Cuenca and Train
We travel south alongside the city of Quito above the cloud filled valley floor and down into the Avenue of the Volcanoes. The route takes us toward the majestic volcano, Cotopaxi, the neck of the moon in an ancient indigenous language. Further down the road in the Andean town of Tambillo, we cross the tracks of the Ecuadorian Train Network; 965km of railroad that runs all the way to the coast and is currently under restoration.
Cuenca by Plane
The guide will meet you upon arrival at Cuenca’s airport. We will spend the day in Cuenca walking through the cobble-stoned streets past old colonial houses perched on the river banks and to the central plaza. Here we will visit the old cathedral where we can see the private family chapels and the priest’s catacombs. In the unfinished, new cathedral, the architect miscalculated the weight of the front two domes; they were too heavy for the underlying structure and never put in place, hence the uncompleted construction.
Guayaquil City Tour
Founded in 1543, Santiago de Guayaquil has grown from small trading port to Ecuador’s biggest, most modern city. This exciting, lively city straddles the mighty Guayas River which is the widest in our country and the deep-water sea creek (Estero Salado). Steeped in naval traditions, Guayaquil was one of the most important shipyards in America during the colonial period.
From your hotel we will step back in time into the picturesque neighborhood of San Juan as we make our way toward the Historic Centre. We will walk down quaint cobbled streets lined with beautiful brightly colored colonial houses roofed in old tiles with balconies dressed in flowers, watched over by the winged virgin of Quito sitting up on the ‘Panecillo’. The ‘Panecillo’, so named for its bread like shape, is actually a parasitic crater formed by magma from Pichincha Volcano.
The Middle of the World
We depart from Quito for the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) complex. A 30-meter-high monument is located at latitude 0º 0´0”, and gives you the unusual opportunity of standing in both the north and south hemispheres at the same time while straddling the Equator. To one side of the monument a replica Spanish Colonial village offers a leisure area, gift shops and restaurants. This site was highly significant for the ancient Andean people whose “cosmovision” worshipped the unity of cosmos, nature and family many thousands of years ago.