Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is located in the highlands of Ecuador, a quick one-hour flight from Quito. It’s a charming colonial city that has become extremely popular for expats – we met quite a few during our short stay. I can see why expats would want to live here. It has most of the modern conveniences of the states, but at a fraction of the price. Meanwhile, it’s managed to maintain its culture…no American franchise domination here. There’s an abundance of restaurants and quaint shops. And to top it off, the scenery is beautiful and there’s a large national park nearby.

During our time in Cuenca, we saw and did so many different things. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

our first two nights, we stayed at hostal casa del barranco on the river

our first two nights, we stayed at hostal casa del barranco on the river

 

view from the hotel patio

view from the hotel patio

 

rio tomebamba which runs along the southern side of downtown cuenca

rio tomebamba which runs along the southern side of downtown cuenca

 

just a small sample of the abounding graffiti

just a small sample of the abounding graffiti

 

cositas...where we had our first meal in cuenca

cositas…where we had our first meal in cuenca

 

we both had traditional dishes...including mote which are corn kernels that have been boiled and cooked

we both had traditional dishes…including mote which are corn kernels that have been boiled and cooked…the yellow stuff in this pic

 

during our meal, some musicians came by and played traditional music - perfect!

during our meal, some musicians came by and played traditional music – perfect!

 

as an added bonus...this restaurant had a big screen TV with the ESPN spanish channel showing the AFC championship game, so we got to watch the Broncos! my first time watching an NFL game in spanish.

as an added bonus…this restaurant had a big screen TV with the ESPN spanish channel showing the AFC championship game, so we got to watch the Broncos! my first time watching an NFL game in spanish. Los Broncos van a la Super Bowl!

 

i even enjoyed an ecuadorian craft beer during the game

i even enjoyed an ecuadorian craft beer during the game

 

superbowl

vicki met us at cositas for the game…she used to work with abby anderson at children’s hospital and now lives in cuenca. she gave us so much valuable insight on things to do and see in cuenca. thank you vicki!

 

Piedra_de_agua_001_310_200

the evening after we hiked cajas national park, we soaked in the thermal baths at “piedra de agua” on the outskirts of cuenca (stock photo here)…it was so nice!

 

they have espresso...jay could live here! that's four shots of espresso in that cup...you should have seen the look on the barista's face when we ordered it

they have espresso…jay could live here! that’s four shots of espresso in that cup…you should have seen the look on the barista’s face when we ordered it

 

the ecuadorian red cross drive pretty cool toyotas...brian bergeler this picture is for you!

the ecuadorian red cross drive pretty cool Toyotas…brian bergeler this picture is for you!

 

iglesia de san alfonso

iglesia de san alfonso

 

plaza de san francisco

plaza de san francisco

 

 

IMG_0015

Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción…aka the new cathedral

 

IMG_0016

inside the new cathedral

 

IMG_0020

we took the spiral staircase up to the cathedral’s rooftop where there are great views of the city

 

IMG_0027

you realize how big the statue is from up here

 

 

IMG_0026

aerial view of parque calderon

 

IMG_0070

the flower market

 

IMG_0071

if I lived here, I could afford to always have fresh flowers in my home

 

IMG_0045

plaza de san francisco

 

IMG_0044

checking out the goods in the plaza de san francisco

 

IMG_0047

centro municipal artesanal…a building full of individual artist shops

 

IMG_0049

cuenca is in the process of building a light rail transportation system…desperately needed as there is a lot of traffic congestion in this town

 

IMG_0051

Mercado 9 de Octubre

 

IMG_0056

inside Mercado 9 de Octubre

 

IMG_0061

we ordered a plate of pork and potato patties from this stand

 

IMG_0064

pork and potato patties

 

IMG_0080

healthy fast food…pineapple on a stick from a bicycle fruit cart

 

IMG_0179

our last night in cuenca, we splurged ($53 for the night) for a room at the Del Parque Hotel, pictured here

 

IMG_0174

our room even had it’s own small balcony…felt like being in europe

 

 

IMG_0178

we found a place to do laundry…gringo’s laundry…ha ha ha, sounds about right

 

IMG_0177

that night, we went to La Viña…an italian restaurant with live jazz…the musicians were really talented

 

IMG_0001

enjoying breakfast at the hotel

 

IMG_0002

even though we just ate breakfast, couldn’t pass up having a yummy humita…the andean version of a Mexican tamale

 

IMG_0003

humitas

 

IMG_0010

at Mirador de Turi…viewpoint over cuenca

 

IMG_0013

aerial view of cuenca…like Denver, the city has a haze over it

 

IMG_0014

church of turi

 

IMG_0015

jay overlooking cuenca

 

IMG_0019

at parque de el paraíso

 

IMG_0028

beautiful pond within the large park

 

IMG_0031

the spot within the park where two rivers collide…yes, that’s jay in the tree

 

IMG_0037

at barrancos panama hats…where they make & sell panama hats, and there is a small museum inside

 

IMG_0039

they showed us how they mold each hat…it comes out of that machine hot!

 

IMG_0038

one of the world’s greatest misnomers…”panama hats” should really be called “ecuador hats” as they originated here and are still one of the country’s most famous exports

 

IMG_0043

looks good on jay

 

IMG_0045

maybe one of us will buy one before we leave ecuador

 

IMG_0053

our final stop before leaving cuenca…segundo mercado for lunch

 

IMG_0052

this was jay’s favorite meal so far

 

Good-bye Cuenca! We’re now headed into the Amazon…

 

4 responses to “Cuenca, Ecuador

  1. What a wonderful tour i took with you today. I think you should buy one of those hats – they are neat. The flowers were beautiful and all of the pictures – just great. I thought the cathedrals were beautiful too. You are having such a wonderful trip – so happy you got to go and see so much in so little time. Love, Grandma

  2. Wow! You do such a great with this blog. Photos are great. This city looks like a place I would enjoy. Hope you buy a panana(Ecuador) hat before you leave the country. Both of you looked great with them on.

  3. I agree with your grandma & your mom, wonderful blog & I like the hats too! You captured the city of Cuenca~what a beautiful place! Your Spanish comes in handy, huh??!! Gringo’s laundry made me laugh too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s