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How to Spend 1 Day in Cuenca

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 creamylocro de papas soup,cuy asado (roasted guinea pig), orlechón (roast pork). After dinner, relax and people-watch in the bustling Parque Calderón; sample a typicalcanelazo (warm, often alcoholic, punch) or craft beer; or catch a Cuenca Symphony Orchestra concert at the Old Cathedral.

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10 Tours and Activities | All Cuenca Tours

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Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca

Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca

star-5
5
Dive head first into the world of Ecuadorian cuisine during a 4-hour cooking class. Your food experience begins with a stop at a vibrant market, where you pick up fresh ingredients. Then head to a local home and learn to prepare traditional dishes such as quinoa soup, ceviche, and chicken stew. Vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request. Once complete, tuck in and enjoy your Ecuadorian culinary creations.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$54.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$54.99
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Half-Day Tour of Cuenca Including Panama Hat Factory

Half-Day Tour of Cuenca Including Panama Hat Factory

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22
Explore Cuenca, one of Ecuador's most beautiful cities, on foot and by vehicle during this half-day guided tour. Highlights include colonial architecture such as wrought iron balconies and carved doors, museums, churches, parks, a flower market, and a world-renowned hat factory where so-called Panama hats are made. Hats can also be purchased and shipped directly to your home address. Finally, enjoy an overview of the city from the Mirador de Turi  viewpoint.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$29.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$29.99
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Turibus Bus Cuenca Cuenca City Tour SightSeeingTour

Turibus Bus Cuenca Cuenca City Tour SightSeeingTour

star-3.5
21
Cuenca Sur Este bus de dos pisos panorámico recorre los lugares turísticos más importantes de la ciudad de Cuenca, el recorrido está dirigido por un guía profesional bilingüe (español-ingles) el mismo que los ayudara a explicar e informar sobre la historia y tradiciones de la ciudad. Este servicio funciona la modalidad " HOP ON HOP OFF" en donde podrás bajar y subir en paradas determinadas, el ticket tiene una duración de 24 horas, en este recorrido visitamos el mirador de Turi. Desde el bus puedes apreciar los tejados, balcones, jardines, museos, iglesias, monumentos y de más lugares turísticos de la ciudad de Cuenca de una manera diferente. Si visitas Cuenca, Atenas del Ecuador, no puedes dejar de visitar el bus panorámico de dos pisos, es una sensación única.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$8.34
From
US$8.34

Cajas National Park Half Day Tour

Cajas National Park Half Day Tour

star-5
21
Cajas National Park, with its 200 glacial lakes and numerous hiking trails, is easily one of the most beautiful places in Ecuador. With this tour, travelers with limited time in Cuenca can still spend a few hours exploring the Andean highlands with two guided hikes through two different forest ecosystems.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$39.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$39.99
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Cajas Half-Day Tour from Cuenca

Cajas Half-Day Tour from Cuenca

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5
Experience the world renowned natural beauty of Cajas National Park on a 4-hour guided tour from Cuenca. Convenient round-trip transportation from your accommodation enables you to relax and enjoy the scenic drive through the mountains. Once at the UNESCO listed park, your guide takes care of navigation allowing you to fully appreciate the llamas, Polylepis trees, and impressive lakes that surround you.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$39.98
Price varies by group size
From
US$39.98
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Cuenca Half-Day City Tour including Turi Viewpoint

Private Cuenca Half-Day City Tour including Turi Viewpoint

star-4.5
3
Cuenca, with its museums, markets, sunny squares, and historic buildings, is Ecuador’s most beautiful colonial city. With this half-day tour, work with your own private guide to personalize your itinerary, prioritizing the sites you most want to see and skipping those you don’t. Choose a departure time that works best for you.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$40.90
Price varies by group size
From
US$40.90
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Biking Cuenca City Tour

Biking Cuenca City Tour

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4
Explore the beautiful city of Cuenca by bike on this 3-hour tour. Pedal along the river and admire the architecture of the El Barranco neighborhood. Visit an old Inca archaeological site, Pumapungo, and learn about this ancient culture at the adjacent museum and finish up with a pedal around the UNESCO-listed historic center of Cuenca.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$44.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$44.99
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Hiking Adventure in El Cajas National Park

Private Hiking Adventure in El Cajas National Park

Visit the beautiful El Cajas National Park on a private half-day hiking adventure. Discover the beautiful flora and fauna of Ecuador with your informative guide pointing out many specimens during the hike. Reach heights of 3,000 meters while hiking the rugged terrain and observe the native wildlife that live in this region such as wild llamas, tigrillos, and perhaps even a puma.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$89.75
From
US$89.75

Private Cuenca Half-Day City Tour Including Mirador de Turi

Private Cuenca Half-Day City Tour Including Mirador de Turi

For a unique experience in Ecuador, visit the colonial city of Cuenca with a private guide. You’ll explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site at your own pace, stopping where and when you like.  Visit a Panama hat factory to get an intimate look at how the famous headwear is made. Follow your guide to Mirador de Turi where you can photograph Cuenca and its mountains from the best possible viewpoint.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$57.70
From
US$57.70

Private Cuenca City Half Day Tour

Private Cuenca City Half Day Tour

Make your way through Cuenca’s maze of colonial-style buildings, domed cathedrals, and lively streets on this 4-hour private guided tour of the city. Learn about Cuenca’s top attractions on this narrated tour, which includes round-trip transportation from your hotel and stops at must-see spots.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$61.64
Price varies by group size
From
US$61.64
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures


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