September 07, 2013

Cuenca Ecuador Has Been Discovered! UPDATE 2016

UPDATE 2016 - Wowy, is Cuenca Ecuador getting discovered or what? Last week Correa visited the USA and Europe to promote more tourism in Ecuador. We normally wouldn't update an article if its only 2.5 years old like this one but lots of changes we should tell you about that's happening in Cuenca.

Firstly, we think the charms of Cuenca are literally vanishing before our eyes.  Last week was Cuenca's Birthday and guess what, we didn't hear one firecracker or see one firework to display this momentous occasion. That's darn right weird. 

NOTE: This article is NOT just referring to just gringos from North America and Europe but Cuencano gringos who have lived in the states for 15-20-30 years who are now returning to Cuenca...

Cuenca Ecuador has been discovered!
How do we know? Living here lets you observe and experience the steady progression of things changing. And it doesn’t take long for it (few short years) to turn into well, just another city on the list of cities. When a city becomes discovered, changes take place and it begins to lose some of its charms and likeability.
 


You Know a Place Has Been Discovered when rents keep going higher and higher…and it gets harder and harder to find local priced rentals.  Let’s take a look. 

Cuenca has been discovered when Ecuadorians won’t budge on the rent for their older, (needing TLC) home from $450 a month to $300, which is what it is really worth.

Cuenca has been discovered when landlords put in their ads, “by the river”, or “off of Ordonez Lasso”, (Gringolandia Street) or “walk to downtown”, and then they raise their rent from $300 to $600 and say “prefer to rent to foreigners.

They certainly can’t get Ecuadorians to rent a $300 dollar home for $600 just because it’s walking distance to downtown.

Cuenca has been discovered when you see older, (TLC Homes, some really dumpy) all over the net for over $1,000 or more!!

You know that Cuenca has been discovered when you open the Spanish newspaper and out of 30 ads 10 of them say they will “rent to foreigners only”. How sad and discriminating! While at least half of the ads are clearly out of the Ecuadorian local price range, so the foreigners are the ones who rent those too. That leaves only 5 rentals that cater to the whole population of Cuenca.

Umm…something is not right here. I think Cuenca has been discovered!

You Know Cuenca has been discovered when most of the Ecuadorian real estate agents working in Cuenca are from New York, New Jersey, or Chicago, and they are only back in Cuenca to get in on the action and the influx of gringos moving here.

You truly know that Cuenca has been discovered when you try and work with the Ecuadorian real estate agencies, telling them you can bring them more gringos (constant flow of expats) to rent to if they lower their rental prices, and yet, they won’t budge from their high priced rentals, some of which are ridiculously priced!!

You know that Cuenca has been discovered when you constantly get gringo gouged by the Ecuadorians thinking you are a rich and an Norte Americano.

You really know that Cuenca has been discovered when the monthly maintenance fee of the apartment building they live in keeps going up every month. 

Update 2016 - Cuenca Ecuador has a few unscrupulous folks working in the real estate market, some of them gringos. Fortunately we know most of them and so we simply don't work with them, however newcomers will not know them and will at the very least over-pay and sign contracts that are pro-landlord not tenant. We often hear stories.

Sure, rents have doubled in the last five years...wondering whats going to happen in the next five years. 

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You know Cuenca has been discovered when many of the charms are diminishing from the city. Let’s take a look.

NOTE:  All the blogs and forums have gringos complaining incessantly about the noise of the fireworks!! Don't think for a minute that the city does not read the most popular forums. Fireworks have been going off for hundred of years in Cuenca and now after it has been named the "best retirement city" in the world it decides to regulate fireworks...interesting...

Cuenca has been discovered when fireworks are being regulated; what kind of fireworks can be used and what holidays they can be displayed. Haven’t you noticed how quiet Cuenca is lately?  When we moved here fireworks were going off every single day and all night. Someone high up is reading the complaints.

Update 2016: Sadly they didn't even create a professional manned firework show for Cuenca's birthday this year (2016). We're just shaking our heads.  

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NOTE: The produce vendors have been selling on Cuenca sidewalks for hundreds of years...and now all of a sudden, after Cuenca has been named the "best retirement city in the world...they are removing vendors from the sidewalks?  Someone is complaining...just saying...

Cuenca has been discovered when your favorite banana lady vendor is gone from her usual sidewalk selling site. You ask her why she is not selling bananas in the location she has been in for years and she tells you there’s a new county ordinance that vendors can’t sell on certain main thoroughfares anymore. What?

