10 Years of Blog Archive

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Some Gringos Want to Scare More Foreigners Away from Cuenca UPDATE 2016

This post really needed some updates. On December 2011 we encountered a few panicky foreigners living in Cuenca Ecuador. They were panicky because they were afraid that if too many people moved to Cuenca it will raise prices.  Well, they were right. 

New updates in red.

3 Behaviorial Types of Grinogs Living in Cuenca

1. Cuenca Glorifiers: There are those who only glorify Cuenca and talk about only the positives because they want as many people to move here as possible. These are the people who have a vested interest in Cuenca, literally. If you say anything negative/truthful about their heavenly paradise, they’ll basically call you a liar and a whiner.   Lahdeedahdahdah

Update 2016 - Still true

2. Panicky Expats: And who are the panicky ones? There are those who don’t want more expats moving to Cuenca.  They behave exactly the opposite of the glorifyers because they usually do not have any vested interests. These are the people who are in fear that their social security or other means of retirement is not going to allow them to live here if the cost of living goes up. If you say anything positive about Cuenca, they’ll call you names and contradict what you have to say.  

Update 2016 - We understand this behavior because its quite normal to feel this way. However, its not nice to blame the messenger.  We say, don't worry about it too much, just move somewhere else when it becomes overblown like Panama and Costa Rica is now. Believe us when we say, Cuenca is not the only fish in the sea! 

Besides, rumour has it that foreigners with higher income pensions ($3,000 or more) are going to start getting taxed. We're not sure about how factual this is but if it is true, that's going to stop the flow of foreigners coming here, which will help soften the higher prices somewhat

3. Impartial Expats: Then there are people like us who only want to keep Cuenca livable for everyone. We tell it like it is about Cuenca, negatives and positives, and don’t blow smoke. Anyway, if you are the DIY type and seek to live and shop Ecuadorian you’ll have no problem living here on a pension income, even if and when the cost of living goes up. The same pretty much applies to living in most North American cities as well. 

Update 2016 -  ...unless of course, you come here with a very small pension to begin with, then you might have a problem living on a smaller means as prices have over inflated like they do in these tourist places. But like we previously said, you can move somewhere else, and lower your rent when cost of living gets out of hand in Cuenca Ecuador. Better to be prepared emotionally and financially and realize that prices are going up, not down...plus more taxes on many items.

We’ve already posted about the folks who only talk about the positives (glorifyers) of Cuenca--they are the ones that leave rude and nasty comments about our 12 annoying things about Cuenca video.. See this post by clicking here

So where are we going with this?  Well, the reason for this post is to clarify some bad comments...let’s talk about it…

… There is a panicky Cuenca expat who is a subscriber to our You Tube channel. The problem is he/she is leaving comments that our videos are going to cause the cost of living to go higher in Cuenca. hahahahahaha...lol. 

What do we have to say about this? “Why put us on a pedestal?” Is it truly possible that a 'nobody family' could help raise the cost of living in Cuenca because of their frugal-family living videos about Cuenca?  


We’re doing exactly the opposite! Our mission is educate people so they can know to do what they normally do naturally according to the local economy not the gringo gouging economy; you see the difference? ...and being examples and showing others how they can live frugally and resourceful in Cuenca!  How are we doing?

There are big named magazines and hit reality television shows that are doing a pretty good job of bringing more people to Cuenca Ecuador and elevating the cost of living in Cuenca.  Please take us off the pedestal. Could one family’s videos of living in Cuenca have any major impact? We don’t think so. What do you think?  Are we being a good example on how to be part of the solution?

Here are some of the comments left from 3 “panicky expats”. These were left on our YT videos (2011) when we started making a lot of videos showing people how lovely it is here.
I told you guys didn't I, your videos are not doing anything to help anyone. You guys are just bragging about how good you got it, like typical gringos. I'll be damned if you screw it up for me by your cocky attitudes, they don’t like you guys, stop with the videos, your just hurting the culture here by bringing more cocky people like yourselves.

Your family is doing a great job showing how Cuenca really is, but your bringing more gringos here, which hurts us all with inflated Gringo prices. Most gringos here don’t want "More Gringos' I don’t know what your family is getting out of more "Gringos coming here besides potential "friends" but in the future it hurts us all, retirees and locals alike, another expensive "Panama and Costa Rica! Keep this place a secret! 

Oh Great, more Gringos coming because of the prices, great video, when rental properties skyrocket, pat yourselves on the backs. Great work! Great Vids, now my cost of living is higher!!!

Update 2016 - In January 2012 we got asked to do a House Hunter's International Show and we declined. We declined to do it because we're not interested in raising rental prices.

We had no problem leaving these comments on our You Tube videos, in fact we believe everyone should have their opinion as long as they are civil about it…but then someone called us liars. (Deleted that comment and had to block him from our channel, read below to find out why.)

