10 Years of Blog Archive

Monday, September 30, 2013

Taking Taxi from Salinas to La Libertad Bus Terminal

Beginning our journey up the Ecuadorian coast. We'll be taking a coastal bus line from La Libertad to Montanita and other villages along the coast. There's a lot more to come with frugal Frank and Angie at the beach! Next up, video of nine coastal cities going North along the coastline. Plus we spent some time in several cities like Montanita and Puerto Lopez so stay tuned!!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Desayuno (Breakfast) in Salinas Ecuador

Before heading out of Salinas up the coast of Ecuador we had a little breakfast so we would not be hungry on the 2-1/2 hour long bus ride. 

We're traveling up the coast and there is a lot of coastline to cover in Ecuador. In one of our upcoming videos we'll be giving you a glimpse of many of the villages and towns along coast. Plus we spend time in several of the towns such as Puerto Lopez, Montanita, and Puerto Cayo...so you know what that means, it means we have lots of video and commentary about the Ecuador coast coming up!!  So stay tuned!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Salinas Ecuador Walkathon and Exercise Day!

Early Sunday morning in Salinas Ecuador there were people walking and jogging and doing Calisthenics on the beach for a fitness day. --- We're traveling the coastline so stay tuned for more from the beaches of Ecuador!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Traveling the Coastline of Ecuador ~ First Stop Over ~ Salinas!

Salinas Ecuador travel itinerary. From Cuenca we take a bus going to Guayaquil. Then from Guayaquil we transfer onto a coastal tour bus that take us to Salinas. It takes a little over 3-1/2 -hours to get to Guayaquil and another two hours to get to Salinas. We're happy to be off the bus by the time we get into Salinas.  Our travels take us further north up the coastline to more beach towns...stay tuned for more videos of Ecuador beaches and towns!

Friday, September 20, 2013

What's Happening in Cuenca September 2013

Here's our September video of different things going on around Cuenca. Cuenca is seeing major improvements to its roads, sidewalks, plumbing, and more! When we first moved here we wrote an article about how the sidewalks were all torn up and not really walk friendly, but slowly that is changing. We're also seeing more bike lanes all over Cuenca...bicyclists you're going to like the new bike paths.

Monday, September 16, 2013

SPECIAL RENTAL: 6 Bed, 4 Bath Home with Yards and Views for $350--Posted on $300 Dollar Cuenca Rentals!

Remember to find out about our rental specials and be one of the first to view the homes, be sure to subscribe to $300 Dollar Cuenca Rentals for our SPECIAL RENTALS DEALS! 

Or, you can also check for our rental specials on this blog over to the right column under "Rental Specials".
This one is a pretty good deal and we did not want anyone to miss out on seeing this fantastic home. Check out the photo tour here!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Frank and Angie’s Frugal Café Hideaway in Cuenca Ecuador!

We're standing on the balcony of our own private café hideaway where we know we can always find tranquility, views, great food, and good prices. When we stumbled upon this place we thought about putting this restaurant in the free Cuenca restaurant guide but we’ve enjoyed this wonderful restaurant with excellent Italian/American food so much that we’ve decided to keep it our little secret. We can't give everything away...

Some things just have to remain within yourself if you want to have a little bit of quiet and privacy once in awhile, and keep prices low. This quaint restaurant (without loud music or TV blaring above your head) is owned and operated by a husband and wife team. The food is fantastic; it is not the typical Ecuadorian fare. 

The prices are unbelievable and it is the only place in town, so far, that does not charge $0.70 for a cup of hot water. Frank brings his own powdered cocoa and that is what the hot cup of water is for. Yes, you know us, frugal Frank and Angie. 

We eat lunch before the Ecuadorian almuerzo and so we basically have the third floor to ourselves where we have a fantastic view off the balcony at the amazing mountains that surround Cuenca and the people milling about below.

If you have lived here for any amount of time you’ll also want to have your very own café hideaway, away from the traffic, pollution, noise, and high prices. Eventually, if you keep looking you will find such a place and when you do, keep it your special secret. 

We know that this quaint café will not stay hidden away forever, eventually more and more people will stumble upon it just like we did; they will try the food and see it is a very good, and the prices are fair too, and well, you know the rest of the story.       

But for now, it seems it's all ours! 

