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How to get to Cuenca Ecuador

Cuenca is a tourist destination of excellence in the country. Its beauty is manifested in colonial architecture, its cobblestone streets, the rivers that pass through it, its glorious gastronomy, and the kindness of its people. This Andean city of Ecuador, declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, is synonymous with culture and patrimony. For this reason, and with the hope that you travel there, in this notice, we will tell you about how to get to Cuenca from Quito and from Guayaquil. 

Cover photo by: Instagram @ecuadorentusojos

How do you get to Cuenca from Quito?

Next, we will present some information that could be useful at the moment if you are wondering how to get to Cuenca from Quito.


There are national airlines that run flights from the city of Quito to Cuenca and they leave from the Mariscal Sucre airport, located in Tababela. The flights have a duration of approximately 55 minutes. 


The approximate distance between Quito and Cuenca is 287 miles (463 kilometers). In other words, the trip by land can take around 7 to 8 hours. The time depends upon climatic conditions, traffic during different parts of the route, and the stops made by the bus that you are on.

You can take various cooperatives to travel from Quito to Cuenca, and they all leave from Terminal Terrestre de Quitumbe and end in Terminal Terrestre de Cuenca. However, bus cooperatives also depart from the capital of Azuay from the Terminal Terrestre de  Carcelén, located north of the capital. The cost of tickets from Quito to Cuenca oscillates between 11 dollars USD and 12 dollars USD. The frequency with which these buses leave tends to be every 60 minutes.

Taxi, Uber, Cabify

You can also choose from any of these options. However, they can be very expensive.

How do you get to Cuenca from Guayaquil?


There are national airlines that offer flights from Cuenca to Guayaquil. However, they are not direct flights since they generally have a layover in the Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre (UIO) before landing at the Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal La Mar (CUE). 


The approximate distance from Guayaquil to Cuenca is 122 miles (197 kilometers), which means that a bus trip can take around 3 hours and 30 minutes. The buses leave from this destination take the Naranjal route, and leave daily from the Guayaquil bus terminal. 

Taxi, Uber, Cabify

You can also choose from any of these options. However, they can be costly.

There are private companies that carry out land trips in micro buses and vans between Guayaquil and Cuenca, which are also a good way to move between these two cities.

Activities to do once you are in Cuenca

If you have arrived in Cuenca, you will wonder what to do in and around the city. Here, we tell you a little bit about what you can do.

Cuenca City Tour

Once in the city of Cuenca, we highly recommend doing the Cuenca City Tour of Best Trip Ecuador. This tour is 4 hours long, during which you will visit:

  • San Sebastián neighborhood
  • Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum)
  • Parque Calderón (parque central) (central park)
  • Iglesia del Sagrario (Catedral Vieja) (Old Cathedral)
  • Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción (Catedral Nueva) (New Cathedral)
  • Plaza de las Flores (Flower Plaza)
  • Barranco
  • Mirador de Turi (Turi lookout)
  • Cap straw hat factory

Before beginning the tour, we pick passengers up from 5 important points of the city of Cuenca. This tour includes tourist transportation and a Bilingual Guide (Spanish – English), who will be there for your needs and will offer all of the information that you require.

get to cuenca ecuador
Photo by: Donna B. McNicol 

We offer more information about what to do in Cuenca in our notice 16 unmissable things to do in Cuenca.

Tour Parque Nacional Cajas (Cajas National Park)

Best Trip Ecuador offers you the Tour Parque Nacional Cajas, through which you can discover the famous Parque Nacional Cajas and its natural enchantments, wander around its bodies of water and enjoy the Andean landscapes of the Andes mountain range. This tour lasts all day, has daily departures and leaves from the city of Cuenca. Before arriving at the national park, which is 20.4 miles (33 km) northwest of the city of Cuenca, we pick passengers up from 5 important parts of the city of Cuenca.

On the Tour Parque Nacional Cajas you can see the principal tourist attractions of the Parque Nacional Cajas, the Toreadora and Llaviucu lakes. In fact, the tour starts with a visit to Llaviucu, where we do a 1 hour hike at 10,170 feet (3.100 m.s.n.m) (low difficulty) and then travel towards the highest part of the parke, called “Tres Cruces” at approximately 13,648 feet (4.160 m.s.n.m.). 

Afterward, we travel towards the Toreadora lake, where we do a second hike; this time at the high of 12,795 feet (3.900 m.s.n.m.). During this trip we will visit the Bosque de Polylepis “San Luis” (San Luis Polylepis Forest), and Lakes “Unidas”, Totoras, and Patoquinuas. The duration of the hike is between 2 hours and 30 – 3 hours (medium-high difficulty, depending on the climate). Finally, we will eat lunch and return to the city of Cuenca.

This tour includes tourist transportation, a Bilingual Guide (Spanish – English), a patent of tourist operation, all entrances, and lunch.

how to get to cuenca ingapirca
Photo by: Instagram @ecuadorentusojos

Tour Ingapirca Full Day

If you are visiting the city of Cuenca in the province of Azuay, we recommend that you visit the Ingapirca Archeological complex, located 56 miles (90 km) north of Cuenca, in the province of Cañar. 

The Ingapirca Archeological complex is the largest and best preserved prehispanic archeological complex in Ecuador. Ingapirca offers an incredible look at the past since when visiting it you will learn about how the  Cañari and Inca cultures lived together. Inside of the complex, you will find a castle (known as the temple of the sun), a place of worship, lodging chambers, and the archeological museum, among many other things. 

For more information about this site, read our notice about the Ingapirca ruins at:

 The best way to arrive and see this fantastic destination of Ecuador is through Tour Ingapirca Full Day of Best Trip Ecuador. The Tour Ingapirca Full Day has a duration of 8 hours, with daily departures which leave from the city of Cuenca. Before begining our tours, we pick passengers up from 5 important points in the city of Cuenca. During our trip, we take you to see the Ingapirca ruins, the indigenous Cañari market (Sundays), and the Biblián church (sanctuary of the Virgin of Rocío who can be found built into Zhalao hill). Finally, we begin the route back to the city of Cuenca to let passengers off at the same beginning points.

This tour includes: tourist transportation, a Bilingual Guide (Spanish – English) and lunch.

como ir cuenca ruinas
Photo by: Instagram @ecuadorentusojos

We recommmend that you include Cuenca on your list of places to visit in Ecuador. We are sure that you will not regret it.

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