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How to Send and Receive Mail and Shipments in Ecuador

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Living in Ecuador

We receive lots of review materials. Mostly books, but some software too. Some publishers are hesitant to ship to Ecuador, telling me that their shipping department is “unable” to ship out of the US.

international-shipments

Other publishers (especially Wiley) must have broken the difficult shipping secret because I regularly receive review copies from them. I have received packages via UPS, DHL, FedEx and the postal service. Couriers can take from a couple of days up to 10 days. 

The postal service is often surprisingly fast – but can take up to 2-3 weeks. I received a package (sent regular post) from Alltop coming Hawaii to Cuenca in just 9 days.

How to Receive International Shipments in Ecuador

The process is a little different here. At the post office, every package is opened in front of you, by an armed solider. I think it’s a pretty good way to deter illegal shipments. They open everything, to ensure nothing is hidden.

It takes almost no time, but it was a little surprising the first time I saw it. I thought I was being singled out because of where it shipped from.

(Update Nov 14, 2013): The armed solider hasn’t been at the post office for a long time. While there is an armed guard, he isn’t involved with the packages.

Something else that’s a little different, is although they state door to door delivery, it isn’t. You might pay for UPS to deliver to Cuenca but you’ll also have to pay another $10 to get the package from Guayaquil to Cuenca.

UPS has service here, but only through an agent. The agent bills for the final leg. Not to serious, but tends to add up when 6-8 books all come under separate shipping labels.

We’ve also ordered shipments online with Amazon.com and they will ship internationally, quoting the price on the site. Its worked flawlessly.

The most important thing to remember when having shipments coming to Ecuador is: Make sure that your phone number is on the package – multiple times.

Most home don’t actually have an address. An article a few months ago in the local paper noted that there are more than 1000 unnamed streets in the City of Cuenca.

The only way you’ll get your package is if they can call you. I always go pickup the packages. Unless you have a rented office space, they’ll never probably never find you.

How Can I Receive and Send Mail in Ecuador?

In the States, and I suppose in many other “developed” countries, receiving mail is a simple matter of walking to the curb and checking the mail box.

Every house has a mailbox and a street address where one can receive mail and packages. In the States we take home delivery of mail and packages for granted, but here in Ecuador you will be hard pressed to find a house with a mailbox.  They do exist but they are the exception rather than the rule.

We have lived in four different houses since moving to Ecuador and none of them had an official street address, house number or mailbox.  Also, I’ve yet to see a uniformed postal, UPS or FedEx employee making home deliveries here.

So, in the absence of home addresses and mailboxes, how does one go about sending and receiving mail and packages here, especially mail or goods from other countries?

send-mail-ecuador

How We Send and Receive Mail

In order to receive regular mail from the U.S., we rent a P.O. Box in the main post office in down town Cuenca.  It costs $25.00 per year.

To send a letter regular mail from Ecuador to the States it cost about $1.00. It cost about the same to receive regular mail from the U.S.

If you need to mail important documents to other countries from Ecuador, you can send them via registered mail and it costs about $15.00 and the documents usually arrive at their destination within a week.

Sending and receiving regular mail is not that big of a deal. We have found the Ecuadorian mail system to be efficient and reliable.  We check our PO box about twice a month and have even started to receive junk mail in it in addition to the occasional letter or card from family members in the States.

Can you receive packages from other countries?

We have ordered items from online retailers in the States and have had mixed results receiving the packages in Ecuador.

A couple of years ago we ordered some school books for our kids from a popular online book seller and were told that they did offer international shipping to Ecuador. However, the books never arrived and the company did not offer any way to track the package.

So, for a while it seemed that the only safe way for us to receive goods or packages from the States was to have them sent to the address of friends in the U.S. and then make arrangements to have the package forwarded to Ecuador via UPS, DHL or some other international shipping company.

The problem is that the packages have to pass through customs and there are fees that have to be paid in addition to the international shipping charges.  Therefore, receiving packages this way is not 100% reliable or hassle free.

