Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca is the city that flashes charm everywhere you look at; it is definitely a city made for exploring on foot, where every corner offers something to discover. The streets emanate art, bohemian, religion, history and tradition, but it also combines modernity and conveniences to visit; besides, it is a great place to live.
It is the third largest city in Ecuador, after Quito, the capital, and Guayaquil, the main port. Due to its architecture and other virtues, it has been called the cultural capital of the country. Here, events like the Orchid International Film Festival and the Art Biennial take place, in addition to the cultural expressions and traditions present in the everyday life of its people.
The city of the four rivers is crossed by the Tomebamba, Yanunca, Machángara and Tarqui. The city sits on an inter Andean valley at 2,535m (8,316 feet) above sea level and its population is around 500,000 inhabitants.
On December, 1999 Cuenca was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the architectural richness of its Historical center, defined by the presence of traditional paving and for housing churches and, mostly, colonial and republican era buildings.
Since the declaration to the present time, everything about Cuenca has been positive changes, from infrastructure, restoration and construction of spaces for living, and recognitions, including: first place to visit and stay in Latin America by the #49 Stern Magazine, in 2008; historical destinations by National Geographic, in 2008; best place in the world for retirees by International Living, in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Lonely Planet included Cuenca in the top 10 cities to visit in the world, in 2010. Trip Advisor placed it as #21 destinations in South America, in 2012. CNN Money of the United States has said it is the best overseas place for retired Americans, in 2012. In 2013 Cuenca won the "Jena Paul - L'allier" award given the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC).