I came to Cuenca so I could visit Ingapirca, but without question it was my favorite city in Ecuador. It’s relatively safe, it’s beautiful, well-organized, and historical.
The climate is comfortable. With sun it’s a bit hot, but without it it’s a bit cold. At night it’s cool, but not too cold. But it seems to rain a lot.
Cuenca isn’t as touristy as one might expect. It’s definitely on the “gringo trail,” but the tourists seem to blend in well with the city. There is, however, a sizable population of American retirees. Lured by Ecuador’s use of the U.S. Dollar as its currency, relative proximity to home, and very affordable cost of living, many retirees have relocated to Ecuador and you see them in and around the city.
When I was on the bus coming from Baños to Cuenca, my couchsurfing host informed me that I wouldn’t be able to stay with her. I had a feeling something like that would happen. But she arranged for me to stay with a friend and everything worked out really well!
Below are some pictures of Cuenca.
Cuenca is famous for being quite religious and having a lot of churches. I mentioned to my host that it sounded a lot like Pasto, Colombia, and I was told this is a comparison that gets made a lot. It’s interesting since they both have similar profiles and both lie at the southern tips of their countries.
There were tons of churches there, but below are a few notable ones.
I went to a cool shop in Cuenca. They make Panama hats and it’s part museum, part workshop, part store. Very cool!
When I was there, there was a school group learning how hats get made.
I have seen these hats in several countries and I think they are very practical. They are light, very thin, and offer great shade from the sun. I don’t like wearing hats, but they are pretty cool.
I wasn’t sad to say goodbye to Ecuador, but I did have a nice time in Cuenca. Happy to end on a positive note!
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About Adam Pervez
In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.