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An Expat Talks about Moving to Cuenca, Ecuador

Sep 04, 2017


Cuenca, Ecuador

An American woman talks about the ups and downs of moving to Cuenca. She had limited Spanish when she arrived, but a local woman helped her in the apartment search and she found the perfect place in a lovely Spanish-speaking neighborhood. Her apartment is 3-4 times less expensive than in the US.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Cuenca

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

The very first thing I thought about that I was missing was a good all natural soap for my skin. Until I found out the pharmacies have good soap at a reasonable price I was shopping in grocery stores. Also, I needed a good water bottle that was NOT plastic. Much of what is in Ecuador is plastic and it is not the good kind. On my last trip to the US I brought an aluminum bottle with me. Glass is heavy to carry around. Lastly, I would have brought more warm sweaters. It does not get usually very cold here but the past winter has been really chilly and my plants are my weather forecasters. They let me know right away....Too Cold!

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Find a local you can trust. Start with small tasks you can do together to help both of you understand how the system works and to establish your working relationship. Change is inevitable you have to learn to accept it. Once you learn this life becomes much easier. Most countries will not do it the way western countries do it. That does not mean their way is necessarily wrong.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

I would not say it is not typical. Most expats decide to live in an apartment or penthouse in a primarily English speaking neighborhood with more upscale restaurants. Others will live closer to downtown as it is less expensive. I chose to live in a Spanish speaking neighborhood by one of the rivers and across from the park. The birds sing every morning.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

Because my Spanish was limited when I arrived I found someone who had helped people in her church find an apartment. We looked at many. Some were terrible and some were ok and by the seventh day, I found the perfect place. She was most helpful and she kept telling me to speak Spanish which was not really easy but I did it anyway.

Expats living in Ecuador interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Ecuador interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

I could never find a place like what I would get in the US. It is probably 3 to 4 less than in the states.

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Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Ecuador from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in CuencaGuide to Living in Cuenca

Cuenca is Ecuador's third largest city, but still has a small-city feeling. Expats share 11 things they wish they had known before moving to Cuenca from packing sunscreen to being aware of gringo gouging.

Healthcare in EcuadorHealthcare in Ecuador

Expats in Ecuador share their experiences with healthcare and overseas medical insurance in Ecuador.

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Moving to Cuenca

An expat in Cuenca, Ecuador advises others to take an exploratory trip before committing to making the move. Then, if you do move to Cuenca, leave your furniture at home since it's very expensive to ship and furniture is very reasonably priced in Ecuador.

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An American woman who moved to Cuenca 2 years ago advises other expats about how to avoid gringo gouging. She also recommends that others moving to Cuenca bring more rain gear and a space heater.

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An expat in Cuenca, Ecuador offers insight on his health care experiences there. A considerable amount information is shared about hospitals, costs, alternative therapies and more are convered.

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An expat offers an immensely helpful view of what it's like living in Cuenca, Ecuador - from expat clubs to job opportunities.

Living in Cuenca

An expat in Cuenca, Ecuador appreciates the beautiful environment and people. He advises newcomers to get learn Spanish and meet locals instead of socializing with other expats.

Retirement in Cuenca

A retired couple who landed in Cuenca, Ecuador with plans to rent a while and move from place to place is very happy with the decision to move to Ecuador. They appreciate the low cost of living in Cuenca, access to quality healthcare, clubs and activities. The one challenge has been the ever changing residency rules.

Culture Shock in Cuenca

An American expat and his Ecuadorian wife, who initially lived with family in Quito, moved to Cuenca and enjoy life there. The expat husband advises anyone considering a move to Ecuador to learn Spanish, realize that you'll have to travel home see your family (most won't visit you) and know that homesickness happens in random moments that sneak up on you.

Culture Shock in Cuenca

A semi-retired woman who relocated to Cuenca, Ecuador once her children were grown is enjoying life there with her husband. He has longed to return to Central America, since living there as a child.

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