A curious viewer and potential expat to Cuenca asked us if the water was safe to drink in Cuenca. Our reply was and still stands, yes, the water is safe to drink. Then went on to let her know that we have been drinking the tap water in Cuenca for almost 6 months now and we (family of five) have never had a problem with drinking the water here in Cuenca. The water in Cuenca is heavily chlorinated. 

I did let her know that some expats do buy bottled water and wash all their veggies with disinfectant potions, but we don’t do that—we do not go that far. It's a choice that one can make. If the locals drink the water and only wash their veggies and fruits with water then why can’t you? When in Mexico do as the Mexican’s but when in Cuenca Ecuador do as the Cuencanos.  

Panicky gringo responded back to the women that the tap water in Cuenca will give you diarrhea and vomiting, completely contradicting what we told her. He basically called us liars.

What ‘panicky expat’ is doing is trying to scare people away from coming to Cuenca.  Now, we have to clear things up after he/she caused confusion. 

Yes, YOU can DRINK the Tap Water in Cuenca! 


Update 2016 - The tap water in Cuenca is not as safe as we thought. We contracted a bad parasite where it really did a job on one of our sons.Took him to the doctor and he had amoebiasis and she said and we quote her "The water in Ecuador is not safe to drink, it is endemic with e-Histolytica parasites!"... (chlorine in the amounts they add to the drinking water does not KILL off this parasite) Her words, not ours!  we were in shock.

She then went on to tell us that the coast is worse than Cuenca but Cuenca still has them. 

So we did the research and yes ALL of Ecuador is endemic with Entamoeba Histolytica Parasite...the third most dangerous parasite in the world!  (some sources say second most dangerous right after Malaria).

The past two years has been a challenge fighting off infections, candida and parasites. You can read the full story here.
To end this post, we would like to think that we are being a good example on sustainable expat-ing.  Yes, you read it here first, “sustainable expat-ing”.  It’s a word we’ve coined right here. 

But if expats are going to read the blog just for the nice information, and then just come down here and overpay for everything etc. etc. and not put any of the helpful information to use, is that our fault or theirs? 

If you take guitar lessons or Spanish lessons and don’t apply what you’ve learned, is that the teacher’s fault or the students?  Should we quit?  Let us know your thoughts, and have a wonderful day…

Update 2016 - We haven't encountered any of the panicky gringos mentioned above lately; maybe they left Cuenca or realized our mission is of goodwill to all. We still think there are a few panicky gringos though, they're just keeping to themselves...what do you all think? 

Until we write again you might like to read these articles about the tap water safety and prevalence of parasites in Cuenca Ecuador.

We're an expat family of five living frugal, healthy and happy in Ecuador. We write and make videos about what it's like to live abroad and we get into the real nitty-gritty stuff. Nothing is sugar-coated or hyped up...we tell it like it is. So come along and see if a move to Latin America is your cup of tea! 


  1. I always have trouble with discussions by and for expats even though I am currently one in Morelia Mexico. My wife and I retired in Mexico intending to make our lives here for a bit. We have continued to keep out house in Switzerland as a primary investment yet we feel completely separated from home all of this time.

    Mexico is getting a bit too exciting for me lately. I simply dont feel good living here anymore and we have decided to move. We have looked everywhere in the world and almost moved once to Thailand, then the floods and the red and yellow shirts and all of that and at the same time a growing love for latin america.

    I enjoy it here for rather peculiar expat reasons. And I hope to do the same in Equador when we move soon. I will make a scouting trip first of course while my wife flits off to switzerland to be with her parents etc. we retired young.

    The reason. I am a north american Indian from Canada. I have always felt seperate and isolated in the big canadian world and accounted for my moving to europe and becoming a swiss citizen. I like living in Latin America because I feel that I fit in although I have all of the canadian values. I have brownish skin, black hair and dark eyes and in Mexico i get taken for a rather large mexican. People stop me and ask me for directions and look rather startled when I answer them in my horrible spanish. Let us put it this way, It will be a unique experience for me to show up in equador and people hesitate about me because I might raise property values. I have been used to the opposite in canada. chuckle.

    I truly enjoy your blog and your attitude. It is a bit in your face in feel and I like the spirit because it takes a certain bravadura to be completely honest. Like I have tried to be here.

    I have bookmarked your site. and thanks.


  2. Great to hear from you Garry.
    There's lots of room left, come on down.

  3. I think you are doing a great job because you strive for balance. Keep telling it like it is. The people that move to Ecuador need to understand the customs, like how and when to tip (not for taxi's), etc. It is a learning curve. Mike Gossman

  4. I love your blog and its honesty. It sounds like the panicky expats want to keep it all to themselves. They are selfish. Also, may I recommend a remedial English class for the panicky one?

  5. Hi,

    You probably have gathered that I have begun the long slow process of researching my next destination in my perpetual search for that elusive "retirement destination".

    I am a bit of an old hand at this having tried out Spain, Canada and at the moment Mexico. I have Equador now in my sights since Mexico, after two years, is getting a bit too exciting for my tastes.

