Cuenca and Gualaceo
Duration: 8 1/2 hours
Tour Code: GYE-004
Fly off to the spectacular city of Cuenca in the southern Andes and enjoy the boundless charms of the rural villages that are nestled in the mountains of this region.
Boarding a coach at the pier, you will transfer to the Guayaquil airport for a short, private charter flight to Cuenca, which lies to the southeast at 8,400 feet above sea level in one of Ecuador's richest agricultural basins. Although it's the country's third largest city, Cuenca exudes Old World charm and the surrounding area is renowned as a center for art and crafts. In fact, despite their name, Panama hats were first made here and are still produced all around Cuenca.
You may very well feel like you have entered a world of tranquility as you drive along picturesque country roads, passing green rolling hills and a landscape dotted with farmhouses and livestock. Your scenic route will also bring you past some of the most iconic and artistic villages in the region, including Gualaceo, where during a visit you will watch a textile demonstration of traditional Ikat weaving, used to make much of the colorful Ecuadorian clothing. You will also stop at the Gualaceo Market, where many of the local residents purchase their fruits and vegetables.
Following your visit in Gualaceo, you will rejoin your coach and drive to the Hosteria Uzhupud for lunch. Here, in this spot favored by the locals, you will enjoy a traditional Ecuadorian meal and then have an opportunity to stroll through the orchid garden, if you choose.
At the conclusion of your lunch break, you will commence your journey back to Guayaquil. On the drive back to the Cuenca airport, relax and enjoy a scenic route which is unforgettable for its lush, high-altitude terrain and panoramic views. Arriving at the airport, your charter flight is awaiting to fly you back to Guayaquil and the ship.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of easy walking; however, guests should be aware that Cuenca is located in a high altitude setting at 8400 feet above sea level which can make activities more exhausting. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, can make their own way on and off the coach and have a companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. A rain jacket and light sweater; sun cap; sun glasses; sunscreen; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.