Update: In February 2015, Club Correos announced that they were permanently suspending the service.

I recently discussed how to send and receive packages in Ecuador.

Club Correos: Receive Online Purchases in Ecuador

And for a quite a while, we had trouble with international shipments. However, things have recently changed and we have successfully received a number of packages from the U.S. directly from online sellers.

The Ecuadorian Postal Service has recently offered a service by which we can receive packages from the States rather quickly and at a reasonable rate. 

The service is called Club Correos (Mail Club) and has proven to be a reliable and easy to use way to get some of the products we can’t get here in Ecuador, such as clothes and shoes that fit and some health and beauty items.

club-correos-ecuadorHere is how Club Correos works: For a $10.00 yearly fee, you are assigned a physical address in Miami which gives you a U.S. shipping address where you can receive packages from online retailers in the U.S.

Each Club Correos customer has an individual box number which distinguishes you from other customers who use the same Miami street address.   It is similar to renting a P.O. box at a UPS Store location.

Once you have signed up for Club Correos, you just log on to your favorite online store, such as Amazon.com, and place your order using your credit card. There are some shipping limitations with this service:

  • No package can weigh over 4 kilos or have a value of over $400.00.
  • The shipping cost from the States to Ecuador is about $5.00 per pound which I’m told is a reasonable rate for international shipping. Club Correos bills your credit card for the shipping charges.

With this service, all customs matters are taken care so you don’t have to deal with Ecuadorian Customs officials.   When your package arrives in Ecuador, the post office gives you a friendly call to let you know that you have a package waiting for pick up.

They will even deliver the package to your house, if you can tell them how to get to your house.  Remember, most houses here do not have assigned addresses so unless you speak good Spanish and have a house that is easy to recognize it is better to just pick up your package at the post office.

My wife recently ordered a pair of shoes from her favorite U.S. shoe company and they arrived via the Club Correos service within two weeks.  The total shipping costs was $17.00, which for us is worth it considering the fact that it is not that easy to find good fitting quality shoes here.

There, of course, are other shipping companies who offer service in Ecuador, but Club Correos is the most efficient and hassle free way we have found to receive online purchases and mail from the U.S.

If you want more information regarding Club Correos, check out Correos del Ecuador where you will find a link to the Club Correos site.  Happy shopping!!


Avoid Problems With Club Correos (9 Lessons Learned)

problems-club-correosIn this post, I breakdown 9 things you can do to avoid problems with your Club Correos shipments. But first:

Why Use Club Correos? 

There are two benefits to using Club Correos over direct shipping to Ecuador.

  1. Reduced Shipping Costs: Because of bulk shipping thousands of packages, the freight costs are very low.
  2. No Customs Paperwork: If your package is under $400 and weighs less than 4kg then you pay no duties or taxes. And they handle all of the paperwork and customs clearance. At least that’s the idea.

How Club Correos Works

When you sign-up (econcargoecuador.net, just $11.20 per year) you get an address and a mailbox number in Miami.

When buying online (most often via Amazon.com) you just ship your packages to your Miami address, making sure that your mailbox number is on the label. They then forward it on to Ecuador and to the address registered with them.

Our Club Correos Experience

club-correos-problems

We’ve been using  Club Correos for many years. And we’ve received more than 70 packages from the United States.

We’ve bought everything from clothes and sunglasses to cameras (Canon SX280 and GoPro) and hard-drives. We even ordered a humidifier (to help with Cuenca’s dry air), a water filter and a bike trainer.

We’ve ordered goods from Canada and shipped them to our address in Miami. When we placed the order, we ensured that they included an invoice and that it was addressed properly. The package arrived without any trouble.

We’ve had packages arrive as fast as 10 calendar days – with the average being around 2 – 2.5 weeks. We have never lost a package or had anything take over four weeks to arrive.

That is, until now.

Two Problem Packages and Some Lessons Learned

A few months ago, we had trouble with two packages at the same time. One was a box of a number of small things: stainless coffee mugs, food and vitamins. The other was a small envelope with 3 pieces of makeup.