    Right now I am looking at Crime and violence in Equador. The US State Department basically advises that Equador s crime problems are "severe". Stopping short of saying... if you go to Equador you will be killed. It seems your state department is like that.

    I have also examined many recent studies by world bodies, universities and primary source material in sociology and criminology. I am used to this sort of digging having spent most of my life doing this first as a policeman and then as a lawyer.

    Several reports show that the overall crime situation is better than in many industrialized nations. All reports demonstrate however that the rate for intentional homicide is very high and in fact is higher than even mexico.

    It seems that the justice system is not completely effectual and its infrastructure, i.e. police, prosecutors and the sort are not particularily effective. At the same time the american government confirms that you will probably get a fair trial in Equador.

    I have consulted a number of blogs as well. Some that either deny that crime exists in Equador and others that basically say you will be killed, robbed, raped and then be kidnapped.

    My take. I have even set out the extent of my research to date in a highly edited form on by own blog..http://mexicoobserver.blogspot.com/

    I grew up in a very rough neighbourhood where the statistical possibility of suffering from crime was 100 per cent. I have been shot at, stabbed, beaten, and had my car torn apart while i was still in it.(later of course when i was a cop-a mountie yet) I have had some experience with crime and have learned to take it all as part of life. I ve learned to duck and to succour its victims.

    Crime to me so far, and I have managed to survive for 57 years, is a state of mind. I have felt least safe in Europe and the United States. I would wake at night and check the door. It was not the statistics that worried me but the freaked out dopehead or the crazed loner which no law can ever stop. In the United States I was always disconcerted in knowing that probably half the people I saw wandering the streets had a gun. I developed a rictus with my smile. I take some confort in knowing that the americans I meet outside of the United States are not packin. Sorry. no insult intended.

    what madame, sir, and jovenes are your takes on this troubling issue.


  6. Thanks Phyllis,

    Glad you are enjoying the blog. We're in the process of writing a DIY Cuenca guide book that is going to be very useful for newcomers. So keep an eye out for it. Take care!

  7. You guys are doing a fantastic job!
    Keep on bringing us the real deal on Cuenca.

    You are providing a valuable service to people that have a genuine in interest in living in Cuenca.

    What if you weren't honest about some of the quirky things about Cuenca and tried to sugar-coat it all?

    Then you would be doing a great disservice to people that may not have much money to lose if they realize too late that they made a mistake by moving to Cuenca.

    If some people can't handle the truth -- as you all see it -- tell them to stop reading/watching your blog.

    Don't be too hard on all of the gringos that are critical, though -- it probably takes a lot of them a lot longer to get over some of the hangups one gets from living in the U.S. I'm sure I've got a few, too.

    By the way I'm very interested in this guide you are putting together. I'll be buying one, for sure!

    I try to check your site everyday -- but I keep up with all of your articles and videos.

    Let me tell you something: You all look look happier the longer you are there in Cuenca.

    Keep having fun and doing what you're doing.

    Take care,


  8. Here's the deal. What drives up the prices is when Gringos come to an area and pay full Gringo price. Not full local price but full over inflated gringo price for say a condo.

    So, you're telling them NOT to do that and don't be a retard and just pay full price in a country where haggling is the norm is helping to keep the prices down.

    People are going to go to Cuenca anyway. But if you can help them to pay local prices then you're helping keep the prices down. So, I think that should be a major focus of your book. I think you should spell it out in the book that we all need to haggle, negotiate etc. for the best possible price so we can work together to keep the prices down.


  9. Glad you see it Patrick. Thanks for the comments. We're working hard to do as good a job as we can to help keep this place what it is...

  10. Frank + Angie, we really appreciate the content that is put on your site to inform and entertain us about a place. People are reading and making decisions everyday, no matter if the information is good or bad. Prices going up EVERYwhere in the world, no matter there are gringos, tourists coming to that place ,yes or no.
    There is also information from the ecuadorians who like to leave their country, does it makes the prices of the goods going down?

    The sellers decide what the prices are going to be, depending on the availability of the goods/commodities and the buyers make the decisions how much they need it. Nobody has really control of the market mechanism. So you must not feeling bad about something that goes up or goes down. Life is it, what it is, it just happen, because all of us making decisions. You can Not STOP people from making decisions, getting older or getting needy of something.

    If other retirement places coming up. Newcomers will loose their interest AND will move there. You don't have anything to say about that either.

  11. Hi Monique, Thanks for your comments and for sharing your insight.

  12. I enjoy reading your site and have bookmarked it. Keep up the good work and thank you for all the information you have provided us, your readers! :)

  13. Hi, Frank and Angie,

    I guess that the nay sayers who don't want more expats moving to Ecuador because it might change things for them are probably the same people who had a NIMBY attitude when they lived in their own country. We (my husband, daughter, and I) intend to move to Ecuador in the next 12 months. If the gringos already there don't want us, that's their loss. We met several locals when we were down there on our fact finding mission and we get regular emails from them, asking how our move is going. Guess THEY didn't see us as a potential problem!

    We enjoy your blogs - keep up the good work!


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