Official language: Spanish
Time zone: UTC -5
Currency: United States dollar (USD)
In Cuenca, as in other parts of Ecuador, El Carnaval is celebrated. Celebrations start three days before the Ash Wednesday, with tradition of pouring water on friends and family, especially via throwing on them balloons filled with water.
One of the most beautiful places in the city is the flower market, on which you can get a dozen of roses for 2 euros. The market is located near park Calderona and is a lovely place for moment of relax during a walk.
Planning to go to Cuenca, take into account its location. It is situated high in the mountains on the altitude of 2 500 metres above level sea – that is why weather can drastically change there even a few times per day.
Cuenca is the capital of the province Azuay, located in the south of Ecuador, in the valley in the Andes. It is the third biggest city in the country, populated by around 400 thousand people. It’s proper name is Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca. The city’s centre got on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1999 due to its numerous historical buildings.
Cuenca is growing popular among tourists. Due to quite high quality of life of citizens, Cuenca is compared to European cities or North American ones. The city is nicknamed Athens of Ecuador, as in architecture are seen European influences. The centre of the city is one of the best preserved in the country, buildings are harmoniously located, you can feel there spirit of old times and colonial style. While staying in the city, you will certainly get impressed by views, that are provided by the direct neighbourhood of the mountains.
There is an airport in the city (Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Lamar). It serves airlines AeroGal, LAN Ecuador iTAME and yearly around one and half million passengers go through it. The airport is in close distance from a bus station – around five minutes on foot. The bus station is called Terminal Terrestre and is situated by Avenida España, in the northern-eastern part of the city.
Cuenca is full of life, you will find there plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes. Most of them are located by Calle Larga. In El Mercado, at Calle Larga 8-27 y Luis Cordero, or in El Jardin, at Calle Larga 6-93 y Antonio Borrero, you can try regional, south American cuisine. If you feel like eating something in modern style – visit Gastro Todosantos at Calle Larga 5-19 y Mariano Cueva. While in the city, make sure to taste local snacks – among them fritada (which main ingredient is beef, firstly cooked, then baked) or hornado (pork baked in whole, served with corn seed, baked potatoes and vegetables).