There have been many key moments in the development of the Cuenca Bus Sherpa.
In the beginning, the idea was simply compiling the routes for our own reference using the Google Earth program. As I gathered the data, I began to be able to formulate transfers to which buses to take to get to particular places. Then I became “the guy” my friends would call on when they were out-and-about and couldn’t get a cab, but did see a bus and wanted to know where it went.
Along with the Cuenca Bus System Atlas, I also started compiling all of my notes and observations about bus riding and to my surprise, had enough information to create a manual for riding the bus (Coming Soon).
But the moment it all came together was while at a party, I was talking about the project and answering questions about where the various lines went. Someone offhandedly suggested I should offer tours which prompted someone else to call me the “bus Sherpa.”
Lo and behold, the name seemed very appropriate and I’ve been developing the idea since launching the website in October, 2015.
So what IS the workshop?
I don’t like the idea of giving “tours” as much as I do giving “workshops.” I’m not just showing you Cuenca on the buses, I want to give you as much practical knowledge for getting around Cuenca using the buses without stress… as you can handle, in a couple of hours.
Each workshop is unique for the client. After providing an initial list of locations or parts of town they want to explore, each client is treated to their own “tour” customized for what they want to learn about.
Many start their workshop with buying a bus card. Most mainly want to know how to get back to their own neighborhood no matter where they are.
Many on their first scouting mission to Cuenca, who are only going to be in town for a short time, like to just see different parts of the city to get a “slice of life” that they can’t get in the tourist zones in El Centro nor from backseat of a taxi speeding them around.
Tourists like to see the spots they’ve highlighted in their travel books like the Mirador Turi, Baños, and of course the many beautiful open mercados across town.
- Your home (or nearby location) to 2-3 of your frequent destinations.
- Your home (or nearby location) to El Centro to purchase and/or register bus card, and 1-2 of your frequent destinations.
- “Get to Know” a line of your choice. Ride a line end to end, and we’ll point out popular sites and connection points to other lines along the way.
What does it mean when you say, “I Give You ‘up to Three Hours'”?
Of course, getting around town on the buses is never as fast as taking taxis. The point of my workshops is to teach and help make navigating the buses easier to save some cash over the taxis or so it can part of a daily routine.
Each workshop is customized to include three to four specific locations of the client’s choosing. After factoring in walk times, wait for bus times, traffic/construction delays the bus may encounter, and any one of the added ‘unknown’ delays that can happen in Cuenca, it can easily take over two hours to go everywhere and to cover all the information.
So I offer “up to” three hours and there is no pressure to use them all and even if we do, that is plenty of time so there is no stress to try to squeeze everything in.
“How much does a workshop cost?”
The price of the workshop starts at $40.
Basically, each workshop boils down to all the information I can impart and any questions I can answer in three hours. I provide a complimentary copy of the Cuenca Bus System Atlas and a membership, a $20 value.
Workshops for members who have already purchased books are 1/2 price.
As with anything, you get out of it what you put into it. If you are looking for more of a leisurely, sight-seeing tour of Cuenca, I suggest the double-decker bus tour that starts at Parque Calderon.
What you are buying:
Short orientation at meeting place of your choice
Bus trip to as many as 3 destinations, depending on time
Question and answer time with drink/snack (if convenient and available)
Return to origin
3 hours of time with the Cuenca Bus Sherpa
Price for 1-3 people for a trip
“Why is it the same price for one person as it is for three people?”
Bus Sherpa + 1 Client: I’m able to communicate most effectively to one person because we are able to sit or stand next to each other on the bus.
Bus Sherpa + Couple: Talking to two people on the bus is still pretty easy, the couple sits next to each other and I can sit in front or stand next to them and talk. Crowded buses can be cause issues with staying together, so we may skip the more crowded buses.
Bus Sherpa + 3 Clients: Three is the limit that I can effectively communicate to given the constraints of limited seating/standing areas together. It is possible though, so with each other’s help relaying important instructions in case we get separated, as two couples, we can cover as much as we can as one.
So, as a practical measure, I set a standard price for my time and three friends are free to split that cost between them. Whether I have one client or three, my goal remains the same: to teach you as much as you want to know about getting anywhere in Cuenca by bus.
How do I sign up for a workshop?
Getting set up with your own workshop starts with clicking here and filling out your information and choosing a way to pay. You may pay with a credit card using paypal or you may choose to pay in cash at beginning of your workshop.
After purchasing, choose a date and time to start and set an appointment. Provide a list of places you want your workshop to include and some details about yourself, how long you’ve been/are going to be in Cuenca, and what you want to get out of your workshop.
I will confirm your appointment and put together your custom workshop. If something comes up, you are free to postpone until later. If you have to cancel, please do so more than two hours before your workshop is scheduled.
I want you to be happy and satisfied with your experience!
After your workshop is done, I am so confident that I will have provided you with the value for your money, If you disagree, I will let you name what you think my time and knowledge was worth to you.