Useful information to visit Cuenca
The city of Cuenca is located at 2,538 meters of altitude in the Ecuadorian province of Azuay and counts with a population of approximately 580,000 inhabitants, it has a climate with temperatures ranging from 14ºC to 18ºC, throughout the year. The valley in which it is situated is surrounded by a system made up of four main rivers: Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Machángara and Tarqui that cross the city from west to east.
For the richness of its architecture and culture in general the city was named as Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Historical Center of Cuenca is formed by the oldest residential area. Here we find a great number of buildings of colonial style and Republican of great beauty; The archaeological zone; The artisan neighborhoods (of colonial origin).
How to get to Cuenca
By air: Aeropuerto Mariscal Lamar serves Cuenca and its surrounding, and it receives flights from Quito and Guayaquil international airports, the duration of the flight from both airports is approximately 45 minutes.
By Road: There are many bus companies connecting Cuenca with all the other destinations in Ecuador.
If you are in Guayaquil the buses leave from the Terminal Simon Bolivar and the trip lasts approximately 3 hours.
If you are in Quito the buses depart from the Terminal Terrestre Quitumbe and the journey lasts between 8 and 9 hours.
Some of the companies that make this trip are: Express Sucre, Oriental Tourism, Imbabura Fleet, Super Taxis, Patria, Santa or Panamericana, from the land terminal of Cuenca to the city center a taxi should not charge you more than 2 USD.
Adventure Activities in Cuenca
Cuenca is a tourist attraction because of its human quality, its cultural history and large tourist areas, it is a city that allows sports in different spaces, encouraging both local citizens and tourists the passion for sports, among the activities that can be done in the city of Cuenca are:
It crosses the mountain range mounted on these noble animals, knows the roads of the Andes, and enjoys the peace and tranquility of our forests, rivers and lagoons.
A particular space where this activity can be carried out is in the El Cajas National Park, located to the south of the city, only 33 km from Cuenca, about 30 minutes away; Where in addition to horseback riding can be done hiking, camping, sport fishing and bird watching.
There are also routes to ride, in the sector of the Parish of Tarqui that is located 15 kilometers south of the city.
Generally, in Cuenca, the climate is cold, forcing them to wear clothing that is adequate to withstand low temperatures. If you are going to reach a higher height, it is advisable to wear thermal coats, wool trousers, hiking boots, hats and gloves.
The Canopy is an adventure sport whose main objective is to offer visitors an ecological experience with a touch of adrenaline, is an activity that consists of crossing through steel cables from one point to another, there are different speeds and heights, All with the help of a waist harness and a pulley. Accompanied by a guide
During this tour, given the height, you can have a greater perspective of the slopes, slopes and vegetation that the place offers. It is an activity that gives the person the sensation of flying, feeling this as a unique experience.
The Canopy, can be done by the sector of Bibin, parish of Ricaurte, only 20 minutes from the city. To get to the place you can take the Ricaurte-Bibin route, or it can also be accessed by entering the sector of Ochoa León.
This activity can be done in the National Park El Cajas, where there are more than 15 businesses dedicated to this activity, which complete the service with cabins, typical gastronomy and recreational activities such as hiking, horseback riding, cycling, the Park has more than 235 lagoons, where we find a delicious species of fish, trout, whose meat delights the palate of own and foreign, and which can also be fished by oneself.
You can get to El Cajas Park by means of the avenue Molleturo, buses depart daily to the city of Guayaquil that pass through these accesses to the park. These buses usually depart every hour from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Climbing is a physical and mental exercise that consists of climbing large rocks with levels of difficulty, using the hands and feet, or with a certain aid team created specifically for this sport.
In the city there are eight places to do this practice, the most important are: Cojitambo, Cajas National Park and Sayausí.
These places can be accessed by the Cuenca-Ricaurte-Deleg routes or the Cuenca-Azogues route in what corresponds to the sector of Cojitambo and the sector of Sayausi can be entered by the Ordoñez Lasso avenue.
