Views within Cuenca
Within the city there are only two places that I know have a view: Negroni Cuenca, and El Mercado. Of the two, Negroni is probably better. It’s probably best at night with a view of the Cathedral. Regardless of one’s beliefs, stunning architecture can be breathtaking. Negroni runs around $20 / plate, but the two salads we tried were as stunning as the view. The outdoor seating can be quite chilly if there’s a breeze, so be prepared.
Those who live here in Cuenca are probably hyperventilating at this point because I did not lead with Turi. Every taxi driver, shoot, everyone over the age of six knows that the view at Turi is amazing. There, fighting for your dining dollars, are about a dozen restaurants, each perched around the hilltop with stunning views. Regrettably, I’ve only eaten at two, and that was back in 2020. At the base of Turi, but with good view in its own right is Fogo Grill & Bar. We went there, pre-pandemic and they were packed. The view is great, but that Friday night the hostess was only able to seat us in the back because there had been a reservation cancellation.
In February 2023 we got our first meal via Moto with a zip tie sealing the meal closed. It surprised me, but desperate people delivering expensive food, it’s understandable that someone may have succumbed to the temptation, or was falsely accused. Either way, I suspect we’ll be seeing more meals like this in the future.
Carnival – Mardi Gras
One of the oldest trivia questions is that Mardi Gras translates into Fat Tuesday. It is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the 40 days of lent, which traditionally end the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Why this matters is while in Rio De Janeiro and New Orleans there are floats and beads and scantily clad people, here in Ecuador it is celebrated with water and foam. Yes, you read that correctly. People who are in the wrong place at the wrong time are either dowsed with water, sprayed with a foam very similar to shaving cream, or both. The wrong time is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which varies from year to year. The Monday before Mardi Gras is also a precarious time, and many shops are closed on both days. On either of these days, besides people throwing water balloons, hitting others with super-soaker water guns, there are roving cars full of “celebrants” looking for hapless victims – pedestrians beware. Music and parties are very common during this time of the year. Besides New Years, this is one of the noisiest times of the year. The term carnival is more common here. Marti Gras is more a Brazilian or Louisianan phrase.