Cuenca, capital of the province of Azuay, is located in the sierra of the Andes in the Austro or southern region of Ecuador. It is approximately nine hours south of Quito and four hours east of Guayaquil. The city ranges from 2,350 to 2,550 metres (7,710 to 8,370ft) above sea level. It was founded in by the Spanish in 1557 and has a population of 500,000.
We checked into our hotel, Les Balcones in the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and although the weather was not good we wandered the nearby streets and market.
The following morning we took the hop-on Hop-off bus through the city and the outskirts of Cuenca.
Although it was raining we walked to the market in the afternoon.
The next morning the weather had cleared so we decided to visit one of the city’s parks. Parque de Paraíso is in the south of the city and three of the main rivers flow through the park.
The dominant features of the city’s geography are also the source of its name in Spanish: the four rivers of Cuenca (meaning a basin made by a confluence of rivers). These rivers are the Tomebamba (named after the Cañari culture), Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machangara, in order of importance. The first three of these rivers originate in the Páramo of Parque Nacional Cajas to the west of the city. These four rivers are part of the Amazon river watershed. Cuenca is surrounded by mountains on all sides, with passes to the west, south and east.
I was hoping to get some photographs of humming birds as I had been told that they frequent the park. But we had only a couple of hours, the weather was warm and sunny so we enjoyed our stroll through the city park.