Dec 12, 2011

Ecuador - Guayaquil/Cuenca/Ingapirca

Craft market, Guayaquil

For most of foreigners Guayaquil is the boarding airport toward the Galápagos Islands. But we have read somewhere that the city deserved some more so we stayed a couple of days to explore the largest and most populated city of Ecuador!

Seminario Park, also know as the Iguanas Park :)

Centenario Park


Two parts of the city center are of interest. Guayaquil lies on the left bank of the Guayas river and the boardwalk waterfront promenade along Malecon 2000 has been nicely renovated and laid out in a green area of entertainement, restaurants and shopping.

Malecon 2000 and Santa Ana hill

Yet the most notable neighborhood of Guayaquil remains its historic hill with 444 stairs full of restaurants, artist galleries and working-class colored houses.



******

The road between Guayaquil and Cuenca led us through the highlands of Ecuador. Quite a scenic road, especially at dawn! The landscapes are really beautiful to watch on the way up of the mountains because when the bus start going down, well, most of the time you close your eyes so you don't feel dizzy.



Cuenca is the prettiest colonial city of Ecuador, and a major tourist attraction. Located at 2.500 meters height in a valley watered by three rivers, the historic city center dates back to the 16th century.


Installing Christmas fairy lights!!

Domes of the Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción


Cuenca is a famous producer and exporter of Panama hats. We spent some time in the Paseo El Barranco, a hat workshop where we could observe the weaving of the Panama hats and choose the colors of the ribbons of our Christmas gifts! ;)

Worker at the Paseo El Barranco
 
Another Panama hats shop

******

From Cuenca, we took a two hours bus to go and visit the main cultural and archeological site of the country called Ingapirca. The road allowed us to observe the life of the countryside and the wonderful clothes of the Andean ladies.





Ingapirca is a Quechua word meaning "Inca wall". This site used to be the politic and religious capital of the Cañari civilisation (a matriarchal society worshipping the moon) before being conquered and transformed by the Incas (a patriarchal society worshipping the sun) around 1500.

What we enjoyed the most in this site is that we could see how Incas respected the conquered people and their believes. The Incas kept the Cañari facilities and enhanced them with their own.


 The Temple of the Sun


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