How sad!! 

She is losing money day by day because she is off the main road now and down a side street where no one can see her. Bottom line, her livelihood has been basically taken from her. This is silly, moving the local vendors off the sidewalks. They are not hurting anyone.

Update 2016 - ...and the saddest part is, she went out of business. We're not only shaking our heads but wondering what she does for a living now. 
 
What happened to all of the cart vendors in Cuenca? Little by little they are dwindling down to just wheelbarrows now. We recently learned that the city is not permitting anymore cart vendors. Our son went down to the office with a Ecuadorian friend of his where you register your cart and they told them now more permits and if anyone is selling food out of a cart they are doing it illegally. Sad...

Getting rid of the charms of the city is ruining the beauty of Cuenca.

Cuenca has been discovered when they start regulating wheelbarrow vendors and telling them they can only sell in certain areas of the city. They are no longer free to walk around the city and sell where they want. Is the old world charm disappearing and being replaced by a little North America? 

YES!

You Know a Place Has Been Discovered When the government starts regulating everything. 

NOTE: Cuenca has been named, for the fourth year in a row the "best retirement city in the world"...you better bet that all the NEW changes and regulations have something to do with that. 

Cuenca has been discovered when you can get fined $90 for making a u turn where traffic cops didn’t exist before.

Cuenca has been discovered when an orphanage administrator tells you the government is now regulating the children’s home to be run and modeled after the way the u.s does things.  What they don’t realize is this will affect the children who only want to be loved. To a child, a hug and a story will always take precedent over money and stuff.

NOTE: We want more police protection in the city...that is NOT what we're talking about here...Cuenca has been discovered when 120 new TRAFFIC police (differentiated from police protection) are now installed throughout the city of Cuenca checking papers and writing tickets. Will they be able to protect you while busy pulling you over and fining you for traffic violations?

Cuenca has been discovered when they want to install meters in the taxis.

Update 2016 - This has actually been a good thing for Cuenca all the way around. 

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You know Cuenca Ecuador has been discovered when the president says he is going to get rid of gas subsidy and go totally electric by 2016. Watch your utility bill shoot up from $9 a month to $190 a month in a flash. And many will have to buy all new 220 volt appliances. 

Cuenca has been discovered when so many gringos are coming here so fast that the immigration has to keep changing the laws so as too slow down the influx of paperwork.  Funny! 

Update 2016 - and now they actually moved the immigration office out of the city of Cuenca about 40-minutes out in a city called Azogues. That'll slow things down nicely...or will it?

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You know Cuenca has been discovered when…dental and medical are not really inexpensive anymore. Well, at least for some people who are getting gringoed!

Cuenca's been discovered when a friend tells you they paid $120 to get their tooth pulled…when it should have only been $15. And he thought it was still Cheeeeep!  Our Ecuadorian friends told us in 2013 that $15 was the price for a minor tooth pull. The molars cost $20 to $25 depending on how impacted they are.  I paid $30 to have two teeth pulled in 2012.  

You know Cuenca has been discovered when your expat friends tell you they spent one night in a Cuenca hospital with a stomach ache and it cost over $1,000!! What? Crazy as crazy gets.

Cuenca has been discovered when more and more expats are complaining of paying extravagant prices for services to an Ecuadorian facilitator and because they are “recommended”, they are too busy, and yet they just keep taking the clients/money but while not being able to deliver the service they promised!!! We talk with expats on a “regular basis”…we heard this from the horses-mouth. 

You know Cuenca has been discovered when some of the almuerzo restaurants keep raising their prices. And when some of the mom and pop stores follow the lead.

Cuenca has certainly been discovered when a small burrito at almuerzo price slowly inches up to tourist pricing, I think it is time to walk away from that restaurant, and we have.  

You know Cuenca has been discovered when a certain almuerzo restaurant keeps getting more and more pricy on their menu $4.00 dollars for the same menu item that cost $3.00 just a year ago, from a non tourist point of view its time to quit patronizing that restaurant.

Cuenca Ecuador has been discovered when you go back to the same health food store and they start charging you almost double for the exact same item you can buy in another health food store, it’s time to stop going there. Anyone spell, G.R.I.N.G.O  G.O.U.G.I.N.G.

Cuenca has been discovered when the Parmesan cheese lady raises the price of Parmesan cheese because she knows you’ll be back to buy it from her, you know Cuenca has been discovered and that you are being targeted.

