El Chorro Waterfall in the charming village of Giron, Ecuador, is a must-visit day trip from Cuenca. Located within the Azuay Province’s cloud forest, this picturesque waterfall gracefully cuts through the rocky mountainside adorned with vibrant green vegetation.
This waterfall is a popular destination, especially on weekends, attracting numerous families who leisurely explore the main trails together. Additionally, a picturesque mirador provides a vantage point overlooking the falls and offers panoramic views of the surrounding valley. Although this area is nice to visit, it’s important to note that the trails are relatively short and often crowded with visitors.
After hearing positive reviews about Girón and its famous waterfalls in the Yunguilla Valley, we couldn’t resist taking a day trip from Cuenca to El Chorro de Girón to see if it lived up to the hype. And let me tell you, it exceeded all expectations. In this article, I’ll share our unforgettable experience, offer practical tips for visiting, and delve into an intriguing legend about the haunted nature of these waterfalls.
Where is Giron Located?
Girón Canton is located around fifty kilometers to the south of Cuenca. It is situated in the breathtaking Yunguilla Valley, which offers a significantly lower elevation, resulting in a generally warmer and sunnier climate than Cuenca. These factors make it an enticing option for a day trip.
Around five kilometers beyond the canton, you’ll discover the awe-inspiring El Chorro de Girón. This remarkable waterfall descends approximately seventy meters (around 230 feet) and is truly breathtaking. It is nestled amidst stunning hills covered in lush vegetation, creating a charming natural setting.
How To Get To Giron?
You can easily drive to Giron using your Maps mobile application if you have a car. You can conveniently park just opposite the main entrance of El Chorro Waterfall.
If you plan to take a bus, several bus companies operate routes connecting Cuenca’s main bus terminal (Terminal Terrestre) to Giron. Among the various options available, the most frequent and cost-effective choice is Cooperativa de Transportes Giron.
The ticket office for Cooperativa De Transportes Girón opens at 8 AM. We paid $1.25 per person for the journey to Girón. Additionally, there is a standard ten-cent fee to access the turnstile for bus boarding.
Taxis are also readily available and typically cost approximately $5. They regularly circulate through town and along the main road, making it convenient to catch a ride.
Another option is to flag down a white truck, commonly called a mixto. If the mixto has vacant seats, you can hop in the back and expect to pay around 50 cents to $1 for the ride. In case the mixto is already occupied, the fare would be similar to that of a taxi, around $5 per person.
When To Visit El Chorro
Girón tends to be more crowded on weekends. Plan your visit on a weekday if you want to avoid the crowds.
We chose to go on a Monday, and it was a peaceful experience with no crowds. The town was tranquil, and we encountered only a few other individuals on the trail. Additionally, there was minimal traffic during our walk back to Girón from the falls.
Hike to El Chorro de Giron Waterfalls
Upon arrival at the starting point of the trail that leads to the waterfall, you’ll find a ticket office where you can purchase your admission. Adult tickets cost $2, while children and elderly citizens pay just $1.
From this point, the trail to the base of the falls is relatively short but does involve a moderate incline and several sets of stairs. As you make your way, keep an eye out for signs indicating an overlook with a swing and a thrilling ciclo canopy adventure—a cable-mounted bicycle that lets you ride through the treetops.
A fantastic viewpoint of Giron village awaits just a quarter of a mile from the trailhead’s beginning. At this point, a water source is available, although there are more easily reachable ones further up the trail.
The waterfall stands at an impressive height of nearly 70 meters, and the water’s temperature is a brisk 4 degrees Celsius. The path leading to the first waterfall is relatively straightforward, although it involves climbing several stairs.
The duration of the one-way journey to the first waterfall varies depending on your physical condition. The hike typically takes around 15 to 20 minutes. Upon reaching the waterfall, you are welcome to capture photographs. However, swimming or bathing at its base is prohibited.
The second waterfall requires a slightly more challenging journey, with a hike lasting approximately an hour and a half. As for the third waterfall, be prepared for a longer trek; it takes almost four hours of hiking to reach it.
We spent approximately 2 hours completing the hike to the second waterfall. However, it will take more time if you prefer a more relaxed pace, frequently take breaks during the ascent, or spend extra time capturing photos.
Keep in mind that El Chorro Waterfall is situated in a cloud forest. Therefore, it is advisable to embark on the hike early in the morning as clouds tend to roll in by mid-day. The weather can swiftly transition from clear skies to thick fog within minutes.
El Chorro’s second waterfall is situated at approximately 10,200 feet. It’s essential to exercise caution as many of the rocks can be slippery and covered in moss. Along the trail, you’ll encounter several misty viewpoints.
We no longer continued our hike to the third waterfall as we were already tired. We just enjoyed the beautiful sights of the waterfalls and our surroundings, took photos, and retraced our steps back down the same path.
Descending is definitely faster and easier. Prepare yourself to get wet from the waterfall’s mist, so it’s advisable to pack a dry and warm layer for the hike back to Giron.
For adventure enthusiasts, there are additional activities available at El Chorro Waterfall. You can enjoy a swing experience for $3. However, it’s important to note that the swing does not offer a view of the waterfall, and the surrounding landscape may not provide a visually appealing backdrop. There is a parking lot and some restaurants located in front of the swing.
Another thrilling option is to embark on a zipline adventure, which costs $10. Alternatively, you can cross a Tibetan bridge, a suspension bridge where you are securely harnessed, for a fee of $3 per person.
Getting Back to Cuenca From Giron
To return to Cuenca from El Chorro Waterfall, you can either hail a taxi or a moto heading towards the village of Giron. Alternatively, the 3.3-mile downhill walk is much easier and quicker if you prefer a more leisurely option.
After crossing the main road, a few women often sell delectable street food. Treat yourself to some grub before going home as a well-deserved reward after the hike!
Buses pass by frequently, approximately every 10 minutes, offering rides back to Cuenca. Multiple bus companies operate on this route, but you can easily flag down the same bus you took earlier, such as the Cooperativa de Transportes Giron.
El Chorro Waterfall in Giron, Ecuador, is a delightful natural day trip option from Cuenca. This charming village can be easily reached by car or by frequent public buses from Cuenca.
While many visitors tend to explore the main El Chorro Waterfall, we highly recommend hiking to the second tier of the falls, as it offers a breathtaking view and is worth the effort!
The journey from Cuenca to the falls is both convenient and affordable. The locals in Girón were friendly and helpful, readily providing us with directions.
Our overall experience was thoroughly enjoyable! We recommend visiting this waterfall if you are staying in Cuenca. Ecuador is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity, and the area surrounding Girón is teeming with natural wonders.