"Cuenca in Ecuador" Top 5 Page for this destination Cuenca by MalenaN

Cuenca Travel Guide: 276 reviews and 845 photos

Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador with an urban population of 330 000 inhabitants. Cuenca is situated in the highlands, in a valley surrounded by mountains, at an altitude of 2530 metres, and 441km south of Quito. Like Quito the city has an old historic centre which is an Unesco World Heritage Site.

The historic centre of Cuenca is the city centre and here you can walk along cobblestone streets admiring the historical buildings. There are many churches, small plazas and museums to visit, so it is a nice place to spend a few days in. From Cuenca you can also make excursions to Cajas National Park, the Inca ruins of Ingapirca or one of the nearby villages known for their traditional handicrafts and Sunday markets.

The Cañari people founded a settlement called Guapondeleg, probably around 500AD, in the area where Cuenca is situated. Later, in the 15th century, the Incas conquered the land of the Cañaries and constructed a city called Tomebamba. Tomebamba is supposed to have been a grand city, but during a civil war it was destroyed and its inhabitants killed. When the Spanish arrived they only found ruins of Tomebamba, and when building Cuenca they used much of the stones from the ruins. It was in 1557 that the Spanish founded Cuenca and they gave it the full name Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca. As the name implies there are four rivers floating through Cuenca, or in the vicinity.

As Cuenca is situated in the highlands the climate is mild year round. The average daily temperature is 14.6°C and the coldest months are June, July and August. The rainy season is between mid-October to early May, and during that period the mornings can often be sunny, while it gets cloudy in the afternoon with showers.

By many people Cuenca is considered to be the most charming city in Ecuador, but if I have to choose between Cuenca and Quito I would choose Quito. Maybe because I came to Cuenca directly from Galapagos Islands and it was quite cold and grey, with some rain, during the days I visited.

  • Last visit to Cuenca: Jul 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (25)

Comments (12)

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    Cuenca looks so lovely. What a great experience to go on the Cajas National Park daytrip.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Apr 1, 2013 at 6:43 AM

      Cuenca is a lovely city and there are quite a few Americans who have chosen to retire here.

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    I really enjoyed your photos and descriptions of Cuenca. I really didn't remember it since it has been so long ago.
    Beautiful colonial architecture and seems nice and clean. The museums seem especially interesting to me

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Mar 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      Thank you Val! Cuenca is a lovely city with lots of things to do in and around the city. Have you been there ?

    • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
      Mar 18, 2013 at 2:27 AM

      I was there long ago when i was a kid, so i don't remember much

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Your explore such wonderful beautiful places! Thank you for sharing them. Awesome page!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2012 at 3:48 AM

    Another interesting Ecuador page. I really love the Churches in this country!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 14, 2012 at 4:30 AM

      Thank you Dee! Yes, Ecuador has many beautiful churches.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    We're looking forward to visiting Cuenca - the museums sound good and the markets too. I was also interested to read about the sightseeing bus - I'm not always keen on them but I have been having some walking problems and might be glad to take a ride round the sights!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      Thank you Sarah! Cuenca is a lovely city (even though I like Quito better) and I hope you will enjoy your visit there. I'm not so keen on sightseeing buses either, but this time it was a good option.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    The viewpoint Mirador de Turi is fantastic. Loved your organized daytrip to Cajas National Park from Cuenca. Thank you Malena for a virtual trip!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Malena, another fabulous page with awesome photos of your adventures in Equador.

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Feb 11, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    You know?, Cuenca is a city in Spain too!

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Cuenca indeed seems a charming city. You mentioned you had not much sun. But on the other hand, dark sky makes more beautiful pictures :) I think I would especially enjoy visiting Centro Interaméricano de Artes Populares, Museo del Banco Central Pumapungo and the market. And Locro de Papa sounds like a delicious Ecuadorian soup :)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    I enjoy the markets, museums, and the gorgeous cathedrals. A very special place! Excellent page!

Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 0 8
Forum Rank:
0 0 1 6 5

Badges & Stats in Cuenca

  • 25 Reviews
  • 122 Photos
  • 4 Forum posts
  • 29PageViews

Have you been to Cuenca?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Cuenca

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (4)