So, You Want to Retire in Cuenca Ecuador…

| May 27, 2013 | 85 Replies

Cuenca EcuadorRetire in Cuenca Ecuador… Yes or No?


Have I said thank you recently?

Readership keeps growing on this site. Thank you for that.

We have over 500 subscriptions and a thoughtful and intelligent community that tunes in and comments on whatever the topic of the week is. We are well over 20,000 hits a month now.

But this site also has over 12,000 first time readers each and every month so I think I need to start off with vital information for those first time readers….

So here is that all important question…

Do you really want to retire in Cuenca, Ecuador?


Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Cuenca Ecuador….


  • It will cost at least $1000 a month to live in Ecuador (You cannot live on $600 per month). When I say live, I mean more than just exist. Living means seeing a show now and then, eating out once in a while, living in a place that has walls and a roof. Having internet access and satellite TV. Maybe hot water for your morning shower would be nice. Rents and real estate prices are going up. Be aware of these things. Arriving with not enough money will turn your dream into a real nightmare.
  • You really need to speak a little Spanish in order to relate to the locals. Learn how to order food and how to ask directions. Take a class for goodness sake.
  • The residency Visa process is not a piece of cake. It will be tedious and frustrating. Get help if you need it.
  • Learn about the local culture and respect the local culture. Don’t expect to find some little USA when you move here. This is Ecuador.
  • Calm down, slow down, and quiet down….. Do not bring that ego and “better than everyone else attitude” with you. Arrogance is a very unattractive trait. You will be a guest in this country, so try to act that way.
  • Rent for the first year. Ecuador is a big country. There are beautiful coastal towns like Manta (pictured below) and beautiful mountain communities like Quito or Cuenca Ecuador. Do not buy property right away. Slow down. Look at everything first. Get a feel for this place.
  • If you think that those International Magazines you are reading are telling you the whole truth, think again. A lot of them are selling seminars, books, and real estate. Get your info from more than just one or two sources. Read local blogs and get in touch with some of the local groups on Facebook. Talk to people who are living in Ecuador. Be careful.
  • You must visit before you move to Ecuador. If you cannot afford to visit Ecuador then you cannot afford to live in Ecuador.
  • You have choices. Ecuador is not the be all end all place. There are a lot of great places in the world to live. Keep your mind open.


Cuenca Ecuador

Coastal city of Manta Ecuador


What Do Ecuadorian’s Think of Americans in Cuenca Ecuador?

Is Bad Behavior the Norm? Part 3


Cuenca Ecuador has had the most reports of bad behaving expats…


As usual I have a little story that leads up to the real story….

I was shopping at Costco (California) last week and right next to me were two older people arguing up a storm about proper “check out line” etiquette and when it is ok to start loading purchases onto the conveyor belt. The guy in front thought the lady in back had started loading her stuff to soon on the belt. Voices were raised and the “F” bombs were flying.

Living in bizarro land (California) can really be more entertaining than disturbing. Maybe I choose to see it that way as a survival skill. Adults acting like children has always been a form of bad performance art, sort of an off off off Broadway, human tragedy, being played out for anyone within earshot to enjoy.

I could tell it was going to be one of those days…. Ten minutes earlier I had stopped at one of those food sample tables.

I was super polite.

First a compliment to the server on what she was wearing, then I said her samples looked delicious, and asked if I could have a little taste.

I am a sucker for spinach dip on a multigrain cracker…

She looked up and barked at me, “You will have to wait until I set them into the outer tray area, I can only prepare these so fast… and do not reach for one until I am finished”.

“No worries” I said, “it’s my day off and I have all the time in the world.” I smiled and waited as she mumbled a few other remarks, and finally I walked away with a mouthful of dip.


I could go on about the insane drive home and the horrible behavior displayed by drivers. I don’t know how I maintain my calmness, I chuckle now at things that used to make me mad. That nasty, torn up Toyota that is tailgating me and that little red Honda that just cut me off, I expect these things to happen so “no problem”.

The therapy is paying off…

Life is good.

Bad behavior is just a part of life. Accepting this fact will certainly alleviate much of the frustration. It works for me. Thinking that everyone is going to behave properly is like expecting your husband to triple fold and hang up his bath towel or pick up his dirty socks. It’s not gonna happen.

Funny thing is, as I am writing this I am wondering if what happened in the above examples, things I now consider normal human interaction, might be interpreted as “Ugly American” behavior in Ecuador.

I certainly don’t approve of this behavior, but it is a fact of life. And it is not only Americans that misbehave.

Everyone misbehaves.

Have you driven a car in Cuenca lately?

Have you ever been hit in the side of the head by a flying, half full water bottle at a soccer game? That hurts.

Have you ever been charged $2 for a shoe shine after seeing someone else being charged 50 cents? Same vendor, same chair, same polish.

