Considered to be the most attractive of Ecuador's cities, Cuenca is the third largest city in the country, but retains the feel and relaxed pace of a smaller town.
Founded in 1557, partly on an existing Inca settlement, Cuenca maintains its historical colonial buildings and architecture, with its churches and cathedrals very fine examples. photo. It is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites and considered the cultural capital of Ecuador. There are a number of Spanish language schools in the area that attract an international student body.
Called the Athens of the Andes, or Atenas del Ecuador, Cuenca is the site of four universities, many museums, research and cultural organizations.
Enjoy the map and photos of Cuenca.
Check flights from your area to Quito and other Ecuadorian cities for service to Cuenca using the airport several kilometers from the center of town. Car rental iand taxi service are available there.
Daily busses to Quito and other cities use the terminal on España.
When to Go
Located as it is in the central Andean range, Cuenca enjoys a year round spring-like climate. The temperate climate is ideal for raising the flowers and orchids exported internationally.
Cuenca's year round pleasant climate makes it an all season destination.
Check today's weather.
If you'd like to plan your travel around a festivity, consider:
Cuenca's Independence Day on November 3 for a huge, colorful fiesta
Christmas Eve or Corpus Christi
Founding of Cuenca, April 10-13
Carnaval if you like fun and water fights
New Year's Eve
Things to do and See
Museo del Banco Central has historical photos of Cuenca, ancient musical instruments and changing exhibitions of local art
Museo de las Culturas Aborígenes displays items of archaeological interest, particularly pre-Columbian art
Museo de Artes Populares displays tradtional crafts, including musical instruments and clothing
Museo de las Conceptas displays religious art and artefacts in a 17th century convent
Parque Calderón is the site of the new cathedral with the blue domes, looking somewhat out of place opposite the old cathedral, El Sagrario
Plazoleta del Carmen is the site of a colonial church and flower market
Plaza de San Sebastián contains a mural of children's art. The Museo de Arte Moderno and the church of San Sebastián are here
Stroll along Avenida 3 de Noviembre along the Río Tomebamba
photo to people watch, see the colonial buildings and get a feel for the city. You might even see some women dressed in traditional clothing doing their laundry in the traditional manner
Rent a bicycle, hike or trek to explore the area
Visit the communities of Chordeleg, Gualaceo, and Bulcay for folk art
Explore the tropical forest of El Cajas and the wildlife preserve at Mazán
Practical Tips and Suggestions
Browse this list of hotels for availability, rates, amenities, location, activities and other specific information.
Most of the restaurants and nightlife are centered around Gran Columbia.
Market days are Thursday and Saturdays, with markets near the church of San Francisco and elsewhere. They are not necessarily tourist markets, but you'll want to see the flower market photo. Beware of pickpockets.
Cuenca attracts many who like the climate, living conditions and wish to relocate there.
Whenever you visit Cuenca, why not tell us about your trip?