The Visit

The “Visit” is a trip we are taking to Cuenca, Ecuador to see for ourselves what is is like. We have done a lot of reading and researching about immigrating to Cuenca, but the only way to know is to go there. Below is an estimate of what it it going to cost us, if anyone is interested in going, this may help see what considerations we made. Also of note is that most of our trip there will be financed by getting some dental work done at the significantly lower rates than we would have paid here in the States.

Spent before the trip : $1390

  • Passports: $300
  • Money and passport wallets/belts/safe: $100
  • 2ea Cell Phones – BLU R1 HD = $120
  • 2 ea Backpacks = $35 * 2 = $70
  • Airfare: $800 – Round Trip per person $360 to $425 booking 30 days in advance

Cost of getting there : $1918

  • hotel: $420 – $30/night for 14 nights. (With taxes and other fees, this comes out to more like $20/night++)
  • food: $140 – $10/day for 14 days
  • Misc: $100 – Entertainment, snacks, buses, taxis, etc.
  • Long Term Airport Parking: $28
  • Boarding 3 dogs: $15/day/dog ($630 for 14 days)
  • Dentist Appointments: $600 (3 fillings, root canal and crown)

Total Trip Costs : $3308

What we would spend if we stayed home : $2900

  • Dentist: $2500
  • Food $250 grocery + $50 eating out = $300
  • Gas $25
  • Electricity: $75

Basically, the savings on the dental work is $408 short of paying for the entire trip.

Things to bring:

Security considerations while abroad

Airline ticket in zip-lock to prevent ink from smearing

  • Room Safe or Hotel Safe:
    • All money except one or two days worth
    • Passports
    • Extra Credit cards
    • 3 Extra Copies of Passports
  • Fake wallet
    • fake drivers license
    • fake credit cards
    • fake family pictures
    • small amount of money
  • Medicine
    • Imodium
    • Pepto-Bismol
    • Asprin

Possible help with finding a House – Gringo Good Samaritans


A few of the things we need to learn about while there:

  • High Altitude – Cuenca is at about 9000 feet altitude and some people can not adapt to the 25% reduction in oxygen. Hopefully we will be able to tell if it is going well within the two weeks we will be there.
  • Culture Shock – this takes many forms,
    • Being the “none native speaking” immigrants, not being able to “survive” without speaking the native language (we are learning, but it will be at least 1 1/2 to 2 years before we are fluent I expect)
    • Not being able to buy things we are used to having – food, toys, etc.
    • How accepting, friendly and helpful are the native Ecuadorians.
    • Living without a car – Americans (like us) are accustomed to having a car and the US is laid out requiring one, not having a car will impact our lives every day, shopping, site seeing, going to the doctor, etc.
  • Death Plan
  • Maybe want to consider bringing sheets or towels. The local ones in furnished places can be very cheap and wear out quickly – even in a couple weeks.
  • Apartment and House rentals
  • Some useful articles by someone living in Cuenca

To do before visit:

  • Book flight, accommodations
  • Put temporary hold on mail
  • Make copies of passports, licenses
  • Get padlocks for doors
  • Food and water containers for cats, chickens
  • Tell Mom
  • Give Skype number to Mom
  • Inventory clothes
  • Check current airline security requirements
  • Check with health dept re: vaccinations
  • Check on what Ecuador customs requirements
    • Vaccinations/health records
    • Carry in – electronics, cash, etc.
    • Required items – passport, visa?