Top 5 things to Do In Cuenca, Ecuador with kids


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reen spaces and play areas; though the climbing apparatus are not always in great condition.  There are other kiddy favourites though in and around the city.

  1. Banco Central (Pumapungo Museum): There are two reasons to visit this great museum; one inside and the other outside.  Inside is a whole floor devoted to the huge range of ethnic groups in Ecuador; from shrunken heads to local Cuenca ‘Cholos’.  The artefacts are displayed in a collection of colourfully animated dioramas.  You can walk through a house, listen to a band and see everything from masks to fishing boats.  Outside and down alongside the river is a beautifully landscaped garden including llamas, parrots, small streams and a vegetable plot.
  2. Amaru is a small zoo in the city centre between the river and the main square.  It is a tiny collection of all things slimy from snakes to frogs and one lonely crocodile.  The entrance includes a tour by very enthusiastic student volunteers.
  3. If you like your animals cute and cuddly then head to Tarqui on a Saturday and Sunday for the mini zoo come animal sanctuary.  All animals have been donated and include ostrich, some fantastic chickens and pheasants, peacocks, monkeys, deer and rabbits.  With the exception of some sorry looking penguins, the animals seem well-looked after and are often found wandering around outside their cages.  Young helpers will take you around, and snacks and refreshments are available.  Next door to the zoo  is Terraventura: a sort of outdoor area with a maze, small boating lake, some wooden cars and friendly goats.  Huge plates of local food are available in the main house.
  4. Cuenca has its own hot spring town just 15-minutes away.  Called Ba?os, it’s not to be confused with the famous Ba?os de Ambato. There are hot, open-air pools in Cuenca’s Ba?os, with prices ranging from $2.50-$10.  The main differences between the pools are how clean the water and the changing rooms are.  All have pools of different temperatures and shallow areas making them suitable for children.
  5. Laguana Llaviucu:  For lovers of open mountains and nature, spectacular Cajas National Park is the jewel of Cuenca.  The most popular access points are above 3, 500 meters, and often cold and wet. The first entrance as you travel from Cuenca takes you to Laguna Llaviucu.  This reed lake is much lower than the rest of the park and is visited by local families and school groups.  The lake has grazing alpacas and a wooden walkway going around.  It is a good spot for camping or bird watching and the lake is just the right size for small legs to get around in an hour or so.

While you’re visiting Cuenca, stay on an Organic Farm. There are numerous community tourism opportunities around Cuenca.  Staying in a village with children is a wonderful and relaxing experience.  One example is an organic farm in Susudel around 2 hours from Cuenca.  Stay in the farm house with a friendly family who also have young grandchildren.  There are short walks in the area and plenty of activities on the farm such as milking the cows and feeding the guinea pigs.

Thinking of visiting? Contact Karen at Into Latin America. And watch out for more great blogs from Karen soon.