However, we do share many of our favorite restaurants with our readers in our free restaurant guide right here on the blog! We're sure there is a little bit of something for everyone in the new updated edition of this restaurant guide. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dear Readers of the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide...

Dear readers of the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide. There is an address error for the hostel called La Casa Cuencana which has recently been brought to our attention by several expats as well as the owners of the La Casa Cuencana.

Apparently the address error has pointed some new Cuenca arrivals to go across the street and stay at the hostel called Cuencana Hogar Hostel, which is more expensive than La Casa Cuencana.

We are sorry about this error and are in the process of changing the address mistake in the guide and it will be updated soon with the new address. 

However, for those people who have already purchased the guide, and are visiting Cuenca soon, and are thinking of staying at La Casa Cuencana, please make a note of the correct address below. Thanks!

The address NOW reads: Hermano Miguel 4-36 y Calle Larga (this is the wrong address)

It should read: Hermano Miguel 4-45 y Calle Larga (this is the correct address).

The owners of La Casa Cuencana, Martha and Jonathan are very helpful and friendly hosts and still offer lodging discounts to the readers of the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide.  Please print out “the page” in the guide where we list La Casa Cuencana and show it to Martha or Jonathan when you arrive to receive the discount.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Cuenca Ecuador Has Been Discovered! UPDATE 2016

UPDATE 2016 - Wowy, is Cuenca Ecuador getting discovered or what? Last week the president visited the USA and Europe to promote more tourism in Ecuador. We normally wouldn't update an article if its only 2.5 years old like this one but lots of changes we should tell you about that's happening in Cuenca.

Firstly, we think the charms of Cuenca are literally vanishing before our eyes.  Last week was Cuenca's Birthday and guess what, we didn't hear one firecracker or see one firework to display this momentous occasion. That's darn right weird. 

NOTE: This article is NOT just referring to just gringos from North America and Europe but Cuencano gringos who have lived in the states for 15-20-30 years who are now returning to Cuenca...

Cuenca Ecuador has been discovered!
How do we know? Living here lets you observe and experience the steady progression of things changing. And it doesn’t take long for it (few short years) to turn into well, just another city on the list of cities. When a city becomes discovered, changes take place and it begins to lose some of its charms and likeability.

You Know a Place Has Been Discovered when rents keep going higher and higher…and it gets harder and harder to find local priced rentals.  Let’s take a look. 

Cuenca has been discovered when Ecuadorians won’t budge on the rent for their older, (needing TLC) home from $450 a month to $300, which is what it is really worth.

Cuenca has been discovered when landlords put in their ads, “by the river”, or “off of Ordonez Lasso”, (Gringolandia Street) or “walk to downtown”, and then they raise their rent from $300 to $600 and say “prefer to rent to foreigners.

They certainly can’t get Ecuadorians to rent a $300 dollar home for $600 just because it’s walking distance to downtown.

Cuenca has been discovered when you see older, (TLC Homes, some really dumpy) all over the net for over $1,000 or more!!

You know that Cuenca has been discovered when you open the Spanish newspaper and out of 30 ads 10 of them say they will “rent to foreigners only”. How sad and discriminating! While at least half of the ads are clearly out of the Ecuadorian local price range, so the foreigners are the ones who rent those too. That leaves only 5 rentals that cater to the whole population of Cuenca.

Umm…something is not right here. I think Cuenca has been discovered!

You Know Cuenca has been discovered when most of the Ecuadorian real estate agents working in Cuenca are from New York, New Jersey, or Chicago, and they are only back in Cuenca to get in on the action and the influx of gringos moving here.

You truly know that Cuenca has been discovered when you try and work with the Ecuadorian real estate agencies, telling them you can bring them more gringos (constant flow of expats) to rent to if they lower their rental prices, and yet, they won’t budge from their high priced rentals, some of which are ridiculously priced!!

You know that Cuenca has been discovered when you constantly get gringo gouged by the Ecuadorians thinking you are a rich and an Norte Americano.

You really know that Cuenca has been discovered when the monthly maintenance fee of the apartment building they live in keeps going up every month. 

Update 2016 - Cuenca Ecuador has a few unscrupulous folks working in the real estate market, some of them gringos. Fortunately we know most of them and so we simply don't work with them, however newcomers will not know them and will at the very least over-pay and sign contracts that are pro-landlord not tenant. We often hear stories.

