Is Cuenca Ecuador Safe For Tourists?

Walking in Cuenca's historic center

Cuenca is the southern sierra’s commercial hub and the third-largest city in Ecuador is noted for its spectacular beauty, lovely festivals, and status as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site. It features a well-developed and robust tourism infrastructure as well as an efficient network of public transportation.

Cuenca is an excellent destination for families traveling with children. Cuenca, Ecuador is not only safe, but it is also a popular place for ex-pats to live because of the wonderful weather and laid-back atmosphere.

Safety in Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca city sign in Ecuador

In Ecuador, the city of Cuenca is notably safe. Personal safety concerns of any significance are nonexistent. Simple measures that you would take in any other city apply here.

Is Public Transportation Safe in Cuenca?

Cuenca's city (Ecuador) historic center

Generally, public vehicles are safe in Cuenca. Although there are occasional pickpockets so you have to be vigilant and take care of your belongings. 

If taking a taxi, be sure to get the metered ones. If you want to ease your worries, it is best to ask your accommodation to book a taxi on your behalf.

Are There Any Scammers in Cuenca?

Cuenca city in Ecuador

The most popular method used by scammers in this region to defraud tourists is to try to sell them bogus tours. Another possible scam is that the cab fare in a taxi may deceive you. If you get a change in cash, be wary of fake dollars as well. Always be aware of your surroundings wherever you are going.

Are There Pickpockets and Thieves in Cuenca?

Because Cuenca is a well-known tourist destination, tourist spots are common hotspots for pickpockets and petty thefts. Only bring your essentials during tours and leave your valuables in your hotel’s safe.

Is it Legal to Use Drugs in Cuenca?

Up to small amounts, marijuana is legal, and the Ecudorean government is looking into legalizing it. However, Ecuador has illegal substances just like anywhere else in the western world.

Nevertheless, the government of Ecuador is a little more severe when it comes to narcotics because the country’s northern border touches Columbia, and Ecuadorians are committed to maintaining strong control over drugs entering the country.

Is Cuenca Safe For Female Solo Travelers?

City of Cuenca, main cathedral

Yes, Cuenca is pretty much safe. As long as you exercise safety precautions, there will be not much of issue when traveling alone to Cuenca.

Which Areas of Cuenca Would You Steer Clear Of?

Walking through historical street in Cuenca Ecuador

You should exercise caution when shopping in the crowded mercados. Also, avoid boarding overcrowded buses, especially at night.

Avoid wandering around La Merced, which has a reputation for selling illegal drugs. Never stray too far from popular tourist destinations or risk your safety by walking down isolated or dark alleyways. Consider bringing a whistle and pepper spray for safety precautions.

In Conclusion

So far, I can say that Cuenca is a safe place to visit in Ecuador. The tranquil and chill vibes of the town are worth the experience. 

Just like any other tourist destination, pickpocketing and theft also occur occasionally. What’s important is to always be vigilant and take safety precautions wherever you go. 

About the author

Oleg Galeev

I'm Oleg, and together with my wife, we've explored Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, journeying through more than 20 cities (Quito, Cuenca, Banos, Tena, Puyo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Otavalo, Mindo and more) and nearly every island in the Galapagos (including iconic ones such as Bartolome Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island and more). In this blog, I give you my real thoughts about each place we visited. This info can help anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or mainland Ecuador. I'm just a traveler, not a tour company, so I'm not trying to sell anything. That means I'll tell you the truth—both the good and the bad — about traveling in Ecuador based on what we experienced.

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