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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cuenca lifestyle

When you are thinking about a move to a foreign country there are a thousand questions that must be answered. Some are easy to find the answers to but others are less obvious. Here are a few observations about where Cuenca differs from other towns and cities in Ecuador.

Unlike the coast and the Amazon, there are almost no bugs in Cuenca, at least, none of the pesky mosquitoes and noseeums which can make life miserable.  But, because there are few bugs, there are also very few birds.

A great advantage is that the tap water in Cuenca is drinkable and we have been drinking it for the last two years without problem. This is not true in most of the other communities in Ecuador where you should purchase bottled water.

There is a constant spring like climate with no real hot or cold weather. We do have changes of season from wet to dry but even that is erratic. Mornings are cool. Midday is warm. Afternoons often have a rain storm and evenings are cool enough to wear a light jacket.

Because of the abundance of rain, there are flowering trees, shrubs, and gardens year round.

The electric system is 110 like the US and we use the same plugs as in the States.  All of our appliances from the States just plugged in without any converter or problem. The only difference is the regional code that prevents DVD players from the US from being used here. BluRay players have the same region as the US and work just fine. DVD players are inexpensive in Ecuador so there is no point in bringing them. Cell phones should be bought here or, as an alternative, have your US cell phone unlocked for about $10.

Ecuador uses the US dollar so there are no currency fluctuations like you will find in other countries. This provides for a more stable budget than with a fluctuating currency.

Gasoline costs $1.48 per gallon and, because it is subsidized by the government, has been constant at that price for the last two years.

There are many other subjects like what is available in the supermarket, electronics availability, vitamin and pharmaceutical product accessibility, office supplies, etc. but we have found that with few exceptions most items we need are available either as imports or as local substitutes.  There are exceptions but, if the item is small, it can easily though slowly, be mailed from the US.