Cuenca, Ecuador


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For the past few days I’ve explored Cuenca and its cathedrals, museums, parks, squares, and rivers. It’s a beautiful, comfortable city and my amateur photography doesn’t do it justice.

It’s rainy season and like clockwork the afternoons usually culminate in a storm – often with thunder and lightning. Yesterday morning began with clear blue skies and sunshine but soon the blue was painted with white clouds that became darker and more ominous as the afternoon storm approached.

Yellow Orchid

Yellow Orchid

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Most cities in South America have an old and new part to explore. Almost always my favorite is the old part of town, especially with the architectural masterpieces in Cuenca. The city is friendly and although gringos have taken over a significant part, you feel welcomed by the indigenous people. It’s safe and easy to find your way around.

Street Art

Cuenca Street Art

Yesterday I found another fantastic restaurant – Mangiare Benne – and had delicious fresh ravioli with their house sauce!! Tonight there are several new places to try.

The restaurants here are very reasonable. A delicious meal costs a fraction of what you would pay in the states. There are many talented artisan studios throughout Cuenca. Some of the crafts include ceramics, jewelry, fabric, sculpting, glass, and oil painting. There is also some unusual and interesting street art.

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Every day I find another café. Today it was Café San Sebas near Parque San Sebastián and across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. They have great espresso and serve breakfast and lunch.

Cuenca has four rivers:

  • Rio Tomebamba
  • Rio Tarqui
  • Rio Yanuncay
  • Rio Machangara

The Tomebamba River separates the historic colonial part of town from the more modern side and runs by Larga Street, an area with many cafes, clubs, hostels, markets, and restaurants.

Tomorrow I’m going for a day trip and hike in the high Andes where the terrain is much different from lower altitudes. After the hike we stopped by a small town famous for traditional jewelry making and then an Orquideario (new word for me) where they propagate different species of exotic orchids.

Monkey-Faced Orchid

Monkey-Faced Orchid

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