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A bike tour of Cuenca, in Ecuador

Victor Gouvêa

The Ecuadorian city has a colonial charm and discovering it by bike is a delight. Next, an itinerary with the best spots to be seen along the way:

Full of history

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Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Personally designed by the Spanish king Charles V, the city was born delimited by the Tomebamba River in 1557, in the same place of an old Inca community. Very graceful to this day, Cuenca is one of the best-preserved examples of colonial architecture in the Spanish America.

 

Starting point

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1. You can rent a bike at Podium. The shop is located outside Cuenca’s historic area, in a contemporary architecture neighborhood.

Remigio Tamariz Crespo/Federico Proaño

 

The past on two wheels

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2. Following Avenida Fray Vicente Solano, one good tip is to observe the cobblestone streets, the terraced houses and historic buildings that surprise visitors at every corner.

 


 

3. The New Cathedral of Cuenca has three tile domes. Fun fact: the bell towers are short due to a design error — the building wouldn’t be able to support their weight.

Padre Aguirre/Mariscal Sucre

 


 

4. The trajectory leads to the Old Cathedral of Cuenca (or Catedral Vieja), which dates from 1557, the year the city was founded — its base consists of rocks from Inca temples located in Pumapungo. It currently serves as a museum.

Mariscal Sucre

 

Across the bridge

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5. The imposing stone arches that form Puente Roto have been there since the 19th century. On important celebrations, locals gather around the bridge.

 


 

6. The ruins of the archaeological site of Pumapungo reveal a little of Cuenca’s rich past. You can see the terrace farming system developed by the Incas and parts of what used to be worship temples there.

Calle Larga/Huayna-Capac