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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Thursday, January 3, 2013

As we had flights booked to the Galapagos Islands from Guayaquil on the 7th of January, we decided to kill time by visiting Cuenca on the way there. We separated from Claud and Dean for this as they had flights booked to the Islands from Quito on the 4th. Cuenca is the country's third-largest city and the capital of the Azuay province. The night we arrived, it was late so we just took a stroll around to find a supermarket for dinner supplies. The following day, we headed over to the Puma Pungo Museum to see the impressive Inca Ruins. The garden located out the back of the museum was reproduced to look exactly like the Garden might have looked back in the Inca days with over 400 different species of plants. This place was beautiful. Much of the food raised in the garden goes to the birds in the sanctuary which the museum runs. These are rescue birds that have been injured or retrieved by the police from people who try to illegally export these rare birds as illegal pets to places like the U.S. and Europe. The bird sanctuary was great as we got to see toucans and other really colourful birds. We even got to talk with parrots. In the museum, there was an exhibit of shrunken heads- a fascinating post death ritual which was just outlawed on humans in Ecuador in the 1960s! The heads were fairly disgusting but worth a visit. Later in the day, we visited the Colonial sites and historical architecture along Cuenca’s cobblestone streets before catching a bus to Guayaquil.
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