4 Ways A Cuenca Life Saves Your Money

One of the most frequent questions people ask us on their way to Cuenca is “What do I need to spend to live well in Cuenca?”  Today we’re going to look at the question from another angle – what DON’T you need to spend to live well in Cuenca.  Here are four key ways a Cuenca life saves you money:

#1 – Goodbye, Vehicle Expenses!

Most people in Cuenca don’t have a car.  They use taxis or take the bus.  A bus ride is 25 cents – 12 cents if you are a resident certified senior.  Taxis are $1.50 for short rides, and $2 – $3 for longer or rainy day rides.  If you spend more than $100 a month in local transport expenses, you’re really getting around!

Compare that to what you might spend at home.  There’s the cost of filling up the tank, parking fees, and maintenance expenses.  Annual insurance, registration, and vehicles taxes are another pretty penny.  When you move to Cuenca, you can leave those expenses behind for good.

#2 – Goodbye, Expensive Healthcare!

Healthcare costs in Cuenca are much lower than comparable care in the US.  You can have your teeth cleaned for $25 or less, replace a pair of glasses for under $100, and get your annual physical for less than $250, including bloodwork and X-rays.  Most doctors visits are $25 – $35 for an appointment, even for specialists, and regular medications are priced like generics in other countries.  Insurance fees are low if you even choose to carry insurance, and most residents quickly connect with an English speaking doctor they can trust to take quality care of them.

Compare that to the situation at home.  We know of many new arrivals who have been paying more than $1,000 per month just in insurance premiums, to say nothing of their co-pays, deductibles, and prescription costs.  When you move to Cuenca, you can afford the healthcare you want without feeling like you need to ration your medical consumption.

#3 – Goodbye, High Utility Bills!

Basic utilities in Cuenca are extremely affordable.  Where we can, we try to have the costs included in the rent, but for those who pay on their own the costs are minimal.  Gas for cooking and hot water runs between $6 – $10 monthly, water around $15, and electricity $25 – $50 for a couple.

Compare that to what you’re paying now.  Chances are your total monthly bills here in Cuenca will be less than just your electric bill where you’re living now.

#4 – Goodbye, Expensive Nightlife!

If you have a really good night out in Cuenca, you might manage to spend $100.  That could mean a sumptuous dinner for two with wine and tip at Tiesto’s, Cuenca’s #1 rated restaurant, or a full night out at Gabbi or DosDos, two of Cuenca’s more expensive nightclubs.

For a more normal night out, expect to spend less than $50 for entertainment.  A trip to the movies is less than $5 for a ticket in the theater, and excellent dinners around Cuenca are less than $25 per person, with drinks.  The mayor’s office frequently sponsors free symphonic concerts, opera performances, and theatrical events, though regular tickets are well under $10 if you miss the free shows.  Cover charges average $2 – $5 for live music, though some international Djs can command up to $20 for a show.  A simple beer will run you around $2 for a Grande (about 2 regular beers), and very nice wines are available for under $15 a bottle.  If you want to stay in, dozens of stores throughout the city have the newest movie releases for $1- $2, and dinner delivery (pizza, sushi, comida tipica) will be under $20.

Compare that to your lifestyle at home.  What is the price of a big night out, or even a modest one?   Just dinner and a movie can easily be over $100, especially in cities where theater tickets are $16 – $20 per person.  Tickets for cultural events go up every year, and a night out with friends usually results in serious sticker shock for those of us who travel back and forth to the States infrequently.  Moving to Cuenca, you can eat out regularly, enjoy affordable cultural events, and embrace “having a life” again.

All of these examples are simply to remind you that Cuenca is a very affordable place to LIVE a full life.  Many of the high costs of the homeland simply don’t exist here.  As you think about what the next chapter of your life will hold, consider living well – in Cuenca, naturally.

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15 Responses to 4 Ways A Cuenca Life Saves Your Money

  1. Rogelio Lopez says:

    I would like to visit Cuenca around July, 2012, and really see what this city is all about. I plan to retire within a year and this place sound great according to my boss who visited last year. With this said, I would like to inquire about a hotel you would recommend that is in the downtown area.
    Thank you for your time and for posting all the positive comments.

    Rogelio Lopez
    San Antonio, Texas

    • CCstaff says:

      I have not stayed in any hotels in Cuenca but here are a few the my clients have mentioned:

      Casa Ordonez

      Villa Nova
      Paseo 3 de noviembre 24-06 y Escalinatas, Cuenca, Ecuador
      +593 7-283-6790

      Hotel Inca Real
      General Torres, Cuenca, Ecuador
      +593 7-282-3636 ‎

  2. Rollie says:

    I will be moving (retiring) to Cuenca next summer. I know DVD’s are cheap but what about PS2 and XBox 360 game consoles and games?

  3. Can you give any real time information about crime in Cuenca. I would love to retire there but, I’ve been scared by comments from some travel sites. Please tell me that I can live quietly in a small apartment near welcoming little sidewalk cafes and enjoy the beauty of Cuenca without being robbed!!!
    Thank you so much for your reply

    • CCstaff says:

      Hi Richard,

      Unfortunately, there is no central crime statistics database for Cuenca like we have in the States that I know of at this time. You can avoid being robbed by being careful with your possessions, especially the toys most of us take for granted (cell phones, netbooks, ipads). Cuenca is much safer than comparably sized cities in the US, which is part of why any incident here receives so much press!


  4. John says:

    I like to play tennis and dance country western and some ballroom. What are the possibilities? I heard from an expat that the expat community gossips a lot. I have a 34 year old wife who looks 16. I am 68. Will that be a problem in Ecuador. In China we are started at unmercifully.

    • CCstaff says:

      Hi John,

      Tennis is available here, and there are ballroom dancing groups though I am not 100% sure when they meet. Cuenca is a small, close-knit expat community so you will quickly be able to discover the information you need once you arrive.

      In terms of differences between Cuenca and China, friends of mine who lived in China noted that foreigners were often centers of attention just because they were novelty items. Here, we have a large enough community that many Cuencanos don’t give foreigners a second glance.

      Cuenca Condos Staff

  5. Patti Claussen says:

    Husband and I need to check out Cuenca. Our monthly budget is $1100.00. And we would need 3bedrms 2 baths with a terrace or semi-private porch area; leaning toward early spring (March ’12). Most nervous about First few weeks of getting around, communicating with family in the states, purchasing the basics in short order, and of course all necessary I.D. I heard Ecuadorians are very forgiving of anyone trying to learn Spanish…..We will need that :) ! I would like to purchase in the long term; however, I’m not sure if it will be Cuenca, Vilacambama or other?

  6. Cherie Rose says:

    Still waiting to hear about prospective upcoming vacancies, furnished, pet friendly, and centrally located. Do I have to wait until I arrive in November to contact you?



    • CCstaff says:


      The best way to contact me is via email. You will also want to fill out a rental survey a month or two before your arrival.


  7. Justin P. says:

    Can you tell me if there is a problem renting in Cuenca if you have credit problems back in the States? I had a nasty divorce and my credit here now stinks, but I have not claimed bankruptcy, nor do I intend to. Any insight would be welcome.

    • CCstaff says:


      I have never heard of a landlord running a credit check on someone here. That being said. You have to pay in cash. If you don’t pay you get kicked out. Pretty easy and pretty simple. No credit needed.


      • Justin P. says:

        Thanks so much for your prompt reply. Just what I was hoping, that cash would be the answer.

        Thanks again!

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