Sights

It seems like a church, shrine or plaza graces every corner in Cuenca.

Courses

Most language schools charge around $10 per hour for one-to-one classes.

Guided Tours

Local operators arrange no-hassle day trips to Ingapirca, Parque Nacional Cajas, nearby villages and markets, and other local attractions. Most operators charge $40 to $50 per person and will pick you up at your hotel.

Sleeping

Cuenca has a vast selection of hotels, many of which are located in old restored houses and mansions. They come in all price categories, but still run a tad higher than elsewhere. During vacation periods they fill up fast and go up in price.

Eating

Cuenca's culinary landscape feeds cravings for Indian curry, Colombian arepas, and Austrian strudel. Starch-weary palates will rejoice.

Drinking & Nightlife

Cuenca has a lot of nightlife: pick from intimate taverns with live music to Hollywood-style clubs catering to the hook-up scene. Discos are open Thursday through Saturday nights from 10pm, but things don’t really get moving until around midnight. Bars are generally open nightly, often as early as 5pm.

A good bet for a wild night out is Presidente Córdova around Hermano Miguel and along Calle Larga from Benigno Malo right down to Av Todos los Santos: bar-clubs with dance floors, dressed-up 20-somethings and myriad themes.

Many of the town’s museums offer theater and cultural performances, and the galleries in the El Vado neighborhood are also worth checking out. Movies cost about $4 per person and are listed in Cuenca’s newspaper El Mercurio.

Shopping

Cuenca is the center of the paja toquilla (toquilla straw, or ‘panama’) hat trade. Cuencano nested baskets, gold- and silver-filigreed jewelry from the nearby village of Chordeleg, and ceramics of varying quality are typical finds. Cuenca's markets are some of the best places to pick up these products.