10 Years of Blog Archive

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Articles like This One on Yahoo Finance Is Why We Should Be Responsible Expatter’s

We were sent this article today from two different people, so we're guessing it would seem we are destined to write about it. Perhaps the senders would like for us to put in our two cents about it, after all we live here and know pretty much if what the writer speaks about is actually true or not.

The Article is titled Best Place to Retire on a Budget and it was on Yahoo finance yesterday. And guess where the best place to retire on a budget is? Well it’s not Panama. Here’s the full article. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-place-retire-overseas-budget-163750049.html  Read the article then come back to the blog and read what we have to say.

You know we could easily dissect this article to pieces but let's not do that just yet. Instead we have to take this hyperbole on in a different way. Cuenca is just getting too much publicity and when something gets too much publicity it becomes not that great anymore; look at Panama and Costa Rica, both countries have been totally lost in the hype and publicity.

This means those people who are relocating to Cuenca need to be responsible expatter’s. It’s up to you to keep Cuenca affordable, don’t you think? People are not going to stop hyping up Cuenca because it is what’s trending right now.

So, at this point, you’re probably wondering what a responsible expatter is. So let’s talk about this a little bit. Bear in mind, we are not talking about tourists on vacation, but those who actually move to Cuenca to live. There is a BIG difference between the two.

A Responsible Expatter Never Compares Ecuador to Other Countries

A responsible Expatter is someone who does not accept over-inflated, over-priced gringo rents just because they are cheaper than North American or European rents. The more gringos that go around saying how cheap rents are, the more the prices will i-n-f-l-a-t-e like a bubble.

The number one thing to remember is to NOT compare Ecuador’s rental prices to the United States for the very fact that Jane Doe in the US makes about Five times as much as Carlos Doe from Ecuador. If the average Ecuadorian monthly stipend is $350 to $500 dollars a month, that means they can barely afford to rent at $200.Thank goodness food and utilities are both inexpensive because the average family would be unable to survive in their own country!

Now Let’s Do Some Dissecting

The rents are not cheap here. The $400 a month furnished apartment referred to in the article is just a tiny studio or small one bedroom tourist trap. There is not very many of them. We’ve seen these little hovels; they are centrally located and clean but who would live in such a tiny tourist trap for keeps? Most people do this for a very short period, i.e. tourism.

So why is it being called "retirement"?  To the Ecuadorians that have to live here
on $400 a month tell them to their face that the rents are cheap here and see what they have to say about it. The typical North American or European that reads these articles is going to get off the plane, go to a hotel, and call a rental agent. Then they will get shown a $700.to $900 furnished house or condo. There goes your "low" budget. Is affordable cost of living your priority? You could do better in Hutchinson, read that article here:

The fixed price lunch of $1 is not alive here in Cuenca—not sure what restaurant they are referring to. We have seen $1.50 almuerzo but even that is far and few between anymore. Most north Americans and Europeans would not call four ounces of white rice, fat on a bone, and a bowl of soup "lunch", even if you could find it.

Comfortable year round climate? Yeah if you come from Alaska, Canada, or Minnesota the 62 to 65 degree houses might just be comfortable. But if you’re coming from Texas, California, Florida, or South Carolina, think again, it can get downright cold in Cuenca. The seasons don’t change much; there’s two seasons here, a rainy season and a less rainy season; expect 30’s to 40’s for the low and the highs in the 60’s and sometimes 70ish during the day, in the local winter season. Inside your home or condo it will be a constant 62 to 65 degrees, unless, you want to budget for extra electric heating costs. A lot extra.

As of this writing, taxis are NOT $1.50 anymore unless you’re only going a mile or so. Expect to pay $2.50 to $4, or more, for a four to five mile taxi ride. From when we first landed here to today we have witnessed and noticed the gringo inflation already happening with the taxis and some of the fixed food prices. 

UPDATE JULY 2014 - All TAXIS in Cuenca must have meters now. Do not get into a taxi without a meter or you will be gringoed. Most cab fares are now at what they should be!  Be careful some of the drivers are rigging their meters and some drivers start the taxi fare at $1 when it supposed to be like $0.47 cents.

Keep in mind that the locals say that Cuenca is the MOST EXPENSIVE CITY IN ECUADOR. Does anyone wonder why that is? Do you really think it's because of the orchestra? How many times can you go to the orchestra in one week? Two? Three? And then what? Wanna go to a play? Do you understand Spanish? Hmm.

Don’t misunderstand, we’re not trying to deter anyone from coming to Cuenca but we are trying to let you know what Cuenca is really like today. We live here; we know what is going on today through our living experiences. These articles never change they keep hyping the same things about Cuenca and they keep talking about the same prices for rents and other services as if it was 2009. Prices have changed over the course of two years and unless we become responsible expatter’s they will continue to grow out of proportion in a very small amount of time. Is that what you want? We don’t think it is.

We feel with responsible expatting it will keep prices in Cuenca at a more even keel rather than growing into an inflation bubble, which has happened within the last couple of years in Cuenca, not other parts of Ecuador. Would you consider yourself to be a responsible expatter? If yes, then what are you waiting for, Cuenca welcomes you with open arms. 

For more GREAT information on how to be a responsible expatter and really live on a more local budget than don't miss our DIY Cuenca Landing Guide.


  1. Hello from San Diego!
    "Trending" is correct as witnessed by doing a quick Google search for the term Cuenca Ecuador,

    Since Google does something called "suggests" these are the terms now showing in this order...
    Cuenca Ecuador real estate
    Cuenca Ecuador weather
    Cuenca Ecuador rentals
    Cuenca Ecuador climate
    Cuenca Ecuador pictures
    Cuenca Ecuador cost of living
    Cuenca Ecuador hotels
    Cuenca Ecuador apartments for rent

    My wife and are greatly appreciate the time and efforts of your blog, it’s full of great information, and happy that you tell it the way it is.

    We have targeted your city as the place we want to live...hopefully sooner than later, we aren’t retired yet – just sick of what is taking place in the US.

    Agreed with the idea that it is up to us be responsible and not ruin the place for the locals or the expats. When can you build us a bed and couch?

    Howell & Sharon

  2. Hey there Howell & Sharon. Nice hearing from you. Thank you for your supportive comments. We like hearing that we're making a difference somehow in other people's lives in a positive way. If we can just appreciate a different perspective and see the good in it, then we can make decisions that, as you say, are good for everyone.

  3. What a great article. You provide a great service to all of us who are planning on heading to Ecuador in the future.
    For everyone who reads this blog I want to say that the best money I've spent in years was for Frank and Angie's guide to Ecuador. It's really worth the investment.
    Thanks very much,
    Jim Sanders
    Corning, CA.

  4. Thanks Jim.
    Glad to know from people that they feel they've received real value.


    Frank & Angie

  5. When you say that "inside your home or condo it will be a constant 62 to 65 degrees," do you mean at night was well? Because if so, that won't be much of a stretch for me. I live in Prescott, AZ, 5,200 feet high, where in the winter I keep my thermostat between 65 and 68 most days.


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