The 10 Best Places To Visit In Cuenca

Nestled in the Highlands of Ecuador, Cuenca is a city that’s like a living museum, with its cobblestone streets, ornate churches, and vibrant markets. It’s a place where every corner tells a story, and the blend of colonial charm and natural beauty is simply irresistible. As someone who’s wandered these streets and soaked in the culture, I can’t wait to share with you the top spots that make Cuenca a must-visit destination.

1. The Historic Center of Cuenca

Let’s kick things off with the heart of the city, its Historic Center. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a feast for the eyes, with colonial buildings painted in pastel hues and stunning cathedrals. Strolling through the Parque Calderon, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Don’t miss the New Cathedral, with its striking blue domes that dominate the skyline.

2. The Tomebamba River

Flowing right through the city, the Tomebamba River is more than just a body of water. It’s a place where locals come to relax, and artists find their inspiration. Take a walk along its banks, and you’ll find yourself amidst lush greenery and the soothing sound of flowing water. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely afternoon.

3. Pumapungo Archaeological Park

History buffs, rejoice! Pumapungo is where Cuenca’s Incan roots are on full display. Here, you can explore the remnants of an ancient city, complete with terraces and a complex water system. The on-site museum offers a deep dive into the culture of the Cañari and Inca civilizations that once thrived here.

4. The Flower Market

Imagine a kaleidoscope of colors and the sweet fragrance of fresh blooms – that’s Cuenca’s Flower Market for you. Located in a small plaza by the side of the New Cathedral, this market is a sensory delight. It’s a great place to pick up a bouquet or simply admire the variety of flowers on display.

5. El Cajas National Park

Just a short drive from the city, El Cajas is a nature lover’s paradise. With its rugged terrain, glacial lakes, and diverse wildlife, it offers some of the best hiking in Ecuador. Whether you’re up for a challenging trek or a scenic walk, El Cajas has trails for every level of adventurer.

6. The Museum of Modern Art

Art enthusiasts will find a haven at Cuenca’s Museum of Modern Art. Housed in a former Temperance house, this museum showcases a stunning collection of contemporary Ecuadorian art. The rotating exhibitions mean there’s always something new to see.

7. The Homero Ortega Panama Hat Factory

Did you know that the iconic Panama hat actually originated in Ecuador? At the Homero Ortega factory, you can witness the meticulous process of creating these famous hats. Take a tour, learn about the history, and maybe even leave with a stylish souvenir.

8. Mercado 10 de Agosto

For a taste of local life, head to Mercado 10 de Agosto. This bustling market is where you’ll find everything from fresh produce to traditional dishes. It’s a great place to sample local flavors and practice your Spanish with friendly vendors.

9. Turi Viewpoint

For the best panoramic views of Cuenca, make your way to the Turi Viewpoint. Located on a hill south of the city, it offers a breathtaking vista, especially at sunset. It’s a bit of a climb, but trust me, the view is worth every step.

10. The Ruins of Ingapirca

A bit further afield, but definitely worth the trip, are the Ingapirca Ruins. As the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador, this site provides a fascinating glimpse into the country’s pre-Columbian history. The Temple of the Sun is particularly impressive, with its precise stone construction.


  • What’s the best time to visit Cuenca?

    April to May and October to November offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, making them ideal times to visit.

  • Is Cuenca safe for tourists?

    Yes, Cuenca is considered one of the safer cities in Ecuador, but as with any destination, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings.

  • Can you drink the tap water in Cuenca?

    It’s generally safe, but if you have a sensitive stomach, sticking to bottled water might be best.


In conclusion, Cuenca is a treasure trove of culture, history, and natural beauty. From the charming Historic Center to the majestic El Cajas National Park, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re browsing the vibrant Flower Market or gazing out from the Turi Viewpoint, the experiences you’ll have in Cuenca are sure to be unforgettable. So pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore one of Ecuador’s finest gems.

Remember, these are just a handful of the wonders that await in Cuenca. Each visit reveals new secrets and stories that enrich your travel tapestry. So, when you’re planning your next getaway, consider this enchanting city; it’s sure to capture your heart just as it did mine.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.