Ecuador (AEMPPI) - Cuenca - Universidad del Azuay
Pediatrics, Obgyn, Internal medicine, Infectious diseases, General Surgery, Internal Medicine E.R, Pediatrics E.R, Other upon request
All year
Host families
  • Spanish (Excellent) Required 
  • English (Excellent) Required
Alvaro Guerrero
Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2,500 meters above sea level, with an urban population of approximately 400,000 rising to 700,000 inhabitants in the larger metro area. The centre of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site due to its many historical buildings. Cuenca is well known for its stunning architecture, tourist attractions, hotels and night activities.
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The University of Azuay was born in 1968 and has its headquarters in the city of Cuenca, capital of the province of Azuay. In its beginnings it was part, first, of the Catholic University Santiago de Guayaquil and, soon, of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador.

In 1990 after fulfilling all legal requirements it was recognized as Universidad del Azuay, through Law of the Republic.

In 2006, it was the first university in Ecuador to achieve accreditation by the National Council for Evaluation and Accreditation (CONEA).
The University of Azuay offers undergraduate education through its twenty-eight schools distributed in six faculties.

The postgraduate training is offered through masters and specializations, the academic offer responds to the needs identified in our region and country framed in the commitment to serve society.
Currently most of our professors are working on Research papers, if you wish to participate please ask us for the information on which projects are available in the moment.
In our LC we provide Host Families, which are the families of the students that are part of Aemppi. 
We make sure that the family has a spare room and bathroom for the incoming, also they will provide minimum 2 meals per day. We also have members that live alone and they have spare rooms which will be more like a "roomate" experience.
In our LC we provide Host Families, which are the families of the students that are part of Aemppi. 
We make sure that the family has a spare room and bathroom for the incoming, also they will provide minimum 2 meals per day. We also have members that live alone and they have spare rooms which will be more like a "roomate" experience.
Once you arrive to Ecuador either to Quito's Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre or Guayaquil's Aeropuerto Internacional Jose Joaquin de Olmedo to get to Cuenca you have 2 options. 
  • Intern flight from either of those cities to Cuenca's Aeropuerto Mariscal Lamar which is around $60 to $100
  • Get a bus from either of those cities which first you'll have to go to the Terminal Terrestre (Taxi + bus fare around $10 to $15) and it will be a 9h-10h bus ride from Quito and 3h to 4h from Guayaquil.
  • Get a microbus from either of those cities, again you'll have to move from the airport to the station of the microbuses, they are more comfortable and quicker and the prices are almost the same as the bus. 

We'll happily help you with any information concerning how to get to Cuenca (Timetables, prices, locations) just ask the LEO.

Cuenca's inter-provincial bus station, called the Terminal Terrestre as it is in most cities, is well organized and clean. It is located on Avenida España in the northeastern corner of the city, a twenty-minute walk or a brief taxi ride from the historic center. Also, many City buses provide frequent service as indicated by the "Terminal Terrestre" placard on the windshield. A guide to using the City buses, maps of the routes and an online trip planner can be found at

  • The taxis fares are really cheap, all taxi cabs must have a meter telling you how much the ride will be. the minimum fare for day time is $1.50 and night time $1.70
  • Buses around the city are really easy to manage, there's an App called "Moovit" which offers timetables and how to get to each bus stop. the price for the bus is $0.25
  • Also your Host might have a car and will likely help you to get around the city.

As Aemppi Ecuador we have a program called "3 worlds 3 weekends" which is based on travelling to 3 cities in Ecuador normally 2 in the highlands, and one to the coast (beach). This is done with all our incomings in Ecuador. Last year the cities were Baños de Ambato, Cuenca and Manta. 

Also in our LC your host is likely to take you out with their friends and family.
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Most tourists visit the historic area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between the river Tomebamba and the street Gran Colombia to the north, General Torres to the west, and Hermano Miguel to the east. This area's compactness, grid-like layout, and numerous readily identifiable monuments make it easy to navigate. Outside this area the city can be confusing, as there are dozens of narrow colonial streets with similar buildings.

1) Iglesia Sagrario
The Iglesia del Sagrario, known as the “Old Cathedral”, built in 1557 is one of the most historical buildings in Ecuador. Used by the French in the 18th century in their geodesic mission to measure the circumference of the earth and, in part, find the equator, this beautiful cathedral has now been converted into a museum of religious artifacts. With its ancient organ and detailed architecture, visitors and new residents of Cuenca cannot miss this Ecuadorian gem.

