Study Spanish in Cuenca, nicknamed the 'Athens of Ecuador' as it is considered the country's cultural centre.
Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador and offers a much more laid back way of life than in the capital Quito. Previously the second largest Inca city (after Cusco) named Tomebamba (Valley of the Sun), Cuenca's cobbled streets are now lined by beautiful colonial houses and churches. The historic city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has become an important place for craft traditions, including ceramics, metalwork and the famous Panama hat.
Located in the Ecuadorian highlands 2,500 meters above sea level, Cuenca lies in a picturesque setting. Just one hour from the city is the El Cajas National Park, made up of valleys and lagoons and offering a variety of beautiful hikes. The city also has a great variety of restaurants, offering both traditional Ecuadorian cuisine and food from all over the world. If you want to eat like a local in Cuenca, try one of the many cafes and restaurants offering a traditional set menu almuerzo (lunch).