Cuenca is one of the lesser known sites within Ecuador, but that does not mean that is any less inviting and it’s fairly easy to get there from either Guayaquil or Quito. Its rich culture and beautiful architecture makes it a must when visiting Ecuador, plus is also close to El Cajas National Park which is not only rich in natural landscapes but also houses many archaeological sites from pre Inca and Inca times.

We can find Cuenca south of Ecuador but still in the highland area with an altitude of around 2550 m. (7750 ft.) above sea level, it’s also a Cultural World Heritage site since 1999 given it’s amazing buildings from colonial times that make this city center a site not to be missed such as the many churches and convents spread out through the city, or museums such as the Pumapungo or the Aboriginal Cultures Museum.

Cuenca is known for its artisans, so if you want to discover local art or handicrafts (we all love a souvenir!) this city has particular areas dedicated to crafts such as gold, silver, leather, and wood, among others. Makes a great experience and gives you the chance to learn more about Cuenca and its people.

Although the weather can get a bit chilly in Cuenca, since is located in a template valley it’s perfect for outdoor activities such as mountain biking, mountain climbing and paragliding.  Also, near Cuenca you can visit El Cajas National Park, an amazing place that has both natural attractions like waterfalls, lagoons, as well as archaeological sites. The place is also ideal if you enjoy the outdoors and want to do some hiking or fishing, and for the most adventurous even camping is possible.

Getting to Cuenca from Guayaquil or Quito is very easy, whether you want to enjoy the landscapes that only a road trip can give you or rather get there by taking a quick flight to make the most out of your time:

FROM

PLANE

BUS

Quito(274 miles / 1310 km)

45 minutes

10 hours

Guayaquil(155 miles / 250 km)

30 minutes

4 hours

So, as you can see, Cuenca is one of those hidden jewels right in the heart of Ecuador that you will be happy you found!

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