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Interesting Places Near Cuenca

Centro Ecuestre Bellavista

Enjoy the most beautiful mountains and valleys on horseback.  Located in Turi, just outside of Cuenca, they offer horseback riding on trails tailored to your skill level.  They supply boots and helmets for your ride.

Tel. 099-415-0643 or 07-248-5007
http://ww17.bellavistatour.com

Chordeleg

About an hour from Cuenca and a great place to purchase jewelry.  The entire town square is full of silver shops.  Other boutiques sell leather goods/shoe stores, but the quality of these goods varies.  So, shop wisely!

Get there by bus from the Bus Terminal on Av. de España at Sebastián de Benalcázar – a $2.00 taxi ride from the apartment.  Bus fare to Chorteleg costs about 75 cents.  When catching a bus at the Bus Terminal (Terminal Terrestre) be sure to have the 10 cents (a dime) required to get through the turn-style to board the bus. 

Dos Chorreros

A lovely restaurant/hotel about 20 K west of Cuenca that is famous for its trout.  Moreover, you can even fish there for a fee.  They will also arrange horseback or Cajas hiking excursions for you.  The gift shop that sells wonderful preserves, coffee, smoked trout, and other types of food with their own label.  It is a beautiful rustic building with fabulous views.  You will see alpacas, llamas, and small deer on the property.

http://www.hosteriadoschorreras.com

El Cajas National Park

About one hour from Cuenca by bus or car, this national park in the mountains makes a great day trip with its breathtaking views and wonderful hiking.  More than 200 lakes here and a variety of trails, ranging from a gentle hour-long stroll to two-day hikes.  Most of the park is at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, and the upper lakes are at about 14,000 feet.

http://www.parque-nacional-cajas.org/

Girón

Small town about 30 minutes south of Cuenca on the way to Loja.  Three miles from the town is the famous 200-foot-high Chorro de Girón waterfall.  A two-hour hike through lush vegetation under a cloud-forest canopy leads to its base or catch a taxi from town.  Hire a guide at Chorro to hike up to two other waterfalls, a strenuous 75 - 90 minutes farther up the mountain.  Catch a bus from Cuenca and get off at Girón or book a tour. 

Guayaquil

A major port, 120 miles from Cuenca so it is not exactly near Cuenca!  However, it is only a 3 ½ hour drive in a SUV along with 6 or 7 other passengers at a cost of about $15 per person.  If you wish to hire your own private transportation, the cost will be approximately $75 - $100. 

Tame airline offers flights between Cuenca and Guayaquil some days of the week, which cost about $80 one-way.