Ecuador

/Ecuador

Weekend Adventures in Cuenca, Ecuador!

Hey friends, lets talk about the weekends here in Cuenca. It doesn’t matter where you live, Saturday is the day you get to see everybody out and about.

Just because you might be retiring cheap doesn’t mean you have to spend your days doing nothing by yourself. Even though I still love being a hermit.

It’s Saturday so I’m up at 9am, grabbing some breakfast because I’m going to meet my roommate Gary at the local farmers market.

He’s already been been gone for a few hours because he’s got a band that he practices with at 8am. I know, 8am!!!!! On Saturday! Yeah he’s crazy!

Our plan is to meet up at the local expat market for 1030am. f you’re an expat looking for Southern Biscuits, or Aussie pies, this is the place to go.

After having a huge lunch, I stumble into a poker game at the restaurant.

These guy have had this game going on for 4 years now!

After a few hours of poker….which I lost….soooo sad…stupid hustlers!

I met up with Gary again for dinner at a pop up roast beef event.

Unfortunately it wasn’t great. Beef in Cuenca is stringy AND tough!

The crowd is mostly expats here. In Cuenca this which means I’m one of the few people that isn’t over 60.

(If you’re over 60, it’s really easy to meet new friends in Cuenca!)

After dinner, I meet up with another friend to check out what the local bars look like here.

We head down to Calle Llarga, the local area for food and drinks.

The first bar we went to was closed for a private event.

The second bar we went to was a crazy black metal bar!

This is the only place I’ve seen a fight happen in Cuenca.

If you want to see the fight and the whole YouTube version of this blog, check out the link here …… YOUTUBE

We escaped from there quickly, and headed to find another place to drink.

We skipped a couple of salsa clubs. I hate Salsa, and also here in Cuenca they charge a cover to get in. Usually cover is from $2-$4 (US).

Finally we settle down at a cool bar called Bomba which overlooks the river and has some great features including a real fire pit.

This is a full on, bonfire on beach kind of pit!

So much fun!

I called a cab at 2am with the EasyTaxi app ($1.50 for the cab).

Cuenca, even though it’s a sleepy small town, is still a fun place to get your groove on! And personally I learned a new Ecuadorian word on Sunday called chuchaqui, which means hangover!

I hope this video has been helpful for you in making your decision to find the best country to retire cheap.

And remember to subscribe and share this blog!

Weekend Adventures in Cuenca, Ecuador!2018-12-03T20:52:50+00:00

A New York Style Pizza at Chicago Pizza Restaurant in Ecuador.

November 24, 2018……It’s a gorgeous day, 20 degrees with a light breeze. Time to venture out of my apartment to get some lunch.

What’s lunch look like in Cuenca, Ecuador?

Today it was a $1 slice of New York Style Pizza at a place called Chicago Pizza Restaurant.

It is New York Style, but it’s definitely not New York quality.

But hey it’s a buck. ($1.25 Canadian) and includes a glass of Coke.

For the last couple of days, it’s been pizza, hamburgers or hot dogs for my meals here in Ecuador. It’s all about a $1.25 and usually includes that glass of Coke.

The cheap hamburgers are disgusting, do not get them. I think it’s random meats and sawdust. While the cheap hot dogs are pretty tasty. Be careful, ordering a hot dog with the works, or as they say “todos ” which means mustard,ketchup and mayo.

I know you’re thinking what about Ecuadorian food?

Usually restaurants and cafe’s have an almuerzo, or menu del dia which consists of

1. A meat of some sort

2. A soup

3. Rice

4. Beans

5.A juice

A typical Almuerzo is pretty filling and costs about $3 Canadian.

Obviously this isn’t the only food you can get in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can get everything from tasty ribs, to strange Ecuadorian / Chinese food (I’ll get into that later).

This article is about what you can get for a cheap $1 lunch.

Hope this helps you with your decision, of whether or not you’re coming to Cuenca, Ecuador to retire cheap.

