Daily Life in Cuenca Tips

Wisdom Collected from Students and Staff


Cuenca Cathedral

Cuenca Courtyards

How can I make calls to the US/use the internet?

At various locations around Cuenca are cabinas, which are places that have phones and computers available to the public for a small charge. To make a call to the US, you first need to put in the US IDD, “011” then the area code and number. Calls to other countries have their own IDD. Calls typically cost anywhere from 3 to 12 cents a minute, Internet as well. Good cabinas can be found on Benigno Malo and Presidente Cordova streets, and on the corner of Padre Aguirre and Gran Colombia.

Where are the movie theaters which do you recommend?

The Mall del Río (Av. Felipe II and Autopista Cuenca – Azogues) and Millennium Plaza (Av. José Peralta y Cornelio Merchán) both have Multicines within them. Movies typically cost around $6. On Wednesdays special offer: Buy one ticket get one free

What are good places to try cuy (Guinea Pig)?

Tres Estrellas Restaurante
Calle Larga 1-174 near Banco Central
Make reservations ahead of time: (07) 282 6968

How does public transportation work?

The bus fare costs 25 cents (exact change) for a single ride. Otherwise, you can buy a rechargeable bus card in ETAPA (close to CEDEI).

What are some good restaurants nearby?

Please check our ´Restaurants and Cafés List´.

What good places to shop/cool markets are there to visit?

San Francisco Market: Mariscal Sucre y General Torres. Also Casa de La Mujer is directly across from this market which has a lot of arts and crafts. 10 de Agosto Mercado on Calle Larga y General Torres is a market specializing in produce.

What is a place to get a great breakfast?

Sofy Glocal Cuisine (Benigno Malo and Bajada del Padrón), Café del Parque (Benigno Malo 9-17 and Simón Bolívar), El Chiplote (Calle Larga and Luis Cordero) Also, Café San Sebas (Coronel Tálbot and Mariscal Sucre), Raymipampa and Tutto Fredo (in front of Parque Calderón)

What are some cool places nearby that I can check out during a free day or

Cuenca Buildings

Streets of Cuenca


  • Head up to Turi (ask a taxi driver to take you to Turi, it should cost around $3). If you have the taxi drop you off at the bottom it takes about 45 minutes to walk to the top where there are restaurants and places to buy souvenirs.
  • Baños de Cuenca can be a relaxing place to spend a free weekend or afternoon, in the natural hot springs. It is a $5 cab ride from the city. Recommended location in Baños: Novaqua and Piedra de Agua.
  • For a free day or weekend, head over to Yunguilla which is approximately an hour outside the city. This microclimate offers warm temperatures most days along with pools, good seafood, and a variety of things to see and do. Hostels and hotels are available for those who want to spend the night.
  • The Amarú Zoo on la autopista Cuenca – Azogues is the city’s zoo where you can spend a few hours checking out the animals in an exotic environment.

What constitutes an “almuerzo”?

A typical Cuencano almuerzo here can be found all over the city at a variety of restaurants. It normally includes juice, soup, the main dish (which contains rice, meat, and veggies), and dessert. Prices can range from $3.50 to $5 depending on where you go. Some recommendations: Simón, (Simón Bolivar and Luis Cordero) or El Tunel, (Honorato Vázquez 6-80)

Where can I buy good ground coffee?

Café Lojana (Sucre and Padre Aguirre) or Cafe Nucallata (Hermano Miguel and Juan Jaramillo)

Where can I get a good cup of coffee and bread?

  • San Isidro Bakery and Coffee, (Bolivar and Tarqui).
  • Panadería y Pastelería ´El Dorado´ Gran Colombia y Luis Cordero.
  • Café de Alicia, Mariscal Sucre 7-70.
  • Sunrise Café Cuenca, (Calle Larga 9-40)

Supermarkets and Stationeries?

  • TIA (Gran Colombia and Borrero), Coral Hipermercados (Tarqui and Presidente Córdova)
  • Papelería Monsalve (Gran Colombia and Luis Cordero)