We are now seriously considering retiring in Ecuador. Here are some reflections I have had since my return:
- I will never drive in Ecuador. I will probably sell both my cars here and take a taxi or bus down there. You can go anywhere in the city for a $2 taxi ride or a $.25 bus ride. Even then, it is wise to be intoxicated before hiring a taxi because even being a passenger is not for the faint-hearted. One taxi driver we hired side-swiped another as we were going to the airport. On the freeway,some drivers share a lane with wide buses while passing on narrow curves and steep hills.
- You order bottled water "sin gas" or "con gas." This does not refer to your desire for intestinal discomfort, but to your choice of or not
- In Cuenca you can live very well on less than $3000 a month including rent. This includes having a maid, eating out, and enjoying life.Here is a one of the high-rise buildings called Palermo where many gringos live. You can rent a 1200 square foot apartmnt here for about $400-$500 a month and a furnished apartment up to 1500-1700 square feet for maybe $700. This often also includes utilities.
Here is a typical view from the apartments:
If you are staying in Cuenca, stay at a hostel (bed and breakfast) called Casa Ordonez run by Alberto, his mother and two sisters who are presently in the United States.His staff is excellent. They are dedicated, incredibly helpful, and efficient.
Alberto is a one-man support system and a strong advocate of Ex-pats moving to Ecuador. He has dual citizenship, was in the U.S. Navy, and knows Americans and their needs well. Their hostel has been in the family for years.No matter what you need - tours-medicine-haircut-American expat meetings-activities- restaurants-apartments-establishing residence-attorneys-Alberto is very willing to help. He is an incredible support and speaks English flawlessly.
- The expats in Cuenca are extremely friendly and encouraging to move there. Some expats hang together while others believe they should integrate more into the general community. The experience is being with like-minded people who share many common interests. On our last night there, Alberto threw a little party and all had a great time. Joseph wowed us with his piano playing.......
- While we are highly motivated to make the move, it is complicated to unwind things back home in Orange County. We will be meeting with a Realtor tomorrow to see what our house is worth these days. I have talked with my business partner about possible buy-outs, etc. Then there is the question of what to do with all our furniture, how do we handle medical care, etc. Will be sharing all this information in future blogs as we continue our adventure.......