You really know Cuenca has been discovered when different expats keep complaining to us that wherever they go and whatever they do, they keep getting gingoed, you know something is happening to this once beautiful paradise.

And everything we’ve just mentioned has happened/changed in the last one and two years of living here…imagine what it is going to be like in two and three more years!   Someone said it very nicely in the commnets "little NORTH america". 

All the changes we have mentioned and more you see in and around Cuenca are the direct cause of Cuenca being named the "best retirement city" in the world for the 4th year in a row... 

Update 2016 - And lastly, you know that Cuenca and other cities in Ecuador have been discovered when gringo enclaves are being home invaded on a consistent basis. 

So, what do you think happens to a city that has been glorified for four years in a row, as a retirement paradise.  The city makes new regulations, gets more organized, and begins to change the city by implementing things of a first world. 

These changes are happening in Cuenca faster because more baby boomers are on the Internet now than ever before and just like Panama, Costa Rica, AND Mexico when a city is named "best retirement city in the world" for several years in a row it is going to see major changes and fast.  

In fact, rumor has it that they are trying to transform Cuenca to be just like the USA. The one thing that would be good that they could do is "turn down the radio or TV in restaurants and public buses. That would be a good start to calming the senses.

Well, one thing the 'travel media' love to say about Cuenca and it is still the same; it will never change. The weather is still almost spring like 365 days out of the year...aaaaaah, paradise!

Until we write again, you might want to take a look at these articles about Cuenca Ecuador being discovered!

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We're an expat family of five living frugal, happy and healthy in Cuenca Ecuador. Come along with us and enjoy some of our adventures!
  

36 comments:

  1. It sounds horrible. I think you've changed my mind about moving there: maybe that's a good thing.

    Still, there are other cities in Ecuador that probably won't be overrun with gringos as easily. Loja and Manta come to mind.

    I'll tell you one thing, while you've been away, things haven't improved in the states one iota, just the opposite, in fact...

    Nick

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  2. If you were to do it all over, would you still choose Cuenca?

    Thanks

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  3. Intresting, I live here in Cuenca and have noticed a few of the items you mentioned but not all. Our friend was in the hospitol for 6 days and it cost her 2000 dollars for the whole stay.

    I visited a doctor after hours and at his home for 5 dollars.

    I guess it is determined how gulable you are.

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  4. Oh my... you're scaring me. I'm coming in 21 days with my two suitcases and visa papers. This does not bode well. This is not the Cuenca I visited last year, two different times for a month each. Can the genie be put back into the bottle? I really, really don't want to end up in Hutchinson! Do you think it is just Cuenca specific, and perhaps one might be better off looking elsewhere, like Loja, or someplace up North?

    symo

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  5. If we want to go to Ecuador..is it time to perhaps start checking out Quito ..You did mention in previous posts that since Quito is larger it can take the influx of people better without disrupting the pricing status quo

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    1. It is my understanding that Quito and Guayaquil are more expensive than Cuenca.

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  6. I don't think you can blame all of the above on the influx of gringos. Some of it definitely, but not all. As for no longer subsidizing gas, I'm sure Correa has his reasons for that, and I'm also confident that however that plays out, Correa will make sure the Ecuadorian people are not paying $190 for their utilities.

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    1. There is one primordial reason Correa has proposed to stop subsidizing electricity and that is: the over production of electricity you see there are numerous electric generation plants all over Ecuador the result of this: cheap electricity prices that is why he is willing to donate electric stoves. As for natural gas been so cheap it is illegally smuggle into Colombia and Peru where the prices for natural gas is super expensive. As far as gasoline goes he proposed to issued an id card similar to a credit card to any body who owns a vehicle so this person could but gasoline at a low price but once the threshold is reached then the gasoline price will change to that of international prices. I do not know how the threshold will be established for car owners

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  7. So does this mean that you are leaving Cuenca???

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  8. Is there any town or city left that hasn't been discovered yet in southern Ecuador??

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  9. Don't know if you will ever change the minds of American's that are bent on showing the Ecuadorians that they have more money than the "3rd" world.
    Only solution, look for another city in Ecuador where we haven't screwed it up yet. I'd tell you where I am looking, but...you know.

