A Weekend in Cuenca

Ever felt like city life was weighing you down? As if your own thoughts weren’t audible amongst the sirens or if we’re serious, amongst chaos, commitments, and deadlines?Yeah, fun times! That’s when it’s time to get away! AFTER every assignment is handed and everything that was due is turned in. We are responsible after all 🤓

I was given the opportunity to visit Cuenca for the weekend and it was a dream! Now I had not been to Cuenca since I was 5 and this weekend exceeded all of my expectations.

If you are visiting from the US, there is no need to worry about bringing foreign currency since Ecuador uses US Dollars. If you are visiting from outside of the US, make sure to exchange your money before your arrival or at the airport. I have found that Ecuador accepts credit cards but not as readily as NYC, so bring cash whenever possible. This is particularly hard for me since I rarely carry more than a $20 bill with me 🤷🏻‍♀️

Let’s break it down 😃

Where to stay:

Anywhere in Cajas will surely be fun but we stayed at Hosteria Durán. The best feature of this hotel are their thermal baths. Known for their healing properties, a dip in these thermal waters was the best “me time” that I could have hoped for.

Where to eat:

Dos Chorreras was one of the top recommendations and it did not disappoint! Trout is all over the menu so if you are a pescatarian, this is the restaurant for you. On my flight out of Ecuador, I even saw an ad for Dos Chorreras before the in-flight movie 🙂

Things To Do:

  • A facial and massage at Novaqua Spa is the perfect way to start your trip.
  • The Turi Swing will test how much of a daredevil you are  and for the price tag of 1USD, can you really say no?
Selfie with a llama that we saw on the side of the road.
Post-Meal Horse Petting Session
Petting this horse was almost therapeutic.
I booked my facial early in the AM and there was no one in the spa except for the masseuse and myself. Quiet and stillness at its finest.
The view from the top of the Mirador de Turi
This was a much more tame version of the Turi Swing
Bubblegum ice cream? Yes! Yes! Yes!
This souvenir shop was full of cute little sayings for the kitchen.
Trying to pet these little guys was about as much cardio as I got that weekend.
The view from Dos Chorreras

The Tungurahua Takeover

The debate stands on how many days we spent at Tungurahua. The truth is, it wasn’t enough. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. And even if you don’t consider yourself a daredevil, swing from The Swing! Something beautiful happens when you swing off “The Swing at The End of The World”Initially, I screamed loud enough to revive the dead. You may scream in delight, sheer euphoric bliss or perhaps in fear, after all, you are swinging 2,600 m (100ft) above sea level. Once the screaming ends, you look around and you realize where you are. Crossing things off your bucket list while contemplating if anyone has ever fallen before haha! And then everything became more beautiful. As my friend says, it’s hard not to believe in God when you are surrounded by His creation. I saw God’s love in every sunset, in the beautiful waterfalls we toured through, in every mountain and mountaintop, in every animal and most of all, in every human. God’s glorious beauty reflected in all of His creation.If you visit Tungurahua, or anywhere in Ecuador, load up on Coconut Water. Never costing more than $2, it’s the best way to stay hydrated. As far as places to stay, we stayed at Hotel Passiflora on a recommendation and the place lived up to the hype. It was clean, it boasted of a friendly staff, and it’s proximity to attractions was unbeatable, oh and hello, free Wi-Fi. Sold!For dinner, head over to Sativa Studio Cafe located at Luis A. Martinez Street & Eloy Alfaro Street Behind the supermarket Banos Tungurahua Province 33130. The vegan tamales? Beyond delicious and the place itself is uber cute! With various seating areas, books, and giant Uno cards, you are bound to run into a fellow tourist or two. There’s even a little garden in the back, which the salad above is said to have come from. There is a 3 hour tour all around the waterfalls called “Ruta de las Cascadas”, it was a dream! The bus itself is called a “chiva” and the music made it feel less like a tour bus and more like a party bus! Along the way the tour guides will give you the option to bungee jump, hike, or zip line. We ventured through el Pailon del diablo. A ride on the Tarabita was a must. This provided a beautiful view of the Manto de la Novia. A day’s worth full of activities was less than $20, a total win in my book and after a couple of days of adventures, we headed to a small spa that for $50, treated us to facials, accupressure therapy, and full body massages. Heaven on earth! Wherever you end up and whatever adventure you decide to embark on, you will not be disappointed. The town hosts some of the friendliest people I have ever met, the air quality is incomparable, the craziest activity we embarked on which was ziplining was only $10, everything else is less than that so your money will go far, the fresh smoothies were a hit, all in all, it was great.  Baños de Ambato, Tungurahua, you will forever be the place where I changed the way that I looked at life.Xo,
Gen