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
view from the hotel patio
rio tomebamba which runs along the southern side of downtown cuenca
just a small sample of the abounding graffiti
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…the yellow stuff in this pic
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. Los Broncos van a la Super Bowl!
i even enjoyed an ecuadorian craft beer during the game
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!
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
the ecuadorian red cross drive pretty cool Toyotas…brian bergeler this picture is for you!
iglesia de san alfonso
plaza de san francisco
Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción…aka the new cathedral
inside the new cathedral
we took the spiral staircase up to the cathedral’s rooftop where there are great views of the city
you realize how big the statue is from up here
aerial view of parque calderon
the flower market
if I lived here, I could afford to always have fresh flowers in my home
plaza de san francisco
checking out the goods in the plaza de san francisco
centro municipal artesanal…a building full of individual artist shops
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
Mercado 9 de Octubre
inside Mercado 9 de Octubre
we ordered a plate of pork and potato patties from this stand
pork and potato patties
healthy fast food…pineapple on a stick from a bicycle fruit cart
our last night in cuenca, we splurged ($53 for the night) for a room at the Del Parque Hotel, pictured here
our room even had it’s own small balcony…felt like being in europe
we found a place to do laundry…gringo’s laundry…ha ha ha, sounds about right
that night, we went to La Viña…an italian restaurant with live jazz…the musicians were really talented
enjoying breakfast at the hotel
even though we just ate breakfast, couldn’t pass up having a yummy humita…the andean version of a Mexican tamale
at Mirador de Turi…viewpoint over cuenca
aerial view of cuenca…like Denver, the city has a haze over it
church of turi
jay overlooking cuenca
at parque de el paraíso
beautiful pond within the large park
the spot within the park where two rivers collide…yes, that’s jay in the tree
at barrancos panama hats…where they make & sell panama hats, and there is a small museum inside
they showed us how they mold each hat…it comes out of that machine hot!
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
looks good on jay
maybe one of us will buy one before we leave ecuador
our final stop before leaving cuenca…segundo mercado for lunch
this was jay’s favorite meal so far
Good-bye Cuenca! We’re now headed into the Amazon…