Tons of articles have been written about the colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador. About how its so cheap, and how its such a great retirement place, etc. But if you’ve been left wondering about the basics of this city you’re not alone. Here is what you need to know about this great city.
About Cuenca Ecuador
Full Name and founding: Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca. Founded in 1557, by the Viceroy of Peru, Mr. Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza.
Location: Southern Ecuador, Azuay Province. Ecuador is located on the north-west part of South America. Borders Columbia to the north, Peru to the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
From Guayaquil: South-east 155 miles (250 km). 3 1/2 – 5 hours by bus, just 30 minutes by plane.
From Quito: South 274 miles (442 km). 9 hours by bus, less than 1 hour by plane.
Elevation: 8400 ft (2560 meters)
Population: 417,632 – (331,028 urban and 86,604 rural)
Climate: known as “the land of eternal spring” Cuenca and surrounding areas experience very little climate change throughout the year. Expect warm to hot days (67°F – 82°F / 19°C – 28°C) and cool evenings (as low as 51°F / 10°C).
By Plane: There are two international airports – Quito (Airport code: UIO) and Guayaquil (Airport code: GYE). Both airports have daily flights to Cuenca. Expect airfares of roughly $45 – $55 from Guayaquil (on the coast) and $55 – $68 from Quito (in the Sierra). Choose from TAME Airlines, LAN or Aerogal. All flights to the Galapagos Islands go through Guayaquil Airport.
By Bus: Cuenca is well connected to the rest of Ecuador by a network of buses. Buses leave from Quito every hour, 24 hours a day – the trip takes roughly 9 hours and costs between $9 and $12. Buses run roughly $1 to $1.50 per hour of travel time. From Guayaquil, buses are leaving every 30 min for Cuenca. The trip ranges from 3 1/2 – 5 hours, depending on if it goes through Cajas National Park or through Cañar – cost is roughly $7-9 each way.