10 Years of Blog Archive

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Top 3 Reasons Expats Move from Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Argentina or Mexico to (Cuenca) Ecuador

Since starting our Discover Cuenca Ecuador blog we have had numerous expats from other countries write in and ask us about Ecuador because they don’t like some things about the Latin American country they are in. Today we posted some of the comments of "why" they would like to move to Ecuador.  Now that Cuenca Ecuador has been on the radar of the “best place to live”, expats from Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and even Mexico are considering a move here.

I've watched your videos for awhile, being in South America for a few years myself. My wife and I are currently in Paraguay on the border of Argentina. We've been here about a year and a half, before this in Chile for 7-8 months. For people like us that have experience traveling, we probably won't need the basic training (we speak Spanish, know mercados are where to shop, etc). My wife or I would like to meet and get together when we arrive as we're wondering about moving to Ecuador.

Dear Frank and Angie,  I have been following your blogs and videos for a month or so and have enjoyed your honest reviews. I have been to Costa Rica 11 times starting in the mid-nineties and wanted to retire there one day. Last time I was there about two years ago and have seen prices quickly rise along with crime and riff raff . I no longer wish to live there. I am interested in the possibilities of Ecuador.

Hello, I read your blogs and they have been very helpful. My boyfriend and I are both expats currently living in Costa Rica. The cost of living in Costa Rica has gone up significantly and we are looking for a change an environment and are really drawn to Ecuador. Could you please tell us more about Cuenca.

Hi Frank and Angie, I am a 39 year old American man currently living in The Bahamas. I have been here for 3 years. I got a bad case of island fever and really want a change of scene.  I have been researching countries in South America to go and teach English. (I taught ESL in Mexico and Costa Rica for 2 years). Ecuador looks like a really interesting place to live. I am trying to decide which city to live in. Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil are the three big ones, as you must know, and probably have the most teaching opportunities.

My wife and I will be in Cuenca for three weeks from Feb to March 2014. (currently living in Arequipa, Peru) In addition to improving Spanish skills formally in classes for a few hours a week, we would like to volunteer to give back the community as well as use Spanish in a more applied setting.

Hi, I've been reading your site and appreciate it a lot.
I've been living here in San Jose, Costa Rica for a little over 20 years and am growing weary of it. Quito looks quite appealing.  My concern about Equador is infrastructure, particularly internet access. I still work on line and need high speed service. Should that be a concern for me or do you enjoy high speed and reliable service??? thanks

Some questions please. I am experienced in Latin America having lived in Mexico for four years and in Colombia for two. Fluent in Spanish. Anyway, I will retire next year and thinking of Ecuador. I have some questions....


This is just a few of the expats that are living in other Latin countries (one from Bahama's) who have written in to let us know they are wanting to move from the country they are in and possibly to Ecuador. 

NOTE: We have already personally answered these emails at the time they were sent in to us, we're just using the comments to show our readers what other expats have said about the S.A country they are living in; the novelty wears off, prices go up, and then what? Move somewhere else? Sure you can do that as many expats are doing that.

If you do not like it in the Latin American country you are in now, how come? Did you not do your homework? Perhaps you read all the hype and thought, “hey I want to go there and live,” but once you started living there you realized that it really is not what you thought it would be. 

There will always be negative and positives about the city you move to and you have to accept that.  What makes anyone think Cuenca Ecuador will be any different? From everything we have seen so far about Cuenca and its price inflation's in the past four years, it will be just another Costa Rica in another three to five years; yes, that quick!  

So coming here and thinking you are going to live cheaper in luxury appears a viscous cycle of short lived erroneous thinking once again.  Short lived because in this age of the internet things can change a lot faster than in the past.  Besides, as we’ve always said: “cheaper for whom?”.

     Will You Like Cuenca More Than Where You Are Now?

Some of the people writing in are looking for a cheaper lifestyle, while others want cooler weather, and some folks just want to move to Cuenca because the novelty has worn off where they are at and they are looking for something new and adventurous.

Do you remember back in the 80’s and 90’s how they were hyping up Costa Rica and Mexico, and then in the late 90’s to date, Panama? Well, now its Ecuador’s turn. That’s all that is. 