    Morgan

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  10. I am sure that having Ecuador in the news lately / Snowden, made this country even more popular with people leaning to the left in their political views. Look at Uruguay. Many people who made the move to Uruguay 5-6 years ago are now looking at Paraguay to relocate too. Uruguay became simply unaffordable for the people who think that they will get by on the cheap. I know a person who bought an apartment/condo in Montevideo in 2005 for $35K and just sold it for $180K. He is already looking for a house in Paraguay in the $20-30K range. Crazy...makes me wonder how many people are leaving the States searching for the dream that used to be the signature of the USA.

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  11. Americans are to blame for a lot of these changes, since their higher purchasing power ultimately raises prices. Just look at Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. Why would Cuenca be any different? Regarding the housing situation, if you do not speak the language, then you are missing out on great deals. There is an over abundance of cheap housing, and it is your fault for over paying if you are unable to communicate and negotiate a better price. I hope things work out. The city was great before Americans arrived, and will remain great well into the future. Que viva Cuenca, y que viva el Ecuador!!

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  12. I have seen some of this in the last two years. Like anywhere Gringos seem to go en mass in the world, we change things; sometimes for better and sometimes not. Prices have definitely risen for everything including medical care;yes,it depends upon gullibility to some extent but do you want to have a big fight over the cost of something. I routinely tell taxi drivers now to stop if they are trying to gouge me for a ride that I know is half what they are asking. As for the fireworks, I am glad those are being controlled. They were ridiculous especially in and around El Centro. The President is fickle. Time for ex-pats to realize he is not the second coming. His current term is to please the elite whom he really pissed of in his last term, so things like subsidized gas are going away. The question to ask is not how many of us are coming, but how many of us are leaving. That is a good indicator usually of current climate. Speaking of climate-if you like cloudy (temperate) weather, you'll love it here.

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  13. Sure Cuenca is becoming more expensive, if that's what you mean by being "discovered." Still, it's a bit hard to complain that your $2.50 almuerzo is now $3.50 or $4.00 when that same meal would cost $8.00 in the states. Inflation has hit here and people realize that they can charge more than they used to. A recent article in El Tiempo (one of Cuenca's local newspapers) said that some locals prefer to rent to only Americans or Canadians because they can charge a bit more (maybe quite a bit more) and that they pay their rent on time, without hassle. So, it might be a bit more expensive and selective but the rents are still quite cheap by comparison. A friend of ours just rented a large three-bedroom house with a big garden just outside Cuenca for $620/month. That house probably would have rented for $400 a few years ago but it's still impossible to consider it expensive by North American standards; just more expensive than it used to be.

    Also, local real estate price increases (buy or rent) are not the fault of gringos. While there may be 5,000 of us living in Cuenca, for example, over 50,000 cuencanos have returned home from the U.S. or Europe in the past five years. The only way in which the U.S. could be blamed for housing prices increasing in Cuenca is, perhaps, in being the root cause of the financial crisis of 2008 which saw many ecuatorianos los their overseas jobs and have to come home.

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  14. Most of the things you mention are NOT because of being 'discovered'. They are things the gov't has implemented (ie; traffic police, controlling vendors, fireworks preventing a major fire, gas subsidies, etc etc)....they have nothing to do with foreigners coming here. Regarding rental prices, people need to educate themselves and speak the local language and challenge those who are over-charging. There is a LAW the regulates the maximum amount of rent which can be charged in ECUADOR. It is 10% of the tax value (not market value) divided by 12. Big fines if people abuse it. Know the law, use it, enforce it. Keep a perspective real. Foreigners make up less than ONE percent of Cuenca's population. I doubt that less than 1% can really inflict that much influence and control over things changing. It's probably localized (around gringlandia and el centro). Every single person has a responsibility to not participate in reinforcing some peoples behavior...those that overcharge. Buy somewhere else or don't buy that product and TELL THEM SO. Send a message. YOU have control. Gouging only becomes the norm when gouging is reinforced.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. Get educated and realize we do have the power to say NO with our dollars.

