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Cuenca Things to See and Do

Cuenca is one of Ecuador鈥檚 most elegant and beautiful cities. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural site, a fact of which the locals are immeasurably proud. The easiest and most obvious thing to do in Cuenca is to simply stroll around the historic downtown, marveling at the architecture in and around the well-kept central park, Parque Calder贸n.

You can not walk far without running into a colonial church; Cuenca supposedly has 52, one for every Sunday of the year. The number of churches you visit will depend on your level of interest, but the La Inmaculada (the New Cathedral) and El Sagrario (the Old Cathedral), both on the central park, should not be missed. There are also several museums of note, including the Pumapungo Museum complex (also known as the Central Bank Museum), which has very good exhibits for those interested in the complete history of the region and city.

No trip to Cuenca is complete without a trip to the Mirador Turi (Turi Overlook), where you can get an overview shot of the city. The lookout point is on a modest hill to the south of the city and on a clear day, the view is spectacular. There is a small church there and some coin-operated binoculars.

Outside of town, you can visit the spectacular El Cajas National Park, or visit the nearby artisan towns of Gualaceo, Chordeleg and Sigsig. Each of the towns has a unique market or artisan product, and all three can be visited in one day. In Gualaceo, stop by the large produce and animal market; in Chordeleg, peruse the many stores selling fine silver products; and in Sigsig, visit one of the Panama Hat cooperatives.










By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
18 Dec 2012

 
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Parque Calder贸n

Parque Calder贸n

Cuenca鈥檚 beautifully tended central park, Parque Calder贸n, is an attractive, expansive area of flowers and trees. The park is dominated by a...

City Plaza
Cuenca, Ecuador
Catedral de la Inmaculada (New Cathedral)

Catedral de la Inmaculada (New Cathedral)

The massive brick facade and sky-blue domes of Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepci贸n make the building one of the most recognizable (and...

Historical Building
Cuenca, Ecuador
Museum of CIDAP (Inter-American Center of Popular Arts)

Museum of CIDAP (Inter-American Center of Popular Arts)

El Centro Interamericano de Artesan铆as y Artes Populares, or Inter-American Center of Popular Arts, is a small but interesting museum dedicated...

Museum
Cuenca, Ecuador
Iglesia El Sagrario (Old Cathedral)

Iglesia El Sagrario (Old Cathedral)

The Iglesia El Sagrario, also known as the Old Cathedral, sits across the Parque Calder贸n from La Inmaculada, and is well worth a visit. If you...

Historical Building
Cuenca, Ecuador
Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art

The Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno (the Museum of Modern Art), on the Plaza San Sebasti谩n, has a permanent collection of contemporary paintings...

Museum
Cuenca, Ecuador

Central Bank Museum

The Central Bank Museum is actually a complex of several smaller exhibits, each dedicated to a different aspect of Cuenca life or history. The...

Museum
Cuenca, Ecuador

Mirador Turi

Turi, or 鈥渂rother鈥 in Kichwa, serves as a quick escape away from the center of the city. Most enjoyable at sunset, Turi sits atop a steep...

City Walk
Cuenca, Ecuador
Barranco's Panama Hat Factory/Museum

Barranco's Panama Hat Factory/Museum

El Museo del Sombrero de Paja Toquilla (Panama Hat Museum) is located in the Paredes Rold谩n family Panama hat factory, which has been producing...

Shopping, Museum
Cuenca, Ecuador
Iglesia Todos Los Santos

Iglesia Todos Los Santos

Iglesia Todos Los Santos is the oldest church in Cuenca. The church has been in the process of renovations for the past few years and continues to...

Historical Building
Cuenca, Ecuador

Flower Market

Cuenca's Flower Market is located on Calle Mariscal Sucre, near Padre Aguirre, in front of the southern side of the Cathedral de la Inmaculada...

Market
Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca's Churches and Cathedrals

The streets of historic Cuenca are lined with many interesting colonial churches. While it may be difficult to pay a visit to all of the city's...

Historical Building
Cuenca, Ecuador

Plaza San Sebasti谩n

Plaza de San Sebasti谩n is a quiet retreat from the city streets and features both the Museo of Modern Art and, to the north, Iglesia San...

Historical Building
Cuenca, Ecuador
Museum of Aboriginal Cultures

Museum of Aboriginal Cultures

This cultural foundation displays over 5,000 archaeological pieces from the different indigenous cultures of Ecuador in a spacious, well-lit loft....

Museum
Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca City Tour Bus

Especially if you are short on time, the Cuenca city panoramic bus tour is an excellent way to see the city. It leaves from Parque Calder贸n in front...

Other Activity
Cuenca, Ecuador
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