There are plently of short day trips and hikes in the countryside around Cuenca, Ecuador.
One place you can visit is Giron for beautiful cascades falling in different levels in the hills above the town.
You can easily visit the first waterfall in a 10 minute walk from the entrance. The second level of waterfalls is a 2-3 hour walk up above. Walk through farmland and small sections of forest with lovely views of the valley.
Entrance $2 for foreigners and $1 for locals. Waterfalls are run by the community and there is a small shop, restaurants, some basic acommodations and an area for camping near the entrance.