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Cuenca

Travel Guide South America Ecuador Cuenca

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Introduction

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.

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Sights and Activities

The centre is on the Unesco World Heritage List and contains beautiful buildings like:

  • Old Cathedral (Iglesia de El Sagrario)
  • Monastery of El Carmen de Asuncion
  • Park Abdon Calderon
  • Monastery and Museum of La Concepcion
  • House of the Ecuadorian Culture
  • Municipal Museum Remigio Crespo Toral
  • Museum of the Central Bank
  • Museum of the Aboriginal Cultures
  • Church of Santo Domingo
  • San Blas
  • Ruinas de todos los santos

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Weather

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.

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Getting There

By Plane

Aeropuerto Mariscal Lamar serves Cuenca. Flights exist to and from Quito and Guayaquil with Aerogal, Icaro, LAN Ecuador and TAME.

By Car

Localiza offers rental cars to explore the region.

By Bus

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.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
A Casa NaranjaMariscal Lamar 10 38 & Padre AguirreHostel-
Casa del BarrancoCalle Larga 841 y Luis CorderoGuesthouse91
Casa OrdoñezMariscal Lamar 859Hotel-
Hostal MacondoTarqui 11-64 y Mariscal Lamar PO Box 597Hostel87
Hotel La CasonaMiguel Cordero 2124Hotel87
Hotel TomebambaBolívar 11-19 General TorresHotel82
Posada del AngelBolivar 14-11 y Estevez de Toral Cuenca-EcuadorHostel-
Posada del RioHermano Miguel 4-18Guesthouse86

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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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This is version 8. Last edited at 7:42 on Jun 17, 14 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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