Cuenca is arguably the most beautiful city in Ecuador as well as one of the most outstanding in the Americas. Its rich colonial heritage includes cobblestone streets, graceful ironwork balconies, flowered plazas and courtyards, shady plazas, museums and religious art treasures that recall her long association with Spain. Yet the people, the markets, and the Andean setting leave no doubt that you are in Ecuador.
The city is divided in two sections, with the colonial quarter situated north of the Tomebamba River that divides the city in half. Markets and small handicraft shops scattered around the city sell leather, pottery, and jewelry. Outside the city one can visit Ingapirca, the most important Inca site in Ecuador, and the traditional villages of Gualaceo and Chordeleg.