Cuenca and the Southern Highlands Places

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Cuenca

Getting Here & Around

Cuenca's Aeropuerto Mariscal Lamar (CUE), undergoing extensive renovation at this writing, is 2 km (1 mi) from the city center, past the bus terminal. A taxi from the airport to downtown costs around $2. Tame and Ícaro connect Cuenca with Quito and Guayaquil; AeroGal, with Quito.

Cuenca is 442 km (265 mi) south of Quito via the Pan-American Highway, a drive that takes eight hours. Plan on four hours from Guayaquil. The former drive takes you along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, while the latter climbs through subtropical lowlands before beginning a dizzying mountain ascent—8,300 feet in slightly more than 240 km (150 mi). Road conditions between Guayaquil and Cuenca are much better than from Quito. Flying is the better option.

From Cuenca's Terminal Terrestre, 1½ km (½ mi) northeast of the town center, there are daily departures for Quito (9 hours) and Guayaquil (5 hours), both less than $7. Taxis are easy to find on the streets of downtown Cuenca. A trip almost anywhere in town should cost less than $2. A helpful branch of iTur, the national tourist office, sits on the south side of the main square. It's open weekdays 8–8 and Saturday 9–3.

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