See you soon!

And if you want to see the new YouTube channel ? LINK TO MY YOUTUBE VIDEOS

A New York Style Pizza at Chicago Pizza Restaurant in Ecuador.2018-11-25T06:08:29+00:00

$1 for a bag of tomatoes or $5 for Kraft Mayo? Shopping in Cuenca!j

Hi friends, today is market day, and that means loading up on fresh fruits and vegetables.

Shopping in Cuenca is interesting because you have two types of places where you can buy food.

You’ve got the local farmers market, and the big box grocery store.

Do you like farmers markets back home? Imagine the biggest, realest farmers market you’ve ever seen.

The great thing about the farmers market here is that there isn’t a premium on fresh, organic food. It just exists.

Nobody is charging you extra because it came from a family farm. They’re just happy you’re buying something!

The prices are great too. Check out the pictures….and yes all the prices are in Canadian.

The huge bag of pasta? $1.50.

There are somethings that you can’t buy at the farmers market though.

So you’ll have to go the SuperMaxi. It’s just like a Superstore back home.

I had to come here to buy ketchup, mayo, aaa batteries, mustard, booze, and various snack foods.

If you look at the picture, it looks like a 24 year old guy’s shopping list. I swear it was because I bought all my fresh produce at the farmers market.

All of this junk food and booze, came up to $50 Canadian, mainly because of the two bottles of booze and the AAA batteries.

If you noticed I also have some name brand Chips Ahoy cookies! Those are $2.

Not everything imported will be super expensive, but some things like this jar of Kraft Mayo? Super expensive! At $5 I’m leaving that on the shelf and buying Ecuadorian mayo ($1.50).

My groceries for the month? $100….. and that’s with booze included…..

I’m loving Cuenca, and it’s still my number one place to retire cheap in the world.

If you want more great places to retire cheap check this article out LINK TO 2018 BEST COUNTRIES TO RETIRE CHEAP LIST

$1 for a bag of tomatoes or $5 for Kraft Mayo? Shopping in Cuenca!j2018-11-22T20:36:34+00:00

Want to Lose Weight? Get Healthy? Retire Cheap in Ecuador!

Here’s a crazy story, but maybe not that crazy.

A man who has lived his whole life in North America, retires cheap in a different country.

He loses a whole bunch of weight, gets way healthier, and gains a newfound life.

This is a story I’ve been told and seen over and over again by expats that I’ve met.

My current roommates are both in their 60’s, but look at least 10 years younger!

Why? Here’s one reason.

Cuenca, Ecuador is a walking city. While you can take a cab ($2 CDN), everything is under a 30 minutes away.

And it’s usually a nice spring like day. So, you figure, why not walk?

Before you know it, you’ve walked up and down hills for an hour every day. Maybe you’ve even done some crazy stairs.

One guy I met, lost 30lbs just by doing this. Nothing else changed.

His diet didn’t change at all. He still had white bread, with kraft singles and bologna for lunch. Dinner? BBQ!

Just the constant walking raised his metabolism and got him in better than he’d been for decades. When was the last time you just walked up and down hills in North America? I remember it would be, go outside. Get into my car, drive to work, drive home after work. And if I was going out on the weekend? No way I was walking there!

Another friend I met, took it even farther. A nutritionist, and author, this friend took advantage of the fresh organic fruits/vegetables that are cheap and plentiful here.

You know how organic tomatoes are crazy expensive in North America? Here all vegetables are basically $1! And really they come straight from somebodies farm.

Combine fresh smoothies, and the walking? Boom….. crazy stackable gains in fitness.

Now me? Every time I take a break in North America I gain weight, but when I get back? It’s back to the protein shakes, walking and of course the gym. Usually I’ll lose 5lbs of fat in a month.

So, yes, if you are looking to lose weight and get healthy? Retire cheap in Ecuador.