The city has cycle paths within the city, these routes generate a network of longitudinal and transverse axes that are located throughout the urban fabric covering residential, commercial, tourist, sports and administrative areas.
They are new roads that have all the conditions that a cyclist requires for the practice of the sport, allowing the same to perform this activity at the same time that can observe the different tourist and commercial spaces.
* Every Sunday morning you can make the Recreational Route, where you can use bikes for free to tour the whole city. The meeting point is at the Centennial Bridge at 8 am.
The Canyoning consists of an activity that involves descents by channels of rivers, lakes and ravines of the city. In Cuenca, it is practiced in the sector of Rio Amarillo.
Festivities in the city
Celebration of catholic origin that in its beginnings had a strictly religious character. However, with the passage of time, other elements of pagan character were incorporated into it. In Cuenca, the Feast of the Holy Innocents presents a particular interest in the enthusiasm with which its inhabitants celebrate it. On January 6 of every year, many people from this city take to the streets with different types of costumes.
Carnival in Cuenca
In Cuenca, Carnival presents characteristics that make it unique, whether for the exquisite cuisine typical of the region or for customs that still persist among some of its inhabitants. Another very attractive element of the Cuenca Carnival is the abundant food present on this date. Countless culinary delights are prepared by families who are willing to spend three days of recreation in the countryside or in the city. It is famous for example, the classic pan cuencano, that is kneaded and baked in the days previous to this celebration. The exquisite sweets such as peach, quince and figs are elaborated with care and patience by many housewives who still today continue this tradition
The Holy Week is one of the central commemorations of the Christian liturgical calendar that more recollection and respect awaken in the people of Cuenca. The celebration of “Palm Sunday”, the visit of the seven churches on Holy Thursday, and processions like the Lord of the Passion, which takes place on Good Friday from 19:30. The same congregates a great number of devotees that leave from the Park San Blas to a route by several zones of the city. In the rural parishes of Cuenca, similar acts are carried out, with the possibility of observing in some of them true manifestations of religious fervor, as is the case of many men who are willing to play the role of Christ in the procession and travel long distances loading Very heavy crosses.
In Easter week, the possibility of religious tourism in Cuenca is enriched with the great variety and quantity of handicrafts, as well as typical food that is sold to the numerous parishioners attending religious events.
Foundation of Cuenca
April 12, 1557
Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza delegated Gil Ramírez Dávalos, Governor of Quito, to “come to Tomebamba, to visit it and then to choose the best site and, once chosen, proceed to found the city, which was then called Cuenca, in Homage to the native city of Virrey Hurtado de Mendoza, Marquis de Cañete, who was born in Cuenca, Spain, province of Castilla. Thus, on Monday, April 12, 1557, Gil Ramirez Dávalos, accompanied by a group of Spaniards and Diego, Juan Duma, Luis and Hernando Leopulla founded the city of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca, northwest of the destroyed City of Tomebamba, in the plain of Paucarbamba.
Corpus Christi is undoubtedly one of the religious and popular manifestations of greater importance and antiquity in the city. In Cuenca, this tradition has unique and special dyes, because for seven consecutive nights, after the day of Corpus, the “Septenary” is celebrated, which is a very famous party in the country for its color and pyrotechnics.
New Year’s Eve
On December 31, the day of the New Year, various groups of society prepare pallets, where the protagonist is a doll that can be made of paper, cardboard, cloth, etc., inside which are placed firecrackers. It carries a mask of some character that is caricatured and symbolizes the year that ends; In nearby places the “widows” wander, people disguised in black dresses, who ask the public for their contribution to funeral expenses.
After the reading of the Old Year’s Testament, which criticizes the neighbors of the place, institutions or government, leaving them inheritance and advice, the doll is burned at midnight, amid firecrackers, music And fun with the New Year.