Cuenca is 8,400 feet above sea level, a city in the Andean highlands of Ecuador. It is an eight-hour drive south of Quito and a four-hour drive southeast of Guayaquil. The city is an expat haven and the third largest city in Ecuador. Over 7,000 expats live with the 350,000 residents. Cuenca is a dream city for long term stays if you like simplicity and affordability without compromising on comfort and a great cup of coffee. There are plenty of decent coffee shops for coffee enthusiasts.
Here are 7 places to visit when in Cuenca:
Muccha is one of the nicest coffee shops in Cuenca. There are plenty of seats, the place is clean, and an incredible array of coffee and dessert options. Everything you need to satisfy your caffeine needs. And Wi-Fi is free. The quiet environment makes it a perfect place to meet up with friends. You can hang out for an hour or two to check your email or chat online. Muccha is ideal for anyone who needs to camp out with a laptop and work online.
Muccha is at the corner of Juan Jaramillo y Benigno Malo.
2. Cafe Austria
Cafe Austria feels like one of the cafes in southern Germany. Even the Latte Macchiato tasted just like those in Tubingen. Cafe Austria is cozy – we had afternoon coffee and dessert but ended up staying for the half-priced cocktail and more. It is another great cafe for Wi-Fi and meeting friends.
It’s a go-to cafe for tourists and expats.
You can find Cafe Austria at the corner of Hermano Miguel and Bolivar.
3. Tutto Freddo Cafe
You can’t miss Tutto Freddo if you’re visiting Cuenca’s main square – Parque Calderon. There are two Tutto Freddo cafes on the same street. The first Tutto Freddo at the square is usually crowded. It’s where most people stop for ice cream and pizza.
The other Tutto Freddo is at the corner of Simon Bolivar and Benigno Malo. It was here that we found seats for coffee and dessert.
4. Cafeteria de Azul
We didn’t see this cafe back in 2013. Cafeteria de Azul is a cafe inside the new Plaza Hotel on Coronel Talbot Street, across from San Sebastian Park. Business was slow at 10:30 a.m. with just us and one retiree from the United States having breakfast of waffles and coffee with his grandson. It’s a minute walk from San Sebas Cafe. Cafeteria de Azul served honey macchiato – an interesting twist to the usual macchiato.
5. San Sebas Cafe
San Sebas Cafe is a place for coffee and American comfort food. You get an unlimited refill for your black coffee at San Sebas. Bagel and cream cheese, potato hash, waffles, and wraps are among the many American-style foods served during breakfast.
The cafe is at San Sebastian 1-94 y Marisal Sucre, at the San Sebastian Square. It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
6. Barrancos Panama Hat Factory and Company
If you buy a Panama hat at Barrancos, you’ll receive a complimentary cup of coffee of your choice at their rooftop coffee shop.
A trip to Barrancos is more than just a cup of coffee. You’ll learn about the history and the making of Panama hats. Get a customized, one of a kind Panama hat. Or buy one of the existing handmade hats on display. The rooftop coffee shop offers views of Cuenca.
Barrancos is located on Calle Larga 10-41.
7. Cafe de Ñucallacta
Cafe de Ñucallacta was the cafe we were looking forward to visiting. It closed by the time we walked there. We didn’t realize it was Saturday – a day when the cafe closed at 3 p.m. It usually closes at 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
They source their coffee beans from farmers in Loja and Zamora Chinchipe. You can read more about it here.
Suggested Cuenca city tour: