A Walk Around El Centro Cuenca Ecuador + Old Cathedral Museum Tour

This day in the life was a day of firsts. We took a walk around El Centro Cuenca Ecuador and it was the first time we visited the newly renovated San Francisco Plaza. It was the first time we toured the Old Cathedral art museum. And it was our first time having lunch at Funky Sauce, a new vegan and vegetarian restaurant on the corner of 3 de Noviembre y Benigno Malo by the Tomebamba River.

San Francisco Plaza in El Centro Cuenca EcuadorSan Francisco Plaza Cuenca

The San Francisco Plaza was our first stop on our walk around Cuenca Ecuador. It has been closed for renovation for well over a year. When we visited Cuenca on our exploratory trip in early 2017, we bought a few things from the pre-renovated plaza. It was super crowded and kind of dirty. Now it’s a wonderful place to hang out with friends, let your kids play in the fountain or shop for clothes and souvenirs against a backdrop of the iconic blue domes of the New Cathedral.

Some people have complained that the merchandise is mostly cheap Chinese imports. While there is a lot of that, there are also some handmade Ecuadorian clothes and knick-knacks. You can’t make everyone happy, especially cranky gringos.

The Old Cathedral Tour in El Centro Cuenca Ecuador

After wandering around San Francisco Plaza for awhile, we ventured over to The Old Cathedral Museum of Religious Art. We weren’t sure they would allow us to film inside since some of the older cathedrals in Quito don’t allow photography. However, I asked the lady at the front desk, “¿Puedo filmar?” (Can I film?) and she said, “Sí. Claro.” (Yes. Of course.) So we went in.

We were very impressed with The Old Cathedral Museum of Religious Art. The cathedral was built in 1573 making it almost 450 years old. Several of the murals in the cathedral have been restored after being painted over with industrial paint. How could ANYONE think that painting over 400+ year old murals was a good idea?! It’s mind boggling!

The Old Cathedral CuencaThe Old Cathedral Cuenca Mural

We avoided this particular museum in Cuenca because we thought it might have graphic religious art like some of the cathedrals we visited in Quito, but we were pleasantly surprised. For the most part, it was just a lot of really old paintings and a nice photography display showing old pictures of Cuenca. If you haven’t been inside the Old Cathedral in Cuenca yet, it’s worth the $2 price of admission.

Vegan Lunch at el Funky Sauce CuencaFunky Sauce Sign

After touring the Old Cathedral for over an hour, we walked back to el Funky Sauce for lunch. It’s a relatively new vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Cuenca that we hadn’t tried yet.

The atmosphere is adorable and the people are super friendly. We had a nice relaxing lunch with classic rock on the stereo and the sounds of the Tomebamba in the background as a gentle breeze flowed through the open windows.

Since it’s a vegetarian place, some of the menu items have queso (cheese), huevos (eggs) and leche (cow’s milk), but they also have several vegan options. Be sure to tell them you’re “todo vegano” and they’ll show you the vegan items on the menu. They also have free Wifi, as do most restaurants in Cuenca.

Amelia had the Quinoa Burger with a side salad and a cup of Americano coffee. It looked delicious, but she didn’t let me taste it. Didn’t even offer! And she had SEVERAL bites of MY lunch!

I ordered the Vegan Pesto Penne Pasta dish and boy was it delicious. The pesto was made with nueces (nuts) instead of parmesan cheese. It was also made with olive oil, which I generally don’t eat. Most of the time, I ask restaurants to cook without oil, but we were so excited to try a vegan pesto that we didn’t think about the oil, which is a major ingredient in pesto. Next time I’ll ask if they have anything “sin aceite” (without oil).

They also brought us out a complimentary waffle that was made with oat flour and bananas. It was so moist and delicious that we ate it plain without anything on it!

We’ll definitely be returning to el Funky Sauce for bebidas y comida (drinks and food). It was super relaxing with great service and delicious food. It would be a great place to meet friends for drinks.

 

Watch Our Video About Our Day in El Centro Cuenca, Ecuador

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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

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