Jun 13th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Cuenca Inviting for Senior Citizens

Living in Arizona I knew that Flagstaff was a popular place to spend time. Now I know why as US News magazine places it as one of the ten best places for seniors to retire in the US.  Wow. That’s quite a nice listing seniors. Do check out this listing and don’t leave out Cuenca. Where’s Cuenca?  In Ecuador.

Yahoo Finance says: Retire on a budget in Cuenca

If an affordable cost of living is your priority in choosing where to retire, take a look at Cuenca, Ecuador. This city is regarded as one of the world’s best places for seniors to retire overseas on a budget. Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city in an interesting and diverse country. The health care is high quality, honest, and inexpensive. The climate is spring-like and pleasant 12 months of the year. And Cuenca’s large and growing expat community is one of Latin America’s most diverse and well-blended.

Cuenca is in one of the richest agricultural basins of the Ecuadorian Andes and is the commercial center of South Ecuador. The chief industry is the weaving of Panama hats. Although isolated from the north and the coast until roads were cut through the Andes in the 1950s, the city has modernized in recent years and tourism is on the increase. Cuenca is known as the “marble city” because of its many fine buildings, including the cathedral, government palace, and two universities.

I’ve been to Ecuador and loved it

I spent two weeks in Ecuador on a Medical Group Mission trip and was very impressed with the people, the scenery and the economic condition of the country. I enjoyed visiting a huge banana plantation and now I know how they grow them, ship them and protect them–there were several men walking around with double barreled sawed-off shotguns protecting the place. I guess folks just like to steal bananas. Quito was particularly neat and is the capital city.

There are other colonial cities in Ecuador, but Cuenca is the cultural heart of the country. In this center of art and literature, you can attend the orchestra, a play, a tango show, or an art opening, and these activities are usually free. Cuenca is a popular destination for international senior tourists and language students, offering many super-affordable options to study Spanish. The tourists and students bring vitality to the city and help support Cuenca’s developed infrastructure for amenities and services.

Seniors Discover the Cost of Living Low in Cuenca

Perhaps the biggest draw to Cuenca is its cost of living, which is extremely low, especially considering the quality of life that you find there. The falling dollar has caused prices to go up sharply for overseas retirees whose retirement incomes are in U.S. dollars, but who are living in places where goods are priced in the local currency. This exchange-rate concern does not exist in Cuenca, because Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar.

Imagine… a dollar for lunch!  The $1 fixed-price lunch is still alive and well in Cuenca (although $2.50 is more common), and the city is awash with fresh tropical fruits and vegetables for pennies on the dollar. Fresh fish and shrimp arrive daily from the coast, and much of the local poultry is free-range. A bus trip through the city is a quarter, taxis start at about $1.50, and gas is only $1.48 per gallon.

Cuenca is a fully developed city, where seniors can enjoy a rich and full life. To be able to enjoy all that the city has to offer, plan on a budget of $1,500 a month per couple if you’re renting and $1,100 per month if you own your home. You could certainly live here for less, but these estimates would allow you to make the most of  life in Cuenca and enjoy one beautiful city.

If this interests you just a tiny bit, send for Kathleen Peddicord’s hardcover on How to Retire Overseas. Not sold on Cuenca? Then try one of these eighteen highly recommended places to retire. Other affordable places to retire abroad include Leon, Nicaragua, Las Tablas, Panama, and Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I was so glad that France was included in this list as I love Provence.  I have often told my wife that “if you can’t find me…look for me in Provence.” There were some real surprises on the suggested retirement list. Do you agree?

Well, see you in Cuenca…and let’s pick up one of those super Panama hats. jeb

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