“I love the relaxed pace of life in Cuenca,” says Aubree Sorteberg. Having lived in Cuenca since 2013, Aubree still finds the laidback way of living to be the most endearing quality of this city, located in the heart of the Andean mountains, with four rivers traversing through it, and a UNESCO World Heritage designation to its name.
Travel and adventure have been part of Tina and Keith Paul’s 32-year marriage from the beginning. “I was fortunate to get a lot of vacation time each year, so our family traveled a lot,” says Keith. “We owned a large RV and traveled all but three states in the U.S.”
"I savor the days that I can work completely from home,” says Carolyn Hamilton. “Now that I don’t have a 9-to-5 job, I can completely indulge my personal creativity and that’s a great plus for me at this time in my life.”
We were young retirees, aged 55, when my husband, Mark, and I retired to Ecuador in 2010. At the time, there were just a handful of expats roaming the cobblestone streets of Cuenca. Gringo sightings were rare and we’d point and whisper, “look, there’s an expat.”
I don’t wear a watch. I have one (of course), but I don’t need it. In fact, I haven’t worn a watch in six years because our retirement in the Ecuadorian mountain city of Cuenca has given me back the gift of time.
When my husband Mark and I first decided to move to Cuenca, Ecuador, six years ago it wasn’t because of the spring-like weather, the low cost of living, the abundant fruits and vegetables, the proximity to the U.S., or even the picturesque colonial architecture. It was the medical care that drew us to Ecuador.
Life is a balancing act, but Dave and Sherry Johnson have found what they've been looking for in Cuenca, Ecuador. Before his first exploratory trip, Dave imagined a Third World country with old, worn-out buses, chickens and cargo hanging from every inch, and people riding on the roof. What he found instead when he arrived in Cuenca a year-and-a-half ago was a charming colonial city with cobblestone streets, wrought-iron balconies, majestic churches, and friendly people. And Dave's first bus ride wasn't at all like he had imagined; it was a Mercedes bus that he says was more lavish than most airplanes he has been on.
At least once a week, I receive an email with the words “you’re so brave.” I chuckle to myself because everyone back in the States thinks my husband, Mark, and I are so courageous. In reality, I think exactly the opposite… What’s brave about retiring at age 55 to one of the world’s top retirement destinations—Cuenca, Ecuador—with spring-like temperatures all year long (lows in the 50’s and high 70’s) and not having to work unless I absolutely want to (I’m a freelance writer).
When my husband Mark said, “Let’s go to the Galapagos for your birthday,” I couldn’t help but laugh. The Galapagos Islands, after all, are one of the ecological treasures of the world—and have a price tag to match…or so I thought. But when we used my 58th birthday as an excuse for a five-day, four-night trip there I found out otherwise. The bill? $1,037 for the two of us, including airfare.
Though we moved to picturesque colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador in 2010, we left again two years ago. That's right...we left our retirement paradise to try out life on the Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo where we spent our honeymoon 40 years ago. We were 20 minutes from the Pacific Ocean with its spectacular fireball sunsets and enjoyed some of California's best beaches, including Pismo, Morro Bay, and Avila. It was our good fortune, to find a 1,200-square-foot apartment on Craigslist—fully furnished—for $895 a month (with utilities and internet it came to $960). It was a bargain.