Podcast: Studying Spanish in Cuenca, Ecuador

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Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage city, founded in 1557 by the Spanish, about 10 hours south of Quito in Ecuador. I chose to study here following my Spanish studies in Guatemala as Guatemala and Ecuador are the cheapest places to study, and with the ‘cleanest’ spoken Spanish in Latin America.

Studying Spanish in Cuenca, Ecuador

This time around I opted for two weeks of 4 hours a day one-on-one Spanish lessons.

In this podcast I discuss why I chose to study in Cuenca, getting to Cuenca from Quito, the bag slash that occurred to me on the way from Quito to Cuenca, how I chose the Spanish school, the costs of living and studying here, and how I rate the Spanish classes at the Abraham Lincoln Cultural Centre where I chose to study. I finish the podcast with an interview with Richard, the founder of the Abraham Lincoln Center in which we discuss the school, activities in and around Cuenca, and why it is better to study in Cuenca than Quito!

If you have comments or questions about studying Spanish in Ecuador or Guatemala, please feel free to post them below.


My photos of Cuenca, Ecuador
Abraham Lincoln Center website

11 thoughts on “Podcast: Studying Spanish in Cuenca, Ecuador”

  1. Thanks a lot for your podcast. I am just looking into courses in Ecuador and am thinking of Cuenca instead of Quito as well because it is smaller and cheaper and nearer to the sea. The only thing is I will be there on my own.

    I do know one person who lives in Cuenca who I could ask for help if needed. Any advice on women travellers?? Did you meet anyone there (women) who travelled alone?

    Any other advice would also be most welcome!
    After the course (2 weeks) I will be travelling for 3 and a half..If you have any advice on where to go etc please let me know



  2. Hi Nikki,

    Thanks for listening! Firstly, I think Cuenca is probably a better place to learn as you won’t be surrounded by lots of other English speakers as happens in Quito.

    This can of course make the experience a bit more ‘lonely’, but you could always compensate by moving into a honestay with a family for a couple of weeks.

    It’s really just a question of weighing up what your priorities are – whether you prefer to really learn Spanish or would prefer to spend your time hanging out with other travellers instead of locals.

    I felt safe in Cuenca after I had got over my bag-slash incident on the bus on the way there from Quito (see separate post here: http://www.earthoria.com/bag-slash-robbery-on-quito-cuenca-bus.html).

    As in any Latin American country there are basic precautions you can take to minimise your exposure to risk, and I thought Cuenca was considerably safer feeling than Quito.

    If you have any other questions, please again post them as a comment here.

    Regarding where to go, I liked Otavalo for the market, and Loja in Southern Ecuador, but I didn’t make it to the coast there -which I would have liked to have done as it is supposed to be amazing there.

    Hope this helps and good luck!


  3. Hello Tom,

    Thanks so much for the podcast. Nice to hear actual voices instead of just reading about a place. I speak just a little Spanish, learned in the western US. Is the Spanish in Cuenca more like in the US or in Spain? My husband and I are planning a trip in the next few months. Can you recommend the place you stayed as you didn’t do a home stay? And do you think we could do a home stay as a couple?

    Many thanks,


  4. Tom,
    Thanks for your great podcast. I’m living in Cuenca for a year and found your information to be very accurate.
    I would highly recommend doing a home stay when you learn Spanish. Our family of 4 (2 kids, 10 and 12) did one for 2 weeks and it was outstanding. We ended up finding an apt. around the block from our family and we see them all the time. Not only is a home stay a great way to learn and practice the language, it’s a wonderful opportunity to eat the typical food, meet the extended family and be part of all kinds of celebrations. It was the best decision we made!


  5. Thanks for your comment Debby! I’m glad you enjoyed your homestay too! I’m now living in Spain and my Spanish has progressed a lot, but the classes I did in Cuenca were a very useful foundation…

  6. Hi Thomas

    Thanks heaps for your blog and podcasts. I’ve found them quite useful in researching schools for my trip to Ecuador. I am also interested in studying in Cuenca. Do you remember how much your four hour one on one lessons at the Abraham Lincoln Cultural Centre were? And do you still have their contact details please? I can’t find any contact details on their website.
    Any help would be much appreciated,


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