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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 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.

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8 Tours and Activities

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Cuenca Excursion Panoramic City Tour SightSeeingTour in double-decker bus

Cuenca Excursion Panoramic City Tour SightSeeingTour in double-decker bus

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28
South Basin This panoramic double-decker bus runs through the most important tourist places in the city of Cuenca, the tour is led by a professional bilingual guide (Spanish-English) who will help explain and inform about the history and traditions of the city. This service works in the " HOP ON HOP OFF" where you can get off and on at certain stops, the ticket lasts 24 hours, on this tour we visit the viewpoint of Turi. From the bus you can appreciate the roofs, balconies, gardens, museums, churches, monuments and other tourist places in the city of Cuenca in a different way. If you visit Cuenca, Atenas del Ecuador, you cannot miss the double-decker panoramic bus, it is a unique sensation.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$8.34
From
US$8.34

Cajas National Park Half Day Tour from Cuenca
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Cajas National Park Half Day Tour from Cuenca

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66
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
From
US$38.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$38.99
Price varies by group size

Cajas National Park Half-Day Tour from Cuenca

Cajas National Park Half-Day Tour from Cuenca

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26
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
From
US$38.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$38.99
Price varies by group size

Cuenca City Tour including Turi Viewpoint

Cuenca City Tour including Turi Viewpoint

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12
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
From
US$39.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$39.99
Price varies by group size

Cuenca Half-Day City Tour Including Panama Hat Factory

Cuenca Half-Day City Tour Including Panama Hat Factory

star-5
35
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
From
US$29.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$29.99
Price varies by group size

Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca

Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca

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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 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$54.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$54.99
Price varies by group size

Biking Cuenca City Tour

Biking Cuenca City Tour

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8
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
From
US$44.99
Price varies by group size
From
US$44.99
Price varies by group size

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
From
US$61.64
Price varies by group size
From
US$61.64
Price varies by group size


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