Monthly Archives: December 2011

Cuenca, Ecuador, beautiful settings and calm relaxing surroundings!

I was invited to visit a local architect in Cuenca for business purposes, what a brilliant opportunity for me to check the city as an expat, not only as the tourist visitor I had been before.

It was really impressive to see all the good work they had done on the highway from Guayaquil to Cuenca, the Molleturo highway. Driving time was around three in a half hour. It may vary depending on the weather conditions of the day; there is a dense fog that comes down through the mountains in the early morning and late afternoon. Also you will have to be a bit daring to handle all the sharp curves and up hills since it is a winding road; remember you are surrounding and passing through the Andes mountains range.

You could also flight from Guayaquil or Quito into Cuenca, personally that will not be my choice. There is only local airlines serving the city, and I am not really enthusiastic on the facility´s geographical location. It is a real personal choice, there is plenty of people flying in and out of Cuenca, lets not forget that it is the third largest city in Ecuador, and one of the most powerful economical group is base there.

To any new comer, this is a must sightseeing trip on the agenda. There is transition glow between the flat land of the coast to the mysterious even whimsical view of the valleys and the canyons between the mountains.

I would recommend arriving to one of the 2 international airports, Guayaquil (GYE) or Quito (UIO), and then drive, rent, or even take the executive transportation service (nice minivans) and go to Cuenca. There are local bus services that foreigners do use to travel inside Ecuador. If you need more details on any of these services please ask me.

Designated as a World Heritage Center by the UNESCO, you will find lots of helpful information about Cuenca on-line. I will have on going post about my experience there. They also ask me to promote some of the properties on sale by the project owner. I found great prospects in the construction area, as they tell you on must websites it is cheap to buy a house.

Cuenca is a very small city, at this point, I have come to the conclusion that the only metropolitan city is Guayaquil. Which is the significant economic, political, industrial and cultural center for the country and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications.

The market in Cuenca for brand new properties will provide you with high quality on wood work and ceramic tiles for a very reasonable price. I have not yet seeing in Ecuador something comparable to the wood work they have on kitchen, bathrooms and closets like the one I saw in Cuenca. They are also the manufactures of ceramic, marble and stone fixings; all of these together will deliver to you low-cost and great options.

In case your option it is to go for an old colonial building, you will have to hire a contractor that handles this type of renovations. There is a lot of empiric restoration done on some old colonial structures, but not well done enough to maintain its original qualities and beauties to last through another era in time.

I would imagine this as a great opportunity for job seekers in the construction and restoration area of colonial architecture. What you must keep in mind is that property owners, specially the local ones, can not afford spending on home maintenance as we accustom in North America. Please do assets the property with the help of and expert on the topic, this would be my valuable contribution.

Cuenca is well advertised as a heavenly destination to retire, there is no mistake on that, and you will find a crispy fresh air, colonial history and lots of fresh fruit and products suitable for low-budget retirees. This inland colonial town founded in 1557 still observes the formal orthogonal town plan that it has respected for 400 years. Cuenca’s architecture, much of which dates from the 18th century, was ‘modernized’ in the economic prosperity of the 19th century as the city became a major exporter of quinine, straw hats and other products.

This place feels like it is seating through time without acknowledging the mayor changes happening the world, this can be very attractive to the ones looking to leave behind our very hectic world. In my case, I found it lovely to visit, to know history, the close up to natural Andean surroundings.

On the far side, I had problems with altitude; it had happened before in other high altitude cities, I was lucky to find a pill for dizziness that worked wonderfully. Also it is to cold for me, mornings and evening range from 5 to 15 Celsius, and then it can go up to 22 Celsius under the sun during the day. I need warm hot weather to feel active and do all my outdoor sports and activities. Last, I need the ongoing development and even the hassle of modern life.

Cultural life it is an ongoing tradition in Cuenca, locals have a great cultural background for which they feel very proud of. There is high level of interest in art, writing and music.

My first choice will always be Guayaquil, here I have access to local and international events and information. I am the kind of person that likes the hands on experience which will not be the same in a smaller town of Ecuador.

My ideal setting it is purchase a “finca” or small property in Cuenca that added to my condo by the ocean will indulge me with the settings that I enjoy the must. As I have mentioned before it is really easy to travel from one place to the other in this small and amazing country which I am loving it more every single day. Ecuador is life at is purest, multiethnic and multicultural diverse.

South America?

Ecuador?

Cuenca?

….  great overseas option, but for now I´ll stick to Guayaquil.

During this trip I had a chance to meet a couple of expats living in Cuenca, hopefully I will be able to get inside views and experiences on their own words, the pros and the cons of doing business in Cuenca and their experience with locals and other expats…. Keep checking for our next posts.

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