Sure, I know better now. I know now that I need to learn the language. I know now that I need to learn how much things cost. I know now to sit in the Cuenca section when attending a soccer game.

But in the beginning, for the ill prepared, in a foreign county, unable to communicate, with a culture that is very different from my own, this can be very hard to adjust to.

Some may never adjust. And some may be trapped once they arrive. Some may have been lied to. Some may be so full of fear and anxiety that bad behavior is all they have left.


And then there are some people who have met this challenge and made it though all this, and are now well adjusted, and have integrated into their new surroundings. Might they have forgotten how it was back then, back when they first landed in this foreign land, back when the fear of the unknown was heavy on their minds. That is something you should never forget. I have heard and read many times, from many expats, that Ecuador is all full up, no more expats need to apply. That, as far as I am concerned, is not fair and some might say very poor behavior.

I would be remiss if I did not mention a certain personality type that can be found almost anywhere in the world. There are not a lot of this personality type, but they sure do stand out. I affectionately call them assholes. They were probably assholes in their country of origin, they were assholes when they traveled to Europe and Asia last year, and they are now assholes living in Ecuador. This is also a fact of life. (Sorry about the language but sometimes certain words fit perfectly).

I can not do anything about these people. It is not my place. It is not even my place to point them out.

I just know they exist.


Before we move on to learning a little Spanish I have a few quotes I would like to share with you.

One is by Mark Twain, and I would guess most of you have seen it as it is one of my favorites, and I have probably shared it before…


“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain


The next quote I found just today while I was writing this post. It is now in my top 5 because I understand it like it was written just for me. I strive to be this.


“When fighting monsters one has to be careful not to become one. One must never condone bigotry, yet one must not provide any future fuel for the hate to feed on.”



And finally, education, experience, and an open mind will certainly help you embrace life’s adventures. I said that but Lyndon Johnson said this….


“Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.”


Now, onto some simple Spanish



Spanish Grade 2


This is real easy for me this week because I am going to post two pages from my 2nd Grade Spanish workbook. This should be self explanatory so go for it.

“Using You” is the first lesson.


Cuenca Ecuador

Using You


The second lesson is learning a few “Polite Words”.

These pages can be clicked on and then printed out if you want to study them. Very simple but that is what makes them so great…


Cuenca Ecuador

Polite Words


Thanks for staying in touch with this website and this blog.

Check out EcuadorGeorgeAfterDark. It is “R” rated and for adults only.


Leave those comments and please ask any questions you might have.


If I don’t know the answer I will find the information you seek from the many great people that I know currently living in Ecuador.


Hasta pronto….


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Category: Before The Big Move

Comments (85)

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  1. Sheila says:

    George, another great post! We have our passports so what’s the next step? How much would the “average” first trip to Ecuador cost? Love the Spanish lesson too. It’s great to see the words that I’ve been learning on my Pimsleur CDs!

    • Your hotels will cost you from $20 a night up to $70 a night, depending on where you want to stay. Flights vary depending on the time of year. January seems to be the cheapest time to fly. Food is cheap, even a really nice dinner will not cost more than $12 per person. Bus and taxi are cheap…. Getting there will be the biggest expense… Have fun… George

      • Chris Petersen says:

        George, not sure where to put this but I would add one thing about what you need to live on in Ecuador. We have been here for about 14 months now and are very happy with our situation. We rented a very upscale apartment in Cuenca that is over 2,500 square feet and it has state of the art amenities including a huge master bedroom which is unusual.

        My comment is this. No matter what you think you can live on, you need more. A monthly budget does not cover the unexpected. I know people who ended up paying twice the normal cost of getting their container here because it was impounded by Customs and the owner is responsible for daily storage costs. I know people who thought they had everything they needed in the way of paperwork and ended up having to travel back to the US to get proper documents, even though they had been very careful about coming with what they understood they needed. My point is even if you can live on $1,600 per month and I guess you can if you are careful, you may need to spend thousands extra that you did not plan for and if you don’t have it, you are taking a big risk that you will run out of money. There are many stories of people virtually trapped here because they don’t have any more than their monthly Social Security and they need it all to live on. My advice is don’t take that chance.

        Also, I would like to say you are a good writer and we have a group of writers here that meet every week to listen and offer advice to each other. Let me know when you arrive, we would love to have you drop by.


        • Chris, I want to join…. and I would love to meet everyone when we get there. Thanks.. George

        • Janice Henning says:

          Well, all I will have is my social security check, and living there will be a better quality of life for me then living on the streets in anywhere in the U.S. as that is all social security will allow one to do.

