I am supposed to be painting my chairs I bought from the indigenous market today. So this is really going to have to be short. Some friends have asked for us to estimate roughly how much things cost. Excellent question, hard to answer for at least 3 reasons.
Cuenca has the highest per capita income in Ecuador, the cost of living is higher & rising in Cuenca because of and/ more gringos, etc. (read Cubans, Colombians, Puerto Ricans, etc.) are moving here. That is not all bad news, because the standard of living is great overall and well, more people recognize that and want to live here. With that being said the super cheap rents that you may except to find may be the proverbial needle in a haystack. I could not begin to address how much rents are. I know of some friends who are paying $170 month for an apartment however that is NOT the norm. Those places are found by word of mouth usually and again it depends on what you are willing to accept as a standard of living. Advertised rents I’ve seen run from about $250 up to $1000! Yep, and some gringos are paying it! Water, gas and electric are much lower than in the States, we paid $21 for our first water and electric bill and $2.50 for our first tank of gas, we just don’t know how long it will last. Lol.
Groceries depend on what you eat and again where you want or are willing to shop. We get all of our fresh veggies and fruit from the indigenous mercados and that is maybe $8 per week, but not meat, we aren’t big meat eaters and we don’t want to chance it anyway. We like natural peanut butter, well that runs $6 for a small jar at the Supermaxi. We pay it, someone else wouldn’t. smile. Chet said that you have to consider household items, we don’t spend more than $20 per month we guess on that, however some items we are used to in the States are much higher here. (canned soup, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, unsweetened cocoa, some varieties of nuts, and so forth). I went to get a exercise/Pilates ball the other day because mine didn’t make the cut at the airport. I paid $10 for it at TJ’s. Here it was…wait for it….$99! No, you are not going blind, and NO I did not get it! That is an example of the extremes in prices. Anything imported is MUCH more expensive. A nice cone of gelato though is only $1.20 or so. Yay! and dessert places abound, open late into the evening. One place even has Red Bull and Whiskey flavored gelato. Just sayin’.
A great post to read is on Gringos Abroad, they are actually a Canadian brother and sister who write for a living. Here’s the link… http://gringosabroad.com/ecuador/live-in-cuenca-Ecuador, the article is “What it’s like to live in Cuenca, Ecuador”.
Hope this helped and looking forward to seeing you in Cuenca!