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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Neighborhood Apartments

One of the major tasks in moving to Cuenca is to find a place to live on a more permanent basis than a hotel or a short term lease that can be booked on line or with a real estate agent. 

Avenida Solano, our Champs Ellysees, on the South side of town

As we have mentioned before, finding an apartment for a long term is best done by going door to door and asking if something is available, following the newspaper advertisements, or just letting everyone you talk to know you are looking. Along these lines, we often get the question “Where is the best place in town to rent an apartment.” Once again, this is a purely subjective question and depends on your requirements. Do you want to live within easy walking distance of Centro or will taking a bus or taxi from a greater distance suffice? Do you want to live in a high rise building with a great view or would you prefer living on a lower, potentially less expensive, floor? How would you rate the security of the building you have chosen?  Do you want an outdoor terrace? How big an apartment in square meters (150 square meters is approximately 1500 square feet)? Would you possibly like to live in a house? On and on it goes and we can answer none of these questions for you. You have to come and look, ask, and do some real leg work.  Other than having a free standing home, most of the apartments you will probably find are in the newer, red brick buildings shown in these photos. All will have a doorman who is the security guard. All will have parking either underground or in front or back. And, many will have a reasonably sized gringo population. We are most familiar with the more residential parts of the city, the new part of town on the South side of the river and the West side of town, but there are many more apartment buildings scattered all over the city.

The River Tomebamba, separating old town from the newer South section

There are many apartments in the old city and we know a few couples who prefer to live there. But it was our choice to live across the river in the quieter, more residential area where there is a larger concentration of apartment buildings of our liking.

The above photo is of the area across the river from the old city and looking west. As you can see there are at least eight buildings visible in the photo. It is about a 15-25 minute walk to the center of town depending on how far west you are located. Shopping for food, appliances, electronics, and the Mall del Rio are here.

Here is a map showing in red the approximate area on the South side of town and across the river where many apartments are located. 

This photo is of the dozen or so apartment buildings in the Oro Verde Hotel area in the far west part of town on Avenida Ordonetz Lasso and is where many of the gringos have set up camp. It is about a 35-45 minute walk to Parque Calderon in the center of town.  There is plenty of shopping quite near plus the Coopera food coop and Sukasa, an upscale department store.

Above is a map showing in red the approximate vicinity of the Oro Verde Hotel and the nearby apartment areas on the West side of town.

We hope this very brief tour of some of the apartment areas of Cuenca will be of some help in orienting yourself when you visit and begin the process of apartment or house hunting. 

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