Cuenca, Ecuador

Monday, January 19

Cuenca, Ecuador was the first stop on our foray into South America. And it was a perfect way to acclimate to the country. Cuenca, known for it's natural beauty (4 rivers run through town!), architectural history, and cleanliness, welcomed us with open arms. To begin, perfect strangers opened up their homes and their hearts to us when we arrived {which I will be sharing more about in another post!}. But today, I hope my pictures can convey to you what a treasure this little town truly is.

Cuenca, like many town in South America, was colonized by the Spanish and more recently was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like many colonial designs, a central park {Park Abdon Calderon} is the heart of the city. Around Parque Calderon is the Cathedral, which is one of the main attractions, and various markets which we enjoyed perusing. Our favorite part of Cuenca was just meandering the cobblestone streets and "getting lost". It's a relatively small town so our little legs took us just about everywhere in the historic district! At night it is absolutely magical. We also found a taxi to take us up to Turi, a vantage point of the whole city. The view was just lovely. 

Cuenca's parks are just phenomenal. Because there are 4 rivers running through town, there is a lot of green space, and we enjoyed walking the river trails, and taking advantage of the park. One of the city parks even had a zip-line that Kevin fully enjoyed:) {And as a random side note, there is a HUGE community of retired people from the US and Europe that move to Cuenca, because it is affordable, gorgeous, and really clean!} 

One of the amazing parts about being in Cuenca, and Ecuador in general, is the value they place on family. Everywhere we went we saw grandkids helping their grandparents walk along the street, families out together having dinner, and no one playing on their cell phone. It was so evident that families were present with one another, just enjoying each other's company. Very refreshing if you ask me! 

Also... if you are Cuenca, do yourself a favor and stay at La Posada Cuencana. We LOVED this hotel! We booked it last minute, and it ended up being a highlight on our trip. It is in a perfect part of town, walking distance from everything and is housed in a colonial building, with the typical courtyard in middle. I didn't want to leave. It also helped that we got to know the owners and they are a lovely couple! An amazing breakfast is also included. You can see the pictures of the breathtaking building at the bottom of this post! 

Cuenca, while not huge, is a gorgeous example of Ecuadorian architecture, hospitality, slow-pace of living, and kindness. We are so glad we didn't leave this off our itinerary! Enjoy the pictures!

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