Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the mountains of southern Ecuador. It's the third largest city in the country with a population of 450,000, although it doesn't feel that big. Although it has a fairly high elevation, it has a mild climate all year round. Course that's what they say, but when I was there in the winter months, I froze my butt off. It's a right-to-the-bone type of cold, too.
There was always a show of some kind going on in the main park. For more information on Cuenca go to Ecuador Explorer
If you want to see more great shots of the colonial buildings in Cuenca see this fabulous photography.
The beautiful buildings in Cuenca. It's an elegant city and well worth the visit, but the time to go is in the late spring. As I mentioned, it gets quite cold at night in the winter months, so bring a warm jacket.(December-February). The streets are narrow and the buses that blaze by every few minutes choke the air with thick, black carcinogenic smoke. I felt like I was going to die from it, so if you go, bring a neoprene active carbon face mask and a spare oxygen tank because that's what you'll need if you spend a lot of time in Cuenca.
It was impressive at night walking around the main square, although walking around late at night in Cuenca is not safe. Best to be in a group. However, a male friend of mine was walking with another male and two women, and he got robbed just the same. For women alone it's safe during the day; however, one night I was followed by a very sweaty pork pie. There were many people around in the central park where I was walking around, so I wasn't worried, but to get rid of him I stopped, turned around, and stared at him to let him know I knew he was following me and then blatantly took his picture. I sat on a park bench and watched and waited until he was gone before walking back to my hostel. No sense bringing trouble home.
Can you see how narrow the cobble-stoned streets are in Cuenca? There is some nightlife here, tiny bars that get started quite late, but you have to look for them. There are more artists, writers, poets and philosophers who come from here than from any other city in Ecuador.
Posted by Nancy O.