1. Going local spreads Commerce throughout the Ecuadorian population and not just for the tourist industry and real estate services. There’s always going to be tourists and that is what tourist services and pricing is all about. However, should a permanent resident of Ecuador and the LOCALS pay tourist pricing too?
EXAMPLE: When foreign residents go local it spreads money throughout the entire population, also helping out the small Ecuadorian business establishments and indigenous sellers and services which in turn does two things for Ecuador: 1) establishes good relations with the local community, and 2) gains respect from the Ecuadorians towards the foreigners.
Both values go a long way to keep Cuenca and Ecuador a nice and pleasant place to live in for everyone. Pricing the local folks out of their “cost of living market” will eventually cause resentment and animosity from the local community who do not work in the tourism and real estate industries; also it causes more crime and violence against the foreigners. Does that sound like somewhere you would want to live?
Bottom line: Let the tourists be tourists and if you’re a resident then behave like someone who cares about the local community and stop acting like a rich tourist.
2. Negotiate and Don’t Accept Gringo Gouging. There’s no such thing as “gringo tax”; it is a made up term by the wealthier gringos so they won’t feel so bad when they are gringoed. By the way, definition of “tax” means duty; it is NOT a duty to overpay just because you’re a gringo.
When permanent residents live like the locals it establishes respectful relationships within the local community because the permanent resident will be establishing their relationship based on respect rather than based on money and greed. We have to remember, the root cause of poor business ethics is almost always based on greed. In the long run permanent residents having good business relationships with the locals, provides a better and more vibrant living environment for everyone.
And so we can see then that a gringo’s attitude of simply “shrugging their shoulders” and paying whatever price is quoted definitely causes greed with some of the Ecuadorian business owners and its services such as tourism and real estate and that greed is what pushes prices up! We also believe it can cause the local people to feel disrespect towards the gringos. It's happening today in Cuenca Ecuador.
Greed also causes bad business principles that establish
pitiful precedents within the Ecuador real estate markets such as charging three
deposits up front. Some gringos, because of their nonchalant view towards getting gringo gouged and behaving as pushovers to the gringo price structures and principles, cause the Ecuadorians to be greedy.
In the short run it may seem like the noble thing to do just because you have the money, but in the long run, if foreigners simply overpay for everything such as rent, purchasing a home, food, restaurants, doctor visits, tourist services, etc, it will induce dislike among many in the local community that are not profiteering from the gringo-gouging game!
The profiteers will love you (but not really) and the wage earners and small business owners will dislike you. And there are far more wage earners and mom and pop businesses in Ecuador than profiteers.
3. When gringos integrate within the local community it is clearly a sign of respect towards the local people and you are more apt to be accepted as one of them. Even though we are foreign and different in some ways, we will receive the same price structure as they do. We know this to be true because we have been doing it and living it for almost four years right here in Cuenca!
What immersion and integration does is: saves you money, and because you are accepted into the community living here, it will feel more like home, and you won't want to leave.
NOTE: This article applies to living anywhere in South America where gringos are thought to be "rich" and "pushovers" for a new pricing structure and principles by the local profiteers just because they think they can get away with it.
If going local interests you then you'll be good to go with the DIY Cuenca or Quito or Ecuador Coast Landing Guide in your hands!
We're an Expat Family of Five Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the Discover Cuenca blog!