I am not inclined to take tours and adamantly decline offers often. Many fellow visitors and Ex-Pats residing in Cuenca voiced their favorable opinions of the Double Decker bus tour. Kim wanted to go and I finally acquiesced about three days before we left. The tour departs from the entry of the Old Cathedral and takes roughly about an hour for $5.00 US. The guide delivers the spiel in Spanish and English both, in case you are bi-lingual challenged!
Immediately I felt I made a wrong choice, by NOT taking the tour when we first arrived. I highly recommend you swallow any reservations and jump on the bus your first or second day. Of course you have to ride from the top deck and see all the city from a different viewpoint. Do make sure you apply sunblock or you will wind up looking like me, similar to a very ripe tomato!
The tour heads out of El Centro to the Tomebamba river area and begins the ride to Turi. You ride on Calle Larga for several blocks and pass the Museo del Banco Central, a wonderful story in itself. You follow the Avenue Huayna Capac and pass many monuments, cathedrals and interesting historical sites in Cuenca.
It was hard keeping up with the information provided by the tour guide, as I was busy snapping photos as fast as I could. I also think a few of the riders were irritated that I kept taking photos and jumping up for various views. I think I had 200 photos when I counted late that evening. I especially like this young boy climbing the fence and showing off for us near the stop sign. It was hilarious.
You follow the Avenue until you reach Avenue 24 de Mayo, where you cross a second river, the Rio Yanuncay. The third river crossed is the Rio Tarqui, as you start to visualize Turi. Turi is a gorgeous overlook that provides a view, which spans the entire valley and city of Cuenca. It is quite a panorama and the bus takes a 15 minute stop for you to see the view, shop and use the facilities if needed.
Even though Eduardo Vega’s studio was just a step away I did not feel that 15 minutes was appropriate and Kim and I decided we would return later. I would urge each of you visiting Cuenca to partake of the Double Decker bus tour and make use of their services. You will be glad you did and I promise you will learn and digest more information on Cuenca, than you can by reading a tour publication or exchanging emails. Saludos, Peace and Safe Travels!