Southern Highlands attractions

Top Choice Museum in Cuenca

Museo del Banco Central ‘Pumapungo’

One of Ecuador's most significant museums, Pumapungo houses great modern art downstairs, but the highlight is on the 2nd floor. Here begins a comprehensive voyage through Ecuador's diverse indigenous cultures, with …
Top Choice Monument in Loja

Puerta de la Ciudad

With perhaps more pomp and circumstance than you'll encounter anywhere else in Loja, the City Gate greets you into downtown from the northern corner. It's a giant castle with an arched doorway spanning Sucre, a stre…
Top Choice Museum in Loja

Museo de la Música

This fun museum located in an old school explores the lives of famous musicians who hailed from Loja (most peaking in success during the golden 1890–1940 period). Many old instruments and scores of music are on disp…
Top Choice Church in Cuenca

El Sagrario

Standing across the park from the new cathedral, the whitewashed El Sagrario is also known as the 'old cathedral.' Construction began in 1557, the year Cuenca was founded, and in 1739 La Condamine’s expedition used …
Top Choice Church in Cuenca

Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción

Also known as the ‘new cathedral,’ construction began on this vast cathedral only in 1885. Its giant domes of sky-blue Czech tile are visible from all over Cuenca, and if it looks like the bell towers are bit short,…
National Park in Parque Nacional Podocarpus

Podocarpus National Park

This national park fills in much of the triangle between Loja, Zamora and Vilcabamba, as well as a huge swath to the southeast. Because altitude ranges so greatly within the park borders – from around 900m in the lo…
Museum in Cuenca

Museo de las Culturas Aborígenes

This indigenous culture museum has more than 5000 archaeological pieces representing more than 20 pre-Columbian Ecuadorian cultures going back some 15,000 years. But what makes this such a gem of a museum is the inf…
Lake in Highlands Sector

Lagunas de los Compadres

Branching off from the Los Miradores Loop Trail is the challenging but enticing 14.5km trail to the two dozen or more lakes that make up the remote Lagunas de los Compadres, through a gorgeous swathe of rugged Andea…
Park in Parque Nacional Cajas

Parque Nacional Cajas

Only 30km west of Cuenca, Parque Nacional Cajas encompasses 2854 sq km of golden moor-like páramo (high-altitude grassland) dotted with hundreds of chilly lakes that shine like jewels against a bleak, rough countrys…
Ruins in Ingapirca

Ingapirca

Ecuador’s best-preserved archaeological site, Ingapirca, with its semi-intact temple, grazing llamas and open fields, is definitely worth a stopover if you are headed this way. The ruins were originally used by the …