A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's cheap, expensive or hard to get?

We remembered that before we came to Ecuador, there were many questions in our minds over what to bring, what we could and could not get in Cuenca and what might cost more than in the US. This is a controversial subject as some of the following items may be available and we just have not found where to get them. But, with that said, let’s take a look at three categories of what we have found to date. The lists are far from complete but will give you an idea of what costs more or less and what is hard to get in Cuenca. This is a favorite subject for the Gringos. We would appreciate contact from people who live in Ecuador with additions to this list and we will post it again soon with more information.

What costs more in Cuenca?
At the beginning of the 2009 economic crisis, the government of Ecuador imposed a high protective tariff on almost all imported goods which raised the cost of imports considerably. The government has promised to eliminate most if not all of these tariffs in early 2010 but we shall see. We are hopeful that when present supplies have been restocked, prices will come down on imported goods.
Nevertheless, we still find some items more costly like shoes, blue jeans, cars (especially if you want an automatic shift), cameras, toys, mail to the US, children’s school workbooks,

What is hard to get in Cuenca?
A large selection of almost anything, children’s clothes, off size clothes (Ecuadorian’s are generally smaller in size than North Americans), high thread count sheets (300 about top count), Levi jeans, aspirin in 325 and 85 mg size, cold medications, frozen foods, parsnips, good salad dressings, baby foods, chicken bouillon cubes, prepared foods like Whole Food in the US, full range of vitamins, A3 copy paper (only A4 available), English language books, TV and camera accessories, DSLR cameras, a full school day (classes end at about 1:00PM), high-end gyms,

What costs less in Cuenca?
Maid service ($8-10 a day), Utilities (did you know that there are no heating or air conditioning units used or necessary in Cuenca?), housing (both rental and purchasing), taxis ($1-2 anywhere in the city), fresh vegetables and fruit, Restaurant food (also tipping is much less), computer printers (most under $100), medical care, gasoline($1.48 gallon), In-country air fares, South American wines and liquors, custom made furniture, granite counter tops, labor ($10-15 day depending on job), DVD’s ($1.50 each),

Let us know what you think could be added to this list. 

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