Let's Save Money
1. Get an Apartment: If you are only staying between 1 and 3 months (and even 6 months) we suggest to snag yourself an apartment before you get here, if at all possible. Most folks don't look at the Vacation/Temporary/Rentals on OLX Ecuador. Check it out here!
Once you arrive on the website, make sure you check the appropriate boxes on the left hand side for: how many bedrooms you want and check the furnished box. Today on May 15, 2016 there are 70 one bedroom furnished rentals on OLX just in Cuenca. We think many of these listings are by owner rather than real estate companies and that means BETTER PRICES and MORE NEGOTIATION ROOM!
Most of the online rental portals (Mercadolibre.com) will also have a temporary/vacation rental section and is where people who are coming to Ecuador for six months or less should be able to find a rental easier and less expensively. We do this when we travel because it assures we will have a lower cost place to stay while we visit an area and there is never any pressure to hurry up and find a rental.
2. Ask about monthly price: Some of the prices on OLX, as you will see are per night, however, if you see something you like, call them and ask what their monthly (if they have monthly) rental price would be.
We would venture to say that 8 out of 10 travelers that come to Cuenca do so for a discovery trip to see if they are going to like living here permanently for their future retirement years. This is always a good idea, but it is also a good idea to not live only as a tourist when you come to visit. Go local!
Update 2016 - What do we mean, "go local"? Well, you can come to Cuenca on a vacation and not really know what you are getting into until you:
1. ride the bus
2. take a taxi
3. negotiate and buy produce from one of the many Mercados
4. go out to eat in a typical almuerzo restaurant and try some of the other Ecuadorian cuisine
5. enjoy one of the many Ecuadorian festivals
6. eat while walking (lol)
7. get to know some of the the local folks on a personal level
8. go shopping in one of the local grocery stores
9. and so much more...
Get to know the Ecuador culture and way of life on your visit. After all, if you are thinking of uprooting your life and moving here, don't you want to know what it is really like?
Tourist Don’t Mind Spending Money on Food and Hotel Costs
We're not saying, don't do the tourist stuff, by all means, please do, but get to know Cuenca Ecuador and some of the local folks and culture on a more intimate level, that way you will have pushed out any expectations of how your new life is going to be and you will be more prepared to make the move or maybe not make the move...who knows.
Update 2016 - This is still the trend today,. Everything (panaderias, pharmacies, eateries, tools and hardware, food shopping, everything is less expensive when you walk away from the well trodden tourist sidewalks of Cuenca.
Update 2016- We had to take a popular bakery (panaderia) out of the DIY Cuenca guide because it was a half a block from Park Calderon and too many tourists visited this bakery every day and they still do to this day. All the pastries and cakes and coffee and water (yes they started charging for water form their tap) went up in astronomical prices in just a couple of years...so we took them out of the guide and walked about 7 blocks away and found another really great bakery with normal prices and added them to the guide book to take the place of the over-rated bakery.
Update 2016 - Funny the Mercados, especially Feria Libre is becoming more and more expensive for the foreigner and subsequently we don't even go there anymore. In fact when you buy produce "in season" in the regular grocery stores we pay the same or sometimes less than at the local Mercados. Of course, we hope and think they are only price gouging the gringo and not the local because it would be very disconcerting to find out that locals are also paying gringo rates at the Mercados!!
Update 2016 - Our restaurant guide is still available to download on our website here, however prices in most of the establishments have gone up in price, so expect to pay more than what is listed in the guide. We do list a couple of expat restaurants that have reasonable prices and good food in the updated version found here.
Until we write again, you might also like to read these posts about the real Cuenca Ecuador.