Things to do Nearby
We can arrange day trips for groups to go somewhere in particular on Saturdays and Sundays. Many people enjoy getting a little taste of Ecuador and some of the attractions that they can go to before, after or during a retreat. Some places are close, some are far away and would need to be visited after your retreat, but the day trips are really nice in the middle of the retreat to bring you back down to Earth before the last two ceremonies of the retreat!
Taxis in the city of Cuenca or Gualaceo
Taxis cost $1.50 for short distances, $2 if it’s more than 5 minutes, and not more than $3.50 if you go from one side of town to the other. This is a fee you would split with everyone you’re with as you take the taxi to your destination so it’s not expensive at all. A taxi by the hour is approximately $8 – 10 per hour. Ecuadorians cannot make change for $10’s and $20’s all the time so make sure you take plenty of small bills with you.
Every now and then you might want to take a trip into Cuenca just for fun. If a large enough group wants to go to Cuenca and then come back, a minivan can be arranged to take you in the morning and return in the evening. Day trips are often arranged for Saturdays and/or Sundays. If you’re feeling adventurous, the bus is $2 and goes to Gualaceo first, then to Cuenca. The nearest bus stop is about a mile from Gaia Sagrada, an uphill walk. If you want to have a shorter bus ride into the city, walk 3 km on the beautiful country back road (20 minutes, all downhill!), and catch the buses on the Cuenca side of the out-of-comission toll booths. (Don’t try to come back that way, though, as it takes an hour and a half for even an athletic person to walk that particular 3 km uphill!)
Banos Hot Springs
In Cuenca, The Banos are hot springs you can visit for the day. The two main hot springs are Hosteria Duran and Piedras de Agua. There are several others you can explore when you are there in the Banos area of Cuenca. (This is not the town of Banos which is covered in guidebooks, which is 5 hours north of Gaia Sagrada in the direction of Quito.)
Gualaceo & Paute
These are two other nearby towns that you might like to visit if you don’t want to go to the city of Cuenca. These are quaint towns that are absolutely wonderful. To go to their farmers markets on Sundays is a delight!
This town is a little bit past Gualaceo and is the silver capital of the area, with artisans and craftsmen adept at making all kinds of silver jewelry. It is amazing to see what they make. If you want a unique custom made piece or a repair to something you already have, these guys can do it.
Inga Pirca Ruins
This is a famous ruin on the Inca Trail, the largest in Ecuador. You can go straight to the ruins by vehicle or hike the Inca Trail for a while before you get there. Inga Pirca Ruins
There is a beautiful waterfall in the area of Yunguilla (about 2 hours from Gaia Sagrada). Take some time out to go and see this extraordinary waterfall. Giron Waterfall near Yunguilla
Aguarongo is a nature preserve nearby, about 10 km away. It has multitudes of walking trails and places to see. A reservation can be made to visit for a day trip and transportation can be arranged. We will have excursions for different workshops to this beautiful place as well.
Far Away (After Retreat) Tourist Destinations
Quito (the big historic city up north!), Gallapagos (the islands off the coast of Ecuador with the giant turtles and massive biodiversity), Banos (near the Tungurahua Volcano) and many other wonderful places to visit in Ecuador. We recommend doing a search on google to see all the things there are to do, there are too many to list here.