          I already live, purposely, with was less than most people choose to in the U.S. I’m very frugal, and when I move down there, I’ll be coming with my clothes, computer and that’s about it. I will sell the little I have before I come down, but right now, my few possessions wouldn’t bring in much money, so I’ll probably donate most of it.

          Please don’t discourage those who really need a life preserver thrown to them. Living on my social security outside the U.S. is just that.

          • Ecuador George says:

            Janice, your purposeful life will be just perfect when you are living in Ecuador. Good luck. George

          • Liz says:

            Janice, Did you retire and move to Equador? I’m curious because I’m thinking of doing it too….and,like you, all I’ll have is my social security check, which will be just over $1000 a month when I hit the ripe old age of 66 in 5 years. Tho, I hope to save some extra cash between now and then.

            Thanks….and thanks to George and all you others who leave such great info for us NEWBIES!


          • estev says:

            “US” who live on Social Security and nothing else, need to ask all of these websites, What about Health Care Insurance?
            Medicare is useless outside of the USA, and my research leads me to believe it would be cost prohibitive.

        • Janice Henning says:

          And I’m getting the impression that this site is for retirees that have more than social security and aren’t poor.

          • Ecuador George says:

            Janice, this site is for anyone who has questions or might be interested in moving and retiring to Ecuador. Good luck. George

        • John Carr says:

          George, love your straightforward and no-nonsense style. I guess in a way my wife and I should have an easier time than most should we decide to live in Ecuador. I say this because I was born and raised in Chile and I’m therefore fully bilingual and very familiar with South American mentality.

          Having said that, now that I’ve read some of the comments here, I’m more than a bit scared that in spite of my ability to communicate, moving to Ecuador from Canada may not turn out to be as such an idyllic move after all. In any event, we would only live in Ecuador for six months. The other six months we would go back to Canada. Am I over thinking the whole thing?

          Thank you.

          P.S. I’ve subscribed to your newsletter.

          • Ecuador George says:

            I overthink everything so as far as I am concerned you are fine. Lots of expats are a cog off. Makes things interesting sometime. George

    • Jim Jolliff says:

      George, Your advice for retiring in Ecuador is right on the mark. We just returned from a three week visit to Ecuador. We started in Quito, flew to Guayaquil, rented a car and went to Salinas. Hung out with Big Ralph and Andrea for a week, ran up and down the coast and then went to Cuenca. Cuenca was our favorite, but that is just us. There were good points in every place we visited. The best pieces of advice that you gave was to rent for at least a year, learn some Spanish before you go and don’t be the ugly American. Embrace their culture. We cover this in our blog, We look forward to every one of your articles, keep up the great stories!! Following Jim

      • Hey Jim… Good for you on your recent travel. You saw a lot of Ecuador in that first trip. Hope people will take a look at your blog. Blogs are so personal and fun. If readers are interested they should click on that link in your comment… Stay well Jim and see you in Cuenca soon. George

      • Tom Barnes says:

        Tried connecting with but the site will not come up with the hyperlink posted. Does anyone know if his site is still active?

      • Tom & Margaret says:

        Just finished this site. Very helpful with it’s information.
        We had visited Cuenca last year in September. We liked it and decided to make the move. We are both retired and believe we can live comfortably on this income. We are scheduled to depart on 4/12 with one or two nights in Guayaquil while we make arrangements for a private van to drive us to Cuenca and to the apartment we leased ahead of time for one month ( we figure we might be surprised with this out come but that pendulum swings both ways) while we look for more permanent housing.

        I spend a lot of time on sites like this one reading and firing questions back receiving answers that most of the time prove helpful. I will probably spend as much time, possibly more, after arriving with many more questions. Thank you George.

  2. Denise Gilmore says:

    Forgive me if you have answered this question elsewhere…

    What is the title of your workbook and what is the name of the author or publisher?


    Charlotte NC

    • Ecuador George says:

      Denise… Looks like Brighter Child is stamped on the cover. I bought them at Target. They have grade 1 thru 3. Good luck. George

  3. Leigh Frost says:

    Great post as usual, George!

  4. Charlene says:

    I am making first trip in July. Your insights and experience has helped tremendously. Can’t wait to go!

    • Charlene, That is so exciting. You will love it. What is your itinerary? Share it with us. George

      • Charlene says:

        We land in Guayaquil then off to Quito, Manta, Puerto Lopez, Montanita, Salinas and back to Guayaquil. Spending 2-3 days in each city.

        • Charlene, I was told you need to go through customs at the same airport when you fly in and when you fly out. So, I assume you will be flying into Guayaquil, going through customs, and then taking a separate flight to Quito. That way you can fly home out of Guayaquil. Please let me know if that rule has changed….

          Your itinerary sounds great. I have been everywhere but Manta and Puerto Lopez. I loved Montanita and Salinas, liked Guayaquil a lot, and Quito was just ok for me. I will be interested in what you think of it.


