This tour includes
· A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide for tours mentioned above
· Activities mentioned in the itinerary
· Private transportation
· Pickup and drop off from your hotel
· Airport transfers
· All entrance fees
· Spa package at Piedra de Agua with access to all facilities (but not including massages)
· Two nights accommodation at Hotel Santa Lucía (the first night the room will be prepared for wedding night with fruit, wine and romantic decor)
· Meals mentioned in itinerary (breakfasts at hotel, dinner set menu at Mansión Alcázar, lunch set menu at Piedra de Agua, lunch set menu at Hacienda Uzhupud)
This tour does not include
· Travel insurance
· Tips and gratuities
· Any other service not mentioned herein
This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of the available options for a visit to Cuenca. But keep in mind:
- We can tailor this trip to suit your needs, tastes, time frame and budget
- Every aspect of the itinerary can be modified, from the accommodation to the activities
Day 1 (Friday) - Arrival in Cuenca & city tour
Airport pick-up and transfer to Hotel Santa Lucía. Evening private Cuenca city tour to take in the highlights of the city. Romantic dinner at Mansión Alcázar. Meals included: -/-/D
Day 2 (Saturday) - Cajas National Park & hot springs
Private tour of Cajas National Park to take in the spectacular scenery with a moderate hike. You will then be transported to Baños for lunch at Piedra de Agua followed by a relaxing afternoon in their natural thermal pools and spa with its steam baths, underground thermal pools, mud pools and more. Meals included: B/L/-
Day 3 (Sunday) - Craft-making villages & Hacienda Uzhupud & departure
Private tour of craft-making villages surrounding Cuenca to find out about local arts and crafts. This tour includes a visit to Ecuagenera, the most important orchid growing laboratory in Ecuador to marvel at hundreds of exotic species. The day will end with a delicious lunch at Hacienda Uzhupud in the Paute valley. Transfer to airport. Meals included: B/L/-
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.
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.
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.
The barranco is the name given to the buildings that hang above the rushing River Tomebamba which is flanked by a grassy riverside and gorgeous colonial buildings. The river can be accessed from the center of Cuenca via three stone stairways and one of the main features is the Puente Roto (broken bridge), the remains of an old stone bridge that once crossed the river.
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.
Cajas National Park
Cajas National Park is located about 33 km west of Cuenca in Southern Ecuador. The park covers about 285 km2 at an altitude of between 3100m and 4450m above sea level. It is famous for its characteristic tundra vegetation covering hills and valleys. There are about 270 lakes and lagoons throughout the park. The name of the park comes from the Quichua word cassia which translates as gateway to the snowy mountains, though some link it to the Spanish word cajas meaning boxes due to the hundreds of lakes.
Piedra de Agua
Located in Baños, only 10 minutes from Cuenca, Piedra de Agua is a natural thermal bath and spa complex which includes a series of hot thermal pools, steam room, mud baths, hot and cold baths, steam chambers and a restaurant set in beautiful surroundings with views of the area.
The village of San Bartolomé is best known for the production of guitars. Entire families have passed on the tradition over the years making guitars from various woods including walnut, cedar, pine, rosewood, ebony and more. San Bartolomé is located in the canton of Sigsig and the province of Azuay.
Gualaceo is known as the garden of Azuay (the name of the province in which it is located). Only about an hour from Cuenca, the village is located in a fertile region best known for the production of fruit. The local market, located near the banks of the river by the same name, is also popular for the hornado (roast pork served with potato cakes and corn).
Only about an hour from Cuenca, Chordeleg is best known for the many jewelry stores that line its streets and main square. The jewelry, which is mostly made from silver, is locally produced.
Bulcay is best known as the home of some of the last remaining ikat weavers. Only about thirty minutes from Cuenca, this is the place to watch women using traditional hand looms weaving striking colored shawls and sweaters using cotton, alpaca and wool.