This city is one of the most beautiful in Ecuador. I love its colonial architecture, its people and its gastronomy.
Cuenca is also known for its culture and art. There are many art festivals that take place here. For example, the Orquidea cinema Festival, the Art Bienal, and Escenarios del Mundo theater festival, etc.
8 Best Places to Visit in Cuenca, Ecuador
1) Parque Calderon in Cuenca
One of my favorite spots is Parque Calderón. This park is located in Cuenca’s historical center.
There you can find the two Cathedrals placed right in front of each other. The Old Cathedral is now a museum – definately worth visiting. In front of it, lays the New Cathedral (pictured above and below). Inside it is astonishing and I particularly like the stained glass widows full of colors.
You can go up on the top of the New Cathedral and it will only cost you no more than $2.00. Up there you will have an amazing view of all the old rooftops from the houses in the historical center.
2) Cuenca’s Flower Market
Right next to the New Cathedral is the flower market. You can find tons of different flowers and the place is very picturesque.
3, 4) San Francisco Market and Casa de la Mujer
A block away from the flower market is the San Francisco Market and the handicrafts market. You will find lots of wool clothes and you can also find embroidered dresses and shirts made by Otavalo people.
“La casa de la mujer” is the handcrafts market. I like this place a lot. You can find jewelry, panama hats, leather bags, ponchos, straw baskets and so many more things. If you are looking for souvenirs to take home with, this is the place you should visit.
5) Cuenca’s Museum of Modern Art
If you are into art, you can visit de MMAM (Museo de Arte Moderno Cuenca) Museum of Modern Art. Most of the exhibitions there are temporary but it’s always interesting to see some art.
6) Banco Central Museum
Another museum you can visit is Banco Central. It works as an art and historical museum. You can find historical and cultural relics from Ecuador. The interesting part of this place is that it used to be an old high school for boys around 30 years ago but then it became a museum because they found some Inca and Cañari ruins in the garden. They’ve been restoring it and nowadays you can have an idea of how it looked.
7) Las Herrerías for Traditional Dishes
If you want to try some of Cuenca’s traditional dishes, you can go to Las Herrerías (close to Banco Central) and try tamales, chumales and quimbolitos. These are made of potato or corn and are wrapped and cooked in leaves.
8) View of Cuenca from Turi
If you want to take a look of the whole city you can go to Turi. The view up there is amazing.
Like in a lot of cities around the world you can take the double decker bus. The main stop is in front of the Old Cathedral at Parque Calderón. It costs $7.00 to go around the most touristic spots in Cuenca.
The whole round takes about 2 hours and you will get to visit down town Cuenca, Turi, Av. Solano (where you can find lots monuments of important people in Cuenca and Ecuador), you will also get to pass through El Barranco where the Tomebamba river lays.