Cuenca is our favorite Ecuadorian city so far. It has lots of character – with Spanish colonial influence – and it’s very clean and easy to navigate. It is at about 8.400 feet elevation, and the climate is delightful (though daily afternoon rains are the norm).
The streets in the old town have wide sidewalks that don’t demand constant visual attention the way they do in other cities. In the city center, all of the power and telephone lines are under-ground, so the space above the street isn’t a spaghetti-like jumble of wires. It’s surounded by mountains, and four active rivers run through the city, so it has many riverside parks, constantly in use!