There are hundreds of hotels and hostels in Cuenca—and you'll also find many options for staying in local homes and apartments on Airbnb—so finding a place that meets your needs won't be a problem. In fact, you may be overwhelmed by the choices that are available, and not know where to start.
After living in Ecuador for almost five years, I finally made a trip to Baños. Known as "The Gateway to the Amazon," this town is one of the most popular adventure tourism destinations in Ecuador. Every year, hundreds of thousands come to experience its natural hot baths, and to enjoy hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding—even bungee jumping.
Guayaquil has several large malls, all of which have stores carrying brands and items familiar to the North American consumer. There are hardware mega-stores, huge grocery stores, multi-floor furniture stores, electronics, building and plumbing supplies—you name it, and you will most likely find not just what you are looking for, but options.
Salinas is the most popular beach resort in Ecuador, so it will come as no surprise that there are plenty of restaurants that cater to tourists. But on the Santa Elena peninsula, where Salinas perches on the western tip—almost surrounded by the Pacific Ocean—there are also about 160,000 full-time residents. So, we have the types of eateries you would find in most small to mid-size cities.
On the first day of Spring, at the same time as the northeastern U.S. was bracing itself for yet another pounding snowstorm, it was an unusually cold morning in Quito, Ecuador. So cold that I had to go and put on socks.
The stories of expat volunteers show another side to expat life in Cuenca. Yes, you can find all the things we always talk about here: a lower cost of living, a less-stress lifestyle, a friendly and welcoming community like no other… But you can also discover opportunities to give back to that community in ways you never expected, if volunteering or charity work is important to you.
Several years ago, my partner, Gary, and I gave up our business and took an early retirement. Basing ourselves in the beach town of Salinas, we started traveling throughout Ecuador and documenting our journey along the way.
After spending only four days in charming Cotacachi, prior to visiting Cuenca, we were smitten. We bought a lot and signed a contract to build a house. In retrospect, our approach was too hasty, but thankfully, it has worked out well.
It all started with a bagel. Deborah Rodeheaver had prepared it for her niece, Dawn Wolfe, who couldn’t find the old-fashioned, home-cooked bagels she was craving while living in Cuenca Ecuador. But what started out as a simple act of generosity has quickly become a thriving business called Double D’s Delights.
Indigenous vendors can be found on street corners, selling strawberries from large wheelbarrows; in the large mercados, selling fruits and vegetables from their farms; and in other markets, selling their embroidered and loomed textiles.