For the box with the small things, we were told that it didn’t meet the rules and we would have to ship it back to the US. The weight wasn’t anywhere near the 4kg limit and the value was very low.

It seems that someone in the shipping department at Amazon grabbed a big box and started filling it with the little pieces. Even though it would have been less than half full, they shipped it anyway.

From their perspective, this didn’t matter. The shipping is free for customers so the box size isn’t important. That is, unless you are having it forwarded to another country.

When it arrived, the boxed was listed at a cubed weight of just over 16kg. Now it is possible that the vitamins we had in the box were also a problem, but they flagged the shipment as overweight. According to the cubed weight, it was more than 4 times over the limit.

So I went to the post office and paid to ship it out of Ecuador. Because the box was so big, this cost almost $100. In the notification email, I was warned that if I didn’t ship it out of the country, I would be fined more than $2000. All of a sudden, $100 didn’t seem so expensive.

The other package with the makeup had a value of $20 and weighed less than 1lb. I was told that we could receive the package if we did one of two things.

  1. Provide a certificate from the Ministry of Public Health stating that we have the right to import this product.
  2. Provide a sworn oath stating that we will never, ever order this product again.

The first choice wasn’t really an option. This is for companies wanting to commercially import the product. We just wanted a couple of units. So we went to a notary and swore that we would never buy this item again.

We presented it and a few days later they told us that the package had been rejected and it needed to be shipped out of the country anyway. Back to the post office again – we paid to ship the product to my parents place in Canada. This was back in July.

I was waiting to write this post until the packages arrived safely in Canada – but they still haven’t. More than four months have gone by and we don’t know where the boxes are. The postal service is “looking into it”.

9 Ways To Avoid Problems with Club Correos

While there is no way to avoid all problems, these tips should help avoid many of them.

  1. Enter Your Miami Address Properly: Include your mailbox number in the “Name” field. For example, Bryan Haines, EC10687952. I’ve heard from many expats that they can’t get the address entered correctly. In the “Address Line1” enter the physical location: 7824 NW 71 ST If you don’t include your mailbox number in the name field, it may get dropped by the vendors system and the package won’t arrive. If it does, they won’t know who to assign it to.
  2. Don’t Order Used Goods: A few days ago, I heard from a distraught Canadian mother who sent a care package to her daughter who is teaching English on the coast. The box included new and used clothes, along with used books, etc. The postal service told her that the package was rejected and that the goods would be donated to charity. I think by refusing used goods it simplifies importation by assuming that everything is new and thus subject to duties. Without a commercial invoice, it is almost impossible to assign duty/tax value. There are two opportunities to bring in used goods: 1) as personal effects when you enter the country or 2) as part of a “menaje de casa” or house hold goods for your permanent move to Ecuador. A shipment of used goods constitutes an import of those items into the country. (Thanks to Jakob for clarifying this.)
  3. No Cell Phones: This is a popular one. We did order one before the law changed – and it cost just 25% of the price here. There is an attraction to order a good phone for much less. But it will be confiscated. Also, cordless phones with DECT technology (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecomunications) are prohibited.
  4. Nothing in Bulk: The guidelines state that if you order more than three similar articles it could be considered as a commercial import and this would require supporting documents.
  5. No Clothing Without Tags: Clothing without tags is considered used and will be seized / confiscated by Customs.
  6. Read the Rules: There are weight and value limits. These are easy. They call it 4X4. That is packages up to 4 kg and US$400 of value enter the country without paying taxes or duties. There are other rules that you must know. Vitamins can raise flags and makeup can be rejected.
  7. Don’t Order Too Many Small Items at Once: As mentioned above, too many small articles run the risk of ending up in a big box – that could be cubed and then rejected. Best to space them out over time.
  8. Don’t Order These (Obviously) Restricted Items: explosive articles, animals, jewelry, firearms, ceramics, glass, fuel, explosives, cell phones, used parts, money, checks or credit cards. There are other items that require prior approval. Check Aduanas del Ecuador for more info. (Note: this is not an exhaustive list.)
  9. Names Must Match (Update March 10, 2014): Correos del Ecuador announced last week that effective March 5, 2014 packages must have a) the same name as the owner of the mailbox in Miami, and b) the invoice attached which matches the contents of the box. Packages where the name doesn’t match may be subject to delays and/or may not be delivered at at.

