In this article, I will share with you the best museums in Cuenca that locals recommended to me!
Cuenca city is full of museums. To visit them all you would need several days. This is why I have summarized a list of the best ones, recommended to me by several local friends from Ecuador. Interestingly enough, most of them are located on the famous 'Larga' street so you might be able to visit a few in one day!
Short in time, here is the list of the best museums in Cuenca:
Pumapungo Museum (Museo Pumapungo)
Museum of Aboriginal Cultures (Museo de las Culturas Aborígenes)
Banco Central Museum (Museo del Banco Central)
Remigio Crespo Toral Museum (Casa Museo Remigio Crespo Toral)
Cuenca's Conceptas Monastery Museum (Museo de las Conceptas)
The Modern Art Museum of Cuenca (Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno)
One of the 'Sombreros de Paja Toquilla' aka 'Panama Hat' museums
The best museums in Cuenca
As the first and main one, I have to put Pumapungo Museum as it was the one everyone told me about and said: 'If you only have time for one museum do this one!'. It does cover everything in a glimpse and also features Inca ruins that were discovered exactly in that location. In the museum, you will find the pictures and stories behind it. So if you are in a rush to explore Ecuador then you actually do not need to make an extra trip to some of the Inca ruins, you can see them here in Cuenca.
Opening hours from Tuesday to Friday are from 8am to 5pm and open on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Closed every Sunday and Monday.
Located at the end of the street 'Larga'.
The entrance is free, but the only thing I have to mention is that everything is only in Spanish and French. No English translation.
Museum of Aboriginal Cultures
As the second one, I have to mention the Museum of Aboriginal Cultures. The more you will travel through South America the more you will learn about the original inhabitants of this continent. Their culture and heritage are so unique and interesting. This museum features some of the most important archaeological discoveries not only about the first people in Ecuador but South America in general.
Open on workdays from 10am until 4pm. On Saturdays only until 1pm. Closed all Sundays.
Located at street Larga 5-24.
The entrance fee is 4 USD.
Banco Central Museum
Located in the same building as the Pumapungo Museum is the Banco Central Museum. This museum sometimes can be overlooked as being part of the Pumapungo museum but it is a completely separate one. Also, free entry, but everything is only in Spanish and French. I found it extremely interesting because Ecuador went through one of the biggest economic crises in modern history. At least I think so. Because of a very corrupt government, people lost EVERYTHING. I find it heartbreaking, so learning more about the crises was personally my favorite, it was very interesting as I want to understand it better.
Open every day from 8.30am until 5pm, except on Sundays when it's closed.
Located at the same building as the Pumapungo museum, at the end of the street 'Larga',
Entry is free.
Remigio Crespo Toral Museum
Also, highly recommended online has been Remigio Crespo Toral Museum. It is the house of the famous poet and writer of Cuenca - Remigio Crespo Toral (1860-1939). Now turned into a museum because of the building itself and different important art pieces and artifacts.
Open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10am - 5pm. Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm.
Located on the street Larga and Presidente Borrero, 7-07.
Entry is free.
Cuenca's Conceptas Monastery Museum
Cuenca's Conceptas Monastery Museum is a unique spot that unveils the city's religious past during the time of the Spanish conquerors. You'll get a special glimpse into how women carved out their roles within the church during this era. The museum, located in a convent founded in 1557, displays religious art and artifacts, providing insights into the secluded life of nuns.
Opening times on weekdays are from 9am to 6.30pm; Saturdays and holidays: 10am to 1pm. Sundays closed.
Located on the street of Hermano Miguel 6-33 and Juan Jaranillo, in front of the CETUR offices, in the El Sagrario parish.
The entrance fee is 2.50 USD.
The Modern Art Museum of Cuenca
The Modern Art Museum of Cuenca features some of the finest modern art of Ecuadorian talents, showcasing a varied collection from traditional to innovative. This includes remarkable light installations that create immersive experiences. The museum, located in a charming former school building, frequently rotates exhibits for fresh content. In addition to the displays, it offers enriching workshops, performances, and lectures. It's an essential spot for anyone wanting to understand Ecuador's evolving art scene.
Open during the week from 9am - 4.30pm. Closed on the weekend and holidays.
Located at Sucre 15-27 at Coronel Talbot on the south side of San Sebastian square.
Entry is free.
Eco-museum "Casa del Sombrero"
A very interesting thing fact - Panama hats are actually from Ecuador. When the Panama Canal was built, a company from Ecuador sent their 'Sombreros de Paja Toquilla' to the workers to protect them from the sun and help in work. President Roosevelt that time went to see the construction site of Panama Canal and liked the hat. He wore the hat during an appearance on the TV and since then everyone has been calling the hat 'Panama Hat', although it comes from Ecuador, specifically from Cuenca, and is called 'Sombreros de Paja Toquilla'. You will find several museums about this, but the best one is Eco-museum "Casa del Sombrero".
Open during the week from 8am - 5pm. Closed on the weekend and holidays.
Located at 7-95, Rafael María Arizaga.
The entrance fee is 4 USD. You can also purchase the hats there!