Things to do in
Cuenca, Ecuador

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended things to do in Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador: Cajas National Park Day Trip

1. Cuenca, Ecuador: Cajas National Park Day Trip

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in the morning and then you will head to Cajas National Park. During the tour, you will visit two altitude levels within the park. In the middle part, you will walk around for two and a half hours in the Toreadora area. The trek will give you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Then, move on to enjoy a local lunch in a nearby restaurant. Afterwards, visit Llaviuco, located in the lower part of the park. This area is part of a different ecosystem, known as montage primary forest. Here you will walk around the lake for about half an hour before you return to your hotel.

Cuenca, Ecuador: Day Trip to Ingapirca Archaeological Site

2. Cuenca, Ecuador: Day Trip to Ingapirca Archaeological Site

Ingapirca is the most important archaeological complex in Ecuador, situated 2 hours north of Cuenca. On your way to the site, there will be a stop at the Virgen del Rocío Church in Biblián, one of the most beautiful churches in the country. Once you reach the top of the 140 steps, enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area. Learn about traditional food culture as well, as you watch a pig being cooked over an open fire, a typical food preparation in the area.  If the tour takes place on a Sunday, there is also an additional visit to the indigenous market at Cañar. Here, the guide will inform you about the different products sold at these markets and you can learn about the traditional clothing of the Cañari. Finally, you will arrive at the Ingapirca complex where your guide will teach you about the Cañari and Inca cultures. Be sure to check out the unique Tahuantinsuyo elliptical temple, one of the highlights of the site.  This tour can be customized and your guide can change the order of the visits if you wish. The tour typically lasts approximately 8 hours. Afterwards, you will be returned to your accommodation.

Azuay: San Bartolomé, Gualaceo, and Chordeleg Artisanal Tour

3. Azuay: San Bartolomé, Gualaceo, and Chordeleg Artisanal Tour

This 8-hour tour takes you on a trip to explore three towns in the province of Azuay, located east of Cuenca. It's a great opportunity to learn more about local craftsmanship and to support Ecuadorian artisans.   The first stop is San Bartolomé, a pretty town with colonial-style houses and gardens filled with medicinal plants. It is also known for producing the best guitars in the country. Next, you will visit Chordoleg, famed for its intricate jewelry. Here, you can explore the different jewelry workshops before enjoying a tasty traditional lunch. Last but not least, the tour takes you to Gualeco, where artisans in traditional dress sell a range of different products. Visit the historical town center with its colonial-style houses then explore a famous makana workshop to see how the traditional shawls are made.

From Quito: 4-Day Nature & Culture Tour

4. From Quito: 4-Day Nature & Culture Tour

Start your four-day Quito adventure with a visit to the Cotopaxi National Park where you can walk around Limpiopungo Lake and enjoy the scenery of one of the highest and most active volcanoes in Ecuador. The next day, explore the charming city of Baños to enjoy the famous Avenida de las Cascadas. Visit the Pailon del Diablo waterfall where you can try what’s known as the “swing at the end of the world.” The following day, get picked up by your guide and travel to Chimborazo Faunistic Reserve. Walk around and enjoy the scenery of the highest mountain in Ecuador, Chimborazo. Spot some vicuñas. Take time for lunch before visiting Balbanera church, and then traveling south to Ingapirca, the most important archaeological complex in Ecuador, where you will learn about the Cañari and Incan cultures. Stay overnight in Cuenca, known as one of the most beautiful cities in Ecuador which you can continue to explore the next day with a visit to the historic center, and Cajas National Park or Gualaceo and Chordeleg.

Cuenca: City Sightseeing Tour

5. Cuenca: City Sightseeing Tour

Visit the most important places in the historic center of Cuenca and its surroundings on a guided walking tour. Start with a pickup from your hotel in downtown Cuenca in private transportation. Observe the city from the top of the Turi mountain and marvel at the stunning views. Then, walk through its cobbled streets and enjoy its colonial and republican architecture. Take advantage and enjoy a delicious Cuenca snack on the street of the Herreras, and do not miss the opportunity to buy a famous toquilla straw hat, made exclusively in Ecuador. Stroll through the plaza de las Flores, Central Park, New Cathedral, and the most beautiful buildings in the city.

