Path of the Smugglers

Path of the Smugglers, a path that combines nature and history. This path has a lot of history because in the past smugglers of hard liquors from sugar cane from the Puyo region used to use this path to run away from the guards that controlled the production and sells of alcoholic beverages. Sometimes they performed armed confrontations, yet this subtropical forest has impressive biodiversity that catches the attention of worldwide visitors.

Ines Maria’s Waterfall, the contrast and beauty between nature and urbanism. This waterfall is one of many located in Baños and its surroundings, that also comes from the Pastaza River. The landscape is astonishing and invites visitors to explore the area among comfortable weather.

This waterfall is not suitable for taking a bath but without a doubt, it offers to visitors a marvelous sight, ideal for taking pictures as a souvenir as well as watching the flora and fauna in it. This gigantic volcano with 6,628 m.a.s.l. (21,745 ft) is the highest mountain in Ecuador, located nearby Riobamba city, and even though it is not the highest worldwide, its location in the middle of the world makes it the farthest point in the Earth´s surface from the Earth´s center.

This volcano is impressive, and that is why the renowned German scientist Alexander Von Humboldt includes it in its expedition back in 1802. With some luck and good weather, it is possible to have a breathtaking view of its snowed peak among llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas.

Guano, the artisanal town for wool fabrics and leather. In here there are many stores that commercialize handicrafts made by them. Hence, they have many workshops that work with leather artisanal pieces and handmade carpets. It is possible to say that people from Guano are very ingenious. In fact, many people work hand making wool carpets from sheeps and alpaca wool.

This Andean community decided to start an ecotourism project looking forward to establishing its sustainability. That is why visitors take the Devil´s Nose Train excursion to visit the community and lunch a traditional menu in here. After lunch, people will be able to choose among different activities during their visit in the community like descending 330 stairs to a lookout point, which is a perfect place to appreciate the zig-zag from Devil’s Nose train while taking fabulous pictures. Also, it is possible to choose between horse-back riding or a biking tour in the surrounding areas of the community. Finally, travelers will be able to visit an organic local farm to see how the community develops agro-tourism.

A famous train through this emblematic mountain named “The Devil’s Nose”. Due to the land topography, this portion is a masterpiece of railway engineering, commonly named “the most difficult railway in the world”. The descent is not an ordinary one; we start the ride at an altitude of 2,346 meters and go down to 1,860 meters in just 30 minutes, on zigzag-carved railway tracks.

Ingapirca is the largest and best preserved archaeological site in Ecuador, which is located 80 km from the city of Cuenca, in the province of Cañar. Its construction combines Adobe coppery brown used by the Cañarian culture with bluish green andesite stones brought later by the Incas. Ingapirca was built between the XV and XVI centuries (before the arrival of the Spaniards in Ecuador) and was known as an administrative and religious center of the Inca’s Empire

The Old Cathedral of Cuenca, or El Sagrario, was constructed in 1557 when Cuenca was founded in an ancient Inca ruins. This cathedral has not lost its nostalgia after the town became a city. The cobbled streets, colonial mansions colonially-styled city homes complete with balconies decorated with iron edges, spectacular courtyards, breathtaking parks and beautiful churches, have secured Cuenca as one of the popular attractions in Ecuador. Its rich history and culture are reflected in the art galleries and the tales of wonder that can be heard from the locals.

The Municipal Museum of Modern Art (Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno) is one of the museums that are located in Cuenca, the Athens of Ecuador as is it known too. It is housed in a historic building that has served a number of purposes over the years, including being a recovery center for alcoholics and a prison, before being restored and repurposed by Banco Central in 1982. For those travelers that love art and culture, the Museum of Modern Art of Cuenca is a must-do.

It is also known as the Republic Square or Parade Ground. It is surrounded by the old and new cathedrals, Sagrario and Inmaculada respectively, and the last one is an impressive example of neo-gothic architecture. Additionally, being the main and most important square of the city, it is also surrounded by some of the most important political buildings like the municipality and Palace of Justice.

This peculiar hat, declared by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012, is well-known worldwide as Panama Hat. Nevertheless, it is originally made in Ecuador with a specific palm tree straw called Toquilla and is produced only in the coastal area of the country.

The Paja Toquilla hat is made traditionally in Cuenca, and in other parts of the Pacific Coast, by the matrons of the families, who weave the hat with the straws of the palm tree after a very laborious process. The finesse of the hat comes from how thin is the straw, so it makes more difficult and takes more time to weave the hat. However, it is a curiosity that the finesse hats and more valuable are those hats weaved by men because they pay attention to more details as well as it is just only a hobby for them, so they normally take more time weaving.