  5. Chad Davis says:

    I feel a trip to Manta is in order. I say we go by ship!

  6. Joan Dale says:

    Another great read until you called me an a** hole because I keep saying don’t let any more ugly gringos into Ecuador. lol.

    I agree that one really should if possible check out the area where you think that you might like to settle in before moving permanently. I do realize that for some there might be financial constraints but it could avoid a disastrous move for some.

    Now a special request, would you send to me some of those spanish workbooks that you posted a sample of. Dora is driving me crazy with her high pitched voice.

    Hugs to you and Chad.


    • Hi Joan, Sorry about Dora’s voice. Why do you think I was so generous to give her to you… I couldn’t listen to her either. I think I will just start posting a couple of pages of the workbook on every blog post. That way everyone can have a grade 2 knowledge of Spanish. See you soon. George

      • Bob says:

        I’m trying to get back up to my prior level of Spanish fluency (atrocious) and have found the FREE computer based course from to be very helpful. The FREE app for android ‘Fun Easy Learn’ is also a good and fun way to improve your vocabulary (if you’re fairly new to Spanish or need to brush up).

        I’ve also found that watching Spanish Television with closed captioning (in Spanish) turned on also helps. I keep a Spanish/English dictionary handy when I do that.

        A host of free Spanish Learning programs can be found at:

  7. Kudos on a great post. Another item that makes the $1000 a month a bare minimum is amortizing return trips back to your home of origin. For my wife and I that means two trips back a year to visit an elderly parent who will never make the trip to Ecuador. Seeing children, grandchildren and friends in 4 different states adds $400 – $500 per month.

    Thanks again for the good advice and good writing.

    • Lenny, You are so right about the cost of those back and forth trips. And certainly this $1000 a month budget would not include owning a car. Bare bones for sure. We have $2000 per month to draw on but are hoping to make it on $1500, saving the other $500 for travel and other fun stuff. We will see how we do when we get there. I know we are planning on living without a car but I did notice that one of my favorite trucks is available in Ecuador and the price is right. I have always wanted a 1960’s era double cab VW bus with the truck bed. I would die to have one… Just another distraction I am sure… Lenny, we are so ready to make the move, just need to finish up a few things. We will be there soon.

      Thanks for the comment… George

  8. Martyn says:

    Hi George, Always love your blog. You are thought provoking.
    Ecuador first came on my radar exactly a year ago. It took a while for everything to fall into place but I leave for Cuenca to stay on Thursday
    I’m excited and looking forward to putting down some new roots.

    See you in the Cuenca section for some football.


  9. Gary Sisk says:

    Great info from a guy who does not live here yet, you certainly do your homework on line.
    As far as the ugly Americans here they are even rude to other expats, not just the locals. I think some of them left their provac in the US!
    My book sales Why Ecuador for me on amazon with kindle sure picked up after the CBS new report on retirees in Cuenca.
    Always enjoy your blog.


    • Gary, I have enough info to write a book but I don’t feel qualified until I am living there. Glad to hear that your sales are doing great. Sorry to hear about all the rude expats. I keep getting stories of it getting worse… Maybe I will start some ass kicking classes for locals when I get there… Actually, I was thinking I would ask people to take videos of this behavior whenever they see it and we could make a Youtube video of all these people. That would be a hoot…. George

  10. David Blackwell says:

    Excellent blog today, George. Although I have lived and travelled in latin America, cultural reminders are always useful and putting the “Ugly American” aspect in perspective is good too. The quotes are outstanding.

    • Thanks David… Mark Twain is one of my favorites… Narrow minds and bad programming is what causes that awful behavior. Education could help… maybe. George

      • Charlene says:

        I wish education is the answer! I’ve taught for 20 years and etiquette, manners, attitudes become habits – some hard to break. Some folks get comfortable and never change. I’ve come to the conclusion that miserable folks,no matter where they land, bring their misery with them.

        • Charlene… I need to write about the subject of “misery”.

          Regrets and resentments cause misery in my opinion, and those issues are such a burden to carry around and they poison your life and your capacity to love….

          I believe this to be the underlying problem that many of these nasty and angry people have. They need someone to slap the misery right out of them….


          • Charlene says:

            The good thing (if possible) about miserable people, is that they tend to attract like minded folks – and avoid those that don’t agree or buy into their misery.

  11. Liz Gilbert says:

    Great post! I always look forward to reading them.

    When my husband and I landed in Guayaquil we were so apprehensive, didn’t speak Spanish and had no idea of what to expect. Thanks to a great guy who helped us through the car rental and the first few days there we were able to get our feet under us and take off. The people we encountered were wonderful. The culture is so different from ours but that is why we wanted to come – to experience a different culture, where values are still what they used to be here in the US.

