10 Years of Blog Archive

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Moving to Ecuador? 5 Reasons to Choose Quito over Cuenca

First, before we share five wonderful reasons to choose Quito over Cuenca, we need to let you know something. We do not have a vested interest in either Cuenca or Quito Ecuador. It will not change anything for us if expats decide to move to Cuenca or Quito, or anywhere else in Ecuador. 

Our primary goal with this article is to share obvious reasons for choosing one city over the other. Still, Quito is not for everyone, and in fact, Cuenca is aptly suited for many retirees to spend their retirement years in because of its many benefits including its small town feel.   But Quito definitely has more to offer for a certain type of expat individual, couple or family that Cuenca does not.

Lastly, we receive negative reports from expats who claim that Quito is dirty, too noisy, crowded, polluted, crime ridden, etc, etc. And then we ask them, “Oh yeah, what part of Quito have you been to”? And their reply is, “I don’t know”.  Oh, well okay then, that says it all. Quito has so much to offer that to stay only in one area of the city on an overnight connecting flight and then move on to Cuenca is doing yourselves a disfavor.  How do we know this? Read our five reasons to choose Quito over Cuenca and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

1) Quito has numerous bilingual schools for expats with children. Cuenca, to our knowledge does not even have one bilingual school, although there is a German school with second language being German, and there is an elementary school called “The American School” with English speaking students that attend (see our video about this school) but there are no English speaking classes or teachers in Cuenca. If anyone has heard of a bilingual school with English speaking classes in Cuenca, please let us know and we'll be happy to check it out.

2) Quito has a diversity of international cuisine restaurants.  Cuenca has about a half a dozen international cuisine restaurants.  An expat who lives in Quito told us before we moved to Cuenca that there are so many nice international restaurants in Quito that you could eat out every day for a year and never go to the same restaurant twice. Some folks enjoy eating out and this would be heaven for them.

3) Quito’s property prices are lower than Cuenca’s. Cuenca is now the most expensive city in all of Ecuador. We all know why. We’ve done some research over the months and for the same amount of property Quito wins hands down. Quito has some pretty darn expensive condos and homes, don’t get us wrong on that, but when it comes down to actually finding what you need and want, you’ll get a better price in Quito, at least for now.

4) Quito has Megamaxi and MegaKiwi. These are huge department/hardware stores for the home
DIYSelfer. We sometimes miss Lowes and Home Depot back in the states because they offered so much variety. Cuenca has a nice Kiwi hardware store, but that’s nothing compared toMegaKiwi in Quito. Yes, Cuenca has Supermaxi grocery store, but Quito boasts Megamaxi grocery and department store which is full of home items and food stuffs that are not to be found in Cuenca…go figure. Cuenca may get a Megamaxi shopping center one day in the future but for now, it is just too small.

5) Music, arts, and all of the symphonic cultural flair is in full swing in Quito. Big named musical artists go to Quito. Quito boasts symphonies, concerts, theatrical plays, and other live shows daily, some are free and some cost money, but if you love to do the night life thing and see all the popular artists perform, it’s in Quito not Cuenca.

Furthermore, Quito is not dirty and it is not nearly as air polluted as Cuenca is.  How can we back up these statements? Well, go stand on one of the busiest roads in the tourist district of Quito for about an hour.  Than go stand on the one of the busiest roads in the tourist district of Cuenca for about an hour.  Take your time and breathe in the air. You will notice there are fewer buses that emit toxic fumes in Quito… plus you will also notice there are trolley buses that run on electricity all over the city of Quito. The downtown histoic area of Quito has very few buses but a lot of electric trolley buses. One of the first things we noticed about Quito was less air pollution and it was great. 

Not sure where folks are staying when they land in Quito but we found it to be just as clean, or cleaner than Cuenca. There is a party zone in the tourist district of La Mariscal that can get trashy over a weekend night, but bright and early the next morning, all the trash is picked up by the guys and gals in green or orange jumpsuits. We were surprised to see that Quito, being as big as it is, was so clean and well kept.

It seems people are seeing an area of Quito, perhaps by the old Quito airport, or maybe further south that is dirty and more air-polluted because maybe there are more buses in that area. Every large city has its unkempt areas, we all know that. Quito has a large population in the city of over two million people. You can’t really stay in one area and then say Quito is dirty or smoggy, or whatever, because that is not the true and whole picture.

The point is, to really see and know Quito you have to stay longer than an overnight layover or a couple days. Explore Quito and find out for yourself the beauty and culture of this city and its wonderful people; we think you will be pleasantly surprised. For more information about Quito Ecuador visit http://discoverquitoecuador.com/


  1. I live in south of quito and igs really dirty here. Alot of dogs and dog poop in the streets. Garbage everywhere and alot of pollution.

  2. I live in south of quito and its really dirty here. Alot of dogs and dog poop in the streets. People throw out garbage on the streets and alot of pollution due to buses.


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