"Viva Cuenca!" Top 5 Page for this destination Cuenca by toonsarah

Cuenca Travel Guide: 273 reviews and 822 photos

Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción

When we first decided to visit Ecuador, Cuenca was high on my list of must-sees. This beautiful colonial city in the south of the country has it all – lovely architecture, a temperate climate, friendly atmosphere, and some of the best restaurants in the country.

The old colonial centre, where we stayed and where we spent most of our time, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for good reason. At its heart is the main square, the Parque Calderón, with two cathedrals (old and new), and in the surrounding streets are more churches, attractive old houses, interesting museums and some great bars and cafés for the essential activity of people-watching.

We were fortunate enough to be here at a weekend when two festivals were taking place – the nationally-celebrated Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) and the local celebrations that mark the anniversary of the city’s independence from Spain on 3rd November 1820. The city was in party mood and the various celebrations added to our enjoyment of it.

We had a great couple of days here, and I left wishing it could have been longer. We managed to see quite a lot in that time however, as you will read from my tips. That is due in part to the excellent guide from local company, Terre Diversa, whose half-day walking tour took us to some surprising places off the beaten path, as well as some of the main sights.

I have arranged my tips here in some sort of logical order, loosely based on the geography of the city combined with our own wanderings. To follow this please start with my first tip, our Flight from Quito.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lovely architecture, a temperate climate, friendly atmosphere, and some of the best restaurants in the country
  • Cons:Too far from London to go for a weekend!
  • Last visit to Cuenca: Nov 2012
  • Intro Updated Feb 7, 2013
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Reviews (33)

Comments (7)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    Thank you dear Sarah for yet another fascinating morning read :-)) This town looks adorable and many of the food is just my thing :-)

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 3, 2013 at 4:18 AM

      It was such a great place, and it is known for its good food - rightly, as we found out! Thank you for taking the time to visit it with me and comment :-)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    What an excellent page! Thank you for letting me see such beautiful places with your travels!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      Thank you for those kind words Dee - glad you enjoyed your "visit" :-)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Sarah, you’ve done it again! A fine comprehensive page on this beautiful city.

    • Michael_D's Profile Photo
      Feb 14, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Enjoyed the Cuenca pics. I have a friend checking it out as a retirement haven this very week. Looks good to me.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 15, 2013 at 2:40 AM

      Thanks Michael

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    How nice to be in Cuenca when there were two festivals! Cuenca is a nice city, but I liked Quito better.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 8, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      It was indeed a great time to be there, and purely a coincidence for us! I know you said you prefer Quito, and others have said they prefer Cuenca, so I have tried to work out which one I like better and so far am not sure - every time I think Cuenca I remember something special about Quito, and vice versa!!

  • Feb 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Cuenca looks amazing! Love all that colonial architecture! Not so sure about that weird place for coffee - I don't easily offend, but I'm not really into total out there crazy either! Lol

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 10, 2013 at 2:50 AM

      It's a beautiful city - you would love it! And the coffee place was fun. I wouldn't want to live there but it's something different to see, the people were very friendly, and in fact the guy is very talented, in an admittedly truly weird way ;-)

  • aaaarrgh's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Wow, Sarah, very adventurous! You certainly get around a bit!!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 8, 2013 at 2:30 AM

      We do get around indeed! But I'm not sure it's that adventurous - we almost always book ahead and get expert support. The real adventurers, to my mind, are the ones that just get on a plane and see what happens when they arrive :-) But we all have our own way of travelling, which is one of the joys of VT!

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Love your hotel, looks perfect. The Prohibido Centro Cultural, what can I say - a bit out of the ordinary :D

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 8, 2013 at 2:29 AM

      The hotel was lovely :-) I wouldn't have wanted to leave it or Cuenca, except that we were on our way to the Galapagos!!


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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