The Glitches Are Still Cheaper Than Flights to Miami

We continue to use the service – and we’re very happy with it. The problems that we’ve had are mostly our fault. I should have check the fine print – and used better judgement when ordering.

What has been your experience with Club Correos? Share your tips and/or problems below.

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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 Travel.

62 comments… add one
  • Carl Schweizer Nov 13, 2019, 12:28 pm

    Check out this zip code service, my zip code for La Floresta in Quito was accepted by the US DHL delivery service. Package arrived on schedule. https://www.codigopostal.gob.ec/#

  • William Oct 24, 2019, 2:49 pm

    Moved to Cuenca Ecuador a month ago and trying to find a reliable/accurate answer as to how to send and receive mail here is like trying to find the exit during a Chinese fire drill (don’t care if you like the analogy). Sob stories about trying to send photos of grandchildren to sick mother in the states, sending used cloths to sponsored child, etc are everywhere but, no current accurate information. I find it difficult to believe that business or domestic services can take place without a somewhat reliable mail system existing. Costs may be higher in Ecuador but, a viable system for sending and receiving mail and packages must exist.
    I would appreciate any current information, except the questionable and very old sob stories I have been reading, as to how we might find a reliable source to send and receive mail and packages.

  • Netalee Oct 19, 2019, 3:43 am

    Hi everyone,

    Maybe someone can help..
    What are the options to send small packages to the us from Quito?
    Is the local post service work fast and efficient? what are the prices?

    Thanks!!

  • Hoosier mom Aug 28, 2018, 6:45 pm

    Hi, my daughter is in Cuenca until Dec. She just messaged me asking for warmer clothes. Is the cost going to be crazy? I have no idea. She wants a winter coat, sleeping bag, boots. I’m thinking no on the boots they’re way to heavy. But she needs more clothes. Bad idea?
    Thank you!

    • cw Jan 3, 2020, 9:29 pm

      when i sent a package of two bibles to ecuador, they were stolen by the postal employees; I was told that is VERY common. they open the packages and if they don’t want to steal it, they call the person and charge them money to come pick it up. after that i have used missionaries to take packages or taken them myself in luggage.

  • Debbie Aug 27, 2017, 6:20 pm

    I sent a package to Quito recently from the states and when I looked up the tracking number it just says “your item cannot be delivered due to payment of charges” and it says it will notify the addressee, but they haven’t heard anything. How can I resolve this?

  • mother Jul 13, 2016, 2:49 pm

    When I lived in Quito I got a document from DHL (my plane ticket back to the states when I studied abroad).
    I just sent a sponsored child there a bookmark and stickers. TOTALLY flat with a regular letter but the US organization took them out, saying Ecuador is picky. 🙁 My child will get the letter but not the extra fun, flat stuff.
    It’s cheap to send a letter there. Is it really $8 to mail a card out to the states???!! What????

  • David Williams Apr 29, 2016, 3:16 pm

    I went to the post office this morning in Quito to send a Mother’s Day card to the states and I was a little shocked to find out that now the postage for a letter to US is $8.00 (normal mail, not certified)! I was told that this is now the most “economical” rate. The card weighed only 20g.

    • mother Jul 13, 2016, 2:51 pm

      $8????????? But it’s only a buck or so to send a card to Ecuador from the States.
      And let’s face it…the people there in Ecuador do NOT have $8 to send a card, whereas I get a cheap $1 deal or so to send to them? That is so sad. I used to study there. It is just impossible to send to my sponsored child a gift. Very sad. I would not mind paying all the cusoms fees and whatever but LET ME KNOW upfront. If it gets held up THERE and charged fees, then it’s as good as gone since he has no money.

