10 Years of Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

What in the World Happened to “Best Retirement City” Cuenca Ecuador?!

For five years running (2009 - 2013) Cuenca Ecuador had been named the best city to retire in the world!   Is the travel press magazines tired of pumping Cuenca Ecuador? It sure does look that way. Bogotá Colombia is now getting ranked better than Cuenca on the retirement press scale, at least on paper. In fact, Cuenca is now like at number nine with countries such as Portugal, Turkey, Colombia, Mexico, and Belize being ahead of Cuenca. That’s strange.

The International Travel and Living Magazines are now touting Portugal as the best country to retire for 2015/2016?  What happened to Cuenca, Ecuador? Wow…in just a few short years the travel media has put Cuenca Ecuador away in the closet, pushing it way down on the list of “best places to retire”, touting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Istanbul, Turkey and Medellin, Colombia with better living environments than Cuenca?  That’s even stranger, seeing as these places can be ridden with violent crimes and most of these places are not cheap.

These cities may have some good things about their living environments, but in today’s world, they are not safer, cheaper, or have better healthcare than Cuenca, Ecuador. Sorry folks but this is just getting crazy!  Both Istanbul and some areas of Colombia and Mexico have civil unrest, guerrilla attacks, random bombings and kidnappings, but according to the travel magazines they’re safe for 60’s and 70’s age group retirees?!   Really STRANGE. 

Portugal seems ok and might be worth a look.

Reality of Life in a Crime-Ridden City

How to make a crime-ridden city safe? Perhaps if the gringos stay safeguarded within gringo enclaves and seclude themselves from the local population to feel safe, but even then those places have issues that make them insecure, at best. 

It’s funny how we justify the safety of an area just because we think it is a place we want to go live.  Cuenca Ecuador is probably becoming one of the safest cities of its size in all of South and Central America!  At least you don’t have to seclude yourself up in a gringo enclave to be and feel safe! But still you have to be on your guard and instill certain guidelines within your lifestyle, no matter where you live in the world.

Where in the world do they come up with these silly “best places to retire lists”?  You know, we don’t have to go on, as we have written about this already many times on the Discover Cuenca Ecuador blog. But as a final note let us point out the obvious.

NOTE: Remember, they either buy property in the cities they are naming as best place to retire, and/or they affiliate with real estate offices on a business/profit sharing basis. One travel abroad pumper CEO admitted they bought property in Algarve, Portugal and Medellin Colombia.  Talk about vested interests. At least they were transparent about it.

Until we write again…

If you liked this article, you’ll probably like these 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. Maybe this will be a good thing, in the long run, in that it will slow down the deluge of folks coming from the U.S. to Ecuador. Makes it easier for those of us who are still sold on Ecuador as the place to go. :)

  2. Yes I could write volumes of books on this as I followed it for many years. I will just add a fact about Medellin, Colombia where I lived for a year. This time of year everyone raised there prices any were from 2% to 10% and try as they did no one could stop it. The Chamber of Commerce, the government and even the church. There were few posted prices anywhere in small business through out the city. The gringo prices were alive and well in most places. The professionals were upset as even if they were buying in a office building the maintenance fees would go up every year so they had to raise prices sooner or later. Was a new meaning to the word parasite!

    The city was a dangerous place, areas where the locals didn't go so I sure didn't. Had sidewalks where I stepped over many bodies for a block. Lots of people sniffing glue from black plastic bags as they asked for money. To me it was NO way cheaper than Panama City or safer.

    I will end with this fair point to make... Having traveled and lived in different places around the world I have found that you can research and visit a place but will have to live in it to really know it. That's my 2 cent in regards... good day to all.

  3. You should be glad they're no longer touting Cuenca as the best place to retire. A glutted real estate market and a high vacancy rates means prices and rents will go down.

  4. It should be evident that the point of the article is that these people act very much like hucksters and snake oil salesmen: while they're touting, it's hot, and when it's not, they move on to the next place...


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