Itinerary design to match before or after with your Galapagos Cruise

Perfect combination between culture, history, and wildlife

Exclusive visits to  artisan workshops

Cuenca, a jewel in the Southern Andes

Most consider Cuenca the country’s most beautiful city, though, for a less subjective description, we can also call this tranquil Southern Andean urban hub, Ecuador’s ‘city of rivers’. Four beautiful Andean rivers run through it, and strolling along their banks is certainly among the most pleasurable moments of contemplation the country has to offer.

Cuenca is made for walking, a city that has preserved its cobblestone streets, where modern shops and cafés function within the Spanish-style mansions of old, with a slew of museums, churches, and squares to revel in. An active street life makes it a safe place to spend an evening bar-hopping and a breed of craftsmen are keen to showcase their talent in everything from hat-making to jewelry.

General Information
Operates: daily When to go: this is a year-round destination
Highlights: Cuenca UNESCO World Heritage, El Cajas National Park, Artisan Workshop Physical Level: easy
Interests: Architecture, Cultural, historical buildings, nature Attire: dress in layers
Weather: temperatures ranging from 66 to 48°F. You might expect sunny mornings and afternoon showers from October to May. The rest of the year, the weather is dry and sunny. Important notes: The city has pleasant weather. You might expect sunny mornings and afternoon showers from October to May. The rest of the year, the weather is dry and sunny.
DAY ITINERARY MEALS
Day 1 Arrival at Quito international airport. Your guide will await you at the international arrivals hall. Transfer to your hotel in Quito. -/-
Day 2 Your first visit starts at Quito´s nucleus, Plaza Grande, or ‘large square’, where the activity seems to converge from every corner of the city. The beautiful gardens and emblematic heritage trees are cupped by the city’s most important buildings, including the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, and Quito’s Cathedral, as well as vistas from the San Francisco bell towers, Santo Domingo domes, and the impressive interior of La Compañia Church. Later we continue to Museo del Alabado to learn about the first civilizations in South America.

Before we end, taste one of the best chocolates in the world in Colonial Quito.

B
Day 3 Transfer to the airport and flight to Cuenca. Once in the city, early check-in at Hotel Cruz del Vado and breakfast. Later, explore the colonial city and French-inspired tin roofs within some of the legendary XIXth-century residences, peek into the cloister museum or travel back in time to a pre-Colombian world at Pumapungo, a spectacular archaeological museum built on Inca terraces that dominated the city before the arrival of the Spanish. Lunch is included in one of Cuenca´s renowned restaurants. Overnight at Cruz del Vado.

 

B/L
Day 4 Morning Chordeleg a beautiful artisan village, well known for its gold and silver jewelry ateliers and the fine filigree artisans. In Gualaceo we also find the an orchids nursery, where we will learn about the process of seeding and growing orchids until they are ready for export. At the nursery, it is easy to acquire orchids with all the legal permits necessary to be taken home with you.

 

B/L
Day 5 On our way to the Pacific Coast, we reach El Cajas Moorlands, a windswept, low-vegetation barren world reminiscent of the sub-Artic climates of regions such as northern Russia or Canada. As we explore this National park, 230 glacial lakes and different shapes of yellow and green create an impressive landscape. Arrival at Hilton Guayaquil for overnight. B/L
Day 6 Transfer to the airport for your international or Galapagos departure flight. B

B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / BL = Box Lunch / D = Dinner

Per person in double/twin rooms and US Dollars 

Days Accommodation 2021 Rates 2022 Rates
Cuenca, a jewel in the Southern Andes Mama Cuchara, Cruz del Vado & Hilton $ 1578 $ 1578
Casa Gangotena, Cruz del Vado & Hotel del Parque $ 1989 $ 1989

Included

  • Accommodations in selected hotels with daily breakfast.
  • Private transfers from/to the airport
  • English speaking guide and private transportation
  • Meals as detailed on your itinerary (B= breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, and BL= Box Lunch)
  • All the required entrance fees
  • Airfare Quito to Cuenca

Additional to consider

  • Meals not mentioned on your itinerary
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on your excursions
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for drivers & guides
  • International air tickets

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From US$ 1564pp




    Testimonials

    Hacienda Zuleta is a rare gem hidden in the Ecuadorian Andes. We stayed there for three nights with Gloria, our guide. She was a wealth of knowledge, a patient+friendly guide!

    Brendan, Australia - “Zuleta was an extraordinary place”

    We loved the tapestry and workshops in Otavalo. During our stay, we loved to walk around Cuicocha crater lake! Quite a breathtaking view!

    Deborah & Nicol, US - “A great market day!”

    Maria was excellent and courteous! She even helped me bargain in the Otavalo market! Meeting Belen, the hatmaker woman, was a unique experience!

    Ed & Sue, US - “Bargain at Otavalo”

    Gina was incredible! Excellent English, knowledge, and very pleasant.

    Brian, US - “Incredible guide”

    Giovanna is exceptionally knowledgeable, especially about Ecuadorian history & politics! She is an excellent storyteller

    Terry & Betsy, US - “Our guide was a storyteller”

    Gloria was a joy to be with! She was very knowledgeable.

    Maynard & Robin, US - “Fantastic experience”