1. Pocket Digital English to Spanish Translator – One of the handiest items we brought with us to Cuenca; works on batteries so bring spares. There might be APPS out there you can install on your tablet, smart phone or notebook but you might not want to be walking around with an expensive computer or gadget. Smart Phones are a highly stolen item in Latin America.
2. Laptop / Tablet / Notebook – You’ll definitely want your computer; so don’t even think about not bringing it. Electronics are not cheap here.
3. Comfortable walking shoes – In Cuenca you will be walking more and believe me when we say, comfy sneakers or other favorite shoes will make your day much better. There are lots of shoe stores in Cuenca but they may not have your size and style.
4. DIY Cuenca Landing Guide – Our Cuenca Landing Guide is written with the traveler in mind. That’s why it will make your stay easier, less expensive and more fulfilling. We guarantee it!
5. Cheap cell phone – If you’re bringing your own cell / smart phone, you’ll have to get s SIM CARD from your service provider, so your phone will work here. But let us warn you: in South and Central America it is best to use “cheap looking” cell phones as they are less apt to get eyed out by a thief and get stolen.
Cells are one of the most sought after electronic gadgets in Latin America. We’ve been using the cheapest cell phone in Cuenca at just $44 and it still works just fine 4.5 years later. You will buy this item in Cuenca.
6. Sunhat / Sunscreen / Sunglasses - When the sun comes out in Cuenca it’s intense and that means sunburn. The sun can make a 72 degree day feel like 82 degrees. FYI: sunglasses and hats are not that expensive here and easy to get, but sunscreen is expensive so you might want to bring with you.
7. Sweater or Light Jacket – You don’t want anything too heavy because then you’ll be too hot. But for those cooler, cloudy days, having a sweater or light jacket to wear will make you day just a bit more comfortable. We suggest bringing this item with you.
8. Folding Umbrella – You will need an umbrella and the best ones are those that fit right in your pack. In the Andes the weather is sort of unpredictable and you’ll never know when you might need an umbrella. The locals use parasols to shield them from the sun as well. We don’t like to go that far because when the sun shines in Cuenca we want to enjoy every bit of it. Umbrellas are sold everywhere in Cuenca and they are not expensive.
9. Back-Pack – we love our packs and use them every day. We use them to tote groceries after shopping and also for needed items because when you are out all day, without a car there are certain items you will need with you. See below for those items.
Back-packs are sold here but they are more expensive. Nice name brand back-packs are sold in the states for much less and at the thrift stores for a couple of bucks! We suggest buying a good heavy duty pack before you leave.
10. $5 and $1 – It is difficult to break $20’s here and for that reason you’ll want to have smaller bills on you, especially for when you first get here to pay the taxi driver, to buy produce from the street vendors, to tip the wait staff, to buy miscellaneous items…etc, etc.
These Items You WILL want inside your back-pack at all times once you get here; because at some point you will need them!
- Light jacket
- Bottle of drinking water
- Toilet paper, and or napkins
- Hand sanitizer
- DIY Cuenca Landing Guide. This book has useful information, maps, and addresses to popular places within the city.
- Map(s) of Cuenca
- Copy of your passport (never carry originals)
- Cap or hat
- Light snacks (fruit and nut mixes, fruit, crackers, etc.)
Until we write again…
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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!