Cuenca City Tour

6. Cuenca City Tour

This comprehensive city tour will show you the best that Cuenca has to offer. Travel through the third largest city in Ecuador, visit the new cathedrals, modern arts museum and more on this half day tour. Your tour includes: The city tour will start at the Plaza San Sebastian, which constitutes the western colonial border of the city of Cuenca. Then visit the modern arts museum where many contemporary artworks are displayed. We will walk by the downtown historical area to visit the San Francisco market, the flower market, the culture house, the Abdon Calderon Park, and the old cathedral (we will not enter). We will enter in the New Cathedral, it’s the biggest in the country there we’ll observe the famous gold leaf canopy. We continue the tour to the Homero Ortega Panama Hat factory to observe the complete process of manufacturing of the Panama hat which is undoubtedly most important to our country. Later we will visit the “barranco” with its colonial style terraced houses located next to the “Tomebamba River”. Also we will also observe the “broken bridge” and finally visit the tourist balcony of “Turi” where we can see a panoramic view of the whole city of Cuenca. Then return to the Hotel.

Cuenca City Half Day Tour

7. Cuenca City Half Day Tour

Be picked up at 9:00 at your hotel, then you will visit San Sebastián Plaza and the Modern Art Museum. Later the bus will take the group to Cruz del Vado, Condamine and Mercado 10 de Agosto. After that we go for a walk tour through Mercado de San Francisco and Parque de las Flores.  The next stops are the Catedral Inmaculada Concepción (New Catedral), Catedral El Sagrario (Old Catedral), Parque Calderón and Palacio de Justicia.  Finally we will visit the Paja Toquilla hats manufactures and followed by a walk through the Barranco Route, Mirador de Turi, Vega Gallery or similar. Return to the hotel.

Cuenca: Private Cooking Class

8. Cuenca: Private Cooking Class

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Ecuadorian cuisine for a truly memorable culinary experience in the heart of Cuenca.  After getting picked up from your hotel, pay a visit to Cuenca's main market. Here, pick up the ingredients required to prepare your chosen menu and get a glimpse into daily life for the locals. Learn more about Andean products and how to bargain with vendors from your guide. Then, enjoy a short walk through the old town to reach the chef's kitchen. Here, learn how to prepare the starter, main course, and desert that you have chosen. Learn more about the techniques and recipes used in traditional Andean food from your local chef. At the end of the class, savor the rewards of your efforts as you sit down to eat the meal you have prepared.

Cuenca: Girón Waterfall and Busa Lake Day Trip

9. Cuenca: Girón Waterfall and Busa Lake Day Trip

Visit two spectacular natural wonders on a day trip from Cuenca. Relax on your air-conditioned transportation as you arrive at Girón. Visit the historical center of the village and learn about its history. Also, taste a typical yogurt and a delicious bread known as "achira", produced with a plant of the region. Then explore the Girón waterfalls on a 30-minute hike to reach the highest waterfall in South America. Try to spot some birds and native flora of this natural landscape. On the way admire the beautiful valleys with cattle. Also, visit the Sacred Cañari Lagoon of Busa. Immerse in the mysticism of the Andean cultures before going back to Cuenca.

From Cuenca: Gualaceo and Chordeleg Tour

10. From Cuenca: Gualaceo and Chordeleg Tour

Start the day with a visit to San Bartolome, a charming town at the foot of the stunning Andes mountain range, with amazing views of the sprawling valley below. San Bartolome is famous for its crafty guitar artisans, so take some time to visit a traditional shop to observe the process of making this musical instrument. Continue on to the town of Chordeleg, renowned throughout the country for its ceramic, gold and silver jewelry and, above all, for its fine filigree work made of gold and silver threads. Spend some time browsing the many fascinating stores, and learning more about the town's many talents. The last stop of the day is the town of Gualaceo, where you will visit two important markets, known for their variety of products and the colorful scenery. Enjoy a short break for lunch, and then continue to a textile shop where you'll observe some back strap loom and horizontal loom weaving. You'll also learn about the captivating Hispanic technique of “Ikat” to make shawls and ponchos.

Other Sightseeing Options in Cuenca, Ecuador

Want to discover all there is to do in Cuenca, Ecuador? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Cuenca, Ecuador

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 38 reviews

Wilson gave us an excellent education on purchasing fruits, veggies, meats and food from Augusto 10 Mercado including price points and then Montserrat welcomed us into her beautiful home and showed us how to prepare a traditional Ecuador meal. It was educational, fun and delicious and we highly recommend this to new and exploratory expats!

Our guide Diego was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and caring! My wife and I felt very lucky to have him as our guide! He took the time to share regional history, background of 100’s of plants including medicinal purposes, local birds and wildlife, and allowing us to rest when we needed! We highly recommend this tour with Diego!

Flavio was wonderful. He was very patient with my friend. (She took excessively pictures of the landscape ) We learned a lot about the plants and the animals and it’s a really nice tour. I would definitely recommend it.

Adrian had clear English and spent time explaining all the different items at the market. Cooking was a blast and the food amazing. it was a great experience.

Great experience with a very nice and knowledgeable guide. Would recommend.