Starting at the village of San Bartolomé for an insight into how local guitars are made here, you’ll then continue onto Chordeleg, which is renowned for its fine gold and silver filigree jewelry. A slew of jewelry shops line the main road and plaza, so there are plenty of options if you’re looking for something special! Then, it’s onto Gualaceo, a sleepy colonial town and great place to enjoy the slower pace of rural life, while admiring the folkloric clothing and textiles. After lunch here, you’ll stop off at Bulcay to learn how the skilled weavers use a particular technique to pattern their textiles, before touring an orchid farm en route back to Cuenca.
This afternoon’s visit to Cuenca’s historic heart will give you a chance to see its beautiful colonial and republican architecture, as well as its sacred art museums and markets, the most outstanding of which is the flower market. Cuenca is a fantastic place to understand how the popular Ecuadorian souvenir, the “Panama” hat (which despite its name, originated here in Ecuador), is crafted, by taking a tour of one of the factories here. The tour rounds off with a different perspective of the city at the cliffs suspended above Tomebamba River and then finally the Turi lookout point, which rewards you with sprawling views of Cuenca’s terracotta roofs and blue domes of the Cathedral from above.
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