The city of Cuenca, located in Ecuador’s highlands has a population of approximately 700,000 in the larger metro area. It is the third largest city in Ecuador and is widely known as the most European city in the country. This dynamic region is also a centre of culture and art. More and more expats are choosing to live in Cuenca. In this article, we will discuss 10 tips you should know before moving to Cuenca.
1 UNESCO World Heritage
Cuenca owns many historical and beautiful architectures. The centre of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust Site in 1999. To many expats and travelers, Cuenca represents stunning buildings and tourist attractions. The colonial houses and streets, the impressive churches dated back to the 16th century, make Cuenca an ideal place for all travelers.
2 Altitude Sickness
According to official data, the city of Cuenca is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level. And according to scientific research, roughly one in five people who travel to altitudes above 7,000 feet sea level, would experience some degree of high-altitude illness.
To prevent such uncomfortable feeling, it is suggested to dissolve a quarter cup of sugar in your water bottle. When you feel dizzy or out of breath, drink it and the symptoms will be gone in several minutes.
3. Culture Shock
The culture of Latin America has diverse traditions and lifestyles. Cuenca is a relatively conservative city. Generally speaking, culture shock comes with living in any foreign countries. As time goes by, you will feel at home.
The climate of Cuenca is usually mild, average temperatures range from 50 F t0 70 F. This is one of the reasons why many expats want to move to Cuenca.
5. Healthcare in Cuenca
Ecuador has been seeking ways to improve its healthcare system over the years. In general, healthcare in Cuenca is high quality. Both public hospitals and private clinics are available. Many specialists and physicians have trained in the U.S. or Europe.
In Ecuador, most expatriates will want to obtain an international health insurance plan that will cover medical treatment in Ecuador, but also globally including the United States. Expats should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.
Make sure that you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before your trip. Schedule a medical appointment with your doctor to check what vaccines and medicines you need. You should also take care to prevent mosquito bites.
7. Passport and Travel Documents
If you are traveling from the U.S., Canada or most European countries, you don’t need to apply for a visa to visit Ecuador as a tourist. All you need is a valid passport with availability for the next six months. To obtain full detailed information regarding financial solvency and required travel documents, please consult Immigration & Ecuadorian Visas.
8. Cost of Living
To many expats and travelers, Cuenca means low cost of living yet high quality of life. According to the most recent pricing comparison, Utilities per month(includes electricity, heat, water, garbage) costs at around $42.50; Rent a one-bedroom apartment in the centre of the city costs $520 per month. Some high-end restaurants offer entrees for less than $15.
Though there are numerous indigenous languages spoken in Ecuador, the official language is Spanish. Many local residents may have basic understanding of English. However, to most travelers and expats, it is worthwhile to learn Spanish before departure.
10. Shopping and Nightlife
Expats and visiting travelers have turned Cuenca into a vivid party city. The fancy nightlife, a shopper’s paradise…You will find perfect ceramics, excellent handicrafts and Panama hats here. Especially for the Panama hats, they have always been made in Cuenca. They vary greatly in price and quality.
Expat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Ecuador from large and respected international insurance companies. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your Ecuador expatriate insurance requirements.