10 Years of Blog Archive

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Do Ecuadorians Think North Americans Are Nice People? Do They Want Us to Move to Cuenca Ecuador?

Do Ecuadorians think north Americans are nice people? Do they want us to move to Cuenca? Apparently it depends on what type of North American you are. It seems there are certain standards we North Americans must attain in our character to be liked by (some of) the Ecuadorians.

Grouping and Labeling People and Races

It is difficult for some people to distinguish “an individual” and then think they are nice or not nice unless they have actually befriended him or her and actually know them, then it’s different. Instead what (some) people like to do is group people together and brand (stereotype) them as such and such “type” or “group” of people.

For example in Ecuador Norte Americanos are branded as being $$ loaded. Even when the north American resident tries to pay the local rate for things and live like the locals, we’re somehow still $$ loaded. Oh, and the whiter skinned you are and the lighter your hair color means you are even more loaded. $o if you have blonde hair and blue eyes, you must have more money than the brown-eyed brunette gringo. 

We think this stigma is slowly fading, however, with the help of gringos who behave and blend like normal local people around the locals. Even if you have money it is a bad idea to put off that kind of air in a Latin country; it’s just the way it is. The wiser gringos know this.

Further extrapolating this erroneous idea as truth, here’s a comment from a Cuencano on a gringo website found at the bottom of an "ugly article" written about gringos. He comments, “We like the affluent and High Class North Americans, not the economy ones who try and save a buck.”  

 Oh really? That’s nice to know.


To be content makes poor men rich;
Discontent makes rich men poor.

Poor Richard's Almanac by Benjamin Franklin

It sounds as if this man is saying, "the more money you have, the nicer I can be".

Beware of little Expenses: a small Leak will sink a great Ship.
Poor Richard's Almanac

Once in awhile some of the Ecuadorians come out of the wood-work and say how they really feel about us gringos.  The best way to get an Ecuadorian to say how they really feel is for a gringo website writer to write something distasteful and disrespectful towards other gringos, grouping them together and labeling them and then publishing this rude and disrespectful attitude on their website.

You see, when some local Ecuadorians see this happening it gives them the courage to come out of their shell and say how they really feel about some of the gringos living in Cuenca, anonymously of course.

Notice in his wording the commenter uses “we” and “us” a lot, as if he were speaking on behalf of all the Ecuadorians. Now, let’s deduce what is actually being said here.

Silence is not always a Sign of Wisdom, but Babbling is ever a Folly. -- Poor Richard's Almanac

Do Ecuadorians Like North Americans?

  • If you are affluent we will get along.  (better not come on a small budget or pension if you want to be liked)
  • If you speak Spanish you are nice.  (if you want to be liked in Ecuador, you better learn the language.)
  • If you are high class you are nice.  (better have sophisticated tastes, dining in and staying in the classiest of restaurants, hotels and rental homes.)
  • If you are educated you are nice. (better have that degree and bring it with you)
  • If you are well-traveled they like you. (Better lie and say you’re a world traveler.)
  • If you are open-minded they will like you. (whatever that means…open minded about what?) Maybe opening your wallet, and without complaining to boot!
 Actually, we see a lot of close-mindedness in this Ecuadorian comment. He’s also trying to sway the reader to believe that it is the lower economy folks that are the complainers and rude mannered ones who move to Cuenca. Hello, which stereotypical box is he poking his head into?

If you'd be wealthy, think of saving more than of getting:
The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her Outgoes equal her Incomes.
--- Poor Richard's Almanac

Clearly this Ecuadorian says he will not get along with you if: 
  • If you are concerned about your personal economy. 
  • If you don’t speak Spanish.
  • If you don’t stay in the posh hotels and eat in the ritzy restaurants. 
  • If you’re not open-minded 
  • If you complain about his country
  • And finally, if you have never traveled outside of the US before. 
It’s not about liking or not liking… it’s about how they (some Ecuadorians) don’t want to like what they're not interested in.  It’s difficult for some people to understand simple ethics and principles because unfortunately they are not well bred or well read themselves; they’ve learned to judge rather than learn from situations and people, and well, they do not have an open mind.

None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault, or acknowledge himself in an error. -- Poor Richard's Almanac

We don’t mean this in a bad way but these disparaging comments coming from a supposed well-off Cuenca business man sounds childish and uneducated at best. People with manners, class, and diplomacy don’t talk like that. It sounds like this man has an agenda, just like the gringo man who wrote the defaming post about a majority of the gringos who have moved to Cuenca.

Industry, Perseverance, & Frugality, make Fortune yield.
Poor Richard's Almanac

Not all Ecuadorians think like this man, obviously. We're not even supposing such a ridiculous assumption. In our four plus years of living in Cuenca, we've only met a few unkind folks. The majority of Ecuadorians are very polite and pleasant.

