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How To Plan Your Ecuador Relocation

Posted in: Living in Ecuador

How-To-Plan-Your-Ecuador-RelocationPlanning to move abroad is huge. If you are at this stage right now, you probably have a hundred questions.

We are going to assume that you’ve already decided on the country, and probably even the city. Some of the common packing questions are:

  • Can I get ____ in Ecuador?
  • How much will ____ cost in Cuenca?
  • Will I be able to order ____ from Ecuador?
  • Just what is available in Ecuador?

These are all great questions. It would have been awesome to have known this when we planned our move two years ago.

To help you answer your questions, I’ve put together a set of great posts from previous months here on

Ecuador Relocation Costs, Suggestions and Advice

Expat Life Isn’t Always How its Imagined

Ordering Online and Shipping Internationally to Ecuador

Despite all the buzz that shipping household goods to Ecuador gets online, hardly anyone does it. Its expensive and frustrating. Everything is available here – you’ll be able to get just about everything here. What ever isn’t available can be shipped – check out these 3 posts:

Any other suggestions to make packing for an international relocation smoother? Please share then in the comments.

You might also enjoy:

Check out our guides:

Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

21 comments… add one
  • diana howlett Jan 16, 2016, 3:49 pm

    I am planning on moving permanently to Cuenca sometime this year.
    I am an antiques dealer and wonder what the market for buying is like.
    Are there many auctions or are most trans actions done privately?

  • Norma Aug 14, 2014, 2:12 pm

    Hi Bryan – thank you so much for your blog you’ve been very responsive and I’m concerned about the altitude change. We currently live in San Francisco elevation 196 feet above sea level and I’m reading that Cuenca is 8000 above sea level. Hmmm, how to prepare, better yet, how to avoid the worst of altitude sickness because of the change. I read online that one can gradually acclimate to the change by increasing the altitude every two days by about 500 feet. I calculate that if we land in Guayaguil and our destination is Cuenca that it will take us approximately 2 weeks to get there. silly and unreasonable right? or maybe not. What would you recommend? thank you very much sincerely Norma

    • Bryan Haines Aug 22, 2014, 8:12 am

      Almost no one has issues when arriving in Cuenca. Some people feel a little more tired than usual. Be careful about exerting yourself too much at first – but you should be fine. We lived at an altitude of around 120 feet above sea level and didn’t have trouble in Cuenca.

  • ANDREA U. Apr 12, 2014, 9:52 am

    I have been researching our move to Ecuador for a few years now, I also have a spouse whose family is originally from there and still lives there.. while this has been superbly helpful, I have yet to find any information about pricing or a reputable company to use for shipping. I have NO intention of bringing everything, just our computers and tv’s and a special mattress I have (i am recovering still from a brokne back) so it really isnt THAT much stuff, but I cant seem to get any advice or know of anyone who can point me in the right direction for how best to ship these items?? Please anyone have any information? I heard about using a shipping container, but do I really need a giant shipping container? If i do, I heard to be sure and get referrals due to horror stories of never getting their belongings and such.. so how can I find these companies and how do I find people who have used them?? I am planning on taking as much as we can in our suitcases as we come over, but our trunks of photos and my queen size mattress just dont seem practical to try and fly them with me, one is very heavy and one obviously large and bulky. I also dont want to leave my brand new 70 inch tv behind or computers that I will need so I may continue working once i arrive, since electronics are so much more expensive there. PLEASE HELP.. any advice on how to get my small stack of personal things there without losing them or costing me my entire lifes savings?

  • John M Jan 11, 2014, 10:54 pm

    I am interested in a coastal town. I have twenty something children so they need an area with a lot to do. I have been focused on Salinas. The price seems right etc. Is there other areas I should be looking as well?

  • Victoria McGinnis Sep 2, 2011, 3:51 pm

    My husband and I are considering moving in about a year and we are now planning a month long trip in Apr-May 2012 to check it all out. We are thinking of the coastal areas and not inland as we would like some warmer weather. We were just down there in May and travelled the Highlands. Too cool for me!
    We are trying to find a decent, with hot water, clean, safe and inexpensive (450-550) apartment to rent for a month. Does anyone know of any or put me in contact with someone you does.

  • Regina Compton Aug 31, 2011, 5:29 pm

    I will be traveling to Cuenca on November 7. I want to check it out as I am definitely planning to move there before the summer of 2012. I have so many questions and do not know where to turn to get answers. I do not want to purchase anything. I just want to rent. Also I have 3 dogs I will be moving with me. What is the best way to move household belongs to Cuenca and also my dogs?

    Thank you for any guidance you can give me.

    Regina C.

  • lilbit Aug 16, 2011, 7:26 pm

    Hi Bryan and Dena,

    Your blog is so useful with great information James & I can use. We purchased a home in Yunguilla Valley back in April. Looking forward to retiring there permanently in the next year. Have one question? Can you’ll suggest where we can purchase outside kitchen appliances? James is a cook and want an outside kitchen by the pool for entertaining. I’ve hear heard that the store name: KIWI may carry these type of appliances. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance. James & Lilbit

    • Bryan Haines Aug 18, 2011, 5:01 am

      Hi James & Lilbit – thanks for your feedback. Kiwi is a good option. It is the closest thing to Home Depot that we have in Cuenca. It is just 2 blocks from the airport – in the same little mall as one of the Supermaxi Supermarkets. There is another store, called Juan Eljuri – which sells high end luxury items. You might find it there. Coral (in Mall del Rio and on Las Americas) sell stainless appliances – some are for outside use. Also, propane and charcoal BBQ’s are commonly used so many industrial stores carry these. Hope this helps.

