Cuenca Ecuador: Aspects of life for expatriates and local Cuencanos

Posted on October 26, 2012 • Filed under: Ecuador

This is an interesting piece written as a theses at Scripps. Anyone considering a move to Cuenca Ecuador will clearly learn some valuable information from this work. There is good material on what U.S. expatriates think of Cuencanos and what Cuencanos think of U.S. expatriates.

One concern I have with the work is an expatriate who states he is a diabetic and that for one of his hospitalizations he paid three hundred dollars for three days with seven doctors at his service. Being fairly familiar with medical services in Ecuador, I found this figure to be unrealistic. Nevertheless, this should be required reading for potential retirees – expatriates. If you are an expatriate in Cuenca you may find yourself mentioned as the author talks about her interviews.
Enjoy – N.C.


Amenities Migration: A Case Study on the Retired Expatriate Community in Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
Denise M. Bustamante
Immigration is not new to Ecuador. Beginning in the early 2000s, the amenities migration phenomenon gained popularity in Ecuador, especially in the UNESCO World Heritage Trust Site of Cuenca, located about five and a half hours south of Quito and four hours east of Guayaquil in the Andes Mountains.
This study combines literary research on retirement migration and a case study on the retired expatriate community in Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador. The limited case study includes twelve in-depth interviews with retired expatriates living in Cuenca and nine interviews with Cuencanos that interact with retired expatriates daily. According to the expatriates, the advantages of living in Cuenca include the cheaper lifestyle, year-round spring-like weather, and a slower pace of life. The disadvantages consist of the concept of “Ecuadorian time” and the indirectness of Cuencanos. Data suggest that Cuencanos value the presence of retired expatriates because they help stimulate the economy, but they resent the impenetrable language barrier and their cultural disengagement. The Cuencanos’ responses also indicate that a deeper understanding of the country and culture is necessary on behalf of the retired expatriates to facilitate their integration into the existing culture rather than trying to create an exclusive subculture within Cuenca…….. In addition to the language barrier, other negative aspects associated with the presence of expatriates in Cuenca include increases in the cost of living and their arrogant attitudes. The presence of an expatriate community in Cuenca contributes to a rise in costs because their incomes are higher than that of the locals and they are willing to pay these high prices. Jennifer, the former real estate agent, mentioned that many landlords prefer renting their property out to foreigners because they pay more money, they are punctual with their payments, and they take better care of property than the locals. Sara, a professor at the University of Azuay, has a friend who is the only Cuencana in her apartment building.
Bustamante, Denise M., “Amenities Migration: A Case Study on the Retired Expatriate Community in Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador” (2012). Scripps Senior Theses. Paper 29.

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