Cuenca is a city in the southern central part of Ecuador and is the country's third largest city with well over half a million people, more so in the total metropolitan area. The city is located at an elevation of more than 2,500 metres above sea level which gives the city quite a cool climate compared to what you expect elsewhere on the equator. The citycentre of Cuenca is one beautifully preserved colonial area which is therefore placed on the Unesco World Heritage List.
The centre is on the Unesco World Heritage List and contains beautiful buildings like:
Cuenca enjoys generally relatively warm/mild days but rather chilly nights when jackets are definately a good idea. Average daytime temperatures don't vary too much througout the year with around 22 °C to 24 °C and nights are between 6 °C and 8 °C in most months as well. June to December is the dry time of year though with regular overcast. January to May (especially from March onwards) is the wet season, thought it is generally quite sunny, warm and dry for most of the day with some (heavy) downpoors later during the afternoon.
Localiza offers rental cars to explore the region.
There are daily buses to regional destinations like Ingapirca, Jima, and Gualaceo, Chordeleg and Sigsig. Buses leave hourly for Machala (4 hours) and Guayaquil (3.5 to 5.5 hours, depending on the route taken). Buses to Quito take 10-12 hours, while buses for Riobamba and Ambato take 6 or 7 hours respectively. Buses also go to Loja (hourly, 5 hours trip) and to Macas via Guarumales or via Limon.
|A Casa Naranja||Mariscal Lamar 10 38 & Padre Aguirre||Hostel||-|
|Casa del Barranco||Calle Larga 841 y Luis Cordero||Guesthouse||85|
|Casa Ordoñez||Mariscal Lamar 859||Hotel||-|
|Hostal Macondo||Tarqui 11-64 y Mariscal Lamar PO Box 597||Hostel||87|
|Hotel La Casona||Miguel Cordero 2124||Hotel||86|
|Hotel Tomebamba||Bolívar 11-19 General Torres||Hotel||-|
|Posada del Angel||Bolivar 14-11 y Estevez de Toral Cuenca-Ecuador||Hostel||82|
|Posada del Rio||Hermano Miguel 4-18||Guesthouse||83|
Internet cafes can be found nearly everywhere in the major cities and in many of the smaller ones. Cost is from $1 to $2 per hour in the large cities, and the better places have high-speed access. In some cafes, restaurants, and hotels you can find free wifi access, most of them protected by passwords; in most cases, you just have to ask for the password.
See also International Telephone Calls
The international telephone code for Ecuador is 593. The general emergency number is 911, but there are special ones of police (101) and fire (102).
The centre of most towns, cities and villages have telephone 'shops', advertised in the street as 'cabinas'. Go in, ask for a free phone booth and call. There is usually a digital display giving the cost (per second) of your call, whether local, national or international. You can call the United States for about $0.10 per minute and Europe for a bit more. Avoid making a phone call through an operator; the cost for an international call can be $3 or more per minute. For calls within Ecuador, it is possible to use a telephone cabin.
Some mobile phone SIM cards of various networks have problems working in Ecuador - you can purchase a local network SIM (for an unlocked phone) for a few dollars in local mobile phone shops. The costs of calling are higher though at around $0.45 an hour.
Correos del Ecuador is the national postal service of Ecuador. It's fairly reliable to send postcards and letters to other countries, though count on at least 5 days up to weeks for it to arrive. In general, postal services to North America are much faster than to other western countries. Prices start at around $1 (up to 20 grams), but rise steeply after that. You can get stamps at post offices or small shops/kiosks. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays, although there are slight variations throughout the country. If you are going to send heavier post or post which has more value, it might be better to contact private courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, which are generally about the same price and much faster!
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