Skip to main content

Reader Shares Her Annoyances and Challenges of Living in Ecuador

Note: this post taken from a commenter to one of our videos, “Simple Pleasures of Living in Cuenca Ecuador”. Click here to watch the video and read the comment.

Hi Frank/Angie: I truly enjoy your blog. “Your blog is spot on about the simple pleasures and the little annoyances about coming here; I thought I'd let you know about other very minute differences and/or challenges when someone considers possibly living here (you may or may not agree with me):

(1) Toilet Paper/Paper Towels, no matter the cost, are really CHEAP (as in low quality)!!! They fall apart the moment a drop of water falls on them.

Frank and Angie respond: we concur and it seems to be all scented with perfume!
(2) Back home, you may clean your house 1-2X per week; here, be prepared to dust/mop every single day (very dusty here), and be sure to consume food only in the kitchen/eating area (no eating in bedrooms), otherwise you may encounter some "uninvited guests" in your home (happened to me 2x).

Frank and Angie respond: we agree, it’s dusty, especially when living off a road that is not paved. We just got back from the coast of Ecuador and you’re right about the little critters over there and crumbs. The ants were atrocious…and cockroaches too. Yikes.     Cuenca not so bad…Cuenca has spiders. :-{

(3) learn to cook from scratch; not only is prepared food expensive, but contains many ingredients you may not want.

Frank and Angie respond: we totally agree! Price of imported foods is high here. We’ve been cooking from scratch for 30 years so we’re used to it. The food in Ecuador is going to be taxed even more now. Brace yourselves. One of my sons said it well, “The only thing that is cheap in Cuenca is the produce”.  But now, even some of that is going up in price.

(4) If you make a purchase (clothes, small electronics, etc), make sure you really want it, as it is NOT so easy to make returns as it is in the US.

Frank and Angie respond: Yes, we figured that out early on in 2011 and it is still true today in 2016. Although, we have been able to exchange a few items, which they are much better about.  When we made a large electronic purchase a few years ago, we made sure to get it in writing that we got 48-hours to try/test out the product to make sure it was in good working order and they (La Victoria) honored it.  Although we had to negotiate that time frame as they initially only wanted to give you only a same day return if you took it home and it didn’t work.

(5) You mentioned it many times, but there certainly is price shock here (4 pieces of sliced prosciutto $6!!) Ecuador definitely is NOT cheap for those who think they can still have the purchasing power they do in US!!

Frank and Angie respond: I know, and many newcomers would agree. We read all the time about how expats continue to eat their favorite brands of foods (if they can find them) and then realize their grocery bill is almost as high or even higher then it was in North America!  Its pretty consistent to see only people from super expensive large metro areas describe this place as cheap.  Compared to more reasonably priced areas as the u.s. Midwest etc. its about the same or higher.

(6) As a young mother, I was used to hop in my car, put baby in car seat, and go to the mall or wherever I needed to go with relative ease; not so here…definitely need to "buddy up" with someone, as young women out and about alone are easy targets for not-so-pleasant things to occur to you... Keep the anecdotes and experiences coming, and I hope to meet you guys soon!

Frank and Angie respond: Yes, we totally agree and we have expounded on this subject many, many times, but it is difficult to try and tell others how they should behave when they move here. It seems that something bad has to happen to some people first before they will listen to caution and reason.
Until we write again, you might like to read these articles about moving to and living in Ecuador.
 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!


Popular posts from this blog

3 Ways to Travel from Quito to Cuenca Ecuador: Fly, Bus, Van

Reader asks:I am wondering, is it worth it to fly to Quito and then take a bus to Cuenca? There are 3 of us so that saves us around $900. What are the logistics of getting from Quito to Cuenca? Too complicated? Thanks for your help.

Frank and Angie Respond: There are three ways you can travel from Quito to Cuenca; choosing which one best fits your needs is totally up to you and your circumstances. Below the video we will explain the three ways to Cuenca and by clicking on the links within this article you will find more detail as well as our personal experiences.         

Fly from Quito to Cuenca

This is the most expensive but by far the quickest, easiest way to go! You can get the best deals reserving 7 to 10 days in advance. Surprisingly so, TAMEdoes not always have the cheapest flights. We have always used AEROGAL,which is now AVIANCA. Avianca is based out of Colombia and they can have some super deals! And then there is LAN ECUADOR.  We always check all three airlines with our itine…

Funky Chairs and Big Rustic Coffee Table Made from Scrap Wood

Frank and the boys have made us some neat accent pieces for the house using all the leftover scrap wood that was lying around outside on the back porch.

They each made their own style of funky chair; and what's so neat about these four chairs is we think they will look great around a big square rustic dining room table---what a conversation ensemble, uh?

The other thing was we had some leftover cherry, meil and red stain but not enough to do all four chairs the same color, so we just mixed all the stains together and it turned out to be a wonderful cherrish/reddish color that looks great. The photos just don't do the chairs justice. Can you figure out who made which chair?

Here's all four chairs together

They also made me a BIG Rustic Coffee Table for the Living Room!

We're rich in home built rustic furniture!
And Brandon built another couch but this time I did a step by step video on
"How to Build this couch yourself" Coming Soon!!

But we're going to hav…

Top Ten Safest Latin American Countries for Travelers- UPDATE 2017

Note: This article was first published on March 12, 2016. We like to keep our popular articles updated and this one has been updated August 2017. All new updates will be in red text.  

Latin America refers to territories in the Americas where the Spanish or Portuguese languages prevail: Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Latin America is, therefore, defined as all those parts of the Americas that were once part of the Spanish and Portuguese Empires.   Source: Wiki Latin America

If we were to go by this definition then both Spain and Portugal would be considered Latin America, however, since they are in the European nation we decided to keep them out of the list. Had we put them in the list, it would have pushed Ecuador out of the top ten, from number 8 to number 11. Below the video is the article with more details.

Safest Latin American Countries

FYI: Of the 162 countries worldwide, no Latin American country ma…