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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Preparing for Cuenca, Ecuador

Aloha Everyone,

In 10 days, J.J. and I will be leaving for Cuenca, Ecuador. We depart from Miami on LAN Airlines for Quito and then a domestic flight to Cuenca.  Our return to Miami will be on May 9th.

According to a number of blogs we have been checking, Cuenca has become a popular destination for North American retirees. The weather is pleasant year around. The architecture is Colonial Spanish. Retirees are attracted by the low cost of living. Good meals can be found for about $3 - 4 per person. For special dining out, the cost is about $25 per person. Cuenca's elevation is  8,500 ft with a level topography. Therefore it is a very walk-able place. J.J. and I  are looking forward to doing just that. While Cuenca welcomes Americans, locals are Spanish-speaking and thus we are enrolling in a language school for the first two weeks. It will be a Spanish language immersion program.

J.J. found1B/1BA apartment that we will be renting for a month from an American, a transplant from Seattle, WA.  It is being advertised as a fully-furnished "American-standard" apartment located in an old colonial building in the heart of El Centro or the old city. The cost of our one month stay is $970. We will have WiFi (hopefully a strong signal). Fresh markets, supermarkets, medical and dental offices are also said to be just a few steps away. As the day of departure approaches, we are getting really excited.  

Packing for us is not a problem, just one medium size suitcase for the two of us. The apartment will have washer and dryer. While we will try local foods and cuisines (I am looking forward to some tropical fruits), we are packing some "must items" including Espresso coffee, Kind Bars, cereals, roasted almonds and almond butter. While available in Ecuador, the government imposes a 35% import luxury tax.

Today we spent a relaxing day at the Homossasa River RV Park. I had a chance to practice my yoga and meditation this morning and this afternoon.

Mark is from Denver, Colorado. He is also traveling and today Mark was enjoying the sunny Florida.

Aloha -- Cathi