    We are still looking at making the move – maybe in a year or two. So in the meantime, learning Spanish is a priority! btw…have you looked into the program Language 101? I’ve been exploring Rosetta Stone, don’t like it..too expensive..really don’t care for Pimsleur. The 101 looks pretty good and is not near as expensive.

    Keep up the good work!

    Liz & Roy

    • Liz… You mentioned getting a little help. That is all we needed. Pretty soon, you are doing it on your own. I am glad you have a great visit.

      I am using coloring books and workbooks to learn basic spanish. We will take a few classes when we finally get to Ecuador. George

  12. Don says:

    George, Thanks for the interesting blog. Planning a trip with a Cuenca stop in September. Anything special that we have to know about electrical voltage or outlet adapters in order to charge laptops, iphones, etc. So far my internet search has yielded varying answers about charging US (110 volt) appliances in South America. Will appreciate any info that you can share. Gracias, Don

    • Ecuador George says:

      Where ever we were I just plugged into the wall. No problems at all with voltage, at least not while we were there. We carry Apple everything, 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, a Mac laptop, and a iPad mini…. so we always had something on the chargers… We might have been lucky. I have heard of lightening striking homes and frying all the electronics… Good luck. Everything we came into contact with was 110 volt.

  13. Judy says:

    Hi George,

    I am a Canadian from Toronto, age 67, a widow. I hope to come to Cuenca in the New Year, on a fact finding trip for possible retirement.

    You said, “One should have at least $1,000 month for income.” Does this amount include cost of rental?

    Thank you too for all the time and effort you put into this post. Judy

    • Cost of living in Ecuador for just over a $1000 a month

      Here is a $1050 budget… pretty bare bones but doable…

      $400 per month for a 2 bedroom apartment or condo
      $300 per month for food (2 people)
      $ 50 utilities (tap water, electric, and gas)
      $ 35 internet service
      $ 35 health care (a couple doctor visits a year)
      $ 30 cell phone service for 2 phones
      $ 25 bus fare and taxi fare
      $ 50 cable/sat TV
      $100 entertainment (dining out, coffee, ice cream)
      $ 25 miscellaneous

      Judy, this works for 2 people… Get a roommate and individual costs go way down. Need your privacy then rent a one bedroom and save a little on rent and food. It can be done but not much left for a rainy day. I still think $1200 is the minimum for the average lifestyle… but you can spend less. I have friends with roommates that make it on $800 a month….

      Here is a link to another page on this blog… It will give you even more info… Click here.

    • Alan says:

      Hello JUdy,

      George seems to have missed replying to you – an oversight, I’m sure. Yes, the $1,000 per month should include rental. My wife and I live in a nice, modern apartment in the nicest area of Quito for which we pay $600 p.m. Our regular monthly expenditure total about $1300 and Quito is considered expensive for Ecuador. That amount doesn’t include medical or dental expenses, but they are a mere fraction of what they are in North America.

      Best of Luck,


    • Liz says:

      Well Judy…did you ever take your trip from Canada to Cuenca for your fact-finding research? I’m curious as to what you discovered if, indeed, you did fly south to Equador?

      Plz share your experiences when time and schedule permit, as I’m mighty curious myself about perhaps retiring to a place where I can afford to live on my lone social security check.

      Thanks ever so much!

  14. Michael says:

    , Hola George. Como esta usted.

    I have been reading you for about six months now and I just had to acknowledge and compliment your post today. Your writing style and ability to paint pictures in our minds has improved tremendously. Your anecdotes and use of anology and metaphor ( Off Off Off Broadway ) make you a joy to read. It is soo refreshing to be reminded that despite our planets ” AssHoles ” who are angry rude and disrespectful, there is an army of kind and warm and compassionate people just over the hill to show us the way to a kinder and more compassionate and gentle way of viewing the world and equally important in how the world views us.

    Gracias mi amigo.

  15. Michael,

    Thank you very much for that compliment.

    I try to make every post better than the last, and sometimes it tests my limits, which is a good thing, but I sometimes think I will fall flat on my face one of these days…. and that would be ok too.

    I hope to join the writers club when we get to Cuenca so I can learn how to write… Thanks again… your note made me smile wide…


  16. David and Juan says:

    Hi George. Another great post. Juan and I made the big move 9 days ago. It’s been quite the adventure so far. 5 suitcases and 2 large dogs. We rented a new house about 20 minutes from Centro for $255 a month. Our first week we felt like we were living ‘Green Acres’. Cold showers for 4 days, no appliances for a week. Our neighbors have roosters and there are soooo many stray barking dogs. i never thought our dogs would be the quite ones in any neighborhood.
    Slowly getting settled. I do recommend getting a furnished place but we really struggled because of our large dogs. We are looking for a place closer to centro. We LOVE the Ecuadorian people, food and weather. And Manny Lopez are Ecuadorian Everyman has been a godsend. All the best and looking forward to meeting you guys when you make the trek down. We brought Alberto Makers Mark BTW. 🙂

    • David, I would love to see pictures of what you found for $255 per month… How did you find it. Realtor, Alberto, Craigs List???? I think it will cost you over $6000 to furnish that place if it is new… good luck but that rent is cheap, cheap, cheap… And how did you meet Manny Lopez… We might need some help when we get there… Treat him well…. and stay in touch..


