This is a guest post by an American expat living in Cuenca since 2007.
An interesting place to visit while in Cuenca: El Chorro de Giron
Recently I had the chance to give some friends a tour of Cuenca and some of the surrounding areas. We rented a van for the day and headed off to our first destination which was El Chorro de Giron. El Chorro de Giron is hosteria located near the small town of Giron. It is only a short 30 minute ride from Cuenca and it features access to two spectacular waterfalls.
Access to the hosteria and the waterfalls cost only $2.00 for foreigners and $1.00 for residents of Ecuador. A short 5 minute climb up a marked trail leads to the first waterfall. The day we visited El Chorro the falls were really churning due to the abundant rain fall we have been experiencing in the last few weeks. On past visits to El Chorro we have been able cross a small wooden bridge and sit on rocks by the base of the falls and enjoy a picnic lunch. On this particular visit we were not able to access the base of the falls due to the high volume of water. We still were able to snap some nice pictures and after a few minutes (and after getting soaked) we headed back to the hosteria. For those who enjoy hiking, a much longer and difficult trail leads to the top of the falls. The longer trail was closed on the day of our visit due to the muddy conditions. I have never climbed this trail, but I understand that is it is not for the faint of heart or those not used to hiking in higher altitudes.
Back at the hosteria we were treated to a slightly sweet rum drink which is served warm. The drink known as a “canelazo” is served to help warm up and relax visitors after visiting the falls. Although we visited on a bright sunny day, the air was cool near the falls and we did enjoy the warm up provided by the canelazo.
The hosteria offers lodging for only $10 per night per person and the restaurant offers typical Ecuadorian cuisine and is famous for its fresh trout. The hosteria also offers horseback riding and there are group shelters that can be rented for family gatherings. We visited on a Monday morning and we had the place to ourselves, but I am told that on the weekends El Chorro is packed with locals who come to enjoy the beautiful scenery and relaxing atmosphere.
One member of our group declared that El Chorro was one of the most beautiful places she had ever visited. After having visited El Chorro de Giron and its waterfalls a number of times I tend to agree with that appraisal.