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Cuenca & The South

The Pan-American Highway heads south to Cuenca, the centre for the most important pre-Columbian site in the whole of Ecuador: the Ingapirca Inca ruins. Ingapirca means Inca stone wall and this vast, magnificent complex includes fortifications, courtyards, terraces, temples and houses constructed without the use of mortar. There is also a brilliantly presented museum with a superb scale model of the whole site.
 
Set on the banks of the Río Tomebamba and the most important city in the southern highlands, Cuenca is a graceful and charming city and a great favourite with Ecuadorians. There is a wonderfully relaxing mix of cobbled streets with cafes, galleries and gorgeous architecture. On holidays to Cuenca enjoy the beautiful gardens, the four rivers winding around the town and the ubiquitous and elegant Spanish ironwork balconies. This is a cultural treasure and the beautifully preserved historic centre is a World Heritage site.
 
Cuenca is famous for its beautiful handicrafts, especially clothes, both modern and traditional, fine artistic ceramics and jewellery. Gold and silver are mined locally and this is a very important staple industry. It is also a centre for straw hat manufacture, including the famous Panama hat that actually originated in Ecuador, not Panama. President Roosevelt wore one on a visit to Panama during the building of the canal – and much to the annoyance of the Ecuadorians, the name Panama hat was given and has remained until today!
 
If you’d like to find out more about holidays to Cuenca, email us or ring for a chat on 01582 766 122.
 
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There is an exhaustive choice of museums and churches. One of the favourites on Cuenca holidays is the fantastic Native Cultures Museum, with over 5,000 exhibits covering 15,000 years of indigenous habitation. On holidays to Cuenca, in the main plaza you can compare the old and new cathedrals. One is among the oldest in South America and is now a museum, while the other is one of the largest in all America, with its blue dome, pink marble floors and famous stained-glass windows.
 
Every day of the year the indigenous locals hold a beautiful flower market, demonstrating the richness of the region’s agriculture. This is a very bike-friendly city too, with a weekly community ride setting out from the popular Parque de la Madre. The park is close to the centre and a great venue for family fun and adventure on Cuenca holidays.
 
Outside the city, one of the main attractions is the Cajas National Park, which rises to 4,400 metres and in 110 square miles contains everything you will ever need for easy outdoor relaxation on holidays to Cuenca. You can simply walk and savour the stunning scenic beauty or count off the over 250 glacial lagoons. Wildlife here includes the endangered South American condor and over 40 mammal species including the puma, coati and opossum.
 
Visit the ruins of Gualaceo, once the dwelling place of the pre-Inca Canari people, or the sub-tropical valley of Gualaceo where the beautiful river will tempt you to swim. Nearby you can see the pre-Incan town of Chordeleg, where you can buy the finest gold and silver filigree at very affordable prices. On Cuenca holidays try the tasty local Ecuadorian tequila at Nabon after you have explored the Canari ruins, where the Canari chief Duma was defeated by the Incas.
 
There is so much to see and do on holidays to Cuenca and always against the breathtaking backdrop of the magnificent Andes mountains.
Essential Ecuador: Quito + Avenue of Volcanoes
EYA7Q
7 NIGHTS
FROM £1,595
International flights quoted separately
This escorted small group tour is the perfect introduction to Ecuador - combining the old Inca capital of Quito in the Andes, with stunning landscapes & local culture as you travel through the Avenue of the Volcanoes & ride the train down Devil's Nose to the charming colonial city of Cuenca.  Complete your holiday in the vibrant Caribbean port city of Guayaquil. English speaking guides & all transfers included.
Ecuador Tour Photo Quito Cuenca Train Devils Nose Guayaquil
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Quito
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Centre of World Monument
• 
Indigenous Markets
• 
Tungurahua Volcano
• 
Route of the Cascases
• 
Chimborazo Volcano
• 
Riobamba
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Guayaquil
• 
Quito
• 
Centre of World Monument
• 
Indigenous Markets
• 
Tungurahua Volcano
• 
Route of the Cascases
• 
Chimborazo Volcano
• 
Riobamba
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Guayaquil
Classic Ecuador: Quito + Amazon + Ave of Volcanoes
EYB12Q
12 NIGHTS
FROM £2,895
International flights quoted separately
Explore the wildlife, cultures & landscapes of mainland Ecuador, starting in the old Inca capital of Quito high in the Andes. Fly into the Amazon Basin to explore its wildlife & waterways, then join a small group tour through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to colonial Cuenca, including train ride down the Devil's Nose. Light aircraft flights, English guide, all transfers & specified sightseeing included.
Photo Avenue of the Volcanoes Ecuador Train Devils Nose Cuenca Amazon
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Quito
• 
Centre of World Monument
• 
Amazon Basin
• 
Tungurahua Volcano
• 
Route of the Cascases
• 
Chimborazo Volcano
• 
Riobamba
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Guayaquil
• 
Quito
• 
Centre of World Monument
• 
Amazon Basin
• 
Tungurahua Volcano
• 
Route of the Cascases
• 
Chimborazo Volcano
• 
Riobamba
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Guayaquil
Quito + Avenue of Volcanoes + Galapagos (on land)
EYB13Q
13 NIGHTS
FROM £3,994
International flights quoted separately
Combine Quito & a hotel on the Galapagos Islands, with this weekly escorted tour through the dramatic Avenue of the Volcanoes, that runs in a parallel chain southwards from Quito to Riobamba, including riding the train down the amazing 'Devils Nose'. All transfers, marine fees & specified sightseeing with English guides included. Diving options available on request.
Photo Santa Cruz Island Tours Galapagos Finch Bay Hotels Ecuador
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Quito
• 
Centre of World Monument
• 
Avenue of Volcanoes
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Guayaquil
• 
Santa Cruz, Galapagos
• 
North Seymour Island
• 
Giant Tortoises
• 
Charles Darwin Centre
• 
Quito
• 
Centre of World Monument
• 
Avenue of Volcanoes
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Guayaquil
• 
Santa Cruz, Galapagos
• 
North Seymour Island
• 
Giant Tortoises
• 
Charles Darwin Centre
Grand Ecuador, including Amazon + Galapagos Cruise
EPC16Q
16 NIGHTS
FROM £5,995
International flights quoted separately
Explore Ecuador in depth on this amazing holiday. Travel by boat into the rainforests of Yasuni National Park, deep in the Amazon, and explore the landscapes and cultures of the Avenue of the Volcanoes & Cuenca with your own private guide. Complete your holiday with an expedition cruise in the marine-rich Galapagos Islands. Galapagos flights, all transfers & marine fees included.
Photo Grand Tour Ecuador Amazon Galapagos Quito Cuenca Yasuni
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Quito
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Yasuni National Park
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Amazon Rainforest
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Avenue of Volcanoes
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Cotapaxi National Park
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Expedition Cruise
• 
Galapagos Islands
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Quito
• 
Yasuni National Park
• 
Amazon Rainforest
• 
Avenue of Volcanoes
• 
Cotapaxi National Park
• 
Devils Nose Train
• 
Cuenca
• 
Expedition Cruise
• 
Galapagos Islands
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