Cuenca, nicknamed “The Athens of Ecuador,” enchants visitors with its European-Esque architecture and old colonial past. Cuenca, one of Ecuador’s most populous cities south of the bounteous Andes Mountains, has established itself as an up-and-coming destination not only for backpackers and international tourists, but also expats drawn to the city’s elegance. Cuenca has plenty to do and see, from the charming Old Town to the colorful markets that preserve the city’s distinct history and culture. Given the size of the city, there are many hostels in Cuenca to choose from. Here are Hostelgeek’s picks for the best hostels in Cuenca to make your stay as unforgettable as the city.
Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check-Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.
Additional Information: Though many of the sights can be seen in the city center of Cuenca, it is recommended that you stay at least two days– not only to explore all of the town’s highlights, but also to replenish your energy at one of these four centrally located hostels and have the opportunity for out-of-town excursions.
Cuenca is a city full of magnificent cathedrals and churches that have witnessed numerous historical and political changes. The Iglesia del Sagrario, or Old Cathedral, is a must-see. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the New Cathedral, is another notable cathedral.
You could easily spend an entire day exploring Cuenca’s museums. The Pumapungo Archeological Park in the city center contains ancient Incan ruin remains. Historians believe an ancient Incan temple, as well as other geographical features demonstrating ancient Incan culture, existed here. The Museo de las Culturas Aborgenes is a well-known museum dedicated to the indigenous history of Cuenca.
If you want to learn more about South America’s indigenous cultures, the Ingapirca ruins, Ecuador’s largest ruins, are a few hours outside of Cuenca. This day trip is popular with hikers, and there is also the option of staying overnight.
Cajas National Park, located outside of Cuenca, is a well-preserved geographical area with wildlife, a stunning Andean landscape, and terrain surrounded by stunning rocky mountains. Many tours leave from Cuenca, with both full-day and overnight camping options available. Another picturesque day trip is to the Giron Waterfall, which is about an hour and a half south of Cuenca. Adventure activities such as ziplining and swings are available within Giron’s remarkable Cloud Forest.
For a beautiful, panoramic view of the city, head to the Turi Viewpoint, a twenty-minute taxi ride from the city center—but be prepared for cloudy skies, as Cuenca is notorious for them. Cuenca, fortunately, has a temperate climate; it is usually warm all year, and the coldest (and least rainy) months, June, July, and August, aren’t much colder than the rest of the year. Cuenca’s tap water is also safe to drink, so you can avoid using plastic while traveling.
The nightlife is very exciting, with a mix of tourists, locals, and students filling the streets on weekends and holidays. Calle Larga, which has an ample supply of drinkeries, is one of the most popular areas for partying. And, after hitting up a few riverside clubs, you can finish your drunken nights by sobering up along the Tomebamba River. Keep in mind that drinking in public is illegal.
Cuenta is both an adventure and a pitstop for travelers looking for a unique town without the hassle of long commutes and the chaos of major metropolitan cities. Whether you’re doing a grand tour of South America or spending a few days in Ecuador before moving on to your next destination, Cuenta serves its purpose.
Guillerminas Hostel Boutique has a modern, fashionable design and impeccable cleanliness that keeps guests comfortable and satisfied at all times. It is a short distance to the Tomebamba River and a few minutes to the Old Cathedral. This hostel is ideal for solo female travelers in Ecuador because it meets all of the requirements of a high-quality city hostel: it is clean, beautiful, and secure. Guests praise the shower and bathroom facilities, as well as the friendly and accommodating staff. Guests also enjoy the hostel’s free breakfast.
The two mixed dormitories can sleep seven or eight people, as well as a private double-bed room for couples and deluxe rooms that can sleep up to four people. The large, fully-equipped kitchen allows guests to cook without interruption, and the dining areas and common rooms encourage guests to socialize with one another. Traditional hostel social activities such as pub crawls and group excursions are not available at this hostel for those looking to party; however, the hostel is extremely open and laid-back, making it easy to talk to people and make friends. The property is a truly stunning, one-of-a-kind haven that will provide a peaceful space for anyone who visits.
Location: Guillerminas Hostel Boutique is located in the Cuenca Historic Centre district of Cuenca, 1.9 km from Pumapungo Museum, a 10-minute walk from Tomebamba River and 275 m from Cuenca New Cathedral.
Ñañas Hostel, also in the center and near the Tomebamba River and the Cathedral, is another prime-location hostel in Cuenca, with food options, convenience stores, and supermarkets nearby. The El Museo de Las Conceptas and the Museo de la Identidad Canari are both within walking distance of the hostel as well.
Couples, in particular, have several room options. Nanas has a typical mixed-bed dormitory that can accommodate six people, and the cleanliness standard in each of the hostel’s rooms is far above average. Private rooms with double and single beds, rooms with twin and full beds that sleep two to four people, and a family room that sleeps up to seven people are also available. Before making a reservation, keep in mind that children are welcome at this property.
The game and activity room, as well as the bar, will keep guests entertained, ensuring that you will not be bored during your stay in Cuenca. Guests will appreciate the hostel staff’s sincerity and generosity, along with the seasoned crowd this hostel attracts. The hostel boasts an inviting rooftop terrace with many tables and chairs to dine with a beautiful backdrop of the city.
