Rural Hike: Sigsig to Gualaceo

This fascinating rural hike passes through several important historic sites, including the Chobshi Cave and the ruins of Cacique Duma Castle. You’ll also get the opportunity to visit El Pailón Canyon as you hike along the trail which follows the Santa Barbara River. The day ends with brief visits to both Chordeleg and Gualaceo.


This hiking tour from Sigsig to Gualaceo will give you the chance to visit historic sites such as the Chobshi Cave and the ruins of Cacique Duma Castle, as well as visiting the impressive El Pailón canyon. The trail follows the Santa Barbara River along which you’ll hike past orchards, native trees and fields of corn, wheat, barley and potato. You’ll also get the chance to enjoy a picnic lunch by the river.
On your way back to Cuenca, the tour will stop briefly at the craft-making villages of Chordeleg, known for the production of fine filigree jewelry as well as handmade ceramic pottery, and Gualaceo, known for its fruit and vegetable market brimming with fresh produce.

This tour includes

· A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide
· Private transportation
· Packed lunch
· Pickup and drop off from your hotel
· Entrance fee to Chobshi Museum

This tour does not include

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

Packing tips

Due to the high altitude, weather can change rapidly. We recommend you check with our office prior to departure regarding proper attire.
· Good walking or mountain shoes
· Warm and waterproof clothes
· Windbreaker jacket
· Warm gloves
· Sun cream
· Water
· Optional walking stick


Cacique Duma Castle
Just 250m from the Black Cave is a Cañari archaeological site known by some as Chobshi Castle. These are the ruins of a rectangular structure of 110 meters in length, 22 meters in width and 2.9 meters high, along with internal divisions. There is another smaller structure of 1.8 meters in length and 0.7 meters in width. While experts are unclear as to the true use of these architectural remains, some believe it was a Cañari castle, while others hypothesize that it could have been a Cañari temple, observatory, house or tombs. Legend has it that it was built in a night to protect the Cañari people from the Inca invasion.
Chobshi Black Cave
Cueva Negra is a cave where 10,000 year old human artifacts have been excavated of hunter-gatherers of that era. It contains the oldest human remains found in Ecuador. Experts estimate the cave was inhabited at the beginning of the post-glacial era, between 8060 and 5585 B.C.. It is 6 meters high, 9 meters deep and has a 15 meter entrance. Obsidian, a rock of volcanic origin, used to make lithic instruments, has been found within the cave. Since the closest source of obsidian is located 450km from the site, in Quiscatola, experts can assume that inhabitants were highly mobile.
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.
El Pailón Canyon
This canyon was a ceremonial location for the Cañari people paying homage to water.
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 horned (roast pork served with potato cakes and corn).
Sigsig is a remote agricultural village located within beautiful and hilly countryside near the Santa Barbara River. It takes its name from the river’s swaying reeds (sigses). It is one of the most important locations for Panama hat production in the province.


# passengers Price (per person)
2 $104
3 $75
4-5 $64
6-7 $51
8-9 $47
10-15 $44
16-25 $42


Group Tours in Ecuador

We’ve created a selection of group tours with regular departures for those traveling around Ecuador on a budget.