Mariscal Sucre, Cuenca, Ecuador

2) Cajas National Park
Less than an hour from the city, Cajas National Park offers a beautiful encounter with nature. An ecological reserve with mountains, lakes and animals, Cajas makes a great hiking spot. Pick your trail and spend the day enjoying the wonder of Ecuador’s natural beauty.

El Cajas National Park, Azuay, Ecuador

3) Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Known as the Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral), the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception embodies the grandeur of Cuenca. Work began on this massive cathedral in 1885, and continued for a century afterwards, with attention paid to each detail. Most striking about the building are its three blue domes, visible from the surrounding mountains. As one of the largest cathedrals in Latin America, the church is still in use today and is located on the central park of Cuenca.

Catedral de la Inmaculada Conception, Padre Aguirre, Cuenca, Ecuador

4) Homero Ortega P. & Hijos
While you would assume that so-called “Panama Hats” would be made in Panama, go to Cuenca and you’ll see it’s a bit of a misnomer. The Homero Ortega P. & Hijos (Homero Otrega and Sons aka the Panama Hat Factory), with museum (called “Magia del Sombrero” or “Magic of the Hat” Museum) and tour, produces many of the famous hats which are made mainly by the indigenous people of Cuenca and are a large part of the culture. Why not buy a hat at the end of the tour?

5) Mirador de Turi
For the chance to glimpse the beauty of Cuenca in its entirety, why not get a bird’s-eye view? At the southern edge of the city, the Overlook of Turi affords just that. Although reachable by taxi or bus, the overlook can also be accessed via a staircase that rises from the bottom of the hill for over 400 steps. At the top is the Church of Turi and a spot to buy souvenirs. But of course, the main reason to go there is to soak up the incredible view of the city.

Mirador de Turi, Cuenca, Equador

6) Pumapungo Park and Ethnographic Museum
Both the park, with its ancient Incan ruins, and the museum demonstrate how history builds on top of itself. This archaeological site began as an Incan construction before the Spaniards arrived, yet as the Ethnographic Museum shows, changed upon colonization. Perhaps best evidenced by the mixed fashion style the indigenous people came to adopt, Ecuador, as with many Latin American countries, will remain the offspring of two cultures. The Ethnographic Museum demonstrates this evolution, ensuring that the cultural history of the people will be preserved.

Pumapungo, Huayna-Capac, Cuenca, Ecuador

7) Museum of CIDAP and Museum of Modern Art
Like the Ethnographic Museum, these museums also serve as monuments to Ecuador’s heritage. Run by the Inter-American Center of Artisans, which also puts on various events throughout the year, the Museum of CIDAP (Inter-American Center of Popular Arts) has celebrated the art of Ecuador for 40 years. With pottery, woodwork, musical instruments, textiles and folk art, this museum has a fun mix of it all. The Center promotes culture, expression and the preservation of the knowledge of artisanry. Similarly, the Museum of Modern Art exhibits the new movements of art in Ecuador, a continuation of the arts of the past.

Museum of CIDAP, Hermano Miguel 3-23 and Ca. Larga, La Escalinita, Cuenca, Ecuador

Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno, Estévez de Toral, Cuenca, Ecuador

8) Remigio Crespo Toral Museum
Constructed in the early part of the 20th century, the Remigio Crespo Toral Museum is located on the Calle Larga and features a mix of colonial pieces of art. Named after and originally the home of Cuencan poet Remigio Crespo Toral, the museum focuses on the history of Ecuador, specifically Cuenca. Open every day the museum houses religious art and ceramics, as well as Toral’s coin collection.

Museo Remigio Crespo Toral, Calle Larga, Cuenca, Ecuador

9) La Calle Larga and Tomebamba River
With an abundance of restaurants, museums, cafes, bars and clubs, this blossoming area makes for a lively evening in Cuenca, or just a fun day exploring the streets. Running one block from the Río Tomebamba, one of Cuencas four rivers, La Calle Larga is a also short walk from the city sites, including the New Cathedral, making this area a perfect place to stay while in Cuenca. And the scenic river is a great place to walk or relax for a while, as many Ecuadorians do.

10) El Che Restaurant
You don’t have to be a socialist to know that Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a monumental figure in the history of Latin America. Some residents of Cuenca considered him so important, they have an entire restaurant devoted to him. With countless images of the revolutionary and his comrades lining the walls, commemorating his life and dedication to the people, you won’t find this open-air barbecue spot in a typical tour of Cuenca. Ask the beret-wearing employees of this establishment what they think of Che and you might get a free history lesson.

Restaurante El Che Pibe, Ave Remigio Crespo Toral, Cuenca, Ecuador

*Don't forget to try our local cuisine! Canelazos and roasted guinea pig!*

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Welcome to Cuenca!