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CUENCA

Location: Azuay province.
Altitude: 2.550 m.a.s.l.
Climate: 7 - 15 °C in Winter and 12 - 25 °C 
Hotels availabilit: yes
Food availability: yes
Recommendation: comfortable, and warm clothing 
Population: 500.000 people. 

Cuenca is a city located in the center/south of Ecuador, is the capital of Azuay province. Is located in the southerner area of the Ecuadorian Andean mountain range; is the thirth most important population of Ecuador. His historical center was declared as Heritage of the Humanity by UNESCO in 1999.

The first population that stayed in this point, that we have knowledge, was guapondelig, a cañari that means "plain as wide as the heaven". After the Inca conquest it turns the second most important city of the Inca Empire called Tumipamba or Tomebamba, besides to be the cradle of the Inca Huayna Cápac, until it was conquered in 1533 by the spanish and fundated as "Santa Ana of the four rivers of Cuenca" in honor of Cuenca (Spain) of the Lima´s viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza who put to Sir. Gil Ramirez Dávalos in charge, in 12th April of 1557.

Cuenca declared his spanish independence in 3th November of 1820; but it were effective only after to confront the hard repression and war, when the rest of Ecuador were liberated of the spanish yoke, in 24th May of 1822 in the Pichincha battle.

With the organization of the Gran Colombia Republic and after of Ecuador, Cuenca was assigned as capital of the southern Apartment, and then of the Azuay province. 











INGAPIRCA ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEX


Location: Cañar province.
Altitude: 3.120 m.a.s.l.
Distance from Cuenca: 80 Km (1 hour 30 minutes) 
Climate: Cold - windy - rainy
Hotel Availability: yes
Food availability: yes
Recommendation: Comfortable and warm clothing.


Ingapirca is the most important archaeological building of Ecuador, Inca originally. Is an observatory of the sun and the moon. Ingapirca is a quichua word that means wall of the Inca. Is an authentic Inca building.

The whole of archaeological vestiges of Ingapirca, known from the XVIII century, plus the Cañar valley were called as Hatun Cañar province.

We don´t know exactly for what were built this Inca-Cañari construction, the only opinion coincides historians and archeologists is that it was built under the order of Huayna Cápac, during the conquer campaigns that his father Tupac Yupanqui starts years ago, to the territories of the south of Ecuador.

Apparently there was one of the strategic military point of the Incas, as an arming area of the troops to the north, but the most important reason of its existence was to the sun worship, the maximum Inca god.





 




GIRON WATERFALL


Location: Azuay province.
Altitude: 2.590 m.a.s.l.
Distance from Cuenca: 47 Km (1 hour) 
Climate: Cold - windy - rainy
Hotel Availability: yes
Food availability: yes
Recommendation: Comfortable and warm clothing.


Located 5 Km. in the northwest from Girón canton. To arrive to the first waterfall is not necessary physical effort, because the route has the best conditions. This route has illumination, so it has no problem to visit it at night and hear the wonderful sounds of the nature and the silence of the night.

To go to the second waterfall "uphill", an adventure that makes you without breath. Virgin nature, natural swuimpools and small waterfalls, you will fell the adrenalin round your body while you are walking and discovering a paradise inside of the forest, similar to the Amazon region.





 





CAJAS NATIONAL PARK

Location: Provincia de Azuay.
Altitude: 3.000 - 4.500  msnm.
Distance from Cuenca: 34 Km (45 min)
Climate: Cold-cloudy-rainy.
Disponibilidad de hospedaje Si
Disponibilidad de alimentación Si
Recommendation: Comfortable and warm clothing, special jacket to the rain, trekking shoes to support the humidity.

Cajas National Park has an extension of almost 30000 hectares of natural forest, where we can find more than 230 lagoons with different sizes. The park is a real paradise to the sport fishing lovers, because there is a lot of trout fish. In this wonderful landscape live a lot of bird species as well, some of them threatened by extinction. To watch the Condor, symbol of our nationality, not exist a best place as Cajas National Park.

The Environment Ministry incorporate it in the National System of Protected Areas of Ecuador, because it has outstanding archaeological characteristics, exceptional values and qualities that are part of the national goals of protection and preservation of valuable cultures. The Cajas area is located in the only outpost of the Cloudy Forest of the South, situating between Llaviucu and Taitachugo lagoons. As species that grows in higher places are quinua tree (Polylepis) or paper tree, and others.

Between the mammals of the park, are deers, lamas, añas, rabbits, "raposo", and others.
As birds we have condor, partridge, turkey buzzard, "cuiriquinga", "cahupau", blackbird (mirlo), "pava de monte", etc. The outstanding richness of the Cajas national Park are without doubt its lagoon, that next to them live several communities. This hydric affluence is reflected with the 232 lagoons, that originate the Yanuncay and Tomebamba rivers, that cross the town. Tomebamba provide the water to purify and distribute to Cuenca and outskirts.





 




GUALACEO


Location: Azuay province
Altitude: 2320 m.a.s.l.
Distance from Cuenca: 34 Km (45 min.) 
Climate: warm and clear
Hotel Availability: yes
Food availability: yes
Recommendation: Comfortable and light clothing.

Is an eastern city of Azuay province, in Ecuador, about 40 Km. from Cuenca.
The rivers Santa Bárbara and San Francisco go across the city. Because of the beauty of this town is called "Azuay´s garden". The location helps the connection with the Amazon region of Ecuador. The most impostant activities are agriculture, craftsmanship and tourism.

The manufacture of shoes and shawls are the most typical handicrafts of this point. Between the typical food are "rosero" (drink) "hornado" (pork) "cuy asado" (roast guinea pig). The commercial activity is obvious on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. The best days to visit Gualaceo is the foundation anniversary in June, the Carnival festival of the river, "Santiago Apóstol" celebration in July or the Peach Festival in March.

Is one of the mearest Touristic centers of the capital of Azuay province, subtropical valley that gives it an singular charm to the visitor, the most beautiful banks of Santa Bárbara and San Francisco rivers, the beautiful landscapes, the delicious typical food of Gualaceo. .





 



YUNGUILLA VALLEY


Location: Azuay province
Altitude: 1360 m.a.s.l.
Distance from Cuenca: 75 Km (1 hour) 
Climate: semi-tropical - clear
Hotel Availability: yes
Food availability: yes
Recommendation: Comfortable and light clothing.

On the route you will see "Girón" city,the Rircay old bridge and then, Lentag cooperative , part of Yunguilla valley and finally "Santa Isabel" city.

The visitor will arrive to Yunguilla valley to enjoy the semitropical climate, that in the last years became as "satellite city", because of lots of vacation villas of some of people of teh province and another points of the country. one of the most important atractives of this valley are the poundings, to make "guarapo" (sugar cane juice) and brandy, and the "mapanagua" that is a combination of guarapo and the brandy. Santa Isabel that is the inhabitated point is located on top of a hill in Azuay province.




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