    • Cindy says:

      How did it go bringing your dogs? Did you encounter any problems. We have tiny ones and heard we may not be able to bring them on the plane with us. Also, what is the process bringing them in and out of the country? We will need to travel back to the US twice a year… Thanks in advance for any insight you have!

  17. Bo says:

    George, What no politics this time? What is a wonk like me suppose to do with all this useful and practical stuff? I am at a loss. None the less…good stuff as always. Look forward to your return trip to Cuenca. Give me a call when you get here and we can catch up. Bo

  18. Tes Stone says:

    As usual your last blog, “So you want to retire in Cuenca…” is another gem.

    Hubby and I have been taking the long, cautious route for retiring abroad — reading, then visiting, screening out and screening in.

    As part of that process, I recently started writing my own blog at It began as a “sick of America” rant and has now expanded to a step-by-step description of the decision-making process.

    Today, I sang your praises, quoted from your last blog and included your address. The most important thing I wanted to share with my own readers is that your comments are based on the REALITY you’ve experienced as an expat, instead of the “live on $200/month” stuff we read in all those investing newsletters. Keep up the good — and badly-needed — work. You’re the best.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Thanks for re-posting. I have no problem with anyone doing that, especially if you link it back to my site. So let me do this and suggest that my readers go over and take a look at your site. Click right here and it will take you to Your blog looks great. Looks like Belize will be where you might be settling. If you ever want to guest write a post here on Ecuador George, let me know. We would all love to see pictures and hear about Belize… Stay well, George

  19. Aunt Jody says:

    Another great post, George! You are indeed a gifted writer! I do have a question, though. Why do you say that if one cannot afford to make a trip to visit the country, then they cannot afford to live there? That seems just a bit patronizing, and I’m sure you don’t mean to be. I cannot afford to make a preliminary ‘look see’ unless I want to wait another 2 or 3 years to make a move. And Cynthia Collett in Cotacachi didn’t make a prelim visit before moving. Some of us who have traveled and are able to adapt rather easily, and those of us who speak passable Spanish shouldn’t have any great trauma in just making the move. I have spent 2 years in extensive research, have made some pen pals on the ground in Ecuador, and am ready to go. I guess I am more intrepid than most, or perhaps it’s just my upbringing. My mom moved half way around the world in 1945 on the strength of one letter from a friend who said “you’d love it here”, and she did. My niece at 21, moved to the far north of Russia in Dec. at 40 below and didn’t have to make a preliminary visit. I guess I just don’t understand the fear that so many people seem to have. If I get there and don’t like it, for whatever reason, I can always go somewhere else. That’s way more than the early settlers and pioneers could do when they settled the western U.S. And we have all manner of technology to help us acquire all the information we could possibly need. So, what’s with the statement, “if you can’t afford to visit, then you can’t afford to move?” Thanks, and love your blog!

    • Aunt Jody,

      You caught me. I am trying to discourage the innocent and inexperienced traveler. For them, the odds are much higher that their expectations will be turned into disappointments.

      And yes, I will always think it is better to visit before moving, but it is not absolutely, 100 percent necessary for everyone.

      I will say that before I buy a new home, or build a home that I will keep for an investment, I visit the area at least 3 times, and that is right here in California. Would I want to live here. Are the neighbors loud. Is there a lot of barking or loose animals running around. School buses, school kids, speeding cars, or maybe a sex offender or two on the block. Now add a foreign language and a foreign culture, thousands of mile from everyone and everything you know… This might be troublesome for some people… But for some it might not be. Sounds like you will do just fine.

      Thanks for the comment Jody. When are you moving? George

      • Aunt Jody says:

        Hi, George! My target is the week after Christmas. I’m probably going to give Cuenca a miss. Too big for me. I’m a small town girl. I’m headed to Imbabura province. I’ll check out Cotacachi, but there may be too many North Americans there already, or it may be too wet and chilly. I’m very interested in Ibarra and Otavalo. At some point I’ll also check out Loja and possibly the area between Salinas and Manta. There’s a lot to explore in Ecuador, so who knows where I’ll eventually end up! All I need is a little pied-de-terre I can lock and leave, because one of my main goals for “the best part of my life” is to travel. And, Ecuador has so many benefits for those of us who become permanent residents and are “of a certain age”, such as big fat discounts on public transportation and airfares. If I pass through Cuenca on my way to someplace, I’ll be sure to say howdy!
        Cheers to all and sundry!

