I’m really excited to interview Keith and Tina Paul of Retire Early and Travel about Cuenca, Ecuador. Keith and Tina retired in their 40’s, moved to Cuenca, and now travel the world. Their tips for the best things to do in Cuenca, Ecuador are awesome because they are living the life that so many of us dream of.
Cuenca is one of the most popular cities in the ex-pat / retire early community. It offers a temperate climate and low cost of living that checks off so many of the boxes that international retirees are looking for.
The city has been increasing in popularity over the last 50 years. It wasn’t connected with the rest of Ecuador by a paved road until the 1960s. This disconnect preserved its architecture and heritage and what makes it such a wonderful place to visit today. Now, there is a great mix of old-world charm and current technology.
Cuenca is said to have two seasons… rainy and dry. From January through May visitors will experience warm mornings followed by frequent afternoon showers. In comparison, June through December will be dry but there will often be overcast skies.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visit Cuenca, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Best things to Do in Cuenca
- Amaru Zoológico Bioparque (reviews) – Open-air zoo in a rustic setting on rugged, mountainous terrain. Visitors will learn about many exotic animals from the local area.
- Calderón Park (reviews) – Pretty park on the square that offers a place to sit in the shade as you watch the people go by.
- Fundación Turismo para Cuenca (reviews) – Visitor center with information for tourists and ex-pats looking to move to Cuenca
- New Cathedral of Cuenca – Take the New Cathedral tour
- Old Cathedral of Cuenca (reviews) – 16th-century cathedral
- Panama Hat Museum (reviews) – In the city of Cuenca visit the Panama hat factory
- Parque Nacional Cajas (reviews) – For those who like to be active a visit to the Cajas National Park is a must
- Rancho Prado (reviews)
- Ruinas de Pumapungo – Explore old ruins to learn about Cuenca’s history.
Best places to Eat in Cuenca
- El Mercado (reviews)
- Le Petit Jardin (reviews)
- Mangiare Bene (reviews)
- Tiesto’s Cafe Restaurant (reviews)
Best places to stay in Cuenca
- Gran Colombia Suites (reviews) – If people are staying longer than a week and want a little more space we would recommend Grand Columbia Suites (they are less expensive than Mansion too).
- Mansión Alcázar (reviews) – This is my favorite hotel.
- Four Points by Sheraton Cuenca (reviews)
Getting around Cuenca
The local airport is Mariscal Lamar International Airport, which is in the northeast corner of the city.
Keith and Tina say that you don’t need to rent a car. The city center is very walkable and there are taxis available for trips outside of the city. The average taxi fare is $2.00 – $2.50, and bus fare is only 25 cents.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Keith and Tina Paul about Cuenca, Ecuador. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Cuenca, Ecuador
- Green dots = best things to do in Cuenca, Ecuador
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Cuenca, Ecuador
Who are Keith and Tina Paul?
Keith and Tina left successful careers to pursue their passion for travel. Keith was in healthcare information technology and Tina was a middle school Science teacher and naturopathic doctor. They have been married since they were 24 years old and are still going strong!
Once their children were grown and pursuing their dreams while traveling the world, Keith and Tina wondered why they weren’t doing the same thing. They began researching ex-pat options and found their paradise in Cuenca. Now, they travel the world while documenting their travels at RetireEarlyAndTravel.com.
Here are a few articles that they’ve written:
- What You Need to Know about a Holland America Alaskan Cruise
- Pumapungo – Incan Archaeological Site in Cuenca Ecuador
- Dusseldorf Germany 7 Things You Will Enjoy When You Visit
Big thanks to today’s podcast sponsor – Dosh Cash Back app
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Stay tuned for our next episode
Listen to the next episode when Liz Eischen of Kitchen Table Finances takes us to the beaches of Valencia, Spain and we enjoy the best paella you’ve ever tasted. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.
To learn more about destinations in Central and South America, listen to our other episodes:
- World’s Longest Carnival, Tango Dancing & Delicious Wine in Montevideo, Uruguay
- A Mil Festival, Human Rights Museum & Mercado Central in Santiago, Chile
- Iguazu Falls, San Ignacio Ruins & Lizard’s Cove in Posadas, Argentina
- Why Medellin, Colombia is Known as The City of Eternal Spring
- Hot Springs, Sky Bridges & White Water Rafting in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
- Keith & Tina are Living in Ex-Pat Paradise in Cuenca, Ecuador