Post - extension Cuenca | 2 nights | Saturday
Connects with Tren Crucero (Quito to Guayaquil)
As ancient cosmogony of Cañari nation tells it, their people came into being after a terrible flood that annihilated all humans and animals in the world except for two brothers, who then married two macaw with human female faces. From this union the Cañari nation was born, and then spread across what now is the southern Andes in Ecuador, including the area where Cuenca now sits.
At the end of XIVth century, the Inca Empire arrived from the south, and they settled in the area of Cuenca before continuing north. The Inca conquest of Ecuador was short –lived though, ending bless than 100 years later with the arrival of the Europeans o, and with the arrival of the Europeans. During the XV and XVIth century the city changed again inca palaces and Cañari remains disappeared or served as foundations or building materials for catholic churches and convents, giving birth to a one of the most beautiful expressions of American baroque style.
This mixture of Cañari-inca ruins, visible in the palace of Pumapungo erected in XIVt entury by inca emperor Huayna Capac, the magnificent temples from the XVIth century and the impressive republican era, marble decorated civilian structures scattered across town earned the city its entry into UNESCo World heritage list in 1999, acknowledging the community’s effort to maintain their multicultural heritage.
Departure at 10 am from Guayaquil to Cuenca by road.
From the rice and banano plantations the road climbs up to the impressive paramo of El Cajas National Park, with its more than 200 lakes and lagoons.
Arrival in Cuenca around noon. Check in at Mansion Alcázar, a colonial style manor converted into Boutique Hotel, right in the heart of the historical quarter. A perfect starting point for exploring the city center by foot.
Dinner in Mansion Alcazar.
Besides the many splendid churches and convents, such as El Carmen or Las Conceptas, you can visit the Catedral Nueva, with its splendid blue domes and the rose marble façade, in the main square. Stroll around the old quarter and discover small squares, the Flower Market and the magnificent view of El Barranco, the scenic promenade along the river Tomebamba, with its picturesque houses perched on top of the river.
But Cuenca is also the capital of arts and handcrafts in Ecuador. The city and the surrounding valleys are famed for their skilled jewelers, the most delicate filigree, and of course, the famous Panama Hats.
When you tire of exploring this quaint city, it is time for a refreshment. Cuenca is famed for its traditional sweets, elaborated according to old colonial recipes, but you can also find great number of restaurants specializing in updated Andean Cuisine.
Or else you can hire a tour to the nearby valleys of Gualaceo and Chordeleg, week-end places of choice for Cuenca citizens due to their beautiful landscape and mild climate. Orchids, textile weavers, filigree jewelers, hat makers await you. Workshops are scattered around in the small villages, and many of them welcome visitors.
Cuenca’s signature dishes are based on many different ways of preparing corn –all of them delicious. The star is “mote” –hominy corn boiled until soft and peeled. It is called “mote sucio” if cooked in pork gravy, “mote pillo” for breakfast with eggs and onion, “Tostado” or “chulpi” usually served as snack, toasted corn nut, and the name varies depending on the type of corn used…
The food scene in Cuenca has experienced a dramatic overhaul in recent years. For traditional Andean cuisine try El Tiesto or El Molino, reservation advised. Or just let your feet guide you and discover you own favorite place.
Connecting with Quito departures of Train of Wonders Tren Crucero.
TRAIN OF WONDERS
Quito - Guayaquil
3 / 17 / 31 jan | 14 / 28 feb | 14 / 28 mar | 11 / 25 apr | 9 / 23 may | 6 / 20 jun | 4 / 18 jul | 1 / 15 / 29 aug | 12 / 26 sep | 10 / 24 oct | 7 / 21 nov | 5 / 19 dec
Guayaquil – El Cajas* – Cuenca
*Panoramic tour. Free time in Cuenca. Accommodation and dinner at Mansion Alcazar.
Free time in Cuenca. Check out, 12:00.
Our program includes transportation on board Tren Crucero with bilingual guide (English/Spanish). All meals during the trip, unlimited snacks and soft drinks on board, transfer in tourist bus or van for scheduled visits, and all entry fees on activities included in the itinerary. Lodging on a double room basis.
Colonial Cuenca extension includes transfer from your hotel in Guayaquil to Cuenca, and 2 nights in Mansion Alcazar, breakfast and dinner included.
1 Guidance in Italian, French, German Portuguese and Japanese is available under petition. Subject to availability and with an extra cost.
Local taxes, alcoholic beverages ( a selection of red and White wines, beers and whiskey is available on board) meals or excursions not included in the program, plane tickets, personal expenditure, tips, transfer to hotels different from those indicated. It is advised that passengers acquire a travel insurance. Our services end on arrival at Duran or Quito train stations.
CLOTHING: Wear layers, a jacket for cold weather and a light coat for the rain (coast), walking shoes, hat, sunscreen (SPF 70 at least), sunglasses, camera, cash and insect repellant.
ALTITUDE: It ranges from 80 to 3,610 meters above sea level. The temperature ranges from 14 ° to 35 °C.
IMPORTANT: Cuenca airport operates domestic flights to and from Guayaquil/Quito. We advise to make early reservation for your return trip. Additional excursions to Chordeleg, Gualaceo, or Cuenca City Tour can be booked at the hotel, and are subject to availability.