When you read these tales of how cheap so and so country is, just replace that country name with another one in the past; and whala.  You can foresee the future.  Artificially created demand funneled into a strategically positioned destination achieves the same results every time.  History repeats!

The biggest drawback to this is when a certain place gets packaged up with a big red bow, like Cuenca is now, the natural consequence is it becomes too expensive, and then it’s just another place to go…Cuenca is getting like that now. The three main reasons people want to move from one Latin American country to another Latin American country are:

1)    Getting too expensive in the Latin country they are in or any other country, such as the Caribbean, Bahama's.
Novelty has worn off and they want something new in their life. (boredom) 
3)    Want a different weather/experience

So how will these reasons not reoccur and apply to the latest best place to retire on a budget sooner or later?  Just something to consider.

                           Is It Cheaper to Live in Cuenca?

Last week we posted an article about food prices. If you continue with the North American diet and brands your food costs will be higher here than in the US! And if you come here with the north American way of seeing things, you know, ‘the way things are done, up there’ then things won’t be that much different for you, if at all.  Groceries can be expensive; it’s up to you and the changes you make in your eating habits.

So you want to move from one Latin American country to another just because you hear it is cheaper to live?  We know of one couple here who are barely making it on $1,600 a month.  Cuenca’s cost of living can be cheap if you know where to shop, rent, and eat. But if you bring your North American standard of living with you-- well, good luck.  

We have plenty of tools in the DIY Cuenca Landing Guide to help those that want to make the move to Cuenca Ecuador a successful one, without having to belong to the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans.  Ok, that’s an overstatement, I meant the wealthiest ten percent of Americans. Hehe.

No place is going to be perfect and that includes Cuenca Ecuador. We also doubt that you will find Cuenca too much cheaper than any other Latin American country.  Even in Panama it is still possible to buy five acres and a house for $120k out in the country. But that’s still out of reach of any working local Panamanian folk.

Cuenca’s weather, if coming from Panama or Mexico will most-likely be a bit too cold for those folks who like warmer weather, and you’ll complain about how cold your house or apartment is. This is the Andes Mountains. It is not tropical, although when the sun is out it feels like it sometimes.

         Should You Visit Cuenca BEFORE Moving HERE?

                           Yes! Come and Visit FIRST!

Yes, come and see if you like Cuenca. But is it wise to uproot yourself and whole family from Mexico or Costa Rica and move to Ecuador because of all the good things you hear about it on the blogs and travel magazines?  

When you do come to visit, it will be difficult not to live like a tourist, and that will give you a different perspective than one that lives as a year round resident. That’s another big reason to own the DIY Cuenca guide, just saying…Cuenca has a lot going for it—we would have to say that for us, the positives out way the negatives. But for some other family it might be different.

Our experience is the best way to experience a country is to immerse yourself into the culture.  The fact is, the novelty of a city will eventually wear off no matter where you decide to live; it's part of the process. We have to make our own happiness and contentment in life and we do that by learning to adjust to those things that we find negative or annoying.

As we all know too well, no place is perfect like the magazines like to say. The best way to find out if a city is for you is to live there for a year and totally immerse yourselves into the local community.  Yes, you’ll find negatives, but so what, work with them and be happy.

Should you come to Cuenca Ecuador?  Sure, come and live.  Live your life to the fullest and learn to live like a South American, because in the end, the South Americans were here before any of us, and they’ve figured out how to make it work to their fullest!  So why wouldn’t you want to emulate that?

The DIY Cuenca landing Guide  will help you get a feel for Cuenca first before coming; shows you how to really live like a South American.  It will help you find a hostel or apartment rental, plus it will show you where to shop, eat, and find bargains, and how to blend in and feel secure during your visit. 

The Cuenca guide will take you along the local trails of Cuenca Ecuador and the tourist paths, and you may decide it’s not for you after all, or-- decide you are not going to wait any longer to jump into your new life in Cuenca Ecuador and move here next week.  See you then!!!

We're an Expat Family of Five Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy our blog!

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