Cuenca wasn’t originally in my plans but after hearing so much about it, I knew that I had to tack it on to my increasingly lengthy Ecuadorian expedition. For a week, I stayed at Alternative Hostel as I explored the city and its stunning surroundings. The city boasted natural beauty at every corner as well as stunning and well-preserved colonial architecture all throughout its beautiful historic center. Cuenca is one of Ecuador’s largest cities yet it maintains the vibe of a small town where you can roam the streets aimlessly and just enjoy the present.
Alternative Hostel proved to be a refreshingly modern and comfortable hostel stay compared to the typical budget options throughout Ecuador. Its sleek aesthetic combined with all of the amenities that budget travelers need made it the perfect place to stay in Cuenca. The neighboring El Macario Cafe was also the most modern and aesthetic cafe that I encountered throughout all of my cafe-hopping experiences in Cuenca. Alternative Hostel was a perfect home base to return to following long days of exploring or hiking at the otherworldly Cajas National Park. For backpackers traveling to and through Cuenca, the $8 dorm beds or $12 private rooms are impossible to beat.