About Cuenca

Cuenca (full name Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca) is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 8.366 feet above sea level. The center of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its many historical buildings.

The Spanish settlement of Cuenca was founded on April 12, 1557 by the explorer Gil Ramírez Dávalos. Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza, then Viceroy of Peru had commissioned the founding and ordered the city named after his home town of Cuenca, Spain. It was founded decades after other major Spanish settlements in the region, such as Quito (1534), Guayaquil (1538), and Loja (1548).

Cuenca’s population and importance grew steadily during the colonial era. It reached the peak of its importance in the first years of Ecuador’s independence; Cuenca achieved its independence on November 3, 1820. It became the capital of one of the three provinces that made up the nascent republic. The other two capitals were Guayaquil and Quito.


The dominant features of the city’s geography are also the source of its name in Spanish: the four rivers of Cuenca (meaning a basin made by a confluence of rivers). These rivers are the Tomebamba (named after the Cañari culture), Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machangara, in order of importance. The first three of these rivers originate in the Páramo of Parque Nacional Cajas to the west of the city. These four rivers are part of the Amazon river watershed. Cuenca is surrounded by mountains on all sides, with passes to the west, south and east.

One of the crafts capital of America and its people keep traditions with respect. The high quality of republican architecture, cobblestone streets with hand-carved stone from the Andean mountains, museums, and bridges,mountain stream rivers plazas, churches and markets make this city one of the best destinations for world travelers.

Cuenca, Ecuador Real Estate

How to get here by air?

There are daily flights from Quito and Guayaquil to Cuenca. The airlines that offer this service daily are: Tame, Aerogal and Lan.

How to get here by road?
The city of Cuenca is located 280 miles south of Quito, capital of the Republic and 151 miles west from the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s main port. The roads are paved and in good condition.

You can opt for this mode of transport from the terminals of Quito and Guayaquil.

What kind of clothes do i need to pack for Cuenca?
The subtropical weather is tempered with average temperatures of 60 F most of the year, however it can vary so it is recommended to wear a jacket or coat to rapid temperature changes.

What kind of activities can I do in Cuenca?
You can visit very picturesque sites outside Cuenca as El Cajas National Park is located only 12 miles west of the city. The altitude of the mountains is between 10.334 and 14.600 feet above sea level. Much of its 235 lakes of various sizes, have been seeded with trout, which attract large numbers of fishermen every weekend.

Also you can visit Gualaceo with its andean market, Chordeleg with her ​​jewelry and crafts, Sisgsig where you can learn how to weave straw hats (Panama Hats), the archaeological complex of Ingapirca and Cojitambo, Pumapumgo Museum at Banco Central and the beautiful subtropical valley of Yunguilla just 43 miles south of Cuenca.

Art exhibitions, concerts, cultural events, theater and most of them are free events organized by the City of Cuenca.