CUENCA FAQ

Because Inquiring Minds Might Want to Know
We have posted some of our most popular questions
from our readers and now they're all right here!  We strive to keep our articles updated so our readers are always receiving the latest and best information possible.



Do They Add Artificial Fluoride to the Drinking Water in Cuenca? After reading the studies, we don't think they do, UNLESS something has changed between now and then. Ecuador adds artificial fluoride to the salt, NOT the drinking water! There are small amounts of natural fluoride in the water and if you are concerned about it you can filter it out; we do. 

Is It Safe for Expats to Live Out in the Countryside of (Cuenca) Ecuador?  Probably not. Read the story. 

Is Cuenca Ecuador Very Smoggy?
When we first moved to Cuenca, we didn't really notice the smog too much, but now after the honeymoon is over, we sure notice it.

Do You Guys Still Like Cuenca after 4-Years and Do You Have any NEW Annoyances? 
We have learned to adapt to some things; after all, when you set your mind to realizing this is S.America and so it is not going to be like N. America, it's much easier to adjust to the changes. Click the title and find out. 

Why Do Expats Leave Ecuador and Go Back to N. America?
There are multitude of reasons why people move back home but does it really matter? Everyone has different situations and circumstances so comparing to others who have left Cuenca might not be encouraging for you. 

How Prevalent Are Parasites and Other Intestinal Worms in Cuenca Ecuador?  We've never been checked for parasites before we moved to Ecuador, and now, well...learn more about the prevelence of these bad little bugs in the article.  

Where Can I Buy Organic Fruits and Veggies in Cuenca?
There are 4 farmer's markets in Cuenca and we list them and how to get to them in this article.  

How Can I Keep from Being Gringo Gouged
Everywhere I Go?!

Living here for awhile and you will learn what the going rates are for everything.

Can You Buy Fixer Upper Houses in Ecuador?
Sure you can, but if it's a real good deal and in a desirable area, you better act fast. You are competing with the locals for the fixer deals.  
How Will I Know Who to Trust in Ecuador?
When folks first move here they are having so much fun they are not as guarded as they should be. You have to be careful from shysters because they take advantage of newbies.  The pick-pockets do too.

What is Crime Like in (Cuenca) Ecuador?
In 2015 Expats are still having their home invaded by armed men, there are still pick-pockets and thieves. Be careful that's all. 

Do I Need To Wash Produce with Special Solution?
Absolutely NOT! this is not Mexico! 

What is the COST of Setting Up a House?
 I've listed budget, medium and upper-end costs of setting up house in Cuenca, Ecuador

Are There Snakes and Poisonous Spiders in Cuenca?
There are tarantula's in Cuenca.  

Where Is the Safest Neighborhood in Cuenca?
There's no such thing; all of Cuenca is the same; there are only a couple of areas that are iffy in Cuenca. 

What Clothes Should I Bring If I Want to Blend In?
Most casual clothes will blend in just fine. Flashy and bright colors, big floppy hats and designer sunglasses and purses might get some added attention. 

What Are Some Fun Things To Do When We Get To Cuenca?
We list a whole slew of things to do in Cuenca during your visit.

Are Ecuadorians REALLY as Friendly as Everyone Says?
Ecuadorians as a whole are pleasant, kind folks, but it wouldn't be reality if they ALL were, would it?

How Would I Dress If I Don't Want to Flaunt My Appearance?
Dress casual and comfortable. No flashy clothing or jewelry and you'll be fine. Read the details in the article. 

Should I Bring My Elderly Parents with Me to Cuenca?
Of course! 

What Are BASIC Internet Speeds Like in Cuenca?
They do have faster than this. Both Puntonet and Etapa now have fiber-optics.  

Answering Readers Concerns about Living 10 Minutes
by Taxi from El Centro (Part 1 updated 2014

When we first moved to Cuenca everyone wanted to be downtown in "El Centro" and many readers had concerns about safety living not in the tourist areas.  But you know what happens when everyone wants to be in the same neighborhood? High prices.

Answering Readers Concerns about
Cuenca Neighborhoods  (Part 2 Updated 2014)

There are several Ecuadorian middle class neighborhoods in Cuenca to live and be comfortable.

If I Can't or Won't Learn Spanish, Should  I Live Where the Gringos Are?  (Answering Readers Concerns - (Part 3 UPDATED 2016)
We just updated our readers with part 3 where some folks won't and don't learn Spanish and wondering if they should move into gringolandia. We don't think so. Knowing Spanish is not a requirement to move abroad but it is a benefit to you though.


Should I Live in a Gringo or Ecuadorian Neighborhood? Is it SAFE to Live in a House in Cuenca?
Yes, if the house has electric fencing and looks like all the other homes in the neighborhood it is pretty safe to live in a house. It's best to live in an Ecuadorian neighborhood rather than next to a bunch of gringos. It is becoming well-known rather quickly that gringo enclaves have lots of home invasions. 

Which City is Best for My Retirement Situation? Cuenca or Quito? We Can't answer that for you but what we can do is give you a nuts and bolts break down of each city and then you can go visit them and decide which is better. The bigger and more cosmopolitan, Quito or the smaller and more quaint, Cuenca. Only you can know for sure. 