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  15. rental story mostly true (2 weeks ago a friend got a 4 bedroom house in the center for $300.) The apartment maintenance fees go up depending on the building. Fireworks were regulated last year in the center because they burned down a public building and an old church , next to the main cathedral. Where the roofs are all wood and straw and clay shingles you can't just throw fireballs in the air. It is an accident waiting to happen. This was by the plea of the local Archbishop by the way. Vendors have the constitutional right to sell in the streets. However they don't have the right to block the tiny sidewalks that people have no place to stand and cross the streets at the corners. As far as traffic officers and traffic violations go, It was about time!!!!! In a country where the pedestrian has no right of way and the drivers pay under the table to get their licenses... (I had a person close to me that did this) these changes are for the better. I don;t know how you can even think that this would be a Cuenca discovered thing to write about. I would put the fine for illegal U turn to $300, not just $90. Numerous times I have seen drives on their cell phone right in-front of traffic officers, and the officers don't even look their way. The immigration is changing the laws because there is a bigger flux of immigrants from all countries, not just gringos. by the way it used to be very corrupt. Now after changing personnel and offices at least twice on national level they have managed to get corruption under control. About the dentists and the hospital costs I have no idea because I avoid both, like Dracula avoids garlic. Although I heard a story of a friend that got a $6k job on his mouth that would have cost like $25-30K in the US and then his new teeth caps started falling off because the dentist did not clean the teeth prior to capping them, which should be standard procedure. Facilitators are there to make money and people should be careful to who they deal with.. Truly I have heard a lot of bad stories. I have a list of people to avoid if interested!! Almuerzo prices range from $1.25 at the mom and pop all the say up to $6 at the Gringo establishments. If one wants to eat crap they can pay the lesser price. With $3 on can find the best almuerzo in town. Every year restaurant owners have to pay, pay increases by law to their employees, including double time for weekends. Add to that the 13th and 14th salary, plus social security, plus the fact that now there are more inspections from the tax department and closures and fines, plus the fact that the workers sue every business owner frivolously, and the owner has to deal with lawyers and fees, plus the fact that the subsidized gas tanks are only for domestic use or for low income restaurants (under $10k revenues per year) and at least now 5 licenses that restaurants have to renew every year, and you have to increase your almuerzo prize, not to make a killing but to at least to make a living! Gas reserves were numbering more than a hindred like 15 years ago. Now they number to less than 5. It means that Ecuador has to import their gas now. The smuggling that goes on at the borders with Colombia and Peru where the gas tank refill costs minimum $15, has a lot of gas leaving this country. The fact is that gas is not efficient in cooking. You lose about 60% to 80% from an open flame. Electric is more efficient and it will be more economical since another 3 hydroelectric plants will go online in the next couple of years... Plus any stove top oven bought after 2010 will be converted to electric with a government subsidy at no cost to the owner. New electric stove will be subsidized too so they will cost as much as buying a gas one. Gringo gouging is more common with gringos, but I know a few Ecuadorians that have gotten stiffed as well. So yes language can be a barrier but one has to watch out for themselves no matter what, no matter where, no matter with whom they are dealing with.

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  16. Most of the things you mention are NOT because of being 'discovered'. They are things the gov't has implemented (ie; traffic police, controlling vendors, fireworks preventing a major fire, gas subsidies, etc etc)....they have nothing to do with foreigners coming here. Regarding rental prices, people need to educate themselves and speak the local language and challenge those who are over-charging. There is a LAW the regulates the maximum amount of rent which can be charged in ECUADOR. It is 10% of the tax value (not market value) divided by 12. Big fines if people abuse it. Know the law, use it, enforce it. Keep a perspective real. Foreigners make up less than ONE percent of Cuenca's population. I doubt that less than 1% can really inflict that much influence and control over things changing. It's probably localized (around gringlandia and el centro). Every single person has a responsibility to not participate in reinforcing some peoples behavior...those that overcharge. Buy somewhere else or don't buy that product. Send a message. YOU have control. Gouging only works when gouging is reinforced.

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  17. The gringos have to stop paying the high rents and then fixing up the houses. That is crazy. Rents should max out at $450 for something really great and the landlord should do the fixing. I have recently been house hunting and that is exactly what I ran into --- high rents and I had to do the fixing. Of course I declined those situations. I saw a house I wanted to rent and the asking price was $700 and the house needed a lot of work which I was told I had to do. I turned it down as the owner would not come down on the rent. Right behind me was an American couple who agreed to the owner's terms. How very sad.

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    1. I really agree with this. We are so delighted to be paying "less" than in the U.S. we run around throwing money at these landlords. It is crazy and few, if any, have a desire to keep up their property. Maintenance is not in the Cuencano vocabulary.