Sure, rents have doubled in the last five years...wondering whats going to happen in the next five years. 


You know Cuenca has been discovered when many of the charms are diminishing from the city. Let’s take a look.

NOTE:  All the blogs and forums have gringos complaining incessantly about the noise of the fireworks!! Don't think for a minute that the city does not read the most popular forums. Fireworks have been going off for hundred of years in Cuenca and now after it has been named the "best retirement city" in the world it decides to regulate fireworks...interesting...

Cuenca has been discovered when fireworks are being regulated; what kind of fireworks can be used and what holidays they can be displayed. Haven’t you noticed how quiet Cuenca is lately?  When we moved here fireworks were going off every single day and all night. Someone high up is reading the complaints.

Update 2016: Sadly they didn't even create a professional manned firework show for Cuenca's birthday this year (2016). We're just shaking our heads.  


NOTE: The produce vendors have been selling on Cuenca sidewalks for hundreds of years...and now all of a sudden, after Cuenca has been named the "best retirement city in the world...they are removing vendors from the sidewalks?  Someone is complaining...just saying...

Cuenca has been discovered when your favorite banana lady vendor is gone from her usual sidewalk selling site. You ask her why she is not selling bananas in the location she has been in for years and she tells you there’s a new county ordinance that vendors can’t sell on certain main thoroughfares anymore. What?

How sad!! 

She is losing money day by day because she is off the main road now and down a side street where no one can see her. Bottom line, her livelihood has been basically taken from her. This is silly, moving the local vendors off the sidewalks. They are not hurting anyone.

Update 2016 - ...and the saddest part is, she went out of business. We're not only shaking our heads but wondering what she does for a living now. 
What happened to all of the cart vendors in Cuenca? Little by little they are dwindling down to just wheelbarrows now. We recently learned that the city is not permitting anymore cart vendors. Our son went down to the office with a Ecuadorian friend of his where you register your cart and they told them now more permits and if anyone is selling food out of a cart they are doing it illegally. Sad...

Getting rid of the charms of the city is ruining the beauty of Cuenca.

Cuenca has been discovered when they start regulating wheelbarrow vendors and telling them they can only sell in certain areas of the city. They are no longer free to walk around the city and sell where they want. Is the old world charm disappearing and being replaced by a little North America? 


You Know a Place Has Been Discovered When the government starts regulating everything. 

NOTE: Cuenca has been named, for the fourth year in a row the "best retirement city in the world"...you better bet that all the NEW changes and regulations have something to do with that. 

Cuenca has been discovered when you can get fined $90 for making a u turn where traffic cops didn’t exist before.

Cuenca has been discovered when an orphanage administrator tells you the government is now regulating the children’s home to be run and modeled after the way the u.s does things.  What they don’t realize is this will affect the children who only want to be loved. To a child, a hug and a story will always take precedent over money and stuff.

NOTE: We want more police protection in the city...that is NOT what we're talking about here...Cuenca has been discovered when 120 new TRAFFIC police (differentiated from police protection) are now installed throughout the city of Cuenca checking papers and writing tickets. Will they be able to protect you while busy pulling you over and fining you for traffic violations?

Cuenca has been discovered when they want to install meters in the taxis.

Update 2016 - This has actually been a good thing for Cuenca all the way around. 


You know Cuenca Ecuador has been discovered when the president says he is going to get rid of gas subsidy and go totally electric by 2016. Watch your utility bill shoot up from $9 a month to $190 a month in a flash. And many will have to buy all new 220 volt appliances. 

Cuenca has been discovered when so many gringos are coming here so fast that the immigration has to keep changing the laws so as too slow down the influx of paperwork.  Funny! 

Update 2016 - and now they actually moved the immigration office out of the city of Cuenca about 40-minutes out in a city called Azogues. That'll slow things down nicely...or will it?


You know Cuenca has been discovered when…dental and medical are not really inexpensive anymore. Well, at least for some people who are getting gringoed!

Cuenca's been discovered when a friend tells you they paid $120 to get their tooth pulled…when it should have only been $15. And he thought it was still Cheeeeep!  Our Ecuadorian friends told us in 2013 that $15 was the price for a minor tooth pull. The molars cost $20 to $25 depending on how impacted they are.  I paid $30 to have two teeth pulled in 2012.  

