Ecuador's most beautiful city, Saint Anne of the Four Rivers of Cuenca, is located in the valley of Guapondelig (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.
A journey of exploration along back roads and hidden corners, following the Cordillera of the Andes from north to south, on Ecuador’s rugged central highlands, from Quito to Cuenca. Breathtaking views, Indian communities, natural reserves, timeless archaeological remains, the cultural heritage of ancient civilizations and active travel experiences
A journey of exploration along back roads and hidden corners, following the Cordillera of the Andes, on Ecuador’s rugged central highlands, from Quito all the way to Guayaquil. Breathtaking views, Indian communities, natural reserves, the cultural heritage of ancient civilizations and active travel experiences.
The highest point is reached on the road at Three Crosses, the water divide of those than go to the Pacific and to the Atlantic. The wind and drizzle can make it very cold, but the scenery surrounding these 230 lakes is splendid, for walking and hiking, for observing flora, fauna and bird life.
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.
El Cajas National Park has an area of 28.544 hectares, in the western Cordillera of the Andes, with 235 lakes of glacial origin (Mesozoic and Quaternary Periods), at an altitude of 3200 to 4000 meters above sea level with humid Andean cloud forests which act like a sponge by soaking up water that Cuenca then utilizes.
Metropolitan Touring is one of South America’s most known and respected travel companies, providing unrivalled service to our guests for nearly 60 years. Along with our operations in Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, we also own and operate the finest ships for Galapagos Island cruises - the M/V Santa Cruz, Yacht Isabella II and Yacht La Pinta - as well as the Finch Bay Eco Hotel. Come explore with us!
We take immense pride in our Galapagos cruise explorations, during which our guests experience the ever-changing ecological paradise of the islands. Our Galapagos cruises provide opportunities to walk, swim, snorkel, photograph and observe the archipelago’s amazing wildlife in the company of expert naturalist guides. Our Galapagos cruises are characterized by the highest standards of comfort, cuisine and service on board, combining these elements to provide solo-travelers, families and small groups with an unforgettable exploration of ‘the enchanted isles.’
So, pack your bags and come explore with us for a Galapagos cruise of a lifetime!