What a great city! Beautiful, serene and full of life. The temperature is always pleasant and in the rainy season (April/May) there's a little precipitation during the night or late afternoon. The days are always the same length being on the equator. It's almost like standing in time. Being a Central American city there the typical many small shops, churches and restaurants of local and North American food and services.

There are many foreigners living here including a large contingent of Canadians. Cuenca has one of the highest standards of living in Ecuador with the lowest cost. We heard from Canadians living here, they have found spacious apartments with wifi, utilities and laundry for about $350/month. Food (outside of tourist areas) is also very affordable.
The town has four rivers running through, all picturesque. We stayed at the Victoria Hotel - another excellent find by Cathy - right next to one of the city's rivers. The hotel is in a more affluent area of Cuenca. The Victoria Hotel is rich with wood and character. Dining here was a pleasure although the town has many inexpensive and delicious dining choices too. The only complaint was from outside noise as night clubs and parties went deep into the night.

We took a city tour which included a view from a hilltop lookout, walks through local markets full of fresh produce, meats (yes we saw roast guinea pig) and traditional medicines.

We next visited a genuine Panama Hat factory. Cuenca is world renown for their hats and the factory toured is the real deal. We couldn't help but to buy a few hats and purses for ourselves.

The city flower markets are rich with roses and we were told are ranked #3 in the world for quality. Being Valentines Day many of us bought fresh roses. We had such a wonderful time in Cuenca. I can see why so many foreigners come here to visit and stay. Tomorrow we will get up early and bus back to the Ecuadorian coast to Montanita where we'll be back to very warm weather, beaches and ocean.