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  18. I don't quite see it like that. Most expats I've met are fairly frugal. And while they may have more purchasing power that the average Ecuadorian, ten times the price for a dental visit or hospital stay seems exaggerated. Many of the price increases can be attributed to repatriated Ecuadorians. They are coming back from Spain and the U.S. in droves, many with money to spend, and after having been gone so long, and not a clue what to pay. While in line a the deli counter recently, an Ecuadorian lady was complaining about the price of bacon, saying that she paid less than that for a POUND in the States, obviously not noting that the bacon was priced per kilo.

    I saw this same thing happen in France in the Sixties. Thousands of returning French, driven home by the war and eventual independence in Algeria, were welcomed with open arms and were granted stipends and subsidies to begin life anew by the French government. They fast fell out of favor with their French counterparts, as prices skyrocketed.

    Look for the same thing to happen here. There are far more returning Ecuadorians with money to spend, than expat retirees from North America.

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    1. I have to agree with your opinion, myself been an Ecuadorian that came back to Ecuador after 33 years of living in the US I have made a lot of mistakes after my arrival from paying for services to buying real estate. I also agree that you need to take your time before making a decision especially if it involves substantial amounts of money.

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  19. I agree with most of what you say. We were in Cuenca last year but will not return this year. We are trying a new city that, hopefully, gringoes haven't infiltrated too much. BTW, I found Cuenca's weather more like late winter, just a little too cold for this gringoe. But your point is right on, I noticed the "getting gringoed" prices and found them irritating when we left Cuenca last year. I hope this is not an issue on this trip. If it is, I'm thinking I might just forget the visa and cedula and stay home. I mean, what's the point, at least I speak the same language as the grocery clerk at my local Publix.

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  20. Hi all, maybe this is a sad reality, I'm from cuenca and I work with foreigners, I been helping them see the doctor, help them renting a house and this is truth some realtos just go crasy but have to negotiate if you buy furnitures is better to aks some one who knows make them, if you buy a house or piece of land, and prices of the taxi ride. Well I'm a taxi driver and it bothers me that people think that gringos are a pot of fortune. all the best everyone bryamcito.2000@hotmail.es

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  21. This article should discourage a few dream seekers...

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  22. I have lived in Cuenca for 3 1/2 years. I did not move here because it was cheap. First the weather was a draw for me. Then the culture of family followed by the wonderful rich artistic culture that is part of everyday life here. That is not the case anywhere in North America. I also do not have to own a car here. Which I love, I hate cars. The lifestyle is tranquilo and yes maybe cheaper than the U. S. but oh so much better for the peace of mind, nap in the afternoon, my art studio where I am the only gringo that attends and finally the piece of mind that one has escaped the rat race of North America. I could not be happier, but I am frugal and do not pay the gringo prices.

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  23. All these things are to be expected, and they are normal, inflationary forces. 35 years ago, a Snickers bar was a dime, plus a penny tax. Now, it's like $1.50, plus tax.

    We can't expect to live in a stagnant world. Just learn to deal with it or run somewhere else. The Cuencans will be just fine. They will adjust to inflation just like the rest of the world.

    That aside, it is interesting to see your perspective that the bargain aspect of Cuenca vs. the US is eroding.

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  24. Sad but true .Had to pack my bags & move to El Oro province to a lovely town called Zaruma after living in cuenca for 6 years

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    1. How's the Internet service in Zaruma?

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    2. I moved to nearbye Piñas from NJ about 2 years ago. this side of the Andes is truely remarkable.
      if your ever in town ask the locals for Jerry i live about 600yrds from the municipal pool. Wont be hard to find only gringo in town.

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  25. I still say Cuenca is a paradise. The weather is perfect, cost of living great, social life fantastic! I wrote a book on where to get the hard to find items, how to avoid petty theft, where to find the social life, etc....Expats in Cuenca, Ecuador. If you learn to speak a bit of Spanish, and where to get the bargains, you won't be gauged.

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  26. Very depressin to hear.

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  27. Shame! Sounds like every gringo town in the USA.......

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  28. So this is the first phase, people becoming aware of the problem.
    What can we do?
    I've seen young guys on the street passing out papers to advertise certain businesses. I think this could be used to educate the Ecuadorans who are gouging.
    First, pass out flyers to everyone (English and Spanish) stating the problem in general terms.
    Second, start a campaign with lists that name names and specific locations of businesses, houses for rent that are gouging.
    Third, organize to keep these lists up to date.
    Fourth, make sure Ecuadoran people know that this will be an ongoing campaign and that this is not only for gringos but also will help them in keeping the cost of living down in Cuenca.

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