Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador with 330,000 inhabitants and is located south of Quito in the Andean highlands at about 2500 m altitude. It has one of the best preserved colonial cities in South America, making it the most interesting city in Ecuador besides Quito. Residents are convinced that Cuenca is without doubt the most beautiful city in the country. Therefore, Cuenca is definitely worth a visit.
When the Spaniards arrived in Cuenca in the 16th century, they found the remains of a former Inca city called Tomebamba. They later used the elegantly carved stones of the ruins to build their own structures. But even before the Incas, the Cañari people lived here for several thousand years. Remains of pre-Columbian cultures can still be found in the city’s museums.
During your stay in Cuenca you should not miss these sights:
- Around the Parque Calderon are several notable buildings. The construction of the new cathedral began in 1885 in neo-Gothic style. Its blue domes can be seen from many points in Cuenca and are a city landmark. The old cathedral El Sagrario, however, is about 300 years older. Today there is a religious museum in this church.
- The Museo del Banco Central Pumapungo is one of the most important museums in Ecuador. Here you will find interesting modern art as well as animated dioramas about the indigenous cultures of the country.
- Another museum worth seeing is the Museo de las Culturas Aborigenes, which presents more than 20 pre-Columbian cultures dating back to the past up to 15,000 years ago.
- Cuenca is located on the Rio Tomebamba, which separates the old town from the new town. While walking along the river, you can see the façades of houses facing Calle Larga on one side and overlooking the small gorge of the Tomebamba on the other.
On our trip Ecuador andino you stay 2 nights in Cuenca.