About Cuenca

“When you visit us at STIMA, you’ll be coming to one of the most beautiful cities in South America. Take a moment to learn more about Cuenca, Ecuador, the logistics of your trip, and all that the city has to offer.”

Cuenca’s charm is nearly guaranteed to make you fall in love with the city. Cuenca, which signifies valley, is nestled into the base of the Andes mountains. It is located in the south central Sierra region of Ecuador, and truly does have so much to offer whether you are visiting for a couple of days or staying long-term.

Cuenca’s list of accolades continues to grow. It was declared a UNESCO Cultural Patrimony of Humanity UNESCO in 1999, and has been acknowledged as the best place for expats to retire by publications such as International Living and CNN Money (over 10,000 expats currently live in Cuenca) for years running.

The architecture and churches in Centro Historico (the historic center) are beautiful sites to see. While you’re here, you’ll want to head to Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral) in Parque Calderon and perhaps get a view from the domes by climbing the spiral staircase. Spend a day wandering the main museum, Pumapungo, and its outdoor ruins and ecological zoo. Here you will find recently recovered Incan ruins, a beautiful park, and a variety of animals, including wild birds, peacocks, and alpacas. Don’t miss a visit to Cuenca’s overlook, Mirador de Turi, where you can see breathtaking views of the city’s red roofs and mountainous backdrop.

Any visit to Cuenca is not complete without a stop or hike in Cajas National Park. Cajas was declared a national park in 1996. The park itself is huge, about 29,000 square hectares with over 200 lakes, and ranges in altitude from about 2,800 meters to over 4,400 meters.

When you come to Cuenca for medical tourism, you will receive quality medical care from STIMA’s staff, all while enjoying the culture and attractions of a new place.


How to Get Here

“At STIMA, we want to make your journey to Cuenca as stress-free as possible. There are two main travel routes that will get you to Cuenca.”

The first option is to fly into Cuenca’s domestic airport with a connection in Quito’s international airport. Flights only come to Cuenca from Quito a couple times a day, so it would be best to stay at a hotel close to the airport for one night in Quito, and then head to Cuenca the next morning. Cuenca’s airport is very close to the city, and a taxi ride to your hotel would be a 15 minute ride (approximately $2).

The other option is to fly into the closest international airport to Cuenca, which is Guayaquil’s José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport. When you arrive to Guayaquil, you will have to take private transportation or a mini-bus to Cuenca. The ride is about 3.5 hours and goes through Ecuador’s gorgeous Cajas National Park. We are happy to arrange your ground transportation with a trusted, bilingual driver.

There are several airlines that travel to Ecuador. We would recommend Avianca, LATAM (partnered with American Airlines), and Copa. Spirit is newly arriving to Guayaquil and is the most economical, but be sure to note their baggage limitations.

International tourists have 90 days per year to stay in Ecuador without any special visas. Ecuador requires that all travelers have at least 6 months left on their passport when coming to the country. Be sure you have plenty of time left before your passport expires when planning your trip.


Where to Stay

When it comes to where to stay for the duration of your trip, Cuenca has many beautiful hotels to offer. STIMA works with three hotels that can offer our patients a discount on their extended stays:

  • Zahir 360 is a contemporary hotel with a forward modern architectural design, stunning views of Cuenca’s downtown, a fantastic restaurant, and excellent service. They were nominated this year for the Leading Design Hotel category in the World Travel Awards.
  • Oro Verde Cuenca is a luxurious hotel with great hospitality and beautiful rooms. They are known for their 5-star ratings, elegant design, and outstanding amenities.
  • Hotel Valgus is another wonderful option that is located in a commercial district. Their team will take care of you will outstanding service and you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city from their balconies.

If you’d like to stay in Cuenca’s historic downtown, we would be happy to provide extra recommendations whether you’d like to rent an Airbnb apartment or perhaps stay in Cuenca’s luxurious boutique hotel, Mansion Alcazar.