Cuenca, its Traditions & Ruins
Day 1: Cuenca – Sigsig – Gualaceo – Chordeleg – Cuenca
Our journey begins in a ride to Cuenca to the village is Sigsig which is known for its artisans who weave the famous Panama hats. The hats are of Ecuadorian origin, however, they were known to be used in the 1960’s by famous politicians and celebrities visiting the Panama Canal where they got their international name. In the factory, we will admire the art of weaving recognized by the UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Gualaceo is a very typical Andean village with cobblestone streets, a central plaza and interesting main church to learn more about the different cultures that have gone through this area through the years. Artisan of the village, are known for their work in leather artifacts and clothing which makes a good opportunity a quick shopping time.
We head to Chordeleg, another artisan village which designs and makes silver and gold jewelry by hand, in a tradition that goes back 5000 years. The city holds about 100 jewelry shops where different finishes, details, and shapes can be found.
In our way back to Cuenca, we make a quick stop in an orchid exportation farm for a quick visit to learn more about the orchid exportation business.
Day 2: Cuenca – Ingapirca – Cuenca
Visit the Incan archaeological site of Ingapirca. These relics is one of the biggest construction made by the Incas in the fifteen-century connecting Quito and Cuzco. This is the most important archaeological complex in the country, the best preserved from this ancient civilization. The Solar Temple also holds a museum displaying pottery and metal artifacts found in the surrounding archaeological findings. Ingapirca means “Wall of the Inca” which was built on former Cañari burial site and holds symbolic importance for various local cultures that predate the Spanish colonization.
We continue at a country club to enjoy the green pastures and try our horseriding skills. We will enjoy this rural setting for about two hours.
Day 3: Cuenca – Cajas National Park
El Cajas National Park is a natural reserve is famous for its more than 200 lagoons, such as La Toreadora which is home to various bird species and endemic plants like the Polylepis tree. We will enjoy a hike through this protected reserve, admiring the scenery of the moorlands, the glacial moorland lakes, ponds and the enormous rocky glacial outcrops form a unique scenario. We will be surrounded by misty ecosystems of the high Andes with altitude ranging around 3.600m (11.800 feet) above sea level.