We hope you enjoy the updates we are providing with the new changes that are happening in Cuenca Ecuador.
|El Centro - San Blas Park|
UPDATE JANUARY 2016: Frank and I have also been to Quito several times, as well as Northern Esmeraldas (Atracames) Beaches and just a few months ago we traveled the whole country of Panama without our sons. We occasionally walk off the beaten path if we are needing to write about an area or simple because we want to know more about the local life.
The only time anything has ever happened to us was in 2012 when Frank got his wallet pick-pocketed in Cuenca Ecuador of all places, during the day time on the bus! It was our fault. You can find out why it happened here.
The reason why we stay safe and are not targeted has nothing to do with having our sons with us. We don't have negative encounters with the bad apples because we have guidelines that we follow to the T. Here's some of the more important ones.
1. We figure that we have from 6:00am until 6:00pm to enjoy the great outdoors, eat out in restaurants, explore new territory and to simply have a blast doing whatever it is we feel like doing. We are seldom out after dark. Haven't you noticed in downtown Cuenca that around 6:00pm you'll start seeing a different type of people out on the streets? It's all about observation. They're dressed different, they stare different and they walk different and they behave different. Night time is when 80% of bad things happen to people.
2. We NEVER take the bus after 7:00pm; the buses have a different breed of people on them in the evening hours.
3. When we travel we never walk around with important (original) documents, wallets, purses, expensive looking clothing or jewelry...we try and blend in as much as possible and always speak Spanish.
4. When exploring new areas (we do a lot of that) if a side road looks oddly vacant we turn around.
5. We (now) don't walk too far off on most of the Ecuador beaches anymore after a tour operator told Frank and I not too walk where there is no people when we walked too far away from the crowds on Atacames beach.
6. We don't open our gate to strangers when we are home. We do not trust people we do not know.
7. If and when we are approached by groups of young men we don't act scared and feeble and we look them in the eyes. This happened to us in the Milna neighborhood of Salinas Ecuador. Don't act intimidated and behave as if you can beat them up. Seriously...they were staring us down and we could tell they were up to no good.
Update January 2016 - There are so many police downtown now that we think it has curbed the petty thievery a great deal. It doesn't mean you still shouldn't watch yourself, especially at night, but it does mean it is now not as prevalent as it was in 2012! Although we have read in a recent article that Cuenca is now seeing more home invasions. We have been hearing about more home invasions located in different areas of Ecuador.
The one and only thing you will not see as many of when you live outside the 2 by 2 mile colonial section is gringos, unless you live in condo alley in gringolandia, but now is that such a bad thing?
Update JANUARY 2016: Boy, a lot has changed since we wrote this article in 2012. El Centro is where the tourists might stay and a few expats live in the Colonial section but not as many as there once was; it's just too noisy and smoggy for most people to live there on a permanent basis. And there are gringos living all over in the city now, not just in El Centro or gringolandia. One Ecuadorian commented to us saying, "All of Cuenca is gringolandia now"! We all chuckled.
Here is all three parts to this series where we answer readers concerns: We will update the others soon.