Cheap Flights To Cuenca
Thousands of years of history, fine craftsmanship and beautiful rainforest scenery combine to make the Ecuadorean city of Cuenca: one of Latin America's most beguiling city break destinations. For centuries before Columbus set sail, the city was an Inca stronghold, and its archaeological museums are crammed with exotic pre-Columbian artefacts. But the colonial era is the star in terms of Cuenca's architecture. With dazzling churches, mansions and plazas, the city has preserved the grandeur of the Spanish Empire in a way that few other regional cities can match. However, the past isn't the only reason to visit. Art and crafts are also mainstays of local culture. Grab some famous Panama-style hats made by world-famous artisans, stock up on ceramics or check out the works of leading Ecuadorean artists before cooling off with an ice cream at a heladeria and dancing all night in the El Vado neighbourhood. With the natural wonders of the Cajas National Park on the city's doorstep too, this is a destination with everything.
Things To Do
Whether you are intrigued by Inca culture, want to be swept away by the beauty of Spanish colonial architecture or be wowed by the biodiversity of the great outdoors, Cuenca has plenty to see and do, including:
- See the Cajas National Park
Cajas is one of Ecuador's most incredible wilderness parks. Resembling England's Lake District with its network of lagoons and windswept peaks, it's home to Andean condors, dramatic rock formations and a charismatic population of wild llamas.
- Paradise for history lovers
There are plenty of options for museum fans. The best of all is Pumapungo -- a museum dedicated to the region's past. The Museum of Aboriginal Culture, the ruins of Tomebamba and the Museum of Modern Art are also well worth a visit. Take a tour of the city's colonial riches as well if you can. From the cathedral to smaller neighbourhood churches, there are plenty of gorgeous sights to enjoy.
- A great place to shop for craft masterpieces
One of the best things about visiting the city is the chance to take home some remarkable artisan products. Don't miss hatters like Homero Ortega or ceramics makers like Artega, and be sure to peruse the stalls at the Plaza de San Francisco, where locally woven alpaca sweaters, jewellery and baskets are all available to buy.
Calendar Of Events
Cuenca is one of Ecuador's great cultural centres, so there's always something on the agenda including appealing events like:
Independence Day: Every 3rd November, the city erupts into a lively fiesta filled with fireworks, music and smiles as the people remember the battle that freed them from Spanish rule.
Foundation Day: The city's other major celebration takes place on 12th April, when locals commemorate the city's (re)founding back in 1557. Expect marching bands, craft markets and plenty of fun.
Cuenca Biennial: As the name suggests, the Biennial takes place every other year from November to February. One of the biggest art events in South America, it sees colonial and pre-Columbian attractions being converted into wonderful exhibition spaces for contemporary works.