Colonial Cuenca Trip Highlights

  • Panama hats, indigenous markets, museums, ruins, and more
  • Explore colonial Cuenca


Itinerary Overview

With the most intact colonial character, Cuenca is both regal and relaxed. A popular extension to Galapagos trips, this itinerary will have you exploring the history, character, and people in and around town.

Colonia Cuenca

DAY 1  Cuenca

You’ll be met at the airport (arrive via Quito or Guayaquil) and transferred to your accommodations in colonial Cuenca. Relax and explore town at your leisure.

DAY 2  Cuenca – History and Architecture

Explore Cuenca’s cobblestone streets; visit the central plaza, historic chapels, the preist’s catacombs, and other colonial relics. Explore the flower market, a famous sweet shop trying local delights, the Museo de la Concepcion, the Incan ruins of Pumapungo, a Panama Hat workshop, and much more.

DAY 3 Cuenca – Crafts and Traditions

Explore the countryside and traditional towns outside Cuenca. Start the day with vast views over Cajas National Park en route to Gualaceo, a picturesque colonial town renowned for its architecture. Visit Dona Ana’s house learning how her traditional shawls come to life, and explore tiny Chordeleg meeting its many artisans.

DAY 4  Cuenca – Guayaquil – Galapagos/Home

You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport in accordance with your onward flight to Guayaquil and then the Galapagos or Home.

Is It For Me?

As Guayaquil continues to be an increasingly popular airport servicing the Galapagos, nearby Cuenca makes a great Galapagos cruise extension. This itinerary is a relaxed approach to Cuenca focusing on its history, architecture and culture, making it an ideal colonial Ecuador tour.

Knowmad has vast knowledge and operating capacities in Ecuador: this is a private trip and we are happy to modify excursions, accommodations, and the flow of the itinerary to perfectly suit your travel style and interests.

Have questions? Talk to an expert: 612-315-2894

Important Info

Colonia Cuenca


Listed prices are approximations. All Knowmad trips are custom and exact pricing is provided in your trip proposal.

  • From $1,800 per person / 2 travelers

Additionally, internal airfare is not included in the trip price. If you would like Knowmad Adventures to book your internal airfare (Quito/Cuenca/Quito) fares are generally around $150. If arranging domestic airfare independently, please consult us prior so we can verify the departure and arrival times.

TYPE Flexible Date Private Departures

LIGHT TRIP Activities include cultural opportunities, history, shopping, wildlife viewing, optional hiking.

DEPARTURES Year round; can be set up to match your dates

LENGTH 4 days – 3 nights comfortable hotels               BEGIN / END Cuenca, Ecuador

Air Travel

INTERNATIONAL Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips. You may arrange your international airfare independently, or we are happy to offer our feedback and assistance in helping you book it.

REGIONAL If booked by Knowmad Adventures, internal airfare for this trip (Quito/Cuenca/Quito) averages around $150, however this is an approximation and the airfare is subject to change upon booking. If you would like to arrange your own regional flights, please consult us prior so we can verify the departure and arrival times.

What's Next?

Ready for the trip of a lifetime? Signing up is easy. Call us at 612-315-2894 or email [email protected] and reserve your spot. Or simply download our registration form, fill it out, and send it back to us along with your trip deposit. Please refer to registration form for terms & conditions.

Weather & When to Go to Ecuador

Like the rest of the Ecuadorian Andes, Cuenca is home to a mild climate throughout the year and is a great year-round destination. Throughout the year the daytime high temperatures average in the mid 70s to low 80s F (23-27 C) with evening being slightly cooler. March and April are the wettest months, but are not altogether that rainy and rain is unpredictable and happens in small amounts throughout the year.

Weather in Ecuador

Prior to your departure, you are provided a detailed pre-trip information packet including a recommended pack list, information about the regions you’ll be visiting, suggested readings, up-to-date health information including any recommended vaccinations and more.


Our trips feature comfortable accommodations that complement their surroundings. We seek out intimacy and character, but never sacrifice cleanliness and security. We also find the best value for quality. In general, our physically moderate to vigorous trips feature hotels classified as 3+ to 4 stars, while less physically demanding trips feature 4+ to 5 star hotels.

As South American travel specialists, we’re experts and have inspected hundreds of properties. Knowmad is happy to suggest upgrades and alternative hotels based on your preferences to ensure your trip is perfect for you. Photos below are from this itinerary’s preferred accommodations. For more specifics, call or write to request more info.

Cuenca in Ecuador Places to Stay

The accommodation featured in this itinerary is the following:

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Cuenca

Upon arrival you’ll be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken to your accommodations centrally located in charming Cuenca. Along the way you will get a brief introduction and orientation to colonial Cuenca. Enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 2 Cuenca – History and Architecture

Following breakfast you and your guide will spend the day in Cuenca walking through the cobble-stoned streets past old colonial houses perched on the river banks. Arriving to the central plaza, explore Ecuador’s history while visiting private family chapels, the priest’s catacombs, and other colonial relics. Also visit the colorful flower market where indigenous women in traditional dress tend stalls overflowing with roses and other flowers. From there enjoy a visit to El Suspiro, a famed Cuenca sweet shop, to taste the region’s traditional sweets. And a visit to the fascinating Museo de la Concepcion will have you hungry for a typical Ecuadorian lunch at El Maiz, a cozy restaurant specializing in Andean fusion cuisine mixing traditional ingredients and recipes with modern and international influences.

After lunch visit the Museo del Banco Central, the archeological park Pumapungo to see the remains of the Inca Empire’s second most important city, and a visit a traditional Panama hat workshop. Top off the day relaxing at one of the many cafes, people watching at La Esquina de las Artes and visiting the surrounding handicraft shops.

Day 3 Cuenca – Crafts and Traditions

Departing the city after breakfast, your guide will take you to a spectacular viewpoint above Cajas National Park. En route to the town of Gualaceo, an Ecuadorian Heritage site renowned for colonial architecture, visit Dona Ana’s adobe home and learn how she creates the beautiful shawls characteristic of the region using natural dyes and traditional methods. Also visit a center for indigenous women where their woolen goods, leather and ceramic crafts are on display.

Explore the small town of Chordeleg famous for its ceramics and gold and silver jewelry, visiting the famed Lituma Brother’s workshop as well as Dona Cristina’s ceramics gallery, before arriving to Gualaceo. This small town hosts the largest indigenous market in the area. Travelers take a keen interest for the fine woven and embroidered textiles, shawls, and the overall experience, which is a feast for the eyes.

Day 4 Cuenca – Guayaquil – Galapagos/Home

In accordance with your onward flight to Guayaquil and then the Galapagos or Home, you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport.

  • B

Extend Your Adventure


After a thorough exploration of mainland Ecuador, fly west to the Pacific for a Galapagos adventure cruise. 

Machu Picchu

This incredibly vast archaeological site – lost to the world until well into the twentieth century – is perched amidst Andean peaks and lush cloud forest making it as breathtaking as it is intriguing. Arrive by train or by a day’s hike on the Inca Trail. 

Let The Journey Begin

Let the Journey Begin - Knowmad Adventures

Planning a trip to South America might seem a little overwhelming at first. Knowmad offers door-to-door trip planning: first, we listen, and then we help you navigate the seasonal differences and itinerary options, resulting in a holistic, seamless, and custom-crafted experience, all at a guaranteed best value.

The simplest way to get started is to give us a call at 612-315-2894or to fill out this short form so we can learn more about your travel preferences.