      • Dave Jul 15, 2016, 1:46 pm

        As the article says, in Ecuador and many less developed countries, the general post is not reliable, especially for packages. It’s just the way it is, the good with the bad in any place.

  • Jessica Dec 10, 2015, 9:35 pm

    Can you give more info on where the PO boxes are and how to rent one? What building is it in? Is it near something that ppl would recognize, like a monument or something? Who do you talk to about renting it? CNN you only send letters or can I send small packages? I mostly want it for letters. Any info is greatly appreciated!!!

    • Bryan Haines Dec 11, 2015, 7:16 am

      Just like in most countries, the post office boxes in Ecuador are rented, not owned. They are inexpensive but not all that plentiful.

      The main office in Cuenca is here:

      • Sucursal: Azuay
      • Categoría: Sucursal Cuenca
      • Encargado: Marcia Campoverde
      • Dirección: Borrero y Gran Colombia, Esq.
      • Extensión: 2113
      • Teléfono: 072850303
      • Email: mcampoverde@correosdelecuador.gob.ec
      • Horario: Lunes a viernes: 08H00 a 18H00 | Sábado: 09H00 a 13H00

      You can find locations for every city here.

      • Jessica Dec 27, 2015, 10:15 pm

        Okay, thank you very much!

      • Denis Cruickshank Dec 6, 2019, 4:05 pm

        I just rented a post office box in Machala number 17 but I don’t know how to send my address to the US SSA so I can receive mail there. I can look up the intersection for the post office but it is the format of the exact address that I need. Thanks

    • Frances Nov 18, 2016, 9:26 am

      Please can anyone tell me what it costs to send a postcard from Ecuador to the UK?

      Would be most grateful as being told different prices here. Thanks in advance.

  • Isabel Merritt Oct 23, 2015, 9:48 pm

    one of the ways you can try to receive documents and packages from the states is to contact a carrier company. There is one that works here in Ecuador and Colombia called ECPRESITO CARGA they are very professional and and you can have direct contact with a person in their NY office and also their office in Guayaquil. 102-46 Corona Ave. Corona, NY, 11368 tel. (718) 205-2222 It is much easier to send packages this way.

  • Leigh Vegoe Oct 19, 2015, 10:48 pm

    What can a person do if Ecuador customs is holding a package you shipped to a family member living in Ecuador? How would I know if fess are do and how to pay them? Sent US Priority mail which was supposed to be 6-10 business days to deliver, but customs has now been holding over a week. I filed an inquiry with USPS, but that could take another 2 months. Mother is ill, sent picture of all her children and grandchildren and am so worried she may never receive. Thanks for any info!

  • Jackie Sep 13, 2015, 7:38 pm

    What is the best and fastest way to have some legal papers sent from the US to Cuenca,Ecuador ?And how quickly can this be done?Thanks

  • Morgan Aug 11, 2015, 3:06 pm

    Hi Bryan,
    I’m looking into sending a package home to Australia for Xmas from Ecuador (Quito). Any tips on cheapest/ safest options?

    Cheers

  • tom Feb 22, 2015, 12:55 pm

    Been living here for awhile now and was basically satisfied with forgoing printed mags — but, find myself hankering for them more and more. I see that Club Correos recently closed down. Wondering if anyone who sees this has recommendations on other services to get mags from the States — I imagine they disappear from the local postal system rather more often than they get delivered….

  • Susan Oct 4, 2014, 5:55 pm

    There is some mail delivery to the door in Ecuador. I was totally amazed, but a friend mailed a small package to me from Canada when I was living in Salinas. I was in one of the highrises right on the Malecon, and she addressed it to me at the name of the building, Malecon, Salinas, Ecuador.

    When she told me she had sent it to that address, I assumed I would never see it, but about two months later, it was delivered to the doorman at my building! It was just sent regular parcel post from Canada.

    • Bryan Haines Oct 5, 2014, 11:01 am

      Yes, you’re right. Some of the towers and many of the businesses receive mail at their locations. But it isn’t common.

