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About Cuenca

Having retained much of its colonial splendor, the highland city of Cuenca is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the most advanced cities in Latin America that is geared towards tourism. To find your perfect place to stay while in Cuenca, browse the fantastic range of vacation rentals available on FlipKey.

About Cuenca, Ecuador

Found in the lower Andes Mountains of Ecuador, right between Colombia and Peru, Cuenca sits at an altitude of 8,200 ft and is Ecuador’s third-largest city.

Founded by Spanish explorers in 1557, Cuenca was erected on the remains of Tomebamba, an Inca city that was said to be as beautiful as Cuzco in Peru before being destroyed in a civil war earlier in the century. Throughout the city, there are remnants of Spanish colonial architecture - the giveaways (for any fans of historic buildings) are the Baroque ornaments which were popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Just like the capital Quito, no building in Cuenca is allowed to be higher that the tallest church steeple in town. Wandering around the city’s cobblestone streets, you will be in awe of the colonial mansions and the wrought-iron balconies adorned with flowering plants. It really is a stunning sight.

What to do in Cuenca

With no international airport, most visitors arrive via domestic air from either Quito or Guayaquil on a short 35-minute flight. If you have time on your hands, you can drive or take a bus stopping while marveling at the wondrous Andean scenery.

For a fabulous day trip, visit the ancient Incan civilization’s most northerly settlement at Ingapirca, near the country’s Pacific coast You can be back in Cuenca in time for lunch.

Go bird watching or fishing in El Cajas National Park where you have the chance to see over 150 species. Or, cast your fly into the water while fishing for mountain rainbow trout. The stunning backdrop makes it a memorable experience.

You can also explore the Amazonian rainforest with tours from Cuenca. It's a great way to discover a unique area that is home to over a 1,000 species of animals and is known the world over for its size and secrets.

Top travel tips for Cuenca, Ecuador

Don’t be fooled by the fact that Cuenca lies on the equator—it can still be quite chilly at night due to the altitude. If you want to skip the rainy season, it’s best to avoid April and May.

If you want to save money look, for restaurants that serve set price lunches called "Almuerzos".  Or, you can cook back at your rental after shopping for fresh and delicious produce at the local market.

In terms of cash, you don’t need anything bigger than a $20. You will have trouble trying to change bills larger than that.

While you're here, pick up a Panama hat—the best in the world are made in Ecuador.

Similar to many cities in the New World, Cuenca was constructed using a grid system that contained a central main square and built outwards - that way it's very hard to get lost!

Cuenca is a lovely example of a Spanish colonial city a place with plenty of museums shopping and outdoor attractions to keep you busy. Whether you are looking for a Baroque apartment in the center of the city or a villa in the suburbs, FlipKey has accommodation to suit all your vacation needs. Start searching for your perfect vacation rental, today!