10 Years of Blog Archive

Thursday, January 07, 2016

What We Miss the Most about the U.S-UPDATED JAN 2016

The other day we had the family all together in Park Calderon in downtown Cuenca and we asked the family what they missed about the U.S. We even did a video (not rehearsed of course) about it, and not surprisingly, there really is nothing that we miss about the U.S. We did make a couple of off-handed comments but they were just a regurgitation of our 12 annoyances video, and even most of those things aren’t that big of a deal anymore. 

Note - Jan 2016: When we do updates to our articles, the original article remains intact, we take nothing out so you can actually see how is was then and any new changes with our updates. 

Update January 2016 -  This video was made 4 years ago and not much has changed. However, if we had to suggest two or three things we miss the most about the U.S after having lived here for almost 5 years, they would be:

1. We miss efficient postal service: including DHL and UPS. We never once lost anything. Receiving packages and letters from within the U.S and from other countries was always timely, and sending packages to other people was always efficient and timely. 

We are disappointed with the shipping and receiving in Ecuador and apparently this unorganized system is throughout Latin America. When the manager of the post office tells you there are thieves in the customs that steel packages, it can be a bit disconcerting. If your package does not have a tracking number, he told us, you will NEVER receive it.

Watch the video we made 4 years ago then below it, we add our last two things we miss about the U.S.

2. Our Big Yard  - We have a small postage stamp green area in Cuenca for gardening but it is tiny. The houses in the city have very small yards, so if you need green space you will have to go outside the city for it. Rents are higher outside the city when you have space.

3. Inexpensive Electronic prices - This one is especially important for our three sons who are always wanting the latest electronics and they cost twice as much here. So if you're moving to Ecuador you might want to bring new electronics with you. Sure, you can order online and have them shipped in but that's scary. 

The truth is we have adapted to the things we used to miss and really don’t miss them anymore. After living here for 6-months you get used to the higher electronic prices, well sort of…LOL.  The biggest thing I missed when we first got here was that there were no thrift stores in Cuenca, but that is not really that big of a deal anymore either since now there's lots of things for sell on the gringo portals. 

Yes, the Internet connectivity is substandard compared to the U.S, but after awhile you get used to the Internet cutting out for five minutes at a time, several times during the day. And we still cannot stream Netflix or Hulu, or watch You Tube videos in the evening, but we’re also getting used to that. At first it was truly annoying but we live here now and it is something that you have to just let go and try and stay patient—there is nothing you can do about it, so why complain? 

Update January 2016 - We have been able to stream video and netflix now for years without any problems. Long gone is the really draggy Internet connection. Internet service has also improved in Cuenca Ecuador.

There are many advantages to living here that make up for the few annoyances or things we miss in the U.S. For example, dental procedures are quite affordable here. In Ecuador they make dental work affordable for everyone. Most locals do not have health / dental insurance and the costs for many procedures are available to all, not just the rich and those who have health insurance. 

The food is much cleaner and fresher in Ecuador than in the U.S. And that means a lot when it comes to health. Not only is the food cleaner but everyone can afford to eat organically grown food, not just the wealthy.

The other day we were just talking about how in Cuenca you can buy a huge purple head of organically grown cabbage for just $0.33 and in the U.S the same cabbage would cost about $5—no kidding! Fresh heads of broccoli and cauliflower are the same way. Cost of living for rent, food, dental care, and non imported items are amazing here!  

Update 2016 - those cabbages might be $0.44 to $0.50 cents a pound now....inflation... LOL

But it is not just about cost of living. The weather is mild and tolerable and Ecuador is a very family oriented culture—families mean everything here—even more important than business.  There is not a lot for us NOT to like about Cuenca and most people after they have settled in and adjusted feel the same way as us. 

January 2016 - Do most people really settle in (adapt) to living in Cuenca Ecuador? We don't believe that is entirely true anymore. Perhaps half of the people settle in well and the other half go home...just guessing, but we do hear all the time about folks who have left Cuenca.  However, there's always a new batch of tourist and retirees visiting Cuenca Ecuador. Some stay some leave.

We hope you enjoyed this updated article about Cuenca Ecuador. We strive to keep our articles updated as it helps to show people that life is still good (for us) in Cuenca Ecuador!  It also shows the updates and changes that might occur over the years. So we lost a few packages and our yard is tiny, adapt, adapt, adapt!
Until we write again, you might like these articles too!
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!


  1. Hello everyone,

    Thanks for all of your outstanding and informative videos, and blog posts. I do have a question.

    Since you wrote "What we miss the most about the U.S." in January 2012, how much has the internet quality improved? My employer will allow me to work from home, and live anywhere I'd like. We loved Cuenca, and have been planning a way to live (rent) there for a minimum of 6 months. I've seen some apartment/condo listings as including internet. Would you please be kind enough to let me know if I'd be able to acquire a signal stable enough to allow me to connect with my workplace in the U.S.? I'm literally on a p/c for 9 hours a day, and our production is tracked daily.

    We're hopeful 3+ years has allowed for the internet infrastructure to improve. Thanks for your honest feedback, and thanks for your help!

    1. The Internet is better. Lots of people work off the Internet and live in Cuenca. You can buy the business plan and have almost as good Internet you have in the U.S.

    2. Thanks so much for your friendly and quick response! This is great news! FYI... despite having been to Cuenca previously, we've just bought your updated "Landing Guide" Book. Looking forward to benefiting from more of your practical advice and wisdom. We too consider ourselves frugal. Do you know how much the business plan (internet) runs? Thanks again for your great videos!
      Take Care

    3. Thank you for your kind words. Someone told us it was around $100 a month.

    4. Thanks so much for your tremendously helpful information! We continue to enjoy and learn from your videos. Enjoy your weekend!


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