  20. Sanju Oommen says:

    George, great posting as usual ! Really helpful. Thanks a million.

  21. Great post as usual, Jorge! Thank you for telling people that the $600 a month is baloney! I ventured into your after dark area and absolutely loved the Lewis Black video! What a riot! Safe Travels mi amigo y Saludos!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Thank you Mike. $600 is to low for 99.9%. The ones that do live on such a low budget usually have a roommate.

  22. Tom Gallagher says:

    Another fine post, thanks for all the help.

  23. Jim Lannon says:

    Another home run. Thanks George

  24. Dave says:

    Wow George! Another fab post. You certainly have a “knack” for great choices of words and topics. You hit the nail on the head with this post. People need to be mindful of the fact that they are in a different country, and the culture and situations are much different. I have seen many people in the Manta area fall into this category. Large communities such as Mirador San Jose is doing everything they can to orientate “Ecuadorian wannabees” to the proper lessons in culture and behaviour expectations that can be expected and experienced with locals and gringos alike. Keep up the good work buddy. Hey, and I would love to do a guest blog post sometime.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Dave, I am going to let this fly after looking at your website. I am certainly not endorsing this site but you do have some of the infrastructure in and there are homes going up, roads are graded, the beach is beautiful, and I can see some erosion control…. From what I can see from a fly over it looks like a viable project. Maybe you could send me info on everything like water source, your financial backers, all the good stuff that a smart person would want to know about your project and maybe we could feature something on the blog. I don’t usually do this type of thing but it would be nice to know of a safe place to send people to look for new housing…. Good luck.

  25. Mike Larson says:

    Can you make it work on $3000/month?

  26. gail says:

    Hi George, I am trying to jump ship from this sinking Titanic known as America. I feel so unsure and so unsafe doing this, but I plan on boarding a plane that will get me to Guayaquil which I am told is as close to Cuenca I can get to when flying in with my dog a Staffordshire Terrier, 55 lbs) on Delta. I was told it is a 3 hour drive after that.

    I have been in touch with Noshy at http://www.cuencanewresidentservices. I am not sure this is a legitimate service and not a scam. Have you heard of her services? Do you know anyone who has used her services? I asked her for the cost of her services, but she never answers that question. She said she would send a driver for me to Guayaquil but at what price??

    I don’t want to get stuck somewhere with my dog. I am not fluent in Spanish, which only adds to my fright. Plus, I am a victim of law enforcement harassment in California from my former employer – who had to pay me Service-connected Medical Disability Retirement which they are not happy about, plus I filed a Worker’s Comp Claim against them. They have really been targeting me hard and I cannot get help from any level of government to make them leave me alone; and they are deadly. As much of a reason that is to leave, that is not why I am desiring to retire outside of America. Because I see America being taken over by people with the mind of Hitler – I want to leave.

    Can you help me? I have not booked the flight because of the uncertainties with my dog. I have not booked a hotel because one, I am not sure when I will be leaving, and secondly because I have no clue what hotel would be best for me.

    I desired to leave the end of Nov or the first week in Dec 2013. So if you can help me or give me solid directions I will be so appreciative.

    I am a single black female in my fifties. I am very leery of strangers because Obama and Homeland Security has stretched the ability of US law enforcement to continue their harassment of those they have targeted throughout the States, even to other countries. I am speculating they will attempt to do the same to me when I leave.

    Please get back to me as soon as possible. I don’t know if I should continue with Noshy or not.

    Thank you

    • Ecuador George says:

      You do realize I write a little blog about moving to Ecuador. I have not actually moved there yet and will not move until early next year. I don’t know who could answer all these questions for you. Sounds like you need a lawyer. I can tell you that I have never heard of or used that service in Cuenca so I do not know if it is on the up and up. Good luck to you. Maybe you could contact some people through some Ecuador Facebook groups that would know more than me. Hope everything works out for you. George

