Cuenca’s independence holidays will have a different look this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gone are the craft and food fairs that have highlighted past holidays. Also gone are the parades and concerts. In their place, the city is promoting a variety of local and nearby attractions as well as the city’s restaurants, some of which will reopen for the first time since March.
“We regret the restrictions but they are necessary to fight the Covid-19 virus,” Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios said Monday. “We must enforce our social distancing and other biosecurity health protocols, which means eliminating large gatherings of people. Despite the limitations, we are confident that the 200th anniversary celebration will be a great success.”
According to the mayor, this year’s holidays will emphasize visits to city attractions as well as other locations within the canton, such as the Cemuart Artisan Center on San Francisco Plaza, the old and new cathedrals, the spas at Baños de Cuenca, the Remigio Crespo and Modern Art museums, Cajas National Park, the historic center and Parque Paraiso. In addition, promoters will provide maps to walking trails including the Rio Yanuncay and Tres de Noviembre circuits.
The Municipal Foundation of Tourism will present the holiday agenda Wednesday at the Unipark Hotel and provide details about exhibitions and other events to be featured.
According to the tourism foundation, the holiday will be promoted in the country’s largest cities with a special emphasis on Guayaquil.
According to Palacios, transportation into and out of Cuenca will be its strongest since the pandemic began in March. “We now have 11 weekly airline flights to Quito and are adding more a weekly basis. We will also add flights to Manta by the time of the holidays,” he said. “In addition, bus companies will reactivate routes for the holidays that have been suspended since March and the busettas between Guayaquil, Loja and Quito will be in operation.”