The UNESCO World Heritage site Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca is sitting high in a valley surrounded by the Andean mountains in the south of Ecuador.
Cuenca is the third-largest city in the country and some would say it is the prettiest of all. Certainly, its beauty and great weather is one reason so many expats have moved here recently.
The city was founded in the 16th century and ever since then, its colonial center has been full of life and traditions that give it much of its character.
Cuenca was very important during the 19th century as the city became a major exporter of quinine – malaria medicine, straw hats – so-called Panama hats, and other products of the land.
Enjoy the streets stretching out from the Main Square Parque Calderón, where the seat of the Town Council, the Office of the Governor, two cathedrals, and the Legal Courts are located. The colonial downtown is small enough to explore on foot and still has the cobbled streets from its colonial glory. One iconic site is the Tomebamba River promenade that separates the colonial section from the modern residential areas of the town. This river features scenic walking paths along its north bank and several Inca ruins. The rivers that cross the city are what make Cuenca unique. The walkway and the bridges are a really nice way to spend a few hours while in the area.
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