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3 Bars For Meeting Young People In Cuenca

Updated on June 1, 2011

Cuenca, Ecuador is known as a haven for retirees and snowbirds, but it is also home to a vibrant nightlife and young professional community.  The key is finding where the younger set is spending their time.  To help you on your way, this hub is profiling three of the best places in Cuenca for connecting with younger expats, locals, and backpackers:  The Inca Bar & Lounge, Cafecito, and La Cigale.

Inca Bar & Lounge


The Inca Bar & Lounge

One of the primary hangouts for younger expats in Cuenca is the Inca Bar & Lounge. Also known as the Inca Bistro, this riverfront bar is a reclaimed property. The old stone and wood house is now a two story bar with a full menu, open 6 days a week. It sits on 3 de Noviembre, just down the stairs from Calle Larga.

The Inca is a winning location because of its frequent live music shows, solid service, strong menu, and status as one of the only places in Cuenca where you can watch American sports on TV. Still, this is no US style sport bar - instead, it's an affordable and popular watering hole and unwinding zone. The evening hours start quiet, allowing you to strike up a good conversation, but Thursday - Saturday expect a full and lively house to close things down.

La Cigale

La Cigale is a hostel and restaurant combination.  The location can be easy to miss if you aren't reading the signs, but La Cigale is at Honorato Vasquez 7-80, on the left hand side as you turn in from Luis Cordero.

La Cigale is popular with teachers from the nearby CEDEI school, with backpackers, and with locals looking for a relatively peacefully place to have a snack and a glass of wine in the evenings.  The restaurant has a full menu all day and never seems to be empty.  For the $1 or $2 you'll spend on a drink, it is a great value in terms of being an unwinding and conversation spot. 

El Cafecito

El Cafecito, locally referred to simply as Cafecito, is a hostel and restaurant that is a part of a set with locations in Quito and Bogota. The Cuenca location of Cafecito begins with a hallway up from the street (Honorato Vasquez) to a covered courtyard that is the restaurant and heart of the hostel.  Despite having patrons in the back, Cafecito is popularly used by locals as a meeting space thanks to the many tables and subdued daytime ambiance.

The people you meet at Cafecito tend to be young teachers and travelers in their early 20's, though all ages are welcome.  Cafecito in Cuenca also serves as one of the city's few semi-open GLBT zones for meeting companions, though as ever Ecuador's conservative culture is a moderating factor.  The Happy Hour is a lively time, and there are rotating weekly dessert and menu specials for vegetarians and hungry omnivores alike.

Naturally, Inca, La Cigale, and Cafecito aren't the only places to find young people in Cuenca.  However, with these three locations as a starting place, you will quickly be able to make new friends here.


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