Laguna de Busa – A Day Trip from Cuenca

“Legends say there are treasures of gold and silver in the depths of Laguna de Busa.”

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador

Laguna de Busa is a small lake at the base of the San Pablo hills, 2 kilometers from San Fernando, and about 60 kilometers from Cuenca. It’s easily accessible by bus or taxi from Girón.

*Hint: Don’t miss the El Chorro waterfalls while you’re in the Girón area. You can read about the waterfalls here: El Chorro. To view an interactive map of the area, click on the link in the menu above.

After getting off the bus in the wrong town – duh – we walked 4 kilometers to San Fernando – a scenic hike, making it worth our mistake. From there, we took a taxi uphill to the lake and enjoyed a great day, with a scenic walk back down to catch the return bus to Girón.

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador

Walking back to San Fernando

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador

A leisurely walk on the trails, with boardwalks crossing the boggy areas, will take you around the lake, past grazing llamas, horses, cattle, and a small church.

For a more strenuous hike, a trail climbs the San Pablo hills above the lake, offering spectacular views of the Yunguilla valley far below.

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador


You can set up a tent and have a campfire, or stay in a cabin.

There’s fishing for trout and carp in the lake – if you have no luck, you can order trout at the lakeside restaurant.




Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, EcuadorOn the slopes of Cerro San Pablo can be found moss-covered rock caverns. Residents of the area have found artifacts made of stone and ceramic, related to the indigenous cultures of the Cañaris and Incas who once lived there.

According to a local legend, the lake was formed during a party at a hacienda. A beggar was turned away by the wealthy owners, but a kind maid gave him some food. After eating, he returned to tell her to leave the hacienda, then stood on some nearby boulders and created the lake. Only the maid survived.


Another fable comes from the Cañaris, the ancient inhabitants of Cañar and Azuay provinces. They spoke of a feathered serpent who sank into the lake after giving birth to their people.

Other tales tell of the many people who have seen spirits on and around the lake, especially during moonlit nights. Some say the spirits can change the weather when negative energy is detected, making it cold and rainy in order to drive away the malevolent people.

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador

We didn’t see any spirits or feathered serpents during our walk around the lake, but we did meet some nice Cuencanos who were spending their weekend camping.

Laguna de Busa, San Fernando, Ecuador

After our hike, we enjoyed fresh trout and cold beers at the restaurant on the outdoor deck by the lake – the San Pablo hills reflecting off the calm waters of the lake.

A day well spent – including our unplanned hike to San Fernando. We’ll be back to Laguna de Busa to camp and hike to the top of Cerro San Pablo!

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