Cuenca city tour

After breakfast we join our two local guides, Franco and Xavier, and our bus driver, Eduardo, to start our morning city tour of Cuenca. First stop is the Homero Ortega Panama Hat Company factory. Here we learn about the processes of manufacturing Panama hats, and hear that a simple hat can be woven in one day, whereas a super fine hat may take up to 8 months to make. The prices reflect this of course. Purchased direct at the factory, a simple hat will cost around $30, and a super, super fine hat might cost over $2,000. The tour is fascinating, and naturally we end up in a large showroom boasting a wide range of hats for both men and women, plus some unique handbags and jewellery. Richard succeeds in preventing Dawn from spending any more money (although she’s been here before!), but fails to prevent our guests from making numerous purchases.

From Homero Ortega, we drive to the Modern Art Museum to begin our walking tour. We stroll along the Calle Larga and enjoy views beyond the River Tomebamba, over the rooftops of the new city. We visit the busy food market, stop by the pretty flower market, and step inside the New Cathedral, before concluding our tour in the main square, or Parque Calderon.

After a free afternoon, Richard and Dawn host dinner at a beautiful boutique hotel called Mansion Alcazar. Richard hosts guests at the Imperial Table in a long narrow dining room. Everyone behaves appropriately. Dawn hosts guests in the Garden Room, and perhaps there is rather more noise from that location! After dinner, we can take a peak in a couple of the hotel bedrooms, which are cosy and beautifully appointed. Before we leave, Dawn has to check that no one has stowed-away in a wardrobe!