GringosAbroad Ecuador

Is Cuenca a Wonder of the World?

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Living in Ecuador

The New7Wonders Organization announced this morning that they are launching New7Wonders Cities.

new7wondersIn its third global voting campaign (already covered are: New7Wonders of the World and Nature) New7Wonders aim to determine the top cities in the world – covering everything from economic, historical, power and touristic klout.

Bernard Weber, Founder and President of New7Wonders, has this to say in the announcement (quoted from New7Wonders blog):

“The world is currently experiencing a mass urbanization. For the first time in history, a majority of the global population now lives in cities. From the great historical cities of Jerusalem, Venice and Kyoto, to the alpha world cities of London, Paris, New York, Mumbai and Shanghai, urban living has enriched human society. Meanwhile, many newer metropolitan areas, from Dubai to Seoul to Cape Town to Sao Paulo, have become magnets for millions of people looking to make their fortunes, and megacities that most of the world is not even aware of are sprouting across Asia and Africa.

Given these dramatic developments, New7Wonders Cities will become a catalyst for discussing everything from urban planning to metropolitan governance, from tourism to architecture.”

So the question is: What city do you favor as one of the new City Wonders of the World?

Well there are obvious choices, like New York City, London and Dubai. And then there are smaller, lesser known cities that have a certain way about them, ones that have maintained certain ways of life for centuries and still possess that ancient spark – like Cuenca.


Earlier this morning I nominated Cuenca. If you would like to see Cuenca included on the nomination list, raise your hand here: Cuenca for New7Wonders Cities. No one is profiting from this. This post isn’t a sponsored shout-out by any tourism association. We just want to share Cuenca with the World.

Cuenca is already listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site. Why not a City Wonder of the World?


On a side note, the voting for the New7Wonders of Nature is still open. Included in the 28 finalists are two from Ecuador: The Galapagos Islands and the Amazon (which Ecuador shares with most of South America).

What do you think? Is Cuenca a good choice for the New7Wonders Cities? What is your choice?

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

22 comments… add one
  • Ingrid Sep 17, 2013, 7:25 pm

    Hi Bryan and Dena,
    I am going to Ecuador for 16 days in December with the intention of moving there next summer if I like it. A friend of mine who is Canadian/Ecuadorian just moved there, and we plan on travelling around the country to see where we would like to settle (we’re thinking Vallee de los Chillos, Cuenca, Salinas or Montanita, or any good beach). Did you consider other towns or cities before deciding on Cuenca? If so, what were your likes and dislikes about each? Your comments might help narrow our search and make the most of our short time there.
    Also, do you know if there are any organized sports league (basketball) for kids? I have a 12 year old son who I would most likely homeschool, so outside activities with other kids would be a must.
    Finally, I know you wrote a post about homeschooling, but can’t find it. Do you have any online Canadian resources for homeschooling?

  • Margaret Nov 7, 2011, 9:19 am

    Cuenca truly sounds wonderful; how many days of sunshine per year? According to weather underground, it is covered by clouds about 80% of the time? Thanks

    • Bryan Haines Nov 10, 2011, 11:48 am

      Good question – I suppose Cuenca would have some cloud most days – just like everywhere else. A cloudless sky is a rare phenomenon. I’ve yet to see a good forecast for Cuenca or the Andes. They often say its a forecast for Cuenca – but if you look closer it is actually for Guayaquil, a large and smoggy city on the coast.

      • John C. A. Manley Nov 10, 2011, 11:57 am

        That’s a bit of a relief to hear. We often check the whether for Cuenca. They list it almost always as rainy, cloudy and with thunderstorms. It’s rare we ever see a day that doesn’t say a storm is brewing.

  • Mo stankard Nov 6, 2011, 8:48 am

    My husband and I (with a 4lb yorkie) would like to plan a trip to Cuenca this winter or spring. How is the best way to implement this trip? We live in N.C. and would like to stay 3-4 weeks.

  • Eugenio Stanculescu Nov 5, 2011, 10:52 am

    Bryan I’m Ecuatorian, I’m from Cuenca. And I think that this city has magic. The art, the architecture, the culture; I love the museums. Plus I think that what makes Cuenca so wonderful, is that people can get many things. Culture, peace, and they have a really beautiful city that is surrounding by mountains, that have 4 rivers, a incredible weather that never is so hot o so cold. I think that Cuenca has so much to offer for “cuencanos” like me, and for Americans or “gringos” as you say it; and for the rest of the world.
    I think that more people deserve know this city, and personally I thank you for the nomination of Cuenca, and thanks for live in this city and appreciate this city.

  • warren Nov 4, 2011, 10:32 pm

    I personally don’t like the idea of putting Cuenca on the map like that, gringos will flood in and bring up all the prices and try to set in their own rules and bring their cocky attitudes, the locals here wouldnt like that, and most of the expats here dont either, Cuenca needs to be kept a secret. Putting Cuenca on the map like that would help anything! Im against it and so are most people living here in Cuenca.

    • Bryan Haines Nov 5, 2011, 6:57 am

      I understand your point Warren, and I agree with you to a point. But how did we learn about Cuenca? And are you Ecuadorian or a Gringo? I agree that a flood of Gringos would have good and bad results. The thing to remember is that more Gringos coming won’t, by itself, drive up prices. Uneducated Gringos will.

