Cuenca

//Cuenca

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

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

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.

479FAC3D-B2C9-4AE3-BE71-4B75EB4725D0.jpeg

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

Surprise trip to Banos de Agua Santa

Looking for the best countries to retire cheap, I’ve made up a list of must haves. Wifi, a gym and good quality of living are all essential for my life. What is nice to have in a place to retire though, is a close proximity to neat places.


Living in Cuenca, Ecuador one of the coolest things is that it’s just a quick bus ride to other parts of Ecuador. Why is that important? Let me tell you a story about my weekend. I woke up (at noonish) and found out that there was an opportunity for a guided tour of Banos de Agua Santa. Alejo who runs the Blue Door Housing Quito & Cuenca (where I’ve been staying) Stay at the blue door, had a guided tour booked for one of his clients in a private car.

His girlfriend Belen lives in Cuenca, and was going to take the bus to Ambato (where they were going to meet her). Did I want to go?


Remember I was still in my sleep pants, and super groggy…..”Why the heck not?” I thought.

And that was how my weekend adventure started.

A five hour bus ride from Cuenca (we got on a bus, that was slightly better than the last donkey bus I was on)

LINK Bus from Quito

By the way the best BUS company in Ecuadot is Flota Imbabura.

Then we arrived in Ambato, where we drove to Banos de Agua Santa.

The air bnb we stayed in, was $18USD a night. Staying at the Blue door, I’ve gotten really spoiled. It was a a beautiful view, but there was no wifi and only one bathroom for all the rooms. Eek! Luckily it was only for the night.

That night we explored the town of Banos de Agua Santa. At night on the weekend it’s packed with people out for a good time. Think of the Las Vegas strip but full of Ecuadorians. There weren’t very many foreigners around on the weekend. And strangely enough there were no girls either. (I counted 20 guys to 1 girl was the ratio.)

Staying out till 1am, I was asleep by 3am….which was really late considering we were planning to start our adventures at 830am tomorrow.

Here’s the guided tour we did

  • Ziplining , suspension bridge & rock climbing. This was at Parque Aventura. $15 USD paid for the whole thing. Getting pictures was $5 USD for 55 photos and some raw video. I’m super cheap, but I think having somebody following you around taking your picture is worth the $5. They give you a cd with the images on it after you’re done. (If you want a physical copy, its $2 per shot). Also they’ll email you the photos too on Google Drive.  ) They did speak English, (it was right along the lines of my poor Spanish.
  • The Zipling was fun, but I definitely was exhausted after the 92 steps over a suspension bridge, and the rock climbing. My quads were killing me.
  • Its not hard, but the tension I was carrying, kept my legs tensed the whole time.
  • We went to the swing at the edge of the world, it was a giant swing, and it was a $1 (tip….go early….). The area for the swings, there are a whole bunch to choose from. The famous one is the one we did, but they all looked fun from what I saw. The swing is perfect if you wanted a fun view and a neat picture, not scary at all.
  • At the swing I found a craziest souvenir. There was a guy who was hand cutting words out of keys. I have never seen anything like this while travelling the world. I had him make a few for me.
  • Then lunch. Wow. I cannot believe we hit a 5* restaurant, where lunch and a coffee was $8 USD. The view of the mountains was the best I’ve seen.
  • Now after lunch, we went to see a majestic waterfall. My companion and I decided that we really didn’t want to do an hour long hike, and we were driven up there to the view. (I’m so lazy)

After the waterfall we were all exhausted, and Belen and I still had a 5 hour bus ride from Ambato to go……. and that’ a different story. All in all Banos de Agua Santo was 100% worth it. Taking the tour with Blue Door Housing was great because Alejo and Belen speak both English/Spanish. BEST PART? Having a private car driving around all day? Priceless.

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!)

Surprise trip to Banos de Agua Santa2018-06-20T19:10:50+00:00

Taking the bus from Quito to Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador is ranked #1 on many sites as the best place to retire cheap. After exploring Quito, Ecuador for the month LINK TO ONE MOTH IN QUITO I  decided to head to Cuenca, Ecuador.

The first step is getting to the bus station. Terminal South in Quito is the one you’re going to want to head to. If you’re staying in old town like I was it’s less than $5 to get there via Cabify LINK CABS IN QUITO.

Getting to the bus station, you’ll have a lot of companies to choose from. 

They all cost the same. $15 USD for one way. So since they all cost the same, the buses should all be the same level of quality and comfort right? Wrong.

Some of the buses have tons of leg room, like flying business class, with almost lay flaT recline. Other buses, you’ll be in the equivalent of economy in Air Canada (aka the worst).

Why wouldn’t everybody take the best buses? Well, depending on time and schedule you might have to take the donkey bus.

When I got to the bus station to buy my ticket at 10pm for the night bus the bus tickets for all of the good buses were sold out.

The good bus lines

  • Float imbabura
  • Sucre Express

With no choice, and a heavy heart I headed to the donkey bus line.

That’s when another

Not only was I going to be spending 9 hours on the donkey bus….

…tickets were all sold out!

According to my travel companion, Alejandro this is really really really rare. In all the times he has done the trip (over a dozen) he has never seen it so busy when it wasn’t a national holiday.

There isn’t information booths, but with a huge line of people still wanting tickets, one of the companies told us, if they could wake up some drivers they’d get us a bus. Maybe.

At this point I was stuck. Do I take a taxi back to the Blue Door Quito LINK TO BLUE DOOR REVIEW and come back in 4 hours for the first morning bus? Or maybe I could find a cab to take me? I thought maybe if I got a few people, Alejandro and I wouldn’t be paying too much more. Wrong again. The cab wanted $200 USD. That option being way too much, I settled in for maybe getting a bus.

The cool thing about travelling with somebody is that it does allow you to take a nap on the floor of a dirty bus station in Quito without worrying about your stuff. So, I grabbed some beers and some chips $10USD (2 big bags of chips and 2 beers) and we hung out till 330am in the morning.


At that point after a mini floor nap, one of the bus companies had rounded up a bus. It was a Patria bus (aka El Burro Autobus).


Cramped and squished with my bag (always take your valuables bag and put it on your lap) I pulled down my sleep mask and headphones. This is super important because, the bus plays a movie on a flat screen tv in Spanish, so if you want to sleep, be prepared.

About 7 hours in, we stopped at a little roadside diner near Alausi for breakfast. There you can get fried chicken, curried goat or curried beef. Usually about $3.


I chose to eat a protein bar.

A few hours later, I arrived in Cuenca. Total cost $25.15 USD ($15 bus ticket, $10 snacks, 15 cents to use the bathroom in the bus terminal).

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!)

Taking the bus from Quito to Cuenca, Ecuador2018-11-16T21:04:26+00:00

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