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Escaping the pandemic in the hills of Cuenca

Published on December 07, 2021

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During the pandemic, many people turned to the outskirts of the city, to rural areas, to get away from the crowds and from a virus that today is putting it back in trouble due to its variants.

In Cuenca there were no exceptions: many places that were visited mainly by people who already enjoy open areas, grew exponentially. An example is the El Boquerón viewpoint, located in Turi, where there was an increase in visitors who enjoy the trails and views of the city.

Added to the tourist centers located outside Cuenca were the hills that surround the city. In addition to being spaces that keep the passage of our ancestors through their settlements, the hills have become places for sports and recreation activities.

The Guagualzhumi, the Pachamama shared by Cuenca and Cañar, Las Monjas and Ictocruz are some of the hills where a considerable number of people have been seen, especially on weekends.

Part of this growth in visitors, in addition to leaving the confinement that forced the health emergency, is related to the formation of groups of cyclists and hikers who have set up outings on certain days to maintain continuity.

Given this, some rural parishes in Cuenca have sought to take advantage of visits to promote tourism and consumption within their areas.

“Rural parishes have many tourist attractions, we have natural resources, which need the support of economic resources. It is a good opportunity to reactivate these spaces,” said Daniel García, president of the Paccha parish.

Paccha is also part of the examples of visitor growth thanks to the Guagualzhumi hill. Countless people walking or cycling pass through the rural parish.

For this reason, the Paccha government has invested some resources, and is preparing to sign agreements with public institutions to mark the routes for hikers and cyclists that go to the hill.

Another objective that is already being met is the training of people dedicated to gastronomy, since the traditional food of the parish is sought after by visitors.

Routes

In 2019, the Municipality of Cuenca presented Caminantes, a guide that contains the walking routes through the ancient hills that surround the city. The project was directed by Daniel Orellana, who developed the routes together with a team, described the history and characteristics.

The guide was widely accepted because it has a series of details for those who want to start walking through the hills of Cuenca. From which bus to take to start the tour to an itinerary and the attractions that walkers will find are specified in the guide that can be downloaded at this link .

“This guide has fallen like a glove precisely in the pandemic because it is a very healthy type of recreation. There is no risk of contagion, and it also helps us both physically and emotionally,” said Orellana.

The guide contains 16 routes of low, medium and high difficulty hikes, in addition, it has warm-up exercises and rules that must be followed in the excursions that, according to the project developers, mean Cuenca will not be seen in the same way again.

Rules for walks

  • Respect nature and the inhabitants.
  • Collect the waste that you generate.
  • If you meet inhabitants of the region, remember that it is important to say hello and mention the purpose and destination of the walk.
  • Before leaving home, check the recommendations for each route
  • Enjoy the calm and silence of the routes.
  • Do not go near crevices and ravines or deviate from defined trails.
  • Do not climb trees or walls.
  • To avoid injuries, warm up before walking.

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