January 23, 2016

Living Your Retirement Dream Abroad: Why Expats Stay in Cuenca Ecuador

Why expats leave Cuenca Ecuador has been overdone; it’s like a sirloin steak that was left to char on the grill and subsequently has lost its flavor?  Planning to move to Cuenca Ecuador or not to move to Cuenca on the whim of what other people do, is a bad reason to make a life-long change to live abroad.  

Just saying, don’t look at the reasons why some expats have left. The point is, we’re still here and a lot of other expats we know personally are still here as well and no one has any plans to move anywhere.  So then the question is, “Why do some expats stay?”
 

We’re guessing but we think about half of the expats that move to Cuenca stay in Cuenca or move to other areas abroad. The reasons for staying are many’ and we compiled these reasons from talking with expats over the years who still live here and from our own experiences of life in Cuenca Ecuador.  Enjoy!
 

1. No GMO foods – This issue is important to many people who care about their health. If you have done the study on what Genetically Modified Organisms do to your body you would know that genetically modified foods (GMF’s) can radically change a person’s overall health, for the worst. GMOs in the food you eat actually mutate the cells in your body, transforming your genes.  It’s disgusting.  Source: Collective Evolution
2. Abundance and variety of fresh (some organic) produce at reasonable prices – We have talked a lot on the blog and in our videos about all the variety and abundance available of fruits and vegetables in Cuenca Ecuador; this is just one of the reasons why we chose to move our family here.
 

3. Don’t want to live in the U.S – We have been told by several different expat couples, “We’ll never move back!” Everyone has their own personal reasons why they don’t want to live in the United States, but if the reason is strong enough and people are convicted they will make living abroad work for them and quite frankly, if folks set something in their mind, they will do it regardless of obstacles.
 

Moving abroad is sort of like a marriage; if you are not committed to it then it probably won’t work out. But if you set it in your heart to commit yourself, and know that moving back to the U.S is not an option then we are much more apt to make it work.
 

4. They brought their family with them abroad and have nothing to go back to the states for. Perhaps they might visit an elderly parent(s) or they may go back because of sickness or death of a parent but if they have their own family in Ecuador with them then what’s the pull to go back for? Skippy Peanut butter, beef hot dogs, apple pie filling?  You can make your own or move to a country that has them.
 

5. Liberty and freedom to walk on the streets and be who you are. In Ecuador you can preach the gospel and pass out pamphlets on the street! In the U.S children can’t wear t-shirts to school that say, “I love God”.  How oppressive is that!! 
  • Parents must vaccinate their children or they can't attend school.  
  • In the U.S homeowners can’t grow a garden in their own yard!  In Ecuador they welcome farmers to farm and eat from their garden for sustenance. 
  • In Ecuador you can buy unpasteurized milk from the goat farmers. In the U.S they shut down all the milk farmers who were selling unpasteurized milk to its members.
  • In Ecuador you are free to be who you are as long as you are not harming another human being and that’s the way it should be!  
  • Ecuador allows people to make their own choices of how they will live; and in the U.S, they make choices for you. We could make such comparisons to write a whole book, but you get the drift.
6. Mild weather – Just yesterday we were talking with an expat and I said the weather was one reason why expats like Cuenca and she said, “Oh, the weather is terrible here, I can’t stand it!” I explained again to her that the weather is mild, meaning it never gets too cold or too hot, which for some people is actually ideal. If you are a walker, the weather here is perfect for that.
 

7. Low cost and good health care – Thousands of expats have used the medical services in Cuenca Ecuador and we’re still waiting for a bad review. Everyone raves on the professionalism, the U.S standard facilities, and the inexpensive cost of medical and dental. So, it must be good, even if they're not really paying local rates.
 

8. Inexpensive cost of living – Some people like to call Cuenca “cheap” but Cuenca is nothing but. We try not to use the word “cheap” for Cuenca because nothing is ever “cheap”; it’s all very subjective. However, in most respects it is inexpensive to live here (although prices are going up on everything) but if you go local it is even more inexpensive.
 

9. Good transportation options - Getting rid of the burden of car ownership is a plus for many folks. Half of all expats that move to Cuenca never drive; it’s easier to take a taxi, bus or walk where you need to go. You absolutely do not need to  own a car in Cuenca…the public modes of transportation are that good.
 

10. They adapt – believe it or not some people adapt to living in other countries and actually like it better than where they came from.  It depends a lot on how a person was raised and how set they are in their ways. Some folks are just good at adjusting to change and they simply adapt and love it! Children are also good at change in environment.
 

11. Safe for expats – Cuenca is fast becoming one of the safest cities of its size in Latin America…thanks to the ramped up security/tourist police and expat awareness! Thank you City of Cuenca!
 

12. Cuenca is a very livable city – family oriented culture and the friendly people and the traditional culture make Cuenca a likable city. There are many restaurants, bakeries, small shops, and nice grocery stores to choose from; and let’s not forget the free symphonies and concerts; oh and the infrastructure. Cuenca has basically (most of the time) good Internet, good roads, bike paths, nice parks and it’s a very clean, safe city for walking around in, even off the beaten path. Now, that doesn’t mean you can get lax about your personal safety but it means you are quite safe during the day in Cuenca Ecuador, it wasn’t always that way.
 

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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