10 Years of Blog Archive

Friday, April 08, 2016

What Expats Say They Miss the Most & Why they Leave Ecuador - UPDATED 2016

People who have not moved here yet want to know why expats leave Cuenca and what they miss the most about North America while living in Cuenca Ecuador. Some writers have said expats lie about why they leave Ecuador.  (Article first published 5 years ago on July 2011)

Update 2016 - Do expats lie about why they leave? We do not assume expats lie when we sit down with them and ask them to share with us what they miss back in the USA or why they are moving back. We assume that we are talking with people who feel comfortable with us and simply want to share how they feel.  

Why would someone lie and say, "I miss my grand babies in Canada"? or "I can't learn the language and so we're moving to Mexico with a larger expat community?" We have no reason to think they are lying to us. We have a bit more trust in people than that. 

If we were to leave Cuenca Ecuador we'd say our reasons are, "The pollution is too much to bear for us when we're walking around". and "Prices and gringo gouging are getting out of hand". This is how we feel and is our reasons, but it may not be your reasons. Perhaps you don't find bus exhaust in Cuenca that harmful to you or gringo pricing is okay with you. 

Just saying...everyone has their own reasons and every reason is a good reason because it is their experience...and so we just need to let people be.  If expats lie about why they move back then maybe its because they are afraid they will be snickered at or be called whiners. 

We've done our share of research about Ecuador before we moved here. We talked (on Skype) with other expats who have already lived here for a couple years on just about everything we could think of. Our questions were never ending. We pretty much knew what to expect. We asked about cost of food, clothing, restaurants, furniture, housing costs, dental work and service, entertainment, weather, etc, etc. Before moving to Ecuador we also considered moving to the countries of either Panama or Chile. Well, we did our research and chose Ecuador and here we are.

NEW SERVICE: Feel free to bombard us with all of your questions about moving to Ecuador or Panama. We offer this new service because we know what its like to need reassurance and we know what its like to have nagging issues in the back of our mind that we're not quite sure about. Wisdom dictates that newcomers absolutely need to get those nagging questions and concerns answered; and there is no better way to do that than with the people you can trust and feel comfortable with. 

Our Family Does Not Miss Anything Back in the States

We (Frank, Angie, Brandon, Angelo, and Alex) do not miss anything back in the United States! These pictures were taken on the last day of living in the United States.We are living and growing in this new chapter of our lives.

Frank with our three sons

We like Cuenca! It is everything we thought it would be and more. The people are friendly (for the most part), the weather is great, (hahahah), the cost of living is ok (if you know how to shop for food, housing, clothing, furniture, etc) and the scenery is amazing. From colonial downtown architecture to beautiful parks with a flowing river running through it, to every kind of family run shop, and store imaginable. There are beautiful malls and shopping centers here too, nicer than in the states! There are beautiful mountains and countryside, and everything is so green. The flowers and trees are amazing! And most of the food is fresh and clean

We have everything we need for our daily living and comfort levels. Ok, ok, so things are slower here (manana) and many things are done somewhat differently than what most people are used to, but that is the beauty of it. Live and let live. enjoy the simplicity and be happy!! We live in a comfortable home, we drink the tap water (we now use Berkey filter system), we eat out in family run restaurants and eat wholesome home cooked meals, we buy extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese from a big, clean grocery store, we meet friendly people, we have all of the comforts of home but at a far better financial means and lifestyle. There is nothing that we miss in the States.  Our family has gone local in Cuenca Ecuador.

Update 2016 Or let us put it another way "there is absolutely nothing we would move back to the USA for". Sure, living abroad anywhere in Latin America is going to have its little inconveniences but like we just said in another video, "We have to keep our eye on what's important."  Health and family are important to us. 

So what do expats say they miss the most? 

Expats Miss Their Family

They tell us the one thing they miss the most when they move to Ecuador is "family". Many expats have moved to Cuenca or Quito because of the better health care system and cost of living for their retirement, meaning their retirement money goes a lot further here than back in the states. But most expats have daughters, sons, and grandchildren back in the sates. This means they must travel back and forth if they want to visit their children or grandchildren. And you can do that whenever you want but it isn't cheap unless you live in Miami.

For some people it is difficult to leave family behind. Fortunately we have our three sons with us here in Ecuador, and it is a wonderful blessing to have all three of them here! We do, of course have extended family members, such as mothers, brothers and sisters in the states. I'm trying to talk my mother into coming here for a visit so she can see if she likes it here. But I lived 3,000 miles away from all of my family anyway, since they lived on the west coast and I on the east coast.

If you are a family oriented person, leaving children and grandchildren (missing their growing up years) and moving to a far away country may not be right for you. This is something you must truly think about and contemplate. Unless you have the financial resources, good health, and time to travel back and forth to visit with your family a couple times a year, you may want to advise against moving to a far away country...or, bring them with you.

Bottom line: People come and people leave and they are free to do what makes them happy; its as simple as that.  It's perfectly fine to move back home or to leave Ecuador and move somewhere else of your choosing; it's normal for people to do that. Moving to Ecuador doesn't mean it has to be for life; you're not married to Ecuador. Breaking it off doesn't mean anything other than its time to move on or go back home and start a new chapter in your life.  

Until we write again, you might want to take a look at these other articles about expat life in Ecuador.
We're an Expat family of five, living frugal, healthy and happy in Cuenca Ecuador. We share the nitty-gritty of life abroad; these are the topics that other bloggers don't want to talk about. Come along and experience the adventure abroad with us!  Subscribe to receive our daily posts in your inbox.


  1. What would be involved to go visit Ecuador from USA or to go back as an Ecuadorian citizan? How easy is travel legally, through customs, and financially? I know I have heard that it is hard for native Ecuadoreans to visit USA. Why?

    1. Because many people from Latin America over stay their visas while working under the table ( untaxed and a job lost to a US citizen).


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