Location: The property is close to several well-known attractions, a 3-minute walk from Museum of the Cañari Identity, 183 m from Museum of the Aboriginal Cultures and a 7-minute walk from Museum of skeletons “Doctor Gabriel Moscoso”. Popular points of interest near Ñañas Hostel include Pumapungo Museum, Tomebamba River and Museum of “Las Conceptas”. The nearest airport is Mariscal Lamar International Airport, 1.9 km from the accommodation.
Travelers who enjoy thoroughly planning their itineraries and ticking off all of the items on their Cuenca checklist will undoubtedly enjoy their stay at Pepe's House Cuenca . Pepe’s House is a beautifully renovated residence in the city center. Travelers of all ages can enjoy all of Cuenca’s tourist attractions while returning to a quiet and clean hostel. Despite its popularity, this is not a party hostel, and guests should expect a pleasant atmosphere filled with responsible travelers and peaceful vibes.
Individuals seeking a nice, sound slumber away from others will appreciate Pepe’s House, which has a private room for individuals as well as suites sleeping two to five people. This hostel is ideal for groups of friends or families looking to book a room for themselves. Not only will guests get a good night’s sleep, but the hostel itself has many amenities that make traveling easier, such as comfortable and well-decorated common rooms and a lovely rooftop bar overlooking the city, perfect for enjoying the hostel’s free daily breakfast.
Pepe’s House is a short walk from the historical center, and spending all day in the city, as well as its many excursions outside of it, will have you eager to return to a clean and friendly hostel. Travelers looking for a quiet and convenient stay in the heart of the city will appreciate Pepe’s House’s short distance and the hostel’s staff’s high level of hospitality.
Location: This hostel is located in Cuenca’s beautiful Historic Center. El Cajas National Park can be reached in 15 minutes by car, while Mariscal Lamar Airport is just 1.9 mi away.
What is seriously the best hostel in Cuenca for solo-travelers?
The best hostel in Cuenca for solo-travelers is Guillerminas Hostel Boutique. This is such a beautiful, calm and cosy hostel in Cuenca. It is on the brilliant location, right next to the cathedral. They have hot showers, brilliant breakfast and the most comfrtable beds you can find. And the people who work here are so nice and welcoming. You will definitely want to return at this place again!
Party Hostels in Cuenca – Hostal Restaurant La Cigale
The Hostal Restaurant La Cigale is all about eating, drinking, and making new friends. Book a stay at this hostel and enjoy a Pilsener and pinol — a few days here and your body will be nourished with some of Cuenca’s best nights after long days wandering the city. Restaurant La Cigale is one of the most social hostels in Cuenca. However, unlike most party hostels around the world, where cleanliness and basic care are lacking, this hostel is not the degenerate binge-drinking environment one would assume.
With a stunning contemporary design, open, fresh-air spaces both inside and outside the hostel, and a restaurant and bar, guests can’t help but enjoy their stay in this sophisticated hostel with a few drinks paired with classic Ecuadorian and international food, as well as its accompanying happy hour that serves exquisite cocktails.
This hostel has a variety of rooms to meet the needs of all of its guests. The mixed dormitory can sleep six people, while the remaining shared bedrooms can sleep two to five people, with beds ranging from full-sized to twin-sized depending on the room type. There are also two deluxe rooms with full-sized beds that are suitable for couples at the hostel. Despite the lack of a kitchen, this hostel’s quality, as well as its location and overall atmosphere, offer excellent value for its price.
The hostel is five minutes from Calderon Park and close to several museums, eateries, and the beautiful Tomebamba River, so you’ll spend your days admiring art and enjoying the ambiance of this lovely Cuenca neighborhood. Staying at La Cigale is an excellent choice for those looking for busy days and exciting evenings in Cuenca while receiving top-notch service.
Location: This hostel is located 400 m from Cuenca main square and 300 m from Tomebamba River.
Of course, there are always cheap hostels. But how do you actually find them? When you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you want to save every dollar, there are ways to find the cheapest places in Cuenca.
Open Hostelz.com with a full list of all hostels in Cuenca
add your dates
Order the listings by price
Simple as that.
Hostelz.com is a price comparison site for hostels. They list every single one in the world and tells you exactly which website is cheaper to use.
Another smart Tip: Check what is actually included, and what is excluded. Take a closer look at the location, too. A further location might mean more costs in transport.
We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible! All of Cuenca best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish and good hostels, secure your room/ bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.
The coolest Hostel App you need comes as well from Hostelworld. It gives you super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand and make plans together. Find more details in our review of the app
Not all hostels in Cuenca are necessarily safe, especially the one that offers the cheapest price in sketchy areas. It might be an illegal hostel, without proper license to run and safety measures.
So in all fairness, it is best to check out Hostelgeeks.com because we feature safe hostels in Cuenca. You can find backpacker hostel with top ratings! Keep a close eye on the overall ratings on booking platforms!
If you are not secure, you can also send us an email and ask us!
How much are hostels in Cuenca?
Hostels in Cuenca cost 8€ – 23€ per night for a bed in a dorm. A private room starts from 15€ up to 44€ per night. This is a rough average just to give you an idea.
Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!
Your question will help us to improve this Cuenca guide.
Last note: Our commitment
This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter, and find the best place on a budget! We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.
Safe travels, The Hostelgeeks
Best Travel Websites we recommend ❤️ (Fresh Update 2023)