Hope you liked the article, and if you want to read more? Head here LINK TO ALL ARTICLES

Want to Lose Weight? Get Healthy? Retire Cheap in Ecuador!2018-11-15T16:00:58+00:00

Getting to Cuenca, Ecuador! Step by Step Guide.

Hi friends! Cuenca, Ecuador was my #1 choice for best places to retire cheap in 2018. Here’s a LINK TO BEST PLACES TO RETIRE 2018 So let’s talk about how to get there.

Flying to Cuenca isn’t super easy. There aren’t really direct flights.

I flew from Las Vegas to Houston, and then from Houston to Quito.

Quito then connected me to Cuenca.

When you take your first flight from wherever, your bags are going to be checked all the way to Quito.

And you’ll get all your boarding passes.

Except for one of them.

The boarding pass that won’t print will be the one from Quito to Cuenca.

It’s because these tiny little regional flights don’t really connect with the big systems.

How was my flight?

After partying my ass off in Vegas for 3 days $100 for 3 days in Vegas Trip! LINK

I said goodbye to my friends and off to Ecuador I went!

Getting to the airport in Vegas by Uber cost me $14 USD. No problems. I had a few hours to kill in the airport then off to Houston I went.

Landing in Houston is gross. This airport is HUGE! And the connecting gate from Houston to Quito is literally miles away. I swear it was almost faster to walk to Ecuador from my gate! I had to hurry my ass to catch my connection. (I did stop for a pit stop to buy some Wendy’s though. Ouch $10!)

Landing in Quito several hours later, I had to go to the immigration area with all the other foreigners.

That took about 25 minutes to get through. The security officer was also super confused that I wanted a 90 day stamp. Eventually I got it though.

Then after immigration, you’ll have to get your checked bag. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP! You might be thinking….my bag is checked all the way to Cuenca….it is not.

After getting your checked bag, you have to leave and then re-enter the airport. That’s right, leave. There is no area for you to transition from.

After re-entering the airport, you’ll head to the departures area.

The departure area is small. Like itty bitty.

There you’ll see a GIANT line of people. DO NOT GO INTO THIS LINE.

Go to the information area and find out where your ticket gate is. The giant line in my case was for COPA airlines to Panama.

Remember you still don’t have boarding pass yet. So you’ll go the ticketing gate (which opens 2 hours before your flight).

I flew Tame airline. It was a tiny little plane. But it got the job done.

Landing in Cuenca, I was immediately thinking…..ok how do I get an UBER/GRAB/LYFT? Obviously you know that’s the best way to get a ride from the airport WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE A TAXI LINK

I didn’t see any, but being exhausted after my 20 hours of flight, I just took a taxi like a chump.

Being a super duper dummy, I didn’t demand the meter on.

Which again if you have taken a cab in Bangkok you know is a big no no.

I just showed him my address on my phone (remember now you’re in South America. English is non-existent). I always have a photo of the address. As you will not have data.

I got to my address, the incredible Blue Door Housing.

The total cost of my cab? $2.25 USD. I couldn’t believe it.

Saved by the fact that Cuenca has cheap cabs, my stupidity didn’t kill my budget! Oh how I love you Cuenca!

And that’s how you get to the best place to retire cheap in 2018!

Total flight transit time 21 hours. I now will sleep for at least a day.

Want more stories and tips go to LINK TO ALL ARTICLES

Getting to Cuenca, Ecuador! Step by Step Guide.2018-11-09T20:15:12+00:00

Best places to retire cheap in 2018

Where’s the best place to retire cheap in 2018? Here’s my definite list for the year!

Here you go, in order:

#8 Cebu, Philipines: Beautiful forts, old architecture, mountains and beaches…..what’s not to love about Cebu? Also Cebu speaks English. They have great food, a mix of traditional and western can be found here no problems. The biggest problem with Cebu and why it only ranked #8 on this years list? Heat. It’s hottttttt, hot, hot here. Also spotty wifi, and roosters. Why are roosters a big con? They still have cock fighting here. So you are going to hear roosters all the time. One of the best things about Cebu though? The beaches, this will rank high for you if you love beaches!

Cebu Summary

#7 Bali, Indonesia: Tranquil beaches, and a very diverse culture is why it’s #7 on this years list. You’ll find everything from Australian backpackers, to yoga pant wearing hippies residing here. I’ve been all around the world and this is one of the most diverse places I have found in the way of culture. The people of Bali, are all great though. Regardless if you like yoga or all you can drink night clubs, there’s a place in the city for you. You’ll be able to get fresh fruit shakes for $1 CDN and big beers are $3. The biggest problem with Bali, is that it’s full of bugs. I don’t think I saw one traveller that was not covered in bug bites. I’d vacation here, but I don’t think I’d like to retire here. But I love the banana pancakes on the beach…..so good and definitely worth going for!

LINK: One Month Bali Review

#6 Quito, Ecuador: Quito is one of the cities you’ll definitely visit in Ecuador. The reason you’ll visit is that it’s an airport hub and it’s close to the Amazon. Would I retire there? Yes, but it’s not as good as it’s sister city Cuenca. While Quito has several things going for it like Uber and more buses going to different parts of the country, it’s not quite perfect. Giant hills make walking around difficult, and while I’d recommend coming here, (It’s still in the top 10 in the world.) It’s neighbor Cuenca is just better for retirees. Another problem with Quito is like most of South America, people don’t really speak English. Great healthcare in Ecuador though keeps Quito in the mix! Also as a bonus if you’re staying in Quito, go check out the Blue Door Housing…fantastic place to stay.

LINK: One month in Quito

#5 Chiang Mai, Thailand: Founded in 1296, this northern town in Thailand is a quiet place compared to Bangkok. The old town here is amazing, picturesque with temples and a feeling of peace. It doesn’t feel like a big tourist trap like Bangkok does. Saying that there are some reasons it’s ranked #5. No transit. The city has no good bus/transit/taxi. You’ll be taking Jeepneys everywhere. Recently it got GRAB, but cars are still relatively rare.

LINK: Great things about retiring in Chiang Mai

#4 Saigon, Vietnam: Saigon is a great place to retire cheap, because of the combination of great food and culture. LINK In detail review of Saigon

FOOD! Banh Mi is my go to food in Vietnam. Even if I never retire in Saigon, I’ll need to fly back at least once a year to eat some Banh Mi.

The costs here are great:

  • Coffee 17,600 Dong ($1 CDN
  • I’ve tried to give up smoking, but it’s been hard so I’ll usually have a smoke with my morning coffee. Cigarettes are 25,500 Dong ($1.50 CDN) a pack.
  • Gym 260,000 Dong ($15 CDN) a month.
  • Vietnamese Sub, AKA Banh Mi, AKA delicious 15,000 Dong ($1 CDN). The funny thing about Banh Mi’s is that there are several stands all around my apartment. All of the Banh Mi’s are slightly different but they are all uniformly 15,000 Dong!
  • My apartment was 4.4 million Dong ($250 CDN ) a month. This included high speed internet (43 Mbps), a maid once a week, power, water etc. (Shared with 2 other people).
  • A bowl of Pho 40,000 Dong ($2 CDN)

Why did it not rate higher on my best countries to retire cheap list? Heat mainly, and the fact that GRAB is really bad there. Also the visa situation kind of sucks. You have to do paperwork ahead of time to get your Visa, and Visa runs are necessary every 3 months.

#3 Medellin, Colombia: Ranked #3 this is my #1 to place to visit. Especially if I were just to judge it by it’s vibrancy and culture. I loved Medellin as soon as I stepped off the plane. The sounds, the sights (the women are beautiful) and the fact that everyone seems pretty darn nice. Medellin is somewhere you definitely want to visit at least once in your life. Saying that it only ranked #3 for a reason. It’s lively culture also includes, drugs, thieves and assaults. Every person I knew had either been mugged, robbed or pickpocketed (or personally knew somebody who had been). I personally had somebody try to pickpocket me, and my roommate was robbed at knife point. The safety factor drops this amazing city in Colombia to #3.

LINK: Medellin is dangerous!

#2 Siem Reap, Cambodia: The city of temples! It’s got all the charm of Vietnam, and it has 50 cent beers! Food will cost more than Vietnam, but it balances itself out with cheaper beer/cigarettes. In Siem Reap you’ll find a great combination of international food, and $3 lunches. This is the only place where I found imported liquor cheaper than it is back home in Canada! That’s right if you’ve travelled around you know the price of international booze is always more expensive. In Siem Reap, Jack Daniels is actually 40% cheaper than it is at home in Canada. The only caveat to this is wine. Wine is double the price for no known reason.

Siem Reap is small enough to walk around, but if you get sick of walking there’s an abundance of Tuk Tuks. Safe, and with great English, this is a great place to retire cheap. Visa on arrival is no problem, and it’s super easy to get 6 month extensions. The only reason it didn’t make the top spot on my list? Hot! It’s hot, hot hot! If you like hot weather this place should actually move itself up to number one.

LINK TO SIEM REAP MONTHLY REVIEW

#1 Cuenca, Ecuador: Oh Cuenca, I love you. Cuenca contains all the beautiful architecture you would find in Quito, but not filled with giant hills. I’ve found this is a sleepy town, but it is big enough to have malls, movie theaters and gyms.

I love the fact that you can pretty much walk everywhere here. A lot of expats lose weight just because of the constant walking.

You’ll wake up go for a walk to the market, get some fresh eggs and vegetables all for a $1 CDN. Big beers are $1.75 CDN, and meals out are roughy $2.50.

There is a wide assortment of culture to be found here, but it’s not really a party place. Cuenca isn’t a place you want to go for a vacation. There’s really not much to do here. It’s a place you’ll want to go to retire. A strong expat community also makes it an easy place to make friends.

Why is it rated so highly then? Just the fact that while it’s a sleepy town it is also peaceful and easy to get to know.

The only thing about Cuenca that I’d love to see change? It needs a better cab system. In Quito there was Cabify and Uber. Nothing like that exists in Cuenca. But when you can get a cab they are friendly and cheap.

Cuenca wins 2018 with its perfect spring like weather though out the year, great people and good sized population. Cuenca was #1 in 2017, and I am keeping it here for 2018.

LINK: One month in Cuenca

I hope this list has been useful to you. It was a lot of fun to make! It’s been a big year for me in 2018 and I love travel blogging. Thank you so much for your support! If you have any questions about which countries to retire cheap in, just message me!

Best places to retire cheap in 20182019-01-24T22:53:55+00:00

Top 9 Best Places to Retire Cheap in 2017

What’s the top 9 places to retire in $2017?

After sleeping in jungles, party hostels, haunted houses and in airplane terminals around the world, I’ve come up with TOP NINE list of where to retire cheap.

Here you go, in order:

#9 Cali, Colombia: Ranked ninth, Cali is a city in Colombia which I never want to go back to. While safer than Medellin, it’s also boring as hell. Seriously, unless you want to learn how to Salsa dance there is NO reason to go to this city. Give it a skip. It’s not a bad city. It’s just not good. It does have Uber though, which is a nice little bonus when you’re sick of fighting with local taxi bandits. Biggest con besides being boringest place in South America? They don’t speak English here. Great food though!

LINK TO Cali One Month Summary

#8 Cebu, Philipines: Beautiful forts, old architecture, mountains and beaches…..what’s not to love about Cebu? Also Cebu speaks English. They have great food, a mix of traditional and western can be found here no problems. The biggest problem with Cebu and why it only ranked #8 on this years list? Heat. It’s hottttttt, hot, hot here. Also spotty wifi, and roosters. Why are roosters a big con? They still have cock fighting here. So you are going to hear roosters all the time. One of the best things about Cebu though? The beaches, this will rank high for you if you love beaches!

Cebu Summary

#7 Bali, Indonesia: Beautiful beaches, and a very diverse culture. From Australian backpackers, to yoga pant wearing hippies reside here. I’ve been all around the world and this is one of the most diverse places I have found in the way of culture. The people of Bali, are also quite of mix. You’ll be able to get fresh fruit shakes for $1 CDN and big beers are $3. The biggest problem with Bali, is that it’s full of bugs. I don’t think I saw one traveller that was not covered in bug bites. I’d vacation here, but I don’t think I’d like to retire here. But I love the banana pancakes on the beach…..so good and definitely worth going for!

LINK: One Month Bali Review

#6 Quito, Ecuador: Quito is one of the cities you’ll visit in Ecuador. The reason you’ll visit is airports, and it’s close to the Amazon. Would I retire there? Yes, but it’s not as good as it’s sister city Cuenca. While Quito has several things going for it like Uber and more buses going to different parts of the country , it’s not quite perfect. Giant hills make walking around difficult, and while I’d recommend coming here, (It’s still in the top 10 in the world.) It’s neighbor Cuenca is just better for retirees. Another problem with Quito is that it doesn’t speak English like most of South America. Great healthcare in Ecuador though keeps Quito in the mix! Also as a bonus if you’re staying in Quito, go check out the Blue Door Housing…fantastic place to stay.

LINK: One month in Quito

#5 Chiang Mai, Thailand: Founded in 1296, this northern town in Thailand is a quiet place compared to Bangkok. The old town here is amazing, picturesque with temples and a feeling of peace. It doesn’t feel like a big tourist trap like Bangkok does. Saying that there are some reasons it’s ranked #5. No transit. The city has no good bus/transit/taxi. You’ll be taking Jeepneys everywhere.

LINK: Great things about retiring in Chiang Mai

#4 Bangkok, Thailand: The land of smiles, lives up to it’s name. I love the transit here, as long as your near the train line, you can get almost everywhere. And there are tons of cabs if you want them. Great medical, a hustler culture and fantastic food are some reasons I keep going back to Bangkok. Why isn’t it #1? It used to be my #1. But there are some reasons that it isn’t. Safety. It definitely isn’t the safest on my list. Heat is also something to consider. It’s 30 something here all the time. I do not miss having to take a shower every time I stepped outside. Still I love Bangkok, and will definitely be back. If only for the custom suits!

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Link to Bangkok vs Medellin Side by Side Review

#3 Medellin, Colombia: Ranked #3 this is my #1 to place if I were just to judge it by it’s vibrancy and culture. I loved Medellin as soon as I stepped off the plane. The sounds, the sights (the women are beautiful) and the fact that everyone seems pretty darn nice is why I fell in love with Medellin. Medellin is somewhere you definitely want to visit at least once in your life. Saying that it only ranked #3 for a a few reasons. It’s lively culture also includes, drugs, thieves and assaults. Every person I knew had either been mugged, robbed or pickpocketed (or personally knew somebody who had been). I personally had somebody try to pickpocket me, and my roommate was robbed at knife point. The safety factor drops this amazing city in Colombia to #3.

LINK: Medellin is dangerous!

#2 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Ranked as my #1 most boring place in the world last year, I still love the city. It’s sleepy but there’s a lot going for it. If you love developed cities, with malls this is the place for you. The problem with it being a heavily Muslim country is that sin is expensive here. Beer, smokes and anything non Muslim is more expensive. A beer is $3 CDN in store. Which compared to the $1 in Thailand is kind of crazy. Why I love this boring place though, is that has a great Chinatown. The Chinatown balances out the bland genericness of the malls. I also love the transit. You can zip around anywhere by train, no problem. The signs are all in English, and everybody speaks it. Gym are a bit expensive, compared to other cities I’ve been to. One big bonus, no extreme poverty. Most of the cities in South East Asia, have rampant poverty and homeless people. Not in KL.

LINK: Retire in Kuala Lumpur

#1 Cuenca, Ecuador: Oh Cuenca, I love you. The beautiful architecture you would find in Quito, but not filled with giant hills. The safety of Kuala Lumpur but with more culture, and the best gyms I’ve found anywhere while traveling, are all big reasons why Cuenca.

Big beers are $1.25 CDN, food is $2.50 a meal, and there is a wide assortment of culture to be found here. Like my #2 city Kuala Lumpur, Cuenca isn’t the city you want to visit for a vacation. It’s a place you’ll want to go to retire. A strong expat community also makes the fact that most people don’t speak English here, a bit better.

The only thing about Cuenca that I’d love to see? It needs a better cab system. In Quito there was Cabify and Uber. Nothing exists like that in Cuenca. Maybe better plumbing too. Ecuador is a country where you have to throw used toilet paper in the garbage not the toilet.

LINK: One month in Cuenca

It’s been a big year for me in 2017 and I love this travel blogging, thank you so much for your support of it! If you have any questions about which countries to retire cheap the best way is to message me on facebook. Happy 2017 everybody!

And if you want more? Head to LINK: Best Countries to Retire Cheap

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Top 9 Best Places to Retire Cheap in 20172018-01-21T21:00:23+00:00

Retire cheap in Cuenca, Ecuador

Are you a Canadian who is looking to retire cheap? Cuenca, Ecuador is a great choice for you. Located in South America, it has quite a bit going for it. One of the biggest things is the great weather, and low cost of living.

As you know if you are a reader of this blog, there are several factors that are considered for finding the best countries to retire cheap in.

  • Weather: Cuenca, has spring like weather all year around. Coming from a place where the air hurts my face during winter, you know what I’m talking about.
  • Cost of living: $1000 a month CDN is not a problem to have a good life in Cuenca. An average meal or the Menu Del Dias (a typical meal…beans, protein, rice and a plantain) is $2 CDN. I stayed at the Blue Door there. Rent there for a month was roughly $300 a month CDN for a shared apartment LINK Cheap housing in Cuenca
  • Culture: Since I’m not the first person to find this place, there is a large community of Expats that live here. I watched the UFC fights in a local sports bar that wouldn’t have felt out of place in any major city in Canada.
  • Wifi: Getting WiFi can be frustrating. You’re going to need to be able to speak Spanish to get through, and what they promise, isn’t what you’ll get. My host had to fight for days for the high speed internet the companies promised. Once you did get though, I had no problems. I load videos all the time, and it was quick and fast.
  • Gyms: There are tons of gyms all around this sleepy city. $25 CDN will get you a gym membership that is similar to a $40 gym in Canada.
  • 3 month visa on arrival: You can stay in Ecuador for 3 months every 365 days without an arduous process. I am counting down the days till I can visit again. If you’re going to be a snowbird this is a great option.
  • Healthcare: It’s available, and it’s good.And you can even get on their national healthcare system as an expat!

Is it all sunshine and smiles in Cuenca? Not necessarily, there are definitely drawbacks.

  • English: Much like other parts of South America, English is not spoken there. It’s a Spanish only city. Cab drivers, shopkeepers and restaurants all are Spanish only. If you do find an English speaking environment, chances are prices are also “English”.
  • Safety: This was the safest city I found in South America, but I had a backpack stolen at the bus stop by a hobo. It was horrible. But, it isn’t so dangerous that I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Imports: Bring your technology, and supplements if you’re going here. If they don’t make it in Ecuador, your prices are going to be ridiculously high. When I was there, it was pretty much impossible to get the latest technology, and people frequently fly out of the country just to buy things.

Considering all of these things, why would I recommend this city? Culture, fun and quiet. It’s really got the whole trifecta of awesomeness. If you’re thinking of living in a difference part of the world, Cuenca Ecuador is one of my top choices in the world.

