I feel like I’ve finally gotten back into my routine after our family vacation to Ecuador a couple of weeks ago! And I’ve finally gotten around to going through some of our pictures to share with y’all -I know I’ve been saying for 2 weeks that I’d get these up so forgive me it took so long!!
We spent an incredible 10 days exploring Cuenca, a little bit of the Amazon, some Incan ruins and a national park called Cajas with Caridad, our family’s first exchange student. The country is not only absolutely gorgeous but also so diverse. Unfortunately due to a state of emergency because of a volcano eruption and some political unrest, resulting in a great deal of protests and closed roads we weren’t able to explore much of the Amazon but Cuenca and the surrounding areas were amazing and definitely didn’t disappoint!
I absolutely loved Cuenca, the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and after visiting I completely understand why it’s become such a huge destination for retired ex-pats. The city is absolutely gorgeous and there’s an amazing energy, laid-back but also so alive!
We stayed with Caridad and her family so I don’t have any hotel recommendations for y’all but if you ever make it to Cuenca here are a few things that shouldn’t be missed!
1. San Francisco Market – there are a ton of great artisan stalls where you can find gorgeous Alpaca blankets, scarves, ponchos, hats and pretty much anything else you can think of plus loads of great souvenirs!
2. Head up to the top of Turi – the views are absolutely incredible and you can see the entire city
3. The Cathedral and the square in front of it, the Cathedral is a traditional Spanish Cathedral and it’s beautiful inside and out! You can also pick up a double decker tour bus in the square which I usually avoid when traveling but this one was so great! We were able to learn so much about the history of the city and so many of the buildings in it, plus it takes you up to the top of Turi so you can see the views! And provides lots of great opportunities for selfies, which we took lots of, everywhere, the whole trip…
4. Eat at La Placita, and thank me later!
5. Pop into a bakery and enjoy some freshly baked treats. They’re all over the city, just follow your nose they make the streets smell amazing!
6. Spend a day and just wander through the streets and explore, it’s such a beautiful city with some incredible architecture.
7. While you’re wandering around, find Fabiano’s Pizzeria and get the garlic knots. I know it seems strange to go all the way to Cuenca to get pizza but it was delicious!
8. Go to a Panama Hat factory – more on that tomorrow!
9. Take a drive out to Ingapirca to explore some Incan ruins and learn more about the history of the country
10. Visit Cajas national park and take in some of the breathtaking views
Have you been to Cuenca before? I’d love to hear your stories, I absolutely fell in love with the city (shocking I know, I haven’t met a city I haven’t loved) and can’t wait to get back!