Orientation There are allegedly over 50 waterfalls in the mountains and valleys around Bucay and near-endless hiking possibilities to go along with them. Just a short drive up from the center of town, you can zip-line, hike, go mountain biking, and rappel down waterfalls. The Andean rainforest you experience is nearly untouched and the views […]
There are allegedly over 50 waterfalls in the mountains and valleys around Bucay and near-endless hiking possibilities to go along with them. Just a short drive up from the center of town, you can zip-line, hike, go mountain biking, and rappel down waterfalls. The Andean rainforest you experience is nearly untouched and the views from the mountain-tops and over the valleys are some of the best that we saw in all of Ecuador. Stay up in the mountains in an eco-lodge or a rustic cabin, or spend the night in Bucay itself – the locals brag about how much fun they are and they’re not exaggerating. There’s good food, friendly people, and some solid bars. If you are in southern Ecuador, you have absolutely no excuse to miss Bucay.
An Introduction to Bucay
Hike about 30 minutes through primary rainforest, past multiple 25 meter waterfalls, up to a 100 meter falls, Isabela. After relaxing for a bit at Isabela, you will hike down to the 60 meter twin falls from which you will rappel. That is, you’ll tie yourself to a tree and jump down the face of a waterfall. No rappelling experience necessary and for those who do have experience, your guide, Roberto, is very accommodating of unnecessary acrobatics. Wear pants and shoes you are prepared to get wet.
Price: $20 per person (4 person minimum)
You’ll be harnessed to a metal cord stretching over a valley and released over it at high speeds. Twice. The first line in Bucay is 300 meters and zips you over a river valley, from one side of the rainforest to the other. The second line is 700 meters and carries you over another valley, as well as the rooftops of local houses and the Casa de Piedra Eco Lodge (info below).
Price: $12 per person – must make a reservation
Zip-line in Bucay
There are a tremendous number of trekking and camping options – it just depends on how long you’re there and how much challenge you are looking for. Speak with Roberto (info listed below) about what kind of trek you’re looking for (e.g. 2 hour hike, full day, two day, etc.) and he can arrange guide services, or just point you in the right direction. He also has camping gear available for rent.
The downhills near Bucay are fantastic for mountain biking. We recommend these roads only to those with experience as they are steep and either dirt or gravel. If you bike or take transport up to the main waterfalls (the ones that they rappel), there is a 20 km downhill back to the eco lodge. Further down from Casa de Piedra, the road is paved and much more accommodating for less experienced mountain bikers. You can rent bikes from Casa de Piedra.
Prices: $10 for half day rental; $15 for full day rental
Like trekking, there are tons of potential horseback riding trails, so just speak with Roberto (info below) about how many hours you are looking to ride and he can give you some options.
Price: $25 per day – must reserve ahead of time
This is a locally-owned eco lodge, camp ground, and center for extreme sports. The owner, Roberto, is a local man who spent his career in the Ecuadorian special forces, before retiring and building the lodge in the mountain rainforest just outside of Bucay. You can stay in hostel-style accommodations here, rent a tent, relax by the pool, and eat meals at their outdoor restaurant. Roberto and his family also guide the zipline, the treks, and the waterfall rappelling.
Prices: $8 to rent a tent; $12 for a room; $3 for breakfast, $5 for lunch or dinner
Contact: Roberto Bustamante V
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: 099-447-3558; 099-998-8206; Website: http://www.casa-depiedra.com/index.html
How to Get There: In Bucay, take a taxi to Casa de Piedra. If the taxi doesn’t know what Casa de Piedra is, they will know ‘La Esperanza Alta’. It should cost $3 from Bucay, though they may try to charge you more. It could be a little more at night. From La Esperanza Alta, take the left side of the “y” in the road and walk 100 meters. Casa de Piedra is on the left.
If you want a more private, rustic experience, we highly recommend staying at Cabaña Las Cuspides (The Peaks Cabin). About a 20 minute walk (or 5 minute drive) uphill from the Casa de Piedra, the Cabaña is perched on the side of the mountain overlooking the valley. It has comfortable beds, a stocked kitchen, running water and electricity, and a wraparound porch and yard that afford fantastic views of the valley and surrounding mountains. There are no other houses around the cabin so the experience is intimate and relaxing. HEY! We highly recommend calling ahead to coordinate staying here – the owner doesn’t live at the Cabañas, so most likely won’t be around to set you up. If you don’t speak Spanish, get your hostel to call for you.
Price: $20 for the cabin, per night
Contact: Patricia Jaramillo; Phone: 099-087-1176; Email: email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook page: “Cabanas Las Cuspides”
How to Get There: If you are already up at the Casa de Piedra, go to the road in front of the Casa, turn right and walk uphill. You will reach a more populated area, where you can either keep going straight (and then down) or turn around and go uphill. Go uphill and the Cabañas are about a 20 minute walk up and on your right (there will be BIG wooden double doors). From Bucay, tell a cab you’re going to the Cabañas Las Cuspides. If they don’t know what this is, tell them ‘La Esperanza Alta‘ and they will take you up to the crossroads. From there, you can point up and to the right and stop them when you see the big wooden double doors on the right, or just get out and walk. Price: The cab should cost $3 to La Esperanza, probably $4 to the Cabañas.
If you want to stay in Bucay itself, we recommend staying at Hotel El Rey. Rooms are pretty basic, with a bed and a private bathroom.
Phone: 042-727-247; Hotel Cell: 098-154-5361; Owner’s Cell: 099-410-0790; Facebook page
Prices: A regular room is $8 per person per night; a slightly nicer “preferential” room is $10 per night
How to Get There: From the train station (where the bus drops you), face the station, it will be on the first street in front to the left. The street name is ‘9 de Octubre’. Walk half way up the street and Hotel El Rey is on the right hand side.
If you are staying at Casa de Piedra, they have a restaurant there (prices listed above).
If you are staying at the Cabañas, you will be cooking for yourself.
If you are in Bucay, there are several restaurants around the plaza, the market, and the train station – we recommend just walking the streets until you see one you like.
Hey! Note that all Bucay bars are only open Friday and Saturday nights, unless there’s a soccer game on, or the owner randomly feels like opening.
Paintings done by the owner, along with Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison posters on the wall, and a live music every week – this is a genuinely cool bar, owned by a Bucay local. It is on the same street as Hotel El Rey (described just above).
Jorge Garcia (Owner): 098-500-4469
A chill local bar with an owner that speaks English (he lived in New York). Check out their Facebook Page here.
To get there from the train station parking lot, facing away from the train station in the opposite direction, Bar Melao is directly across the street on the corner (Av. Garcia Moreno and Cordova).
David Hurtado (Owner): 099-557-8812
From Guayaquil: Go to the bus terminal in Guayaquil (terminal terrestre) and look for the bus line “Santa Marta”. This line goes back and forth between Bucay and Guayaquil every 20 minutes all day long. Bucay is 100 KM east of Guayaquil.
Trip Time: 2 hours