  • Joycelyn smith Aug 29, 2014, 11:57 am

    I just paid 250 dollars to have a package delived to me from Ecuador how long does it take to receive it to the USA and do it still ship on holidays

  • Carole Walter Mar 1, 2014, 2:31 pm

    Once you hear from Miami that you have a package, but that you have to pay for it first before they can send it to your mailbox in Cuenca, how do you do that? You say nothing about how to pay for your mail with PayPal. I have mail being held in Miami in my Locker Box there, but they will not release it to send to me because they have received no payment for it.

    • Bryan Haines Mar 1, 2014, 4:19 pm

      You can log into your account and pay for it there. There will be a button to pay via PayPal for that specific shipment.

  • Sonia Feb 27, 2014, 10:23 pm

    Hi Bryan,
    What service do you recommend, to send to send a package to Washington state at the best price… Have been looking at UPS and FedEx but I’m not sure what’s the best costly option.
    Thanks

    • Bryan Haines Mar 1, 2014, 7:37 am

      I’ve only sent small packages out of Ecuador and we’ve had good success with DHL. I would recommend either DHL or FedEx. UPS uses agents (which usually increases costs and decreases service).

      • William Wright Mar 1, 2014, 8:54 am

        Mi amiga in Quito has successfully sent two small packages via the service Correos. They both arrived to me in the States by USPS. However, the irony of the stamps ‘Jorge the turtle’ on the packages was not lost upon me. ………… I have made use of USPS for 3 packages to her. All have arrived. All took months not weeks. Months. I will be mailing Christmas package soon 🙂 Good luck!

  • katie Jan 9, 2014, 10:43 pm

    hi i am currently trying to divorce my husband who is from ecuador and currently living there with his “new wife”. he continues to tell me that he does not have a house address and the only way to send the papers is through Delgado Travel which is in New Jersey and i am in Tennessee. If i were to send them either express or registered where would i send them? would i just put his name and general lcoation (i.e. azogues, canar, ecuador) and maybe his phone number. PLEASE help me. i have been trying to get this divorce since 2003 and now my “lawyer” is giving me a hard time. please email me if you can. thank you very much

    • Bryan Haines Jan 10, 2014, 12:50 pm

      You can send FedEx, UPS or DHL shipments to their offices for pickup. Just include their phone number so they can call the recipient when it arrives. We’ve had best success with FedEx and DHL. Or you can mail packages to the post office.

  • Ryan Dec 11, 2013, 4:28 am

    Hello, I just wanted to thank you for the basic information. I have sent many letters to Ecuador and have had mixed results. I have mailed simple letters to post cards and legal documents. My son was born in Quito after his mother returned to Ecuador to visit her family and decided never to return to the USA. After many years of dead end situations, I am finding myself having to write “attempt letters” via certified mail to show that the responding person is either A.) Not able to get certified mail or is not receiving my letters B.) Not responding to certified mail or official court documents.

    I think it really depends on the support system and situations involving your business in Ecuador. I have been there twice as a tourist and compared to the simplistic and almost certain business practices that I have come to depend on in the states, Ecuador proves to be impossible to count on for any sort of Government services or Legal protection. In a country where you are a US. Citizen, the support structure you have and the unique situation you are in is pretty much all the protection and accountability you might find.

    I am very glad good people post basic information like this for me to read or follow up with from time to time.

    Blessings and best wishes to you and your family,

    Ryan Sellars
    Minnesota USA

  • Kathy Oct 20, 2013, 8:31 am

    I am interested in moving to Ecuador. When there I will be wanting to ship packages to the states. Is the states we have flat rate boxes- perhaps you are familiar? I am wondering how difficult it is to ship smaller boxes, and what the cots may be, as well as how long it takes for items to arrive in the states, Info on any of these 3 items is greatly appreciated. I realize costs will vary, but the shipping time and the actual success of shipping are both key factors for me. THANKS!

