Cuenca is a city of contradictions. It’s one of the oldest in Ecuador, founded by the Spanish in 1557, but its streets are lined with modern high-rises. The city is set in a deep valley, and the surrounding mountains are snow-capped most of the year, but the temperature is balmy and the locals are friendly. There are plenty of historical and cultural attractions, including a wealth of churches and cathedrals, as well as the world’s largest Inca ruins, but Cuenca is also a great place to just wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere. There are markets, parks, and plazas aplenty, and a thriving arts and nightlife scene. Be sure to try the local speciality, cuy (guinea pig), which is roasted on a spit.