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Cuenca, Ecuador


Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador and considered by many to be the most attractive. Founded on the Inca site of Tomebamba, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage City.

With cobblestone streets, flower filled plazas and many old buildings constructed in the marble quarried nearby, the city retains its traditional and colonial atmosphere

Ingapirca Ruins, Cuenca, Ecuador
Ingapirca Ruins, Cuenca, Ecuador

A little more about Cuenca

Highlights of any visit to Cuenca should include the old El Sagrario constructed on the foundations of a former Inca site, the newer Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion crowned by sky-blue domes and a visit to the flower market on Plaza de las Flores which fills the square with bold colour and fragrance daily.

A short distance from Cuenca lie the historic Inca ruins of Ingapirca (meaning Wall of the Inca). This excavated area displays fine Inca masonry and provides a fascinating insight into this remarkable civilisation.


Tell us what you love doing and we’ll curate a journey that’s perfect for you.

Hike in Cajas National Park

Explore the stunning landscape of more than 200 lakes in the National Park that supplies the majority of Cuenca’s drinking water.

Explore Cuenca

Watch the local women weaving iconic Panama hats, take in a birds’ eye view of the city from Mirador de Turi, or simply amble around the historic centre.

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Plaza de Las Flores Flower Market

Discover the bustling flower market, brimming with colourful and scented floral displays – the ideal spot for people watching.

Sample Local Cuisine

Tuck in to delicious, home-made food at one of the popular Cuenca eateries serving hearty maize pancakes with tasty toppings.


Below is some of the wonderful accommodation to include on your journey.

Santa Lucia Hotel £££££

  • Ecuador
  • City

A sympathetically restored boutique property, Santa Lucia Hotel is well-placed for discovering the bustling colonial city of Cuenca with its UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity status. Originally built in 1859, a lengthy refurbishment has seen the creation of 20 uniquely ornamented rooms and suites that overlook a central patio, each decorated in red and gold and furnished with antiques and tapestries.

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Mansion Alcazar £££££

  • Ecuador
  • City

Positioned in central Cuenca, a vibrant UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity town, Mansion Alcazar is a boutique hotel set within a historic 19th-century colonial building. Within ambling distance of architectural marvels, churches and art galleries, the property evokes old-world charm and elegant modernity all at once. Its 19 cosy rooms and suites are tastefully decorated with fine antiques, traditional touches and hanging artwork, all overlooking either a quiet interior courtyard or colourful external gardens. Gourmet cuisine is served at the in-house restaurant and there is also a delightful lounge and chandelier bar.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Bird

From quaint Andean villages and colourful markets to staggering volcanic landscapes and the Amazon Rainforest, Paul has explored the length and breadth of Ecuador.

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  • 01285 601 784

James Armitage

This small country encapsulates the continent of South America, and James has been privileged to visit the Amazon, the Andes, the coastal regions and the enchanting Galapagos Islands.

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  • 01285 601 784

John Faithfull

John rode the railways of Ecuador on the carriage roof before it was outlawed, but still recommends a jaunt along the Devil’s Nose – an engineering marvel that can still be enjoyed from inside a carriage.

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  • 01285 601 784

Roxy Dukes

I love to squeeze as much out of my day as possible. An outdoors fanatic, I love to delve into harsh environments having summited numerous mountains and trail running into the unknown whenever I get the chance – whether at home or overseas. Funnily enough, it didn’t start like that. It took a few years for the burning fire of adventure to truly take light with my eyes opened by the adventures travel could afford.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

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As usual all aspects of this trip went like clockwork, even thought we were in South America where timings can be different to other parts of the world! This we put down to the work done by Paul and his knowledge of the country.

Destination: Ecuador
Travel Expert: Paul

Why Choose Steppes?

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