I mentioned Cuenca, Ecuador in a previous post, talking about a pitstop my Alternative Break group and I made at El Parque Nacional de Cajas, Cuenca. Cuenca, Ecuador is located about 4hr-ish away from Guayaquil, Ecuador. We left Escuela Semillita around 6am to make it to Cuenca [pronounced: Cwenka] at an ample time for enough exploring. The drive to Cuenca, Ecuador consisted of driving up and through a mountain range, because the city is located in the valley. The roads were twisted and winding, the weather was gray and foggy, and the climate was especially cold! Our group was not ready for any of this, as we wore shorts, thinking that it would be much warmer than we had anticipated.
Upon arriving in Cuenca, Ecuador, I immediately noticed the difference in dress and vibe that the city had. Guayaquil had a specific type of noise to it, busy streets, and loud cars, while Cuenca had another different type of noise and vibe. The streets still sounded busy and loud, but because this was a more secluded area in Ecuador it seemed even more open and vibrant. The colors that Cuenca offered were beautiful, ranging from the many different shop colors, markets or the dress that citizens of Cuenca wore. Everywhere I looked the city seemed to be alive and busy! Cuenca, Ecuador is also a popular tourist area so there were many more people who spoke english, which made it easier for my group to communicate when we went shopping for trinkets.
Exploring around the small city, we stopped at an overlook which let us see over all of Cuenca. We even ran into another American travel group who was from a college in New Jersey that one of our group members’ mom went to. What a small world! Because Cuenca is located in the valley, the climate varied the entire time we were there. For a few minutes it would get very hot which made wearing shorts bearable… and then 15minutes later, the clouds would cover the sun and it felt as though it was 50degrees outside. Also in the city, we visited an “old style” marketplace that sold plenty of fruits and vegetables that we were able to bargain for, and even pets such as chicken, roosters, puppies, rabbits and more! It was very different to see, especially because the cleanliness of the market was a bit questionable. I bought two bags of candy for my family and the rest of the group members window shopped without any success. After a day filled with long car rides and exploring, our group was definitely tired and decided to head back to Guayaquil in the late afternoon.