What's It Like to Live on the Equator in the Andes Mountains?
Living in the Andes is not as cold as I thought it was going to be. In fact, Cuenca is quite mild with no freezing days and no days where you need AC. Many folks find the temps in Cuenca and Quito ideal weather!

Can I Still (2014) Get a Bargain Buying Real Estate in Cuenca?
That depends on what you think a bargain is. Rents have doubled in the 4 plus years we have been here. 


I Thought Ecuador Was a Catholic Culture? Why do the Women Wear Such Tight Pants?  I went shopping for jeans and was surprised to find that my size looked like they'd fit a 4 year old. The jeans are stretchy material and very narrow at the ankles too...not my style. Bring clothes with you.


Does Ecuador Have Chemtrails?
Does Ecuador have planes in the sky? All planes stream chemtrails. 


Does Ecuador Have GMO Foods? 
Ecuador has much cleaner food than the U.S. Genetically Modified Organisms and Foods are not allowed in Ecuador, for now...but they might be trying to change that.


Do I Tip the Wait Staff In Ecuador? How Much?
We usually tip a very small amount when eating out. Just to say thank you, we'll be back.

Can I Really Retire on $1000 a Month in Cuenca Ecuador? 
That depends on you and how you shop and how you want to live. Everyone's budget is different according to that persons wants and needs. The article explains more about that in detail.


Are Ecuadorians REALLY as Friendly as Everyone Says?
It's rather humorous, several years ago virtually everyone was saying how friendly the Ecuadorians were...and now, virtually everyone is talking disparaging about them. 

Can I Live Better (Luxurious) if I Rent for $600 to $800 a Month? Not really, the rents are going up so fast that now the once $250 to $300 houses are now $500 to $600...same house, same yard, same amount of rooms, etc, etc...but a fatter pocket for the owner. In the $700 to $1,500 range is considered luxury but wait till you see it and then you be the judge. 

Can I Still Find a Rental for $300?
3 or 4 bedroom (newer) House with yard, no. 2 or 3 bedroom apartment, yes! Read the rest of the article to find out more.

Is it Safe to Hail a Taxi off the Street? How Much Should I Pay?All taxis have meters now, just make sure it is running before getting in. Never yet heard of anything negative happening to a gringo hailing a cab off the street in Cuenca. Quito and Guayaqui different story.

When Is The Best Time of Year to Visit Cuenca? 
You'll just have to read the article to find out. 

What's It Like Doing Business in Ecuador?
It's NOTHING like what you're used to

What Is It Like Trying to Adjust to the High Altitude and Culture?
For most people, its ok. Few others high-tail it out of here and go back to dodge.

Is It Dry or Humid in Cuenca?
We did an 8-part series about the weather/climate/humidity of Cuenca. Click the title to watch the videos. 

Is It Safe to Eat from Street Vendors?
Probably not...read this article to find out how to be safer if eating from street vendors.

How Many Expats/Gringos Live in Cuenca?
Who really knows and does it really matter anyway. There is a sizable expat community in Cuenca. 

Do all the Houses in Cuenca Have Metal Bars on Windows and Tall Gates? Yes, read the details in the article to find out why.

Is the Produce Grown in Cuenca Organic or Sprayed with Pesticides? Good question...you tell us! LOL
 
Can I Teach English in Ecuador? What Does it Pay?
yes, and the pay is very little.


Should I Ship My Furniture or Buy When I Get There?
Depends on you. Some people have a difficult time giving up their stuff and so they ship it over, not good if they go back home. We recommend buying most things for living here and bringing only your must have items in your suitcases. If you decide to leave you can sell your stuff to newcomers to Cuenca.

Is Cuenca Safe for Women Alone?
Whatever...

Is Cuenca Loud with Boom Boxes? Does it Smell
Like Urine in Certain Areas?
  Well, you'll just have to read the article to find out.


What Is the Culture and People Like in Cuenca?
Will I Be in Shock?

Anyone who has never traveled outside of North America will come here and be in mild to moderate shock, not in a negative way but just because of how everything is different than what you're used to.  

How Can I Avoid Being a Victim of a Crime in Ecuador?
In South America you definitely have to behave differently so you won't get targeted and robbed or pick-pocketed.

What Documents Do I Need for Ecuador Residency? 
The process and guidelines change fast here. The article has the official Ecuador Embassy link where you can find out exactly what you need...they keep their site updated.

Should I Bring My Tools to Ecuador? 
Tools in Ecuador are expensive. 

What are the Steps for Moving  or Retiring to Cuenca? 
Read this article and find out how to have less stress and be more efficient when you move/travel abroad. 

Is there Mold in the Homes and Apartments?
Yes, Cuenca has a mold problem in some older homes and apartments. Read more about it in the article. 

What Is the Job Market Like in Cuenca?
We do not recommend foreigners moving here and taking jobs away from the locals.  But hey, if you want to teach or bring your already working skills with you, or you want to open up shop, why not! However, there's a lot of bureaucracy in opening a biz in Ecuador.

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