Gualaceo Valley-Chordeleg-Sigsig Tour and Lunch, daily, private
Winding, roads take you through very scenic landscapes that change at every curb. Shorts stops at small towns catering special items like guitars, toquilla straw harvests ready to be woven into Panama hats; orchards and sugar cane plantations, gold and silver jewelry; shawls and scarves and the way they are manufactured.
At Gualaceo and Chordeleg, the crafts workers will show our guests the transformation of common material to beautiful dresses like chals; originals gold and silver jewelry; and music boxes, the guitars. The day finishes visiting 2500 different kind of orchids, in one place. The valley of Gualaceo is 22 miles (36 kilometers) from Cuenca, at an elevation of 7,446 feet (2,370 meters) above sea level.
The ride starts along the Santa Ana valley and then high in the mountains, through very scenic landscapes, which change at every curb. A stop is made at the small town of San Bartolome where guitars are made by hand and artistically finished.
Then, the trip stops at Chordeleg, a small town with many stores selling jewelry in gold and silver. Chordeleg is also known for its green and yellow pottery. Lunch is at a very pleasant country inn, surrounded by flowering gardens and very close to the Santa Barbara river. Continue later on to the village of Gualaceo famous for its Sunday market which sells mostly local products, animals, household goods and leather shoes. The valley of Gualaceo is also known for the production of peaches and there is a Peach Festival the first week of March.
Passing the village of Gualaceo, drive along the banks of the river, lined with weeping willows, guests arrive to Bulcay, where the weavers produce the finest shawls and scarves using backstrap looms and the technique of ikat, where the threads are tie-dyed to form specific designs before weaving.
Later, guests visit an orchid garden with over 2500 species. Lunch is at a very pleasant country inn, surrounded by flowering gardens and very close to the Paute River, and in the afternoon return to Cuenca in time to catch the return flight or you may spend the night in Cuenca.
- Ground transportation and guide
- Dress in layers (T-shirt, blouse, sweater, coat)
- rain protection.
- Sun protection (SPF 40) even if the day is cloudy.
- Hat or cap.
- Good walking shoes.
- Altitude: 2,370 meters (7446 feet) to 2,550 meters (7,750 feet)
- Average Temperature: Day 10° to 25° C / 50° to 77° F. - Night 6° to 10° C / 43° to 50° F.
With an altitude between 2,100 and 3,000 meters (7,000 to 10,000 feet) the weather is surprisingly comfortable all year round. The days are warm and nights cool. In the highlands the dry season extends from July through October with temperatures in the 70s F (20s C) during the day and in the 50s F (10s C) after the sun sets. During the rest of the year, you can expect showers in the afternoon.
Dressing in layers is ideal in the highlands. Dress is generally informal for travelers. Lightweight wools are recommended for day; a sweater or a warm jacket after dusk. Good walking shoes are essential.
The hotels, country inns and haciendas used on our tours are the best available at each location. Although rooms at haciendas may not have all the amenities, they are located on superb ground evoking a bygone age. All have private facilities and hot water.
Because Ecuador is located right on the equator, sun rays are direct. Fair-skinned persons should always use sun protection in the highlands, even if the weather is cloudy, and wear sunglasses. Hat or cap are highly recommended.
Although most hotels and cities have perfectly suitable water, to avoid stomach problems, don't drink tap water and don't eat uncooked vegetables or fruit you cannot peel. Bottled mineral water, with or without carbonation, is available at all hotels/haciendas.
Travelers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should check with their doctor about high-altitude travel.
Ecuador's most beautiful city maintains its Hispanic atmosphere in the flowery plazas, cobblestone streets and wonderful museums. Ecuador's most beautiful city, Saint Anne of the Four Rivers of Cuenca, is located in the valley of Guapondelig (meaning “plain as wide as the sky”). At an altitude of 2,550 meters (7,650 feet) above sea level, Cuenca enjoys a mild climate and a fabulous geographic position. Surrounding the city of Cuenca are hills like Cullca to the north and Turi to the south, which are great lookout points. Cuenca has the placid atmosphere of a small city, both deeply religious and artistic, which fascinates the visitor. The beauty of its landscape combined with the harmony between old and modern architecture, has prompted, UNESCO to name Ecuador's third largest city, Cuenca, a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Why is this tour so special?
- Guests would see articles from this area, made by craft workers’ hands.
- Guests will know the culture of southern towns closer.
- It is a good chance to buy good quality clothes, jewels and even hand made guitars!
- Guests will see beautiful landscapes, surrounded by mountains with impresive beauty
- Guests will observe a big orchid variety as many as thousands.
- Guests could buy a Panama hat made by the craft workers.
||Rates per Person (US$)
|PRICES PER PERSON 2013
||4 - 5
|6 - 9
||10 - 15
||16 - 20
Cuenca Ecuador Tours & Hotels
With the placid atmosphere of a small city, Cuenca fascinates its visitors
Ecuador's most beautiful city, Saint Anne of the Four Rivers of Cuenca, is located in the valley of Guapondelig (meaning “plain as wide as the sky”). At an altitude of 2,550 meters (7,650 feet) above sea level, Cuenca enjoys a mild climate and a fabulous geographic position. Surrounding the city of Cuenca are hills like Cullca to the north and Turi to the south, which are great lookout points. Cuenca has the placid atmosphere of a small city, both deeply religious and artistic, which fascinates the visitor. The beauty of its landscape combined with the harmony between old and modern architecture, has prompted, UNESCO to name Ecuador's third largest city, Cuenca, a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Houses stretch down the slopes along the Tomebamba, one of the four rivers that cross Cuenca, whose banks are covered with multicolored laundry under the riverside willows and linden trees. Both the Hispanic colonial downtown and the new homes in the residential neighborhoods, show how Cuenca keeps traditions of bygone eras close to its heart, but accepts the presence of modernity that abound in the city: new hotels, banks, art galleries and shops. Cuenca's cobblestone streets, graceful balconies, blossoming gardens and religious art treasures invite you to visit it, on foot and at a leisurely pace.
Cuenca's handicrafts are outstanding in variety, color and quality. These treasures, inspired by local imagination are created in straw, horn, cloth, embroidery, knit, clay, wrought iron, leather as well as gold and silver jewelry.
The region of Cuenca was already inhabited nine thousand years ago. The Cañari people settled here due to its favorable climate, abundant water and ideal land for cultivation. Extraordinary pieces of ceramic of this period, notable for their design and technique, are to be found in the museums. In the middle of the 15th century, the Incas came to this area and founded the city they called Tomebamba and a few years later, in 1557, the Spanish claimed the city and renamed it Cuenca.
Additional excursions surrounding Cuenca include the impressive Cajas lake district, the subtropical valleys of Paute, Gualaceo and Yunguilla, plus the legendary Inca ruins of Ingapirca.