      The purpose of our blog is two fold: Yes, its to share Ecuador and specifically Cuenca, with the world. It is also to educate both tourists and expats how things work and what they cost. With more than 8,000 monthly readers, we hope we are making a difference. The are other organizations, like Amcham (La Cámara de Comercio Ecuatoriano Americana de Cuenca / Ecuadorian American Chamber of Commerce of Cuenca) that promote the same goal. Here is part of their stated purpose for their Cuenca Friendship Network:

      We recognize that many expats need help in getting settled and established in their new city. The Network will benefit both expats and local Cuencanos by developing fair, ethical and profitable trade. Our Mission is to give a helping hand to those who adopt Cuenca as their new home. We will provide services to help expats settle into life in Cuenca, Ecuador.

      It is extremely ironic that Gringos don’t want more Gringos… Who are we to say that we deserve this beautiful place, but no one else does? Obviously, Gringos are not all the same. Some are haughty and rich … while others are haughty and poor. 🙂 Its generally agreed (by the Cuencan business community) that tourism in Cuenca is beneficial and needs to be grown. Relocating Gringos are also being encouraged by the two primary chambers of commerce. Amcham (see above) is doing it from the angle of Ecuadorian businesses. They are working to help Gringos pay normal prices – and avoid contributing to increasing cost of living for Ecuadorians.

      So if Cuenca actually makes the short list (would take a miracle) it would do amazing things for Cuenca tourism, which in turn would strengthen the economy. And you’re right – it would also increase the number of incoming Gringos. But they are coming in anyway. In twenty years from now, there will probably be 2 or 3 (or 10) times the amount of Gringos here. It won’t stop. What we can do, is combat the bad information that is being published to better educate these new Gringos.

      Within our family, I don’t feel that we’re driving up prices. I pay a local prices (food, rent) drive an old truck, shop at the market and pay local fares for taxis. My whole family speaks Spanish. We have worked very hard to integrate into the local fabric.

    • RG Nov 5, 2011, 8:16 am

      Amen! Totally agree with Warren. I don’t want Ecuador to be another Costa Rica. It’s good for investors when prices go up but bad for the people of Ecuador and retirees like me. I’m already retired but have to wait for my condo to be finished before moving in.

    • K Nov 8, 2011, 1:48 pm

      I agree with warren 100%

      • David Ralston Nov 12, 2011, 1:39 pm

        I agree with Warren 100% I already got priced out of two countries in which I lived.

        You say who doesn’t want more Gringos in Cuenca ? Be careful what you wish for. I have experienced Gringo inflation more than once.. It is pervasive and once it starts… it doesn’t stop until the locals freak out or everyone packs it in.

        Look at the gringo coffee shops in Cuenca. $5 for a coffee ? What the hell are they smoking ? BUT if someone isn’t paying then they wouldn’t be selling it. Slippery slope and I’ve personally seen it happen from Portugal and Spain in the 80’s to Mexico and Costa Rica in the 90’s and now it’s going to happen in Ecuador. Hope you’ve purchased a home cause the rents are gonna fly.

        • Bryan Haines Nov 12, 2011, 2:23 pm

          Hi David, thanks for commenting.

          You know whats interesting, is that Gringos use the internet to find their paradise, then curse it when others do the same. Seems funny, doesn’t it? While I don’t know the solution, I agree that too many foreigners can drive prices up. By the way, where did you find a $5 coffee? We pay $0.90 to $1.50 (max) in Cuenca.

          • David Ralston Nov 12, 2011, 5:31 pm

            Yeah Gringos definitely should not find paradise from blogs and websites. I agree 100%.
            I can get coffee anywhere in the world for $1. Cuenca, included. Paris as well. Gringo establishments are pushing the envelope on prices. Moca cafe for example.

  • Lisa Nov 4, 2011, 9:11 pm

    I like John’s comment about Brampton, because it’s funny. Other than that, I choose to remain neutral. That way, when the new 7’s are chosen, I can say, “oh, those were the ones I picked.” lol it’s late. Can you tell?

  • Eric Lutz Nov 4, 2011, 6:52 pm

    Hello Brian, as you probably have gathered, the Bay of Fundy is also being nominated for one of the 7 wonders of the world. that of course would be my first choice. Best to all in Cuenca.

  • John C. A. Manley Nov 4, 2011, 6:43 pm

    I really don’t think we should vote Cuenca in. If it becomes one of the seven wondrous cities of the world, it will probably be amassed by tourists and ex-pats and soon become not so ponderous.

    I’ll vote for Brampton, Ontario, instead. Because it’s wonder that anyone would want to live there.

    • Bryan Haines Nov 4, 2011, 6:51 pm

      Well said, John! I think we could add a few more cities to that list…

  • Tony @ HowtoPeru Nov 4, 2011, 5:06 pm

    Cuenca is a beautiful city, no doubt about it. I fell in love with the place when I went there a few years ago. That said, it would need a lot of luck to beat some of the more famous South American cities (Rio de Janeiro and Cusco spring to mind). I think I’d vote for Potosí in Bolivia — high altitude and full of history.

    It will be interesting to see which seven cities make it (along with the almost inevitable controversies that seem to follow these votes!).


    • Bryan Haines Nov 4, 2011, 5:13 pm

      I agree with you – being small and relatively unknown makes Cuenca a long-shot. But thats half the fun of it. Haven’t seen Potosí, but hope to someday. How are things in Peru?

      • Tony @ HowtoPeru Nov 4, 2011, 5:42 pm

        All is good here in Tarapoto, thanks for asking! It’s too hot to think, but otherwise I can’t complain… Good luck with the Cuenca votes!

  • K Nov 8, 2011, 1:47 pm

    And it should stay that way unless you wish to see it over-run with people and problems associated

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