Arrive in Guayaquil and overnight.
This morning set out for a short drive north of Guayaquil to nearby Manglares-Churute Mangrove Reserve, an ecological gem spanning 123,550 acres including tropcial dry forest and mangrove. Characterized by natural salt flats and vast mangroves along the River Guayas, the reserve is home to many species of birds and rich plant-life. After a picnic in the reserve, drive up the Andes Cordillera to the Tushipungo Valley for a scenic hike through cattle farms. Arrive at El Cajas National Park, a vast stretch of protected rolling grasslands and glacial lakes. Set out on a hike here and keep your eyes peeled for the Andean fox, white-tailed deer, and spectacled bear that make this home.
Continue on the Paute Valley this evening where you overnight in a local hosteria. Enjoy a nice relaxing dip in the pool and Ecuadorian dinner.
This morning set out towards a climbing rock, offering a 360 degree view of the city along with 100 routes from easy to challenging from which you can choose. After a safety briefing with the guide, set out to climb a route based on your comfort level and experience. You can opt to top rope or climb with a guide's assistance. After scaling the rock, head on to the top of the mountain and explore Cañari Inca Ruins, offering a breathtaking view of the valley below. Take bikes back to Cuenca along a paved road this afternoon. Enjoy dinner in one of the charming restaurants in town.
Early this morning set out for a 30-minute rafting tour of the city of Cuenca via the Tomebamba River (Class II). If water levels do not allow for the rafting, explore the city instead before breakfast with a leisurely biking stroll. Observe the church doors open and the flower market getting into full swing as you and meander this beautiful colonial town with its old architecture and recent modern influence.
Considered the most colonial city in all the Americas, red-clay rooftops stretch throughout the city and baroque churches seem to stand on every corner. Also considered the adventurer's capital in Ecuador, the city is a great base for exploring the outdoors in the area! This afternoon you get to know Cuenca more in depth, meet a local artist, and enjoy a cup of coffee in a cozy cafe in the heart of the city.
Travel together to one of the world's most fertile and green valleys for your horseback riding adventure. Arrive to the equestrian center and choose your horses. Enjoy a safety briefing by the guide before mounting up for your 3-hour-long easy-paced excursion. Set out for the nearby hills and ride through cattle fields and Andean moorlands ecosystem. Chat with the locals as you encounter them on the ride and enjoy the scenery. Return to Cuenca this afternoon.
This morning return to the Cuenca airport for your flight back to Quito. Connect with your international flight home, or extend your stay to visit the Amazon or Galapagos!