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


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.


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.


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.


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.