Cuenca: Now & Then

If you’re looking to get a true feel for the city, this tour will take you on a city tour in the morning, before enjoying a delicious traditional lunch and an afternoon tailored to your personal interests.


Description

This full day tour starts off with our Cuenca city tour in the morning, made up of a walking tour of the old town including the Museum of Modern Art, New Cathedral and the famed local flower market followed by a visit to Turi to take in incredible panoramic views of the city and a visit to a Panama hat factory.
 
After this you’ll be taken to enjoy a delicious traditional lunch before spending the afternoon tailored to your interests, such as a guided tour of the Banco Central, an artists workshop, market, gallery or museum.
 
Choices for your afternoon include:
· Banco Central Museum
· Eduardo Vega Gallery
· Museo de las Culturas Aborígenes
· Museo del Monasterio de las Conceptas
 

This tour includes

· A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide
· All entrance fees
· Private transportation
· Traditional lunch
 

This tour does not includes

· Travel insurance
· Tips and gratuities
· Any other service not mentioned herein

Highlights

Banco Central Museum
The Banco Central in Cuenca is the largest museum in the city with permanent exhibitions of ethnographic, archaeological and numismatic interest. There are archaeological ruins on site.
 
The museum itself covers several floors in a modern building. There are exhibition rooms filled with religious and colonial artwork, as well as recreations of typical dwellings from the different regions of Ecuador. There is even a numismatic area that gives a chronological overview of currency used in Ecuador throughout history from spondylus shells through to the Sucre.
 
The museum was built over the ruins of the Pumapungo Inca palace and in the Tomebamba Hall visitors can learn about the history of the Incas in Cuenca. You can then visit the actual archaeological site which is set on a hill and has incredible views. There is also a botanical garden and an aviary.
Eduardo Vega Gallery
Eduardo Vega is the best known ceramic designer in Cuenca, famed particularly for his murals. His gallery is a must-see for any visit to Cuenca. Located in Turi with spectacular views of the city, a visit to the gallery-workshop will allow you to see the variety of work created by Eduardo Vega and to see the way it is produced in situ.
Mirador de Turi
This is the perfect place from which to take in incredible panoramic views of Cuenca perched high on a hillside in the southern suburb of Turi.
Museo de las Culturas Aborígenes
Located on Calle Larga in the historic center of Cuenca, this museum is perfect for those interested in the culture and history of the area. There are more than 5000 archaeological pieces representing more than 20 pre-Hispanic Ecuadorian cultures from the last 15000 years.
Museo del Monasterio de las Conceptas
This museum is located in a cloister built in 1599 and gives visitors the opportunity to gain insight into centuries-old customs of the cloistered nuns who have lived and still do live there. While you can’t actually see the nuns, you can visit their primitive baking equipment, cells and some stunning religious art.
Museum of Modern Art
Restored in 1982 the Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno is located on the captivating plaza de San Sebastián and is worth a visit if only for the building itself and its lovely courtyards. Besides its permanent collection, it has temporary exhibitions of Ecuadorian and international modern art.
New Cathedral
The New Cathedral, otherwise known as La Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, is clearly visible from all over Cuenca and its sky-blue domes have become symbols of the city. It flanks the west side of Parque Calderon, Cuenca’s central plaza. One of its main features are the stained-glass windows by Basque artists Guillermo Larrázabal and ornate gold high altar.
Panama hat factory
Homero Ortega hat factory makes some of the best Panama hats in the business. In case you didn’t know, Panama hats are not made in Panama. They are correctly called toquilla straw hats and were first produced in Ecuador in the 17th century and shipped to the rest of the world via Panama. Homero Ortega is an ideal place to understand the history of this iconic headwater. There is a small museum showing the history of the company and the evolution of the Panama hat making process. You’ll also have the opportunity to wander around the factory where they prepare the materials used and create the final product.
Plaza de las Flores
Located next to the New Cathedral and Carmen de la Asunción Church, this square is known for its daily flower market. Here you can buy a wide variety of fresh flowers including arum lilies and lush tropical blooms, plants and bouquets which set the cobbled town square ablaze with color.

 

Rates

# passengers Price (per person)
1 $105
2 $99
3 $75
4-5 $65
6-7 $55
8-9 $50
10-15 $49
16-25 $48
26+ $47