Cuenca is a small town in the Andes Mountains known for its riverside views, Panama hats, and a huge expat population of retired Americans. I decided to set up camp in this quaint place for a bit because it’s quiet, has numerous plazas to sit and people-watch, and there’s plenty of cafés to sample all sorts of coffee and baked goods.
Here are 8 of my favorite cafés, all located in the historic center of Cuenca.
Barranco Coffee Shop
Located on the second floor of the Museo del Sombrero de Paja Toquilla, this locale offers outdoor seating with excellent views of the Rio Tomebamba or seating inside which looks like an abuela‘s (grandmother) living room. Coffee starts at $1.50 for an espresso. Barranco also has desserts for sale.
Café del Zaguán
Café del Zaguán is a great place to load up on caffeine and get work done… if it’s open. Their irregular opening hours can be frustrating. Mornings and anytime during the weekends are a no. But once they do open, try their homemade cakes and pies along with your coffee. Coffee starts at $1.50. Wifi available.
Café Ñucallacta roasts their own beans, making their coffee extra special. They offer breakfast and lunch dishes with vegan options, some include coffee with the meal. I fell in love with their brownies ($1.25 for a decent sized portion). Beans to take home begin at $5.50 for half a kilo. Wifi available.
El Francés is run by a Frenchman who has called Cuenca home for several years. Here, you can get Crème brûlée ($3.50), croissants (always sold out whenever I was there), and macarons freshly baked. Go in the afternoons for the macarons. I always went at the wrong time! The shop is small and seating is limited to a small, upstairs loft area. Closed on Sundays.
Palier Café Libro
Palier Café Libro is a bookworm’s paradise. The café looks like someone’s living room with shelves full of books, , all for sale. Tables are plentiful both inside and out, making this place a great refuge from city life.
Sucre Salé Café
Sucre Salé Café is located across from Plaza Calderon. Prices are slightly higher due to its central location. Along with coffee, they offer almuerzos (lunch sets) for $3.50 and American-style breakfast selections. On Tuesday nights, you can listen to jazz for a nominal fee of $3.
Tienda Café is located across Plaza San Sebastian. This pleasant eatery offers plenty of homemade baked goods along with warm sandwiches served on whole wheat bread. Coffee starts at $1.50 for an espresso.
Please let me know if I should add more to this list in the comments below!