Welcome to Cuenca


Dating from the 16th century, Cuenca’s historic center, a Unesco World Heritage Site with its trademark skyline of massive rotundas and soaring steeples, is a place time keeps forgetting: nuns march along cobblestone streets, kids in Catholic-school uniforms skip past historic churches, and old ladies spy on promenading lovers from their geranium-filled balconies.

The city is the center of many craft traditions, including ceramics, metalwork and the internationally famous panama hat – and the nearby villages offer many more handicrafts besides.


Top experiences in Cuenca

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Cuenca activities

$60 Day Trips & Excursions

Cajas National Park Day Trip Including Lunch

• TOUR DETAILS : • Lenght: 8 hours approx. • Start / Finish: Cuenca • Activity Level: Moderate to ChallengingDESCRIPTION:  Be picked up from your accommodation in the morning and drive for approximately 1 hour to Cajas National Park, located 30km west of Cuenca. During this tour you’ll visit two altitude levels within the park. In the middle part (3,960 meters), you will walk about 3 hours in the Toreadora area, depending on the pace of the group. The trek will give you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery, including the Polylepis Forest and moor-like Paramo, whilst the guide provides information about the flora and fauna of the area. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, you’ll visit Llaviuco (3150 meters). Located in the lower part of the park, this area is part of a different ecosystem known as montage primary forest. Here you’ll and have a walk around the lake for about 1 ½ hour.

$75 Day Trips & Excursions

Devil's Nose Train and Ingapirca Ruins Day Trip from Cuenca

Experience two of the most interesting destinations in our country. After hotel pick up you will travel to Alausi, a little town considered a national heritage. In this charming town you will take the train known as "The Devil’s Nose". In its day it was considered one of the greatest feats of engineering that the world had seen. This railway was built in 1899 with the intent of linking the coastal city of Guayaquil with the highlands capital of Quito. This amazing ride traverses and descends an almost perpendicular mountain face by using switchbacks. Many lives were lost in the construction of this extraordinary railway.  Our trip continues on the Pan-American Highway to Ingapirca, which is the major Inca archeological site in Ecuador. You will have the chance to appreciate one of the most important Inca structures, an elliptical platform known as the “Sun’s Temple”. Courtyards, terraces and various other ruins are found here as well. After a full day of touring you will return to your accommodations in Cuenca.

$19 Tours & Sightseeing

Cuenca City Tour

Discover the beauty and history of Cuenca on a comprehensive guided city tour. After pickup from your hotel, your city tour begins with a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, located on the south side of Plaza de San Sebastián. The museum houses various works from Ecuadorian artists including paintings, sculptures, photography, engravings and more. Walk by the historic downtown area to visit San Francisco market and Calderon Park, Cuenca's central park. Walk through the well-kept park with your guide while admiring the expansive area. Next, stop at Cuenca's Old and New Cathedrals. The Old Cathedral was originally built in the mid 1500s and is now home to a museum showcasing the cathedral's gorgeous architecture. (note: you will not enter the Old Cathedral). Then, your guide will take you to the New Cathedral, which displays Neo-Gothic style architecture. Admire the famous gold leaf canopy inside the cathedral, which is one of Ecuador's largest. Continue on to the Homero Ortega Panama Hat factory. Here, observe the complete manufacturing process of Ecuador's Panama hat. Later we will visit the barranco, where you can admire the colonial-style terraced houses located next to the Tomebamba River, also home to the famous 'broken bridge.' and finally visit the Turi, where you'll take in panoramic view of the whole city of Cuenca. After the tour, you'll be transported back to your hotel.

$45 Day Trips & Excursions

National Park of Cajas Full-Day Guide Tour from Cuenca

Cajas is a national park located on the northwester side of the city of Cuenca; it’s formed by wetland from glacial origins with more than 200 lakes.This popular trekking tour departs from Cuenca where your experienced guide will brief you the night before on the trek ahead. The 4 hour tour includes 1 hours of trekking up to 12,000 feet (3800 meters) in altitude. Whilst it is possible to trek all year round in the Cajas National Park, the ideal time to hike is between August and January. Prepare yourself for all types of weather conditions as the Cajas National Park trek will operate during rain, hail or shine. With first aid on board and numerous park rangers within reach your safety is not compromised.                                                                                                              

$25 Cultural & Theme Tours

Day Trip to Gualaceo and Chordeleg from Cuenca

Departing from Cuenca with your friendly guide, relax on the scenic drive to the two small villages of Gualaceo and Chordeleg. These bucolic towns are well known for their traditionally made handicrafts, such as the macanas (shawls) that women have woven from alpaca wool for centuries.First stop of the day is a quick visit to San Bartolome, a small town located next to the Andes Mountain Range. Famous for its crafty, handmade guitars, you'll visit a local shop to observe the process of making this instrument. Then, head to nearby Chordeleg, famous for the jewelry shops that line the streets and large plaza. Walk through the clean, tranquil town with your guide and admire the intricate silver and gold filigree sold at great prices. You'll have time to shop around and check out the local jewelry and other crafts made by locals in the towns central plaza.Next, head to Gualaceo, situated along the banks of the Santa Barbara River. In the quiet central square that includes a main church, admire the vivid, bright colors of the clothing worn by the local women.Stroll down the streets or visit the market, where the locals sell folkloric handicrafts and textiles, such as the characteristic white straw hats, as well as blouses, skirts and linens hand-embroidered with magenta, orange and yellow thread. Learn from your guide about the significance of the pre-Columbian patterns and designs such as birds and flowers.You'll have time to eat lunch before heading to a local textile whop, where you'll see the process of weaving. After a full day outside of Cuenca, you'll be dropped-off at your hotel.

$73 Day Trips & Excursions

Guayaquil to Cuenca, Cajas National Park One-Way Private Tour

From Guayaquil we will drive through the beautiful farming area of the lowlands where we will see the great diversity of products that are grown here. After driving for an hour, we will visit one of the local Cacao Farms where the natives will show us some very interesting features. The guide will explain the importance of this product in the local economy. We will find not only cacao beans but also bananas, coffee, passion fruit and more. We continue our drive upwards to the highlands through the famous Andes where we will find Cajas National Park. This park is one of the most important protected areas in the south of Ecuador and the main source of water for the city of Cuenca. You will marvel at the beautiful scenery found in this area. You will be able to see both, Polylepis Forest and Moorland ecosystems, where we will take a short hike.After a full day trip we will drop you in Cuenca at your hotel or the location of your choice. Box lunch will be provided during the ride.