When I talk to IL readers about healthcare in Ecuador, often it seems that folks are less concerned about the cost of care—which they know is low—and more concerned with the quality. So, I thought I would share with you some of my own experiences.
Because I am frequently asked what I do during Christmas, I'll give you a rundown of my typical activities. Every one of these things helps Cuenca feel like home for me during the holidays.
I thought it would be useful to give you an Ecuador Insider's guide to narrow down your options when it comes to finding your spot on the beach... You'll hopefully also find some considerations here that may not have occurred to you yet...
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.
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.
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.
There is a lot of evidence that shows it's good for your brain to learn new languages, especially when you're older. Some studies show it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.