I’ll keep you all updated, but right now Cuenca, Ecuador is my number one choice of where to stay in the world.

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Retire cheap in Cuenca, Ecuador2018-06-20T19:04:13+00:00

How is working out in Cuenca, Ecuador?

Keeping in shape while travelling can be hard. I love gyms, and even though it’s possible to stay in shape using body weight exercises it bores the heck out of me. For me finding the best countries to retire cheap also requires finding a good gym in the potential city. More of my checklists LINK Which is better Bangkok or Medellin?

When I landed in Cuenca, Ecuador, the first thing I looked for was a gym. It didn’t have to be fancy, just clean & some basic equipment. (The second thing I usually look for is a bar….LINK … Hot pussy & cold beer in Cebu

I found one place, and stayed there for a month. While it was clean and basic, it was a little small. Month two I signed up at Zona Gym (best way to contact them is on Facebook : Zona Gym Cuenca)

For $20 USD it includes a couple things that don’t exist in most gyms in South America.

  • It’s open. Most gyms in South America open at 6am and then shut down in the afternoon. (They reopen again at 4 or 5pm. ) Zona actually stays open till they close at 10pm.
  • Unfortunately like most gyms in South America, they still close at odd hours on the weekend.  2pm Saturday and 1pm Sunday (although to be fair most gyms don’t even open Sundays here). When I asked them about this, they answered “We have to be closed sometimes for resting.” Hmmmmn….seriously forget a fancy 24hr gym like Snap Fitness. Somebody could make a killing just opening a gym that is open 7 days a week.
  • Another thing about gyms in South America, they think slow salsa music is good for working out music. Tip: Bring headphones.

Here’s a few little quirks about working out in Ecuador. Protein powder is $100 USD for a 5lb tub. That’s right. Literally next time I fly in, I’ll be bringing a second suitcase for protein powder and supplements. And shoes? How does $200 for a nice pair of Nike’s sound? (You can get knockoffs for cheap.) Same thing for headphones, super expensive or not available if you want good ones. So, those are a few things to make sure you bring with you from Canada.

To balance it out though, the food options are great!  You can buy quail eggs pre-cooked on the street like the Ecuadorian version of hot dogs. $1 USD gets you 10 quail eggs. A perfect post work out snack.  Super tasty too!

Chicken breasts and beef, are all super fresh and relatively cheap at little tiny neighborhood markets. I got 4 lbs of steak, and a quarter chicken for $9.25.

Also juice bars are everywhere. You can get a fresh carrot/alfalfa juice for $1 USD.

One other thing that is neat is that Cuenca is high altitude. So if you’ve ever wanted to try high altitude training, this is a great spot for it.

So while protein powder, supplements and vitamins are super expensive. Cuenca, Ecuador is a great place if you want to have a fun Gymcation.  Want to know more about Ecuador? LINK Can you retire on $1000 CDN in Ecuador . I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

How is working out in Cuenca, Ecuador?2018-06-20T19:05:59+00:00

Exploring Cuenca

Oh Cuenca. How I love how sleepy you are. Everything is closed on Sunday’s here. Well almost everything. Still you don’t come to Cuenca for the excitement.

I found on my exploration today a bakery that was open for 15 cents a fresh bun, 


and a restaurant called Picantes de Leo. It’s a seafood themed restaurant where you can get a crab and bowl of soup for $3.50. Yes that’s a whole crab (albeit a small one, like blue crab sized).

  • Cervice $3.50
  • American breakfast $4.50
  • Almuerzo $4
  • Vino Hervido (mulled hot wine) $4
  • Chaulafan (Ecuadorian style stir fried rice) $7.50

I’ve included my walking map too! 
What’s also a neat bonus? I got my boots shined for $1. Yup. 

Love it! I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

 

Exploring Cuenca2017-08-13T20:03:34+00:00

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