  • Diaspora1 Aug 9, 2011, 5:20 pm

    Great Blog Bryan,
    I am considering retirement in Ecuador in the near future. I have researched your site and found it to be very useful, including the links which you provide. I value your candor.
    I am planning a visit within the next few months, as per your advice- to see if it’s a good fit for me. BTW I’m also a follower on
    Wishing you continued success in all your endeavors.

  • Michael Guttman Aug 7, 2011, 12:12 pm

    Hello, I’m considering a trip to Ecuador in late August. I will be coming into Cuenca and need people that can help me with Cuenca real estate, coastal real estate, places to stay, people that can help me out in general. I have been following information sites for a year now and getting serious about making a move.
    Glad that I found your site. Any help that you can give would be much appreciated.

    Michael Guttman

  • Michael Guttman Aug 7, 2011, 12:05 pm

    Hello, I am considering a trip to Ecuador in late August. I have been following a couple of blogs and information sites on Ecuador for over a year now and am getting closer to making a move there. I need contacts that I can trust. I’m interested looking at real estate in Cuenca, the coast,where to stay etc.
    I just don’t want to get there and not have the right contacts or help.
    Glad I found your site and hope you can help.



  • Eric Lutz Jul 31, 2011, 1:33 pm

    Thanks Folks for considering me in your pics as people that like GringosAbraod. i was honored. Please keep sending me info, Thanks from N S

  • elmonica Jul 31, 2011, 1:20 pm

    As for computers, I was thinking about not bringing either a laptop or desktop. Instead I may just bring my Kindle eReader and small Android tablet that I can browse the web and check email at hotspots. I figure there are probably enough internet cafes in Cuenca and elsewhere for those times I need a full keyboard.

  • elmonica Jul 31, 2011, 1:13 pm

    A very useful post. I haven’t combed through all the posts yet, but one thing I haven’t seen anyone comment on is the availability of flat screen TVs (no, not the monster 42″ or larger kind, but around 20″).

    Another item I haven’t seen a post on from any of the blogs I follow is the availability and or cost of storage rental space in Cuenca. I don’t plan on bringing much with me when I come to Cuenca, but since I may not immediately establish roots and instead head to Peru or elsewhere, I was thinking I might need a small storage unit for keeping some of the larger items.

  • Barbara Hemphill Jul 31, 2011, 11:58 am

    We just got back from a 12 day visit to Cuenca. Your blog has been very helpful. It was very interesting. A lot of what I expected but so much graffati that is not artwork! That and running for my life while crossing the street were the only two disappointing things. We are moving there soon with our 2 grandchildren. Any ideas on school? We don’t want to homeschool because we want them to make friends. Any ideas on the private schools or links would be greatly appreciated. Also, my son in law is going to come and is a nurse. How can we connect with the hospitals so he can start working. He is also going to go to med school, which we are told that it is free by many sources. So many questions. Will continue to follow your blog but if you have any specific information, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Barbara

  • Julie Jones Jul 31, 2011, 11:45 am

    Dear Bryan, My husband and I are giving great consideration to making the move to Ecuador. In this process I’ve tried to “reach out” to some individuals on the ex-pat blogs I’ve found. The only response I received was from the Cuenca CofC. They referred me to your site. Jack and I are now devoted followers. Thank you for the information. Julie

    • John and Mary Sep 26, 2011, 9:42 am

      Hi Julie,

      You may want to try these people if you haven’t already. I have some of the contact info, the others you may have to google. Brian’s site by far has the best info. International Living has a great book “Ecuador The Owners Manual” that has a lot of info and contact names.
      Wu Wei We Go ( )
      Cotacachi Characters

      Hubby and I are are moving to Ecuador (Dec. 2011..God willing) we’ll be on the coast in San Clemente. This was after 2 years of research, then a trip to Ecuador then another 2 years of planning. Now we’re in the process of selling everything b( by the end of November) moving in with daughter for 2 weeks then onward to fulfilling our dream.

      Good luck with you plans…Mary and John

      • Julia and Victor Nov 17, 2011, 7:54 am

        My husband and I are getting more and more excited about our decision to move to Ecuador and we are thinking of Cuenca. However my husband is more relaxed closer to water. San Clemente sounds like it could be the spot to visit. I am trying to book a trip as we speak but not sure where to go, we are not rich and would like to make as few visits possible. How is the area for crime? Is a week enough time to go visit for the first time. We are seriously thinking that by mid 2012 we could be ready to make the big move…Any tips and sugestions you may have are appreciated.
        We too have tried to get in contact with poeple like us, that have done the big move and can give us some pointers, but did not find any that contacted us back.
        We hope to hear back from someone

        • Mary and John Nov 17, 2011, 10:23 am

          Hi Julie,
          San Clemente is a small fishing village , very few amenities, but was exactly what we were looking for. Its a short drive to Manta, Bahia and Portoviejo for shopping etc. There are crime areas in the larger cities ( a lot less than what we have in Cleveland), just have to know where not to go and use common sense, just as you would here in the States.
          We first traveled to Ecuador on a “real estate” tour, because like you we didn’t know where to start in-country. It was pricey but well worth it for us, gave us a lot of answers to our questions. Ecuadorliving ( Gary Scott) is the tour we used and with membership we get a decent discount on hotels. Palmazul is a very nice hotel in San Clemente, but not inexpensive..cheaper places to stay, just remember you get what you pay for.
          To get to the coast, you have to fly into Quito of course and then book a flight for the next day to Manta. From Manta you take a taxi to San Clemente.
          If you contact me via email, , I can pass on research info that we accumalated over the last 5 years planning for our move.
          Good luck and don’t lose the dream.

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