Food for Thought

Can you imagine just for a moment, if we gringos moved to Ecuador and treated all the workers and employees that only make $300 to $400 a month, and all the uneducated folks and indigenous people with the same kind of disrespect that he is referring to of some of the lower economy gringos? What do you think would happen? Imagine just for a moment. The President would or might just rightly kick these foreigners out of this country to avoid an uproar!!

What he and maybe others, who believe as he does is not doing is looking outside their own agenda box; it is difficult for some Ecuadorians to look ahead into the future and see that the gringo who comes here with the “smaller economy” as he calls it, are actually the ones who keep this country stable by buying and selling with the local (majority) small merchants, where as the “affluent” as he puts it, don’t shop in the Mercados and small mom and pop businesses as much; They’re just helping to make the rich, richer and greedier.

He calls the smaller economy folks the complainers, but in all actuality it makes the most sense that the complainers are the better-off, because things are not up to their standards of living that they are used to back in the states. The majority of gringos in Cuenca are probably on the smaller retirement ($1200 to $2500) pensions, not the bigger one’s ($2500 to $4000 or more).

What the Ecuadorian man does not know/understand is the smaller pension retirees can also afford to eat in the classiest of restaurants and stay in the posh hotels and rent expensive housing (and they do sometimes) but because of principle and economic restrain they choose not to. Instead, they choose to come to this beautiful country of Ecuador and live as closely to the Ecuadorian level as much as they can out of respect for the country and out of principle from their own conviction. 

Diligence overcomes Difficulties, Sloth makes them.
Poor Richard's Almanac

We think any open-minded, well-read, good mannered person would understand this concept. 

And here's another Cuencano that mysteriously came out of the wood work and commented on the same "ugly article" that belittles most of the gringo population that lives in Cuenca with this comment. 

There it is, in case there were still a couple of holdouts that think we're just making this stuff up! Now you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth! Is there more than one horse that feels this way? Sure there is, but they all have personal agendas. The way we see it, it is very much their problem; we have ignored it up to this point just because it is not something we should take with much importance. 

We’re only writing about it now to inform our readers that not everything and everybody in Cuenca Ecuador is as it seems. We strive to bring our readers information they can use for the good, not fluff that won't help them. Some things should be brought out in the open so we can behave appropriately as we do not want to feed into other people’s presumptions and agendas.

Pardoning the Bad, is injuring the Good
Poor Richard's Almanac

Source: Poor Richard's Almanac by Benjamin Franklin

We think if you liked this article, you might like this one too!
We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!


  1. Great article! I'm looking forward to our trip to Cuenca next month. We are hoping to retire there by spring, so are planning our scouting trip to see if we will fit in.

  2. Very, very good article. I put my editor's pen aside and loved your analysis and presentation. Thank you so much.

    The Ben Franklin related quotations were well chosen also.

  3. There are racist haters all over the world and in every country without exception so nothing new here.

    No, these idiots do NOT speak for all Ecuadorians and 99%
    don't think like that. We are human and if we're treated with respect we will respect you back. I could list and it would be a long one of what the gringos don't like about just about anyone in the world. One for example, assimilating into US culture when they do the opposite in other countries. I personally don't care one way or the other just an example.

    Reasons why gringos hate foreigners in the USA, :)

    1. Your a foreigner.
    2. You don't speak the language.
    3. You speak the language with a heavy accent.
    4. Your white but you have a heavy accent.
    5. Your Catholic, lot's of hate here and it's beyond what you can imagine. Posts about Catholics range from if I know the person in front of me walking is Catholic I will slit their throat to I'll stab Them in the heart, rape them etc. :) sweet isn't it.
    Posted this because a lot of people, not all people in the USA say they hate the foreigners coming in because they're bringing there horrible evil religion of satin to their country. Not to mention all Popes are the anti-Christ.
    Wont even mention Muslims etc but I digress.

    I could go on but wont, so I know and have lived your frustration in so many ways and for so many reasons. Human beings are an odd lot with off thoughts. In the end we are all the same sad to say.

    Oh and my aunts have blonde hair and blue and green eyes but the Ecuadorian prices they get might be because they speak the language fluently? Not sure.

    Must tell you an example of what they do in the USA, a lady obviously illegal. She was at the Post office buying stamps and sending a letter. She asked the man for the price it was 4.50 when she asked again it became 5.50 so I stepped in and corrected the price. So the world isn't fair big huge surprise, sad comment on humanity.

    I am very sorry you had to read such ignorance and believe me it's not true at all.

    Have a great evening, I hope the insight helps. PT007

  4. I respect a person who travels on a tight budget, the odds were against you and you made it happen anyway. I dont think highly of rich people travelling! Just my two cents.. Pinch that Penny, because at the end of the day, you made your trip abroad happen, nobody else did.. Poor travellers are the most friendly as well.. I am one.


HMFamilyLife and Discover Cuenca Ecuador Comment Policy
We welcome applicable and respectful comments. Off-topic comments may be removed.