November 05, 2015

Best Way to Get Things You Need to Cuenca Ecuador & What Should You Bring with You?

Someone recently commented on one of our YT Videos, asking us, “So you bought the Berkey Sport Water Purifiers on eBay for $20, but how did you get them to Ecuador?”  He’s asking because if we were to have them shipped into Ecuador, our $20 Sport Berkey Purifiers would have cost us $100 or more with the Ecuador shipping regulations and tax.
Ecuador shipping warehouse AFTER the new shipping regulations.
Before the new regulations, packages were piled four feet high and all the crates were full
Have People Bring You Things 

So, to answer your question, “How did we get them here?” Well, we had some people, who were already coming to Cuenca bring them down when they came. Because of our blog and YT channel we are in contact with many people on a daily basis, and sometimes, but not nearly often enough, nice folks just offer to bring us stuff.
 

Having anything shipped into Ecuador takes away from the reason you bought it in the U.S to begin with, at least from a cost standpoint.  Ideally, you would just purchase what you need right here in Ecuador. However, as we’ve always said, moving to a new country such as Ecuador and many others, is not like being in the states.  Not at all for many reasons which we go into much detail on this blog quite frequently. 
 

What about Hard-To-Find Items or Items Unavailable in Cuenca?
 

But what about the hard-to-find-items, you may be wondering. This is where some really good planning is essential. If you’re moving to Cuenca, find out what you can’t get/buy here that you KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO NEED. Bring those items with you.  Start making the list 6-months before you actually move here. Post it somewhere convenient in your house where you can jot down items the minute you think about them.  

We made a video of some things we really are glad we brought with us, but if we were going to do it all over again, we would have added more items to our list and maybe taken some of the items off the list.
 

Some things, obviously you will not know you’re going to want or need, until you get here. That happened to us. We didn’t know we’d want the Sport Berkey Bottles, but after traveling many times to other areas of Ecuador and to the Ecuador coast, we realized they would come in really handy. Fortunately, someone offered to bring us stuff and so we now have our traveling water purifiers without having to pay the high shipping costs. Thank you to our friendly readers.
 

Families with Small Children
 

If you have a family with small children, it makes even more sense to be as prepared as you can be BEFORE you get here.  Specialty items here such as electric flour mill (a grinder that makes flour from the wheat berry) is difficult unless you enjoy paying 300% markups.  If you can buy them here, it will cost four times as much as in the states. Once we got here, we realized how much we missed our flour mill, so again we had someone bring it to us from the states.
 

Sometimes there are alternatives but many times there are not.  As in the case of the flour mill, you can get a hand mill, non electric for around $35 if that fits your needs.  In the case of the sport Berkey however, none are available here.
 

Special Items for Special Circumstances
 

Only you will know what those special items you might need that you can’t find or buy here. Get on the gringo post and ask folks if that item is available here and how much it will cost. Remember, fruits and vegetables might be cheaper in Ecuador but linens, clothes, shoes, tools, electronics, computers, cell phones, all cost twice as much or more! By all means, bring whatever you can, with you.
 

We don’t mean you have to being big items like furniture, but we know ladies who pack one whole suitcase with just towels and sheets! So you get what we’re talking about. You can buy sheets here by the way, but they may not be nice to your skin; we bought all of our sheets here and after a few washing's they’re softer.
 

I recently went to the U.S in 2014 and brought back a bunch of new 100% cotton towels for $2.50 each rather than pay $11 each here. I also bought a huge gallon jug of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil from Costco for $23 instead of paying $70 for that amount here. Those are the things, if you use them you’ll want to bring. That’s what I’m saying, you know what those items are you will want to bring with you.
 

BTW, we’re looking for someone to bring us another big jug of pure extra virgin coconut oil from Costco if they are coming to Cuenca, we’ll pay you when you get here, plus a DIY Cuenca Landing Guide for free! When I bought the jug in 2014 it was $23
Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil from Costco $23

If you are that person, please email us. At the top of the blog on the left is the “Email Frank and Angie” button. Thank you! Btw, if you haven't see our Reality check video about coconut oil then you might want to watch it. If you use extra virgin coconut oil you may want to bring your own jug of coconut oil with you.
                           

Now back to the article.
 

LOTS of Furniture for Sale in Cuenca Now!
 

We don’t think it is necessary (for most people) to bring a whole 40’ foot container full of stuff with you to Ecuador, but if you have children and need a lot of specialty items, maybe it is best for your family to bring some things. Furniture, appliances and household items are easily found here on the gringo post. Most of the items are gently used and there are some good deals, if you are not in a hurry.
 

Just like everywhere, there are people that overprice their stuff and there are people that don’t. But you can find and get everything for setting up a house or apartment off the gringo outlets in many cases. When we first moved here, there was absolutely nothing for sale…so we built all of our furniture. Amazing what a few years does.
 

And of course, you can always have anything you want shipped in to Ecuador but you will pay…and then there is the worry that you might not get it but that’s another article.  So, the bottom line is if you already live in Cuenca then the best way is to have travelers to Cuenca bring you what you need when they come to Cuenca. As you can see however, you may turn into a beggar! Nice folks that offer to bring you stuff are few and far between.  Not really a very good way to live.  You will miss the convenience in the long run, after the honeymoon phase.
 

If you haven’t moved to Cuenca yet, be prepared, make lists and bring with you the essential items that you know you will need and can’t be without.
 

Until we write again…
 

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 We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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