How to Spend 1 Day in Cuenca
There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Cuenca, which is hailed as one of Latin America’s most livable cities. Even if you only have 24 hours in the UNESCO-listed destination, there’s still time to experience the city’s culture, cuisine, and colonial charm. Here’s how to make the most out of just one day in Cuenca.
Morning: Explore the Historic Downtown
Kickstart your time in Cuenca on a walking tour of the historic downtown area. Tours give you chance to grab a cup of Ecuadorian-bean coffee in Parque Calderón and typically stop by both the New and Old Cathedrals.
Alternatively, explore at your on pace on a hop-on hop-off bus tour or get active during a city biking tour. Both are great ways to see several city highlights in a short space of time and prove ideal for travelers with just 24 hours in Cuenca.
Afternoon: Markets or Museums
Spend your afternoon visiting some of Cuenca’s museums. For culture and fashion fans, a visit to the Panama Hat Museum—which is often covered by city tours—is essential. Alternatively, learn more about the city at the Ethnographic Museum or admire artworks at the Museum of Modern Art.
If museums aren’t your thing, visit one of the city’s many marketplaces and learn to make local delicacies during a cooking class, an excellent option for food lovers that are keen to take home skills as well as souvenirs from Cuenca. Meanwhile, active travelers can take a half-day excursion to the nearby El Cajas National Park.
Night: Dine in Style
Finish your day in Cuenca with dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants, many of which surround the central square. Look out for creamy locro de papas soup, cuy asado (roasted guinea pig), or lechón (roast pork). After dinner, relax and people-watch in the bustling Parque Calderón; sample a typical canelazo (warm, often alcoholic, punch) or craft beer; or catch a Cuenca Symphony Orchestra concert at the Old Cathedral.