Thursday, April 3, 2014

RIDING THE BUSES IN CUENCA ECUADOR - Come on! Ride the bus to Sinincay......

You never know who or what will be waiting at the Parada de Bus in Cuenca! 


There are some "extranjeros" who have never (en serio) hopped one of Cuenca's city buses.  They always take a taxi!  Oh, but you're missing out.  Bo and I usually use the bus transportation when it's too far to walk - and we prefer the buses because they cost 25 cents one-way (12 cents if you're 65!).  Taxis are $1.50 to $2.00 depending on where you're traveling within the city limits.  After living in Ecuador for 16 months, we know that saving $1 to $2 goes a long way here.  That could buy us three days worth of produce or a breakfast at the mercado.  We always purpose to live frugally and to be wise with our "plata" here.  It may sound petty to some, but for us it works!   

Sometimes we "ride the bus" to the end of its route, just to sight-see and to  figure out the bus system.  We're yet to find an accurate bus guide because a couple months ago, the city officials completely changed the entire city bus route.  Until they are finished changing things (hummmm?  Whatever that means...) we've had to figure it out for ourselves.  We have a friend here who should be the bus go-to guy for Cuenca.  He's got it down!

One warm sunny day (though it's been cooler and rainy these days, we always see blue skies and sunshine) Bo and I decided to ride BUS 20 to the end of its route.  We ended up in Sinincay, a small province-village in Cuenca, with an altitude of around 8,600.  The people are kind and hard-working and their main work is brick-making.  They are also farmers and true to their customs and traditions.  For 25 cents, we had a full day of exploring this quaint area, meeting friendly people who embraced our presence, and walking for miles along the back roads of this beautiful town overlooking the city of Cuenca.

Whenever Bo and I appear in these areas, we are always asked, "Are you lost?"  This is because the locals in these smaller villages are not used to seeing extranjeros walking around.  Speaking the language of the locals always opens up the door for wonderful conversation, sharing our lives, and making new friends who always say, "Come back and visit us anytime."  It was a fabulous day and another special memory of our simple and peaceful life in beautiful Cuenca.



I know dogs love my Bo - but now I've added cows to that adoration fan club! I think about how ordinary and predictable our life had become back in the states.  Now, we have some pretty funny and sweet encounters every day in Cuenca!

We walked along the streets of Sinincay, for miles and miles........

......and it became more and more rural as we walked farther away from the parada de bus.

We passed by several brick-making sites....

......where stacks and stacks of brick lined the roadway.

Wood piles were carefully stacked for the brick-making ovens.

The scenery along the way was breathtaking!

Different ovens and brick-making operations continued to appeared along the way.

We questioned what an ice cream vendor was doing out in such an isolated and rural area......and then children suddenly appeared to make their purchases!

After we bought our "helados," we visited with these three ADORABLES for over an hour.  They enjoyed sharing all about themselves and asking us a million questions.  We laughed and laughed together, and they melted our hearts.

We said goodbye to the three adorables and continued down the road - where we came upon a busy little tiendita called "Tienda De La Hora."

Across the road, a local was moving her cows to a new feeding area.

There were abundant producing gardens.....

......rustic houses....

....and colorful flowers along the way.

Let's not forget the hard-working indigenous locals we encountered, like this precious woman who was hauling a very heavy sack and walking down the road.  When we asked her how far it was to the bus stop for our return home, she said, "Not far - just around the corner."  As she scurried along, I looked at Bo and said, "You don't really believe her?  Not far?  Here's a woman hauling a load you and I could never carry and she said, 'not far.'"  We both laughed and realized it was going to be quite a distance to our return destination.

As the evening began to approach, we decided to head to the small town square and hop a bus the rest of the way home (can you believe we originally thought about walking home???). 

The bus came quickly, and we were back in El Centro in less than 15 minutes.  The lighting over the mountains was brilliant, and our day of walking and meeting the locals in Sinincay was a perfect way to spend our day!

So, the next time you find yourselves wondering how to spend your day - HOP A CITY BUS and ride it to the end.  Then get off and walk around!  Smile, take in the amazing scenery, and meet the town's residents.  Have a meal at one of the local restaurants.  Take pictures of the majestic area.  Then, when it's time, HOP A CITY BUS and ride it home.  It will be a great day of exercise, meeting new and interesting locals, and having a Cuenca city bus adventureCome on!  Ride the bus!!


  1. That is so cool, thank you for the great pictures. I have been daydreaming for months about doing exactly what you are doing. Is this village east of Cuenca? I cannot find it on my maps, but we are still in Seattle dreaming about our move to Cuenca next year. I see a small village named Sigsig east of Cuenca, and have been planning on taking the bus there someday. Is that perhaps the same place?
    Neil and Monica

    1. Hi Neil and Monica,
      Welcome to our Blog! Thank you for reading about our adventures, and glad you are enjoying my photography. Sinincay, a small Parish (Parroquia) or subdivision of Cuenca - one of many - is Northwest of Cuenca, . Sigsig is another beautiful area to explore. Keep on dreaming, and before you know it you'll be here. Coming from the lush green Pacific Northwest, you will be one to appreciate the beauty of Ecuador and especially of Cuenca. Stay in touch and enjoy the blog.

  2. I really enjoy your posts! How fun to spend the day exploring! After a day of diapers and cleaning it is great to live through you guys for a few minutes!Love you!

    1. Hola mi sobrina preciosa,
      I'm so glad you could take a break from diapers and cleaning to hop the bus with us to Sinincay. One day, you can come for real and experience beautiful Ecuador and this amazing culture. We miss you and enjoy hearing from you. Stay in touch, and get ready for the next post and adventure in Longoods' Journey. Our life is so sweet and rich here.
      Te amo y te mando muchos cariños,
      Su Tia en Dios,

  3. Linda, BO,
    I found these maps for the bus routes at www.sircuenca.com. The site explains the bus system, SIT card etc. Maps can be found at: http://www.cuenca.gov.ec/?q=node/624#guia. Great post

    1. Thanks for the bus sites, Stu.
      I'm still so confused when I look at a bus map and try to figure out the overlapping colored lines and routes. There's got to be a more clear and accurate bus map, and I'm hoping that someone will produce that for those who are new here and learning the bus routes. For now, we'll hop the buses and hope they get us where we're going! A great way to sight see our beautiful city!

  4. Can't wait till we both feel better and can do some exploring with you two!

    1. Hi Donna,
      At least we've figured out the bus route to get from our place to yours, and back. Now that's an accomplishment!! I hope it's nothing serious and that you're both feeling better SOON

  5. Really enjoy your blog. So casual. We also love walking. Good exercise and opportunity to see your surroundings at a more intensifying snail's pace.We are dreaming of going for a look-see in the coming months.Being north of you in BC, we appreciate the mountainous scenery. More so for me because my grandparents hail from south of Fribourg, Switzerland.Keep up the warm and 'fuzzy' blogs.

    1. Hi Maurice,
      Welcome to our BLOG! I hope you continue to read and enjoy my posts and photography about beautiful Ecuador and Cuenca. There are beautiful green lush mountains here, so you will have a great time exploring and walking when you come visit. Stay in touch, and hopefully we will meet you during your visit.

  6. This is great! I've ridden all the buses from end-to-end as apart of my own bus route mapping project which I've turned into an atlas of 28 bus lines with each stop listed with its name and a website at http://cuencabussherpa.com. Come visit us sometime!


Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)