    • Bryan Haines Oct 20, 2013, 2:01 pm

      We have only shipped the occasional items out of Ecuador. General post is expensive and based on weight/volume. I shipped two packages a few months ago and they have yet to arrive. I think they may never make it. If you are thinking about post for a business – I suggest you consider a courier service instead.

  • William Wright Aug 10, 2013, 6:14 pm

    I must admit. I feel a bit discouraged at the idea of sending a simple gift to a lovely friend in Quito. I was given the ‘address’. It was a paragraph long! I will rethink my efforts. Thank you for the information. William

  • Frank Barnes Jul 27, 2013, 9:27 pm

    Hi Bryan,
    My wife and I are researching moving to Ecuador and I’ve got a question on the Postal System there in regard to sending letters (9in x 13in) envelopes weighing from about 4 oz to 20 oz. We have an internet business where we print items that customers order and mail them to them. You have shown representative costs for cards and I guess standard letters but I was wondering what the costs might be for our larger envelopes. These are not legal documents or anything like that. We don’t need or want to use any of the Fedex type services as they are too costly for our needs. Any info postal pricing would be appreciated, I assume estimated delivery times to the US are 10 – 14 days. Thanks in advance.
    Frank

    PS We are looking forward to an exploratory visit down there soon.

    • Bryan Haines Jul 29, 2013, 7:38 am

      I don’t have a pricing schedule – but you can check their site and contact them if the pricing isn’t there.

  • LINDA Jun 27, 2013, 3:46 pm

    hello i have a letter to sent to Ecuador Manabi Guillen and i can’t find the zip code. Please help
    Linda De

  • R May 2, 2013, 5:51 am

    Hello Bryan
    Do you know it there are still no “casillas” available at the postoffice?
    Or are there any available again?
    Muchas Gracias
    R

    • Bryan Haines May 2, 2013, 6:43 am

      I didn’t know that there was a shortage.

      • R May 2, 2013, 8:14 am

        Hello Bryan
        I was sure that I read somewhere that Cuenca’s potoffice is running out of po boxes…now I found the link…
        I hope I can copy it here: http://www.captivatingcuenca.com/post-office-box-rental-requirements.html

        “Update in December 2012: The Cuenca post office ran out of boxes a few months ago. If you must have one, hang out there for a while and ask some of the expats who come by if you can share theirs.”

        Maybe somebody knows more (we are not yet) in Cuenca.
        Many Thanks
        R

        • Bryan Haines May 2, 2013, 8:46 am

          Okay. We have had our box for more than 3 years so I’m out of touch. If you have a physical address you can ship courier packages to your house/apartment.

          • R May 4, 2013, 5:27 am

            Hello Bryan
            Thank you, we were just concerned because we read somewhere that if you rent in a street that has no house numbers (s/n sin numero) then the postman will not find us 😉 I guess we should only rent in the house/apartment has an correct street number.
            R

            • Bryan Haines May 4, 2013, 9:18 am

              It is a valid concern. If you can’t get mail delivered to your address, you can have things couriered and they’ll call you to come pick it up when it arrives at their Cuenca office. We’ve done this many times.

  • Kim Feb 2, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Hi guys, I have been looking into mail forwarding services. I am from Canada. There does not seem to be much offer for us and I don’t really want a US mail forwarding services because then maybe the taxman will think that I live in the states. I won’t have any family left back in Canada. Would you have any suggestions? I won’t have much mail beside the annual income tax ritual. I am looking more at a scan and forward service.

    As a side note, TD Canada Trust has since last fall direct transfer to TD USA, it is like a normal transfer between your bank accounts. The two banks are now ”like” the same unlike RBC USA and RBC Canada. Just thought I would mention it.

    Thanks

    • Bryan Haines Feb 3, 2013, 6:57 am

      I haven’t heard of mail forwarding services in Canada – hopefully another reader will be able to help. It would make sense that it exists because of how many Canadians spend winters abroad (down south).

      Good to hear that TD now offers a good alternative for US banking.

