the various play structures for those traveling with children.
By Susan Mason, AFAR Local Expert