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At the southern end of the Andes sits a sprawling mass of red tiled roofs. Cuenca is thought of as the most European city in Ecuador and the centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site. Historical buildings litter the old town amongst cafes, galleries and cobblestone streets, and if the sun’s getting a bit much, there’s nowhere better to pick up a locally made Panama hat. We’ve selected the best places to stay in Cuenca to make the most of this beautiful city.
The temperature in Cuenca is relatively stable year round and hovers around 20 degrees Celsius, but to minimise the chance of rain, try and avoid visiting between March and May.
What not to miss:
Rio Tomebamba - Walk down the scenic river paths that split the colonial and the modern sections of the city.
Pumapungo Museo - Visit the free museum to explore archaeological ruins and even a small zoological garden!
El Cajas National Park - Get your hiking boots on and go explore this beautiful national park. Very easy to bus to from the city. Also a good spot to catch a glimpse at the local bird life.
Prohibido Centro Cultural - This museum is dedicated to ‘Extreme Art’ and is a mesh of various artistic mediums. Also not a bad spot for a cocktail!
And for the best places to stay in Cuenca:
Stay in style
Mansion Alcazar is a restored mansion located in the centre of Cuenca. A short walk from the city's hotspots, the hotel boasts free standing baths, elegant decoration and a chic restaurant.
Perfect for couples
Traditional and affordable, Hotel Santa Lucia offers antique furniture, beautiful sash windows and a large open-air courtyard which is perfect for a romantic supper.
For a Rural retreat
Thirty minutes outside of Cuenca, Hosteria dos Chorreras sits amongst idyllic countryside, Here you'll find traditional architecture and antique furniture. The restaurant is also a great spot to experience the best of local cuisine.
Best Hotels in Cuenca
Mansion Alcazar 19 rooms from $164Cuenca
An elegant restored mansion in the centre of Cuenca. Richly decorated rooms feature antique furniture, parquet flooring and free standing baths. A glamorous restaurant serves excellent regional and international fare. Walking distance from many of the city's attractions. Fabulous.City Style - A restored mansion with all the granduer of days gone by.Great walks - Explore the picturesque Cajas National Park just an hour from the city.Sights nearby - Visit the majestic Old Cathedral of Cuenca.Full of character
Hosteria dos Chorreras 15 rooms from $124Cuenca
A charming inn set within picturesque countryside just outside the historic city of Cuenca. Traditionally dressed rooms feature antique furniture, warm hues and beamed ceilings. Dine on regional dishes made using local produce in the rustic restaurant. An authentic rural escape.Local exploring - Just 30 minutes outside of the historical centre of Cuenca have the best of both country and city life.Active Holiday - Find numerous outdoor pursuits to partake in from fishing to horseriding.Kayaking - Kayak on the nearby lakes. The hotel provides the equipment.Secluded setting - For escaping.
Hotel Santa Lucia 20 rooms from $105Cuenca
A wonderfully traditional hotel in the historic centre of Cuenca. Elegant rooms feature antique furniture, high ceilings, patterned wallpaper and sash windows. A large central open-air courtyard makes for romantic evening meals. Well positioned to access the best of the cities attractions. Fabulous.Local exploring - Well situated within the Old Town and close to many of the main attractions.Sights nearby - Just a short walk to the San Alfonso and Immaculate Conception Cathedrals.Great walks - Make a trip the nearby Cajas National Park for picturesque walks.Full of character