From Cuenca we caught an Ejecutivo San Luis Bus (which seemed very new and included a screen, wifi, usb ports and a loo at the back – US$5 pp) with tix purchased beforehand at the Ejecutivo office at the station. If you need to catch a bus from Cuenca station, have some dimes ready, as on top of your ticket you also need to pay 10c to get a coupon to pass through the turnstile to get to the bus platform. Cuenca departure tax. The trip is mountainous and windy. We saw some amazing views of the mountains when the tops weren’t shrouded in mist. Definitely try and sit on the right if you can. If you’re prone to travel sickness, steel yourself for the last half an hour as you wind into Saraguro. We sat up the front and that helped. Also be prepared for the bus stopping to pick up locals and school kids travelling between towns.
Saraguro is a town known for the strength of the local indigenous population’s culture, and their adherence to wearing traditional dress, including distinctive black and white ‘cow hide’ hats. The community is also known for its craft skills, particularly beaded necklaces. We enjoyed checking out the town and meeting some of its inhabitants. It was much colder than expected (the locals were complaining) so some proposed day trips out of town didn’t quite happen. We stayed at Achik Wasi Hostel, a community run place in a great location overlooking the town.