  27. Brenda says:

    Hi George-Just wanted to reiterate how much I love your blog. You are so upbeat and complimentary of Ecuador in general and Cuenca in specific. I had been dreaming of traveling to Cuenca for about a year, then finally bought my ticket and flew away. My route took me to Guayaquil, where I would spend one night, then travel on to Cuenca the next day via private driver. Well, I was mugged in Guayaquil within 12 hours of my arrival. It happened in broad daylight on a busy sidewalk in one of the nicest areas of downtown. Out of no place, a kid jumped on my back, ripped my gold earrings out of my ears and took off. I was stunned! Holy Crap! I wasn’t seriously hurt, just ticked off. Why me? Well, let’s see. I am a blonde, light skinned, blue eyed lady who was walking alone down the street with gold earrings dangling in the sunshine. That was like wearing bait on my ears in the ocean. The police were fabulous (and handsome), and finally caught the culprits and retrieved my earrings, which weren’t real gold anyway. So I guess the story has a happy ending, but it has put a damper on my desire to move to Ecuador. When I finally got to Cuenca and hooked up with other Americans, I heard stories from other ladies who had been attacked by earring snatchers right in Cuenca. I only share this story because as fabulous as Cuenca is, women should know to be on guard. Ladies, don’t wear jewelry in public, don’t walk around at night alone, and when you travel to other villages/cities, take a friend or two along. Now I know why Ecuadorian women walk arm in arm. Yes, I know things like this happen in America, too, but isn’t that the reason some of us have chosen to leave America? George, what’s your take on the reality of safety in Ecuador, especially in Cuenca?

  28. Dana Mills says:

    George, I am interested in your answer to Brenda about the safety in Ecuador, especially Cuenca. I think Cuenca will be to big of a city for me. I do not want to live in a big city like Indy, Dallas, L.A. Something more hometown like. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you and love the blog.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Dana, Cuenca is only about 400,000 in the city with an additional 100,000 as you get further out. LA and Dallas are much bigger than that. Salinas is not as big and on the coast. You might check that out. Good luck. George

  29. Gil says:

    Hi George,

    This is my 2nd visit to your blog here. Love your warm and friendly style. Great info and advice.

    As I was reading your reply comments I thought, “I love this kind of person and would really like to be his friend.” Perhaps we will meet someday in Cuenca.

    My wife and I have been teaching English in China for almost 9 yrs. Needless to say there is not much retirement funding, but that’s ok. We’re planning to visit Cuenca and aa few other places in Ecuador, probably at the beginning of August. We will leave China for good at the end of June and visit our sons in Florida for a month first.

    I have been researching retiring in SA or Latin America for at least the past year or 2. We would like to supplement our SS with teaching PT ESL. We are not certified, but do have a lot of experience. We have been so actively involved with young college age students in China that the thought of really “retiring” actually scares me. I love people and the similarities and differences in our cultures. Love traveling and meeting friends I haven’t met yet.

    Though I am a person of strong Christian faith, I believe it is my mission to love others of all faiths and persuasions. It is not for me to judge societies or people and that has served me well in my walk. This can be a great journey if we can all give of ourselves to our fellow man.The return on that investment I find to be overwhelming at times. My heart will break when I leave my loved ones in China, but it is time at 62 to prepare for another phase of life. Fortunately, I have a partner who feels the same and is willing to seek another adventure with me.

    Thanks George for your encouraging posts, your research and assistance to all of us. Wish you and Chad a smooth and successful move to Ecuador.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Wow Gil,
      Nice note. You sound like someone I could just sit and talk to while sipping some wonderful cold drink or a nice hot latte. I am leaving a lot of people I love when we make this move. Of course I will visit them often but I know we will miss each other. I, like you am excited to meet new people and do new things. Thanks for reading and liking the blog. Hope we meet and become friends… George

  30. Cuenca Wannabee says:

    Hey George, I really would like to move to Cuenca but my husband fears crime and personal safety. He says that ecuadorians with low income will resent expats that seem better off financially and try to steal and threaten us. Please give us the honest answer on crime.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Here is my answer. There is crime in Ecuador but it is mostly petty crime and not wide spread. If you take normal precautions you should be now worse off then you would be anywhere in the states. I can tell you that I have never heard of a drive by shooting happening in Ecuador. Listen real close to the first 5 minutes, the lead stories on the news in the states. Murder after murder after murder… We have just all become numb from it all…. Come to Ecuador, you will love it. George

  31. Ken (Ecuador Virgin) says:

    Hi George

    My significant other and I recently decided Ecuador is our final destination upon retirement. Source BLOGGERS…rumors from expats living in Ecuador, who have their residency is that once one has obtained their residency a one time relocation container shipment sent over duty-free is allowed. If this holds true, then you can potentially load up on luxury items from the US or wherever and ship it tax free along with other household items in one shot. Thus far, have been unable to corroborate. Can you confirm or deny?

    • Ecuador George says:

      Ken, I am aware that a large container can be brought in duty free. Not sure of the particulars and not sure how much new stuff can be brought in. It should look like you are moving your personal property, not a Best Buy store inventory. With that said, I am sure someone could buy a new car, and some other new stuff, and sell it once they got into the country. We have decided not to do that because we are trying to simplify our life, and we are retired now…. but I am sure someone has thought of this before…. Get someone local to help you if this is the way you end up going. Good luck. George

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