“Comparing the colonial beauty of Cuenca and Quito is a favorite pastime around here. In grandeur, Quito wins hands down. But Cuenca – that tidy jewel of the south – takes the cake when it comes to charm. Its narrow cobblestone streets and whitewashed red-tiled buildings, its handsome plazas and domed churches, and its setting above the grassy banks of the Río Tomebamba, all create a city that’s supremely impressive. Though firmly anchored in its colonial past, Ecuador’s third-largest city (elevation 2530m) also has a modern edge, with international restaurants, art galleries, cool cafes and welcoming bars tucked into its magnificent architecture.” Excerpt From: Lonely Planet – South America.
Having travelled through Peru at quite a rapid rate of knots it was time to stop and catch breath – Cuenca proved to be the perfect place. I managed to find an excellent B&B (Cuenca Rooms) owned by an Ecuadorian couple who spoke excellent English. I also met and socialised with a wide range of interesting travellers, and locals, that made my stay in this delightful city such a joy.
As well as R&R I also took in an amazing 5-hour hike in Parque Nacional Caja. The scenery was stunning and the weather, which apparently changes rapidly, was fantastic.
Next stage: Cuenca to Baños via Riobamba.