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5 Tips for International Living in Cuenca, Ecuador


Ecuador has become a very popular destination for expats. Not only is it a beautiful country with a fascinating history and a rich culture, it also offers a well-entrenched expat community and plenty of support.

Cuenca is a particularly great spot for expats. This highland city is the capital of Ecuador’s Azuay Province. There are a lot of things that make this city popular with expats. It has stunning historical buildings, so much so that it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also a wide range of facilities, a large expat community, and a wide selection of celebrations and festivals.

There are a number of reasons why people choose to relocate to a place like Cuenca. For many, it is because they want to live a happier and more adventurous life at a lower cost. This is certainly a benefit that Cuenca, and Ecuador as a whole, can offer. The longer you live in a place like this, the more your monthly outgoings will reduce.

If you’re thinking of making Cuenca Ecuador your new home, here are five tips for living there successfully.

1. Get to Know the Culture of Cuenca

A city like Cuenca is a real treat to live in. The city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status is testament to just how much there is to see and do. Museums such as the Museo del Sombrero, the Museo de las Culturas Aborigenes, the Museo del Monasterio de las Conceptas and the Museo Pumapungo all offer fascinating insights into the history of the area.

It’s also a good idea to keep on top of local events. There are festivals and programs of events running all year round, and many of them are free. This is a great example of how living in Ecuador can be so much cheaper than in the states: entertainment is much more varied and cultured and costs only a fraction of the price!

2. Learn the Lingo and Take a Spanish Course

Life as an expat in Ecuador will be much easier if you have even a basic grasp of Spanish. You may also find that you get a better price if you can negotiate in the local lingo! Luckily, there are hundreds of options for where to take a language course, and almost all of them will be much cheaper than it is in the USA. If you’re on the lookout for a language school, try the Simon Bolivar Spanish School. This is one of the oldest, largest, and most successful Spanish schools in Cuenca.

3. Get into the Habit of Carrying Small Change

Once you get the hang of how much cheaper things are in Ecuador, you’ll want to get into the habit of carrying small change. You may even find that carrying anything over a $20 bill is a waste of time, as you’ll have trouble changing it. Adjust the contents of your wallet to suit the price of the things around you, and things will be much easier!

4. Join the Cuenca for Expats Program

Cuenca’s Chamber of Commerce have put together the Cuenca for Expats program to aid transition into the city and to help new expats to feel at home. Joining this program can be a great way to get to know your new city quickly, and it can really help when it comes to meeting other people in the same position as you. The program can also help to make sure you avoid common pitfalls and start benefiting from cheaper living right away.

5. Hang Out at the SuperMaxi Grocery Store

A grocery store may not sound like the most happening spot Cuenca has to offer, but you might find it helpful to pay a visit to SuperMaxi. This is well known as a local expat meeting point, and it can be a great way to meet people and learn some local tips. As well as all the groceries you’d expect to find in a store like this, you’ll also be able to pick up some English speaking time and the 411 on local expat happenings!

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