  • Dave R Dec 3, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Wondering if anyone has any recent experiences on having electronics sent from the US, and what kind of fees might be charged on the Ecuadorian side?

    Cheers.

  • Lawrence Paulus Jul 27, 2012, 11:12 am

    what is the cheapest to mail a package from the U>S> to Cuenca Ecuador

  • Dave Jul 20, 2011, 12:21 pm

    Alternately you may want to consider a USA based mail forwarding service.
    Look at my website http://www.posthost.biz for mailbox rental prices, forwarding can be done internationally through the mail or via DHL

  • Thomas Jun 4, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Funny (not) everytime I mail to the U.S. I am charge $2, Post Card or Letter…
    (and I trade Tokens with others – So far, Someone is Stealing them as I do not get them & when I mail them OUT, they go missing) So much for Customs & Postal.

  • David Marshall Feb 15, 2011, 12:59 pm

    This message is for Brian rather than Doug. I am trying to decide whether we need to keep a Canadian postal address for any reason. Can you shed any light on that issue?

    PS I have set up the banking with RBC USA as you have suggested. My local branch had not thought of that as a potential solution so I was very happy for your help and they learned something. Regards, David.

    • Bryan Haines Feb 16, 2011, 9:55 am

      Hi David, we kept a Canadian PO Box and my parents check it every week or two. The catch about living abroad, is that for income tax / banking / online purchases you’ll need an address in Canada. I’m sure you could work around it, but for us the $110 per year is well worth it.

      Glad to hear that the banking system has worked out good for you. Its working like a charm for us here. By the way, we recently started using checks drawn on the RBC USA account to deposit into our Ecuadorian accounts – and its working great!

      All the best on your planning!

      Bryan

      • David Marshall Feb 16, 2011, 12:53 pm

        Why would the government of Canada require us to have a Cdn address if we are seeking non-resident status for tax purposes? Regards, Dave.

        • Bryan Haines Feb 16, 2011, 5:55 pm

          Its not a requirement – its just more convenient for us. Where can the government (or any other office or business) send mail without an address? Of course, you could just have it forwarded to family or friends. It really depends on how much mail you might get and how important it is.

  • David Marshall Jan 6, 2011, 12:08 pm

    Hi Brian, Doug mentioned that he was using a Miami forwarding service as well. Could we get a bit more information with regard to the threshold weight that triggers the very high charges. Regards, Dave.

  • Tom Jan 5, 2011, 12:36 pm

    Is a letter out-going charged different than a Post Card?

    • Bryan Haines Jan 5, 2011, 1:39 pm

      Hi Tom – it would seem – wouldn't it? Honestly, I'm not sure – we don't mail very often. We have a new system for commenting – which is why Doug isn't replying. Hopefully he'll be online with the new system in the next couple of days (my fault – not his).

      I'll get back to you.

      Bryan

    • Doug Jan 5, 2011, 9:36 pm

      Tom, we recently sent a letter regular mail from Cuenca to the States and it cost us about $1.00 to send. Recently we received a card from Georgia and the postage on the envelope was .98 cents.

  • Becca Jan 4, 2011, 9:04 pm

    Many people use what are called Buzomes (I don't know if it is spelled with an s or a z). The company receives items in Miami and then send them to Ecuador via airmail. We know people that use them all the time for packages and have been very happy with the service and from what I know the packages always reach them (keep in mind they still have to meet Ecuador's standard for weight, if you go over you get charged an arm and a leg, and there are things they won't ship, such as perfumes). Mailing post cards is also extremely expensive at $2 PER CARD! But yes, overall, mail here is nothing like in the US! You don't even mail thank you cards. Instead, you hand deliver them…

    • Bryan Haines Jan 4, 2011, 9:32 pm

      Hi Becca – we've heard the same but I haven't used it. Its funny, but Doug (author of this post) has another post on a system from the post office ready to publish on Friday. It sounds like what your talking about.

      And for local mail – its so true. We haven't mailed anything within the country since we've lived here (almost a year and a half now). And we rarely mail outside of the country.

      Bryan

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