You know Cuenca has been discovered when your expat friends tell you they spent one night in a Cuenca hospital with a stomach ache and it cost over $1,000!! What? Crazy as crazy gets.

Cuenca has been discovered when more and more expats are complaining of paying extravagant prices for services to an Ecuadorian facilitator and because they are “recommended”, they are too busy, and yet they just keep taking the clients/money but while not being able to deliver the service they promised!!! We talk with expats on a “regular basis”…we heard this from the horses-mouth. 

You know Cuenca has been discovered when some of the almuerzo restaurants keep raising their prices. And when some of the mom and pop stores follow the lead.

Cuenca has certainly been discovered when a small burrito at almuerzo price slowly inches up to tourist pricing, I think it is time to walk away from that restaurant, and we have.  

You know Cuenca has been discovered when a certain almuerzo restaurant keeps getting more and more pricy on their menu $4.00 dollars for the same menu item that cost $3.00 just a year ago, from a non tourist point of view its time to quit patronizing that restaurant.

Cuenca Ecuador has been discovered when you go back to the same health food store and they start charging you almost double for the exact same item you can buy in another health food store, it’s time to stop going there. Anyone spell, G.R.I.N.G.O  G.O.U.G.I.N.G.

Cuenca has been discovered when the Parmesan cheese lady raises the price of Parmesan cheese because she knows you’ll be back to buy it from her, you know Cuenca has been discovered and that you are being targeted.

You really know Cuenca has been discovered when different expats keep complaining to us that wherever they go and whatever they do, they keep getting gingoed, you know something is happening to this once beautiful paradise.

And everything we’ve just mentioned has happened/changed in the last one and two years of living here…imagine what it is going to be like in two and three more years!   Someone said it very nicely in the commnets "little NORTH america". 

All the changes we have mentioned and more you see in and around Cuenca are the direct cause of Cuenca being named the "best retirement city" in the world for the 4th year in a row... 

Update 2016 - And lastly, you know that Cuenca and other cities in Ecuador have been discovered when gringo enclaves are being home invaded on a consistent basis. 

So, what do you think happens to a city that has been glorified for four years in a row, as a retirement paradise.  The city makes new regulations, gets more organized, and begins to change the city by implementing things of a first world. 

These changes are happening in Cuenca faster because more baby boomers are on the Internet now than ever before and just like Panama, Costa Rica, AND Mexico when a city is named "best retirement city in the world" for several years in a row it is going to see major changes and fast.  

In fact, rumor has it that they are trying to transform Cuenca to be just like the USA. The one thing that would be good that they could do is "turn down the radio or TV in restaurants and public buses. That would be a good start to calming the senses.

Well, one thing the 'travel media' love to say about Cuenca and it is still the same; it will never change. The weather is still almost spring like 365 days out of the year...aaaaaah, paradise!

Until we write again, you might want to take a look at these articles about Cuenca Ecuador being discovered!




We're an expat family of five living frugal, happy and healthy in Cuenca Ecuador. Come along with us and enjoy some of our adventures!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Want to Know When We Post Special Rentals on the '$300 Dollar Cuenca Rentals' Blog?

Hello Folks, this is just another friendly reminder that we will no longer be posting special rentals on this (Discover Cuenca Ecuador) blog.  

To be alerted of new "special rentals" when they are posted, sign up to the $300 Dollar Cuenca Ecuador blog feed with your email. It's that simple...

...or from this blog, look over to the right column for the link titled "SPECIAL RENTALS". Click on the description of the home and it will take you to the video tour.

Btw, we just now posted a 'special rental' ...so click on the link that describes the home and watch the video tour of this beautiful, spacious, bright, open, 4-bedroom home (see home above) located walking distance to shopping!!  

Monday, September 02, 2013

Free Cuenca Restaurant Guide Updated!

We are pleased to be sharing with our subscribers/readers our updated free Cuenca restaurant guide. In it you will find 16 restaurant recommendations that are both inexpensive and good. Click here to open the PDF file and view the free restaurant guide.  We (Frank, Angie, Brandon, Angelo and Alessandro) thank you for your support and your readership of the Discover Cuenca Ecuador Website!