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What To Expect When Renting a House in Ecuador

Posted in: Ecuador Real Estate, Living in Ecuador

What to expect when renting a house in Ecuador:

ecuador-house-for-rent-signIt’s moving day (week)….again. Since moving to Cuenca in 2007 we have lived in 5 different houses.  It is not that we like to move, just that there have always seemed to arise some compelling reasons to move.

For example, we have moved twice due to noisy neighbors who kept us from sleeping.  Keep in mind that many houses in Cuenca are similar to town homes and they share walls with other dwellings. Therefore, you can often hear sounds from next door and that can be a little irritating if you are used to more privacy.

We moved from a house in the country on 10 acres in Georgia, so living in close proximity with other people took a little getting used to.  On another occasion we moved because the house we were renting became infested with black mold.

Our most recent move was motivated by a desire to live in a neighborhood that is more convenient to public transportation and shopping.

Learn more about real estate in Ecuador.

So, how’s our new house?

We were fortunate to find a very spacious 4 bedroom with two and a half baths that is very convenient to public transportation and shopping.

Something we really appreciate about this house is the nice sized front and back yard with plenty of room for two kids, a cat and a dog.  All of the other houses we have rented have only had a cement parking space and a small patio out back, so to have a large yard with grass is a luxury for us.

Another plus to this house is the price. We are paying $260.00 a month, which is very reasonable considering its size and location.  And, this house has something that no other house has had that we have rented….a sink with a double basin.  My wife is very happy about that.


Things you only thought were necessary in a house:

When we first rented a house in Ecuador, we were surprised to find that rental houses, and new houses for that matter, do not come with some amenities that one may consider standard.

For example, we have yet to rent a house here equipped with a stove and refrigerator.  And you can forget about finding a house with a built in dishwasher.

We had to purchase our own appliances and have moved them with us every time.  A water heater is also an option that not all houses or apartments have.  The majority of stoves and water heaters in use here run on propane so be prepared to buy your own gas cylinders.  Gas tanks also are not standard issue in houses or apartments.

Some luxury apartment buildings have central gas, but if you choose to rent a house you will have to get used changing out gas tanks every couple of weeks or so.  A full gas cylinder is quite heavy, so be prepared for a little work out when you have to change out tanks.

When we first walked into this house we noticed that there were no curtain rods, only a few hooks that the previous occupants had left up.

The lack of curtain rods and other hardware normally used for hanging curtains is also something that is common in rental houses here.

We decided that we wanted to properly hang our curtains, so we splurged and spent over $100.00 on curtain rods and hardware.   When we leave this house we will give the owner the option of reimbursing us for our purchase or simply take the rods with us to use in our next rental.

Optional kitchen and bathroom accessories:

Four of the five houses we have rented featured bathrooms that