Cuenca Dos and Don'ts
Hostal La Cigale
The happy hour (5-8 pm) was great. But it got crowded and noisy quickly. They also have a nice coffee and cake thing going on in the afternoon for a decent price. Liked that. Staff was wonderful. Our daughter had to contact us through the hostel due to the rapid deterioration of my Dad. They brought the phone to our room so we could talk to her. For the price our room was very nice, as was the bathroom. But the noise and partying that goes on until at least 11:30 p.m. (when they shut the music off) was just too much for our old and weary bodies.
Hosteria was very nice. But expensive. At their hotel they only offered the thermal pool to the best of my knowledge. I wanted a good massage so they directed me up the hill to the Agua de Piedra Spa). Hosteria Duran wasn’t as far from Cuenca as we had expected so I would suggest doing day trips to the Agua de Piedra Spa. Stay in Cuenca as pricing is lower. That is what I will do next time. Food was very good at the restaurant but expensive.
Doubledecker Bus Tour
Really liked the city bus tour and the fact that you could take the tour again if within 24 hours (for free). We went on it a second time as the place they took us to shop was very nice. On the way back down they dropped us off at that nice Mall del Rio (I think that is the name of it). We found a really upscale restaurant IN the mall and had lunch there. Very nice. And we got to do some much-needed shopping as well.
Tour of Ingapirca
As far as the tour of Ingapirca, yes, it was a lot of walking. And a lot of the walking was up and down hills with lots of rocks/boulders. I think folks just need to know that it is not a walk for the faint at heart! Or, like me, someone who had recently had foot surgery and has osteoarthritis of the right hip. I was worn out and in a ton of pain. And good walking shoes are a must! The one gal on our trip (she was German), only had thin sandals on. I am not sure how she managed. It is also a bit chilly at the beginning of the walk, but once you get going jackets get shed! You also need to have an empty bladder on the way to Ingapirca as there is nowhere to stop for a potty break. There were a few detours on our way to Ingapirca and we stopped at a local farm and the woman was kind enough to let us ladies use her toilet!
The owner and his son and the head waiter spent a good deal of time with us chatting about their restaurant and stuff in general. We WILL go back there again. Food was excellent. As we were leaving Hosteria Duran we caught sight of a newspaper with a story about California Kitchen but the front desk clerk would not let us take the paper. Quite disappointed since we had just met these folks in Cuenca and would have enjoyed reading more about them.