10 Years of Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

5 Most Popular Gringo Neighborhoods in Cuenca Ecuador, with Maps!

Please take note: even though the neighborhoods we list in this article are popular with gringos that live in Cuenca, gringos live everywhere in Cuenca, not just in these areas.
Take a look at the city map of Cuenca where we list the 5 areas that are popular with gringos and it will give you an idea of where each one is located within the city. You will want to click on the maps to enlarge.
Cuenca Ecuador showing 5 most popular gringo neighborhoods
1. Gringolandia –  Ordonez Lasso & Las Americas

Now that the whole city is Gringolandia this would be the “old” Gringolandia, and is mostly made up of high rise apartments and some detached houses. The high rise apartment buildings that make up the first mile of Ordonez Lasso are dotted along the Tomebamba River. The units have 24hr security, elevators, nice city views and some with amenities like gyms, spa, etc. 

There are few restaurants in gringoland.   Gringoland is walking distance to Supermaxi grocery store and strip mall off of Las Americas. The strip mall has a household items department store, baby store, pizza and ice cream shop and a small furniture/appliance store.

The Tranvia will run right by gringolandia neighborhood.  Just south of gringolandia is another popular neighborhood called Puertas del Sol, which is mostly made up of detached homes and a few apartment buildings. Here is where you will find one of the Gran Sol Organic produce markets. 
2. Zona Rosa – Gran Colombia & Unidad National

Just about a half a mile east of gringoland is the popular neighborhood of Zona Rosa.  Zona Rosa is a block or so north from the Tomebamba River and runs along Gran Colombia.   Zona Rosa is a small, dense area that consists mainly of high rise apartment buildings with 24hr security, elevators and some views of the River Tomebamba and the city.

This area is home to several banks, restaurants, a pet shop, 2 fast food chicken restaurants, and is about a 15 minute walk, staying on Gran Colombia to El Centro. 
Zona Rosa
3. Totems – Remigio Crespo and Unidad National

Just south of Zona Rosa on the east side of the Tomebamba, you will come to the Totems neighborhood.  You’ll come to a round-a-bout with three Indian totem poles in the center of the circle. Gringos like this area because it is walking distance to many restaurants, cafes, shops, nightlife, etc on Remigio Crespo. This video will give you a bird's eye view of the Totems area, starting at 46 seconds in. 
Totems neighborhood

4. El Centro – Historic Cuenca, a couple blocks near to Park Calderon

El Centro is mostly for gringo tourists who are coming to check Cuenca out for long-term living, although it is home to some permanent residents. Most people find the downtown area to be too smoggy and noisy for full-time living, but for a month to three month stay it works for some.

It is in El Centro, near Park Calderon where you will see the most gringos at one time, outside of some of the gringo restaurants. The city hosts many events, festivities and holidays in the Park Calderon. El Centro boasts numerous restaurants, quaint cafe's, bakeries, international cuisine restaurants, traditional $3 and up almuerzo restaurants, banks and small food stores, called tiendas.  

Grab your DIY Cuenca Landing Guide for more information on where to stay, where to eat, where to shop in El Centro and save money!
Historic Cuenca - El Centro
5.  El Vergel / Madre Park – Doce de Abril & Solano to Diez de Agosto

El Vergel neighborhood is a combination of new and old section of Cuenca with lots of restaurants, cafes, US style hamburger joints, Supermaxi grocery store and El Vergel Mall. Millennium Mall, popular with the younger crowd is also located in this area.

Elk Vergel is home to the main Cuenca stadium Alejandro Serrano Aquilar where the city hosts popular Latin singers, concerts and other musical groups; and it is also where they host the pro Ecuadorian soccer games.

The beautiful Madre Park is located in this area and hosts local musical talents, bands and concerts; the park has a track, a variety of exercise equipment, children’s play areas and a planetarium. You’ll find the park has clean restrooms, park benches for relaxing and lots of green space. Across the street off of Doce de Abril is the Tomebamba River walk.  

Going up the stairs from Doce de Abril and Madre Park, it will take you into the historic district of El Centro. 
El Vergel / Madre Park
This provides you with a general idea of different areas of the city in Cuenca. Do these five neighborhoods have less crime than areas we do not list? Flat out, “No”.  These neighborhoods are not better nor do they have less crime than some of the other neighborhoods not listed in this article.  Crimes against expats are almost always crimes of opportunity, mainly because gringos behave in ways they shouldn’t in Latin American cultures.  

Until we write again…

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We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!


  1. Hello
    We are family of 5 ( 3 little kids) , we planning to visit Cuenca for winter seaaon amd looking fir advice about best location for us
    I will appreciate your tips :)
    Thank you in advance

    1. Hello. Thanks for contacting us. If you mean best location in Ecuador it would be Cuenca for families. If you mean best neighborhood, we think most of the neighborhoods in Cuenca are pretty good. But with small children you might want to live next door to a park. Downtown (centro) very noisy and smoggy. Best location, really just depends on what your needs are and such. Hope this helps and have a great time in Cuenca. PS...crime has gone up in all of South and Central America just like in the USA, so be on the watch. During the daytime it's fine walking and taking buses but after dark, not advised.


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