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9 Family Attractions in Cuenca Ecuador

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Ecuador Travel

Hacienda-Uzhupud-horseback-riding-EcuadorLooking for something to do with your family in Cuenca Ecuador?

Here are my 9 favorite attractions:

9 Family Attractions in Cuenca Ecuador

  1. Banco Central
  2. Amaru Zoo
  3. Mirador de Turi
  4. Parque Paraiso
  5. Cuenca Flower Market
  6. Casa de la Mujer
  7. El Chorro
  8. Cajas National Park
  9. Hacienda Uzhupud

1. Central Bank Museum (Museo del Banco Central)

The Banco Central Museum is a great place to take the family. Inside, you can learn a lot about the history and culture of Ecuador. There are displays of currency, artwork, crafts, clothing and a lot more!

Outside you can walk around the gardens, see some Incan ruins, stop at the fish pond and see all the pretty birds in the aviary. Don’t forget to get a picture of the llamas before you leave.

Gardens-at-Banco-Central-Cuenca

Some of the gardens at Banco Central

Banco-Central-Cuenca

Find it on Calle Larga y Av Huayna Capac, not far from the center of the city.

2. Amaru Zoo (Amaru Zoologica)

The kids will love Amaru Zoo! There are lost of animals to see and some of them are not even behind an enclosure, like the monkeys and parrots.

Andean-Bear-Amaru-zoo-Cuenca

The Andean Bear

Amaru-zoo-Cuenca-Ecuador

About halfway along the trail through the zoo, there is a place to rest and get something to eat (hot dogs, hamburgers, and chips.)

This zoo is on a hill so be prepared for a hike, bring sturdy sneakers. If it’s been raining, you might want to wait a day or so to visit because the trails get slippery.

Find it by taking the Autopista (Pan Amaricana/Circunvalacion Sur) from Cuenca heading to Azogues. You will be heading toward the Hospital del Rio (at Km 10 1/2) you’ll see a sign for the zoo and will exit the Autopista to the right. You’ll drive up a steep dirt road until you see another sign on the right to enter the parking lot for the zoo.

3. The Turi Look-off (Mirador de Turi)

At the Turi Look off you will see breathtaking views of Cuenca! If you explore Cuenca before taking a trip to Turi you’ll have fun locating some of those places from this vantage point, you could even make a game of it.

View-from-Turi-Cuenca

There is also a craft store where the kids can pick up souvenirs. And just down the hill on the left is a ceramics shop that mom will love.

Art-by-Eduardo-Vega-in-Turi-Cuenca-Ecuador

Ceramic art by world famous Eduardo Vega

Find it by taking the Autopista (Pan Amaricana/Circunvalacion Sur) from Cuenca heading to Azogues. You’ll pass Mall del Rio on your left, a short distance after seeing Mall del Rio you will come to a traffic circle, turn right. You will pass the Body Care Gym and Spa (on your right) and continue up the winding road to Turi. When you get to the top you will see a white Church to the left and the look-off to the right. You can also take the stairs to the top, they are located just past the Body Care Gym at the base of the hill.

4. Paradise Park (Parque Paraiso)

There are many beautiful parks in Cuenca, but Paradise Park is the biggest. It’s a wonderful place to take the family for a picnic or a game of soccer/frisbee. There is a nice trail through the woods along the river and lots of playground equipment. With wide open green space it makes for a nice break from the city, especially for the kids.

Paradise-Park-Cuenca-Ecuador

There are often vendors in the park selling bubble liquid and cotton candy. On the outskirts of the park there are food vendors selling french-fries and other treats.

Find it by going down Avenida 10 de Agosto, and swinging around the traffic circle just in front of the park. You’ll enter the parking lot off to the right. The park is at the end of Avenida 10 de Agosto where the Tomebama and Yanuncay rivers meet.

5. Cuenca Flower Market

The flower market is a gorgeous spot to visit with the family. It’s an outdoor market in the heart of Cuenca, full of fresh flowers!

Flower-market-Cuenca-Ecuador

Your kids will enjoy walking around and smelling all the beautiful flowers. Be sure to have your camera ready, the women in traditional clothing selling flowers to your family is a photo opportunity not to be missed!

Find it on Calle Sucre in the Plazoleta del Carmen, in front of the church El Carmen de la Asunción across from the New Cathedral. It’s located between Parque Calderon and the San Francisco market.

6. House of the Women (Casa de la Mujer)

Casa de la Mujer is a building full of artisan shops. You’ll find something for everyone at this souvenir hunters paradise. From leather purses to panama hats, from tagua figurines to silver jewelry… all under one roof.

Traditional-dolls-at-casa-de-la-mujer-cuenca

Leather-at-Casa-de-la-mujer-Cuenca

It’s inside so it’s a great place to take the family on a rainy day.

Find it just a couple of blocks from the center of the city. It’s located on General Torres between Presidente Córdova and Mariscal Sucre, just past the flower market and behind the San Francisco market (if you are coming from the direction of Parque Calderon).

(The next three locations are not in Cuenca, but are a short distance from the city.)

7. The Waterfall in Giron (El Chorro de Giron)

El Chorro is a beautiful waterfall not far from Cuenca. The first waterfall is an easy hike for the children and they are sure to love seeing the water falling and crashing into the small pool at the bottom.

El-Chorro-Giron-near-Cuenca

It is located at a hosteria, which is a hotel/motel type area. You can get a nice meal there and stay over night if you like.

You can hire a taxi or rent a van service to take you there.

Find it about a 40 minute drive from Cuenca heading south toward the Yunguilla Valley.

8. Lake Llaviucu (Zorrocucho,) Cajas National Park (Parque Nacional Cajas)

Hiking around lake Llaviucu in the Cajas National Park is a wonderful way to spend time with your family.

Cajas-National-Park-Cuenca

Lake-at-Cajas-National-Park-Cuenca

The hike is easy for kids, and they will love seeing the birds as they walk through the woods. It can be cool and damp so bring extra sweaters.

Find it driving west toward Guayaquil. There is a sign for the lake on the left as you enter the Cajas National Park. About 20 minutes from Cuenca.

9. Hacienda Uzhupud

Hacienda Uzhupud is a beautiful spot where your children can enjoy swimming, horseback riding, making wood-oven pizza, visiting farm animals and a lot more!

Hacienda-Uzhupud-horseback-riding-Ecuador

Pool-Hacienda-Uzhupud-Paute-Ecuador

You can visit just for the day or enjoy an extended stay.

Find it driving northeast toward Paute. About 30 to 40 minutes from Cuenca.

Have you visited any of these attractions? Are there any you would add to this list? Please share by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Since moving to Ecuador in 2009, Dena and Bryan have made their living as bloggers. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a content marketing company for Canadian travel brands. She is a contributor to Bryan Haines and is co-founder of Click Like This - a photo tutorial blog.

7 comments… add one
  • Jerry Anderson Oct 11, 2014, 6:56 pm

    People need to be made aware that visiting Amaru Zoo involves serious hiking up steep hillside trails. You need to be in pretty good condition and, as Arlene says, have hiking gear to be comfortable. My wife at 70 years old, had to turn back at the picnic area because of back problems aggravated by the very steep trails and multiple high steps going up some parts of the hill. This is not meant to discourage people – it is a very interesting and well done natural habitat, well worth visiting. Just be prepared for a challenging hike up (and down) the hill that the zoo occupies.

  • VALENTINE Oct 11, 2014, 4:32 pm

    we have been there last year ( in Cuenca) we love it Learning spanish right
    now) and wish to return next year…. still some place,,,,,, LOT,,,, WE HAVE NOT SEEN BUT WE ARE VISITING THRUE YOU ,,,SORRY POOR ENGLISH

  • Arlene Oct 11, 2014, 7:46 am

    Been to the zoo, bring hiking shoes is an understatement. You need mountain climbing gear. It is a unique experience.

    Flower market is great.

    The national parks in the Caja’s are wonderful, we had a guide to explain what we were seeing.

  • Bill Fox Oct 11, 2014, 7:38 am

    a few more,,, tennis or swimming at the Colesio (or other sports too), a walk along the Tomebama, quite a few museums, my fav is Modern Museum,,,,the Hippi market,, the Rotary market,,,,, I certainly agree with the others you mention, although I have not seen all of them, planted some seeds,,,

  • Alli Oct 11, 2014, 7:32 am

    We have been wanting to visit hacienda uzuphud but were not sure about only going for the day. Can you please provide details of a day visit, like cost and what it includes?? Thank you!!!

    • Bryan Haines Oct 11, 2014, 2:24 pm

      We don’t have specifics, but we are checking into it.

      Thanks!

  • Paul Acee Oct 10, 2014, 9:51 pm

    Great post, Dena

    I’ve bookmarked it and will add to my “to do” list!

    Paul

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