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Nestled in a hidden valley apart from the rest of Ecuador, Cuenca keeps its cultural pride and heritage alive among the bussle of thousands of large and small businesses. Self walking tours of the store, shopping and market areas is encouraged and safe.

Things to do in
and around Cuenca
Historical Notes

Among the activities are numerous traditional cultural events and fiestas complete with authentic costumes, museums, art exhibits, fine concerts and a myriad of other interesting activities, should your stay permit indulgence in such. To see the real Cuenca in a day, in depth, is impossible and for that reason we recommend a typical visit lasting for several days to hit the high points and to really see the city. The low cost of living contributes to an inexpensive, hospitable, yet cozy environment in Cuenca. Low crime and well guarded streets offer secure touring in Cuenca by all who wish to enjoy its splendor. Business endeavors flourish here due to the tourism and affluence in general.
Ecuador's third largest city, Cuenca, has long been a favorite among tourists and photographers, both foreign and Ecuadorian. Its numerous brooks, green spaces and parks, old mixed with new, and general mixing of extremes of cultures make for a parklike feel throughout the entire city.

The weather in Cuenca is ideal for people who don't like extremes. It's not too hot, nor too cold. It's been described as a perpetual spring-like climate. The temperatures range from about 8C (45F) at night to 28C (85F) in the day.

Things to do in and around Cuenca
There are many good places to buy local wares which include embroidered blouses, natural sheep wool sweaters, gold and silver filigree jewelry and weavings with tie-dyed patterns called ikat. Crafts, as well as fresh produce, are also on sale at the weekly Thursday market which is held around 9 de Octubre and 10 de Agosto squares. In Cuenca and the surrounding area, hats are a leading cottage industry and several factories are open to visitors. The most famous one, of course, is the "Pánama Hat", first made in Montecristi, Ecuador during the construction of the Pánama Canal and sent north to the workers. Nowadays, Cuenca is the leading production center for these infamous straw hats. Among other things to see in Cuenca are the Municipal Museum whose displays range from the Cañari and Chordeleg cultures the first to appear in the region and the CIDAP Inter-American Museum, devoted to handicrafts of the continent, which are at their best in this region.
There is a full and fascinating day trip from Cuenca, which takes you to the massive ruins of Ingapirca rising above the dramatically beautiful valleys. This is the only remaining major monument of the Incan empire which ruled these hills for several hundred year before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. It is believed today that Ingapirca was both a religious and administrative center. as well as a fortress. We've got more info on Ingapirca.

Historical Notes
The colonial days of Cuenca brought the conversion of the indengous peoples to Catholocism and the discovery of the rich agricultural potential which enriches the Cuenca region. Cocoa was discovered and chocolate export began, and is doing well to this day. Quinine was discovered near Loja in the southern Andes and found to prevent malaria.
There was a new cathedral built in place of the old one whose construction started in 1880 yet remains unfinished. Due to an architectural miscalculation the towers were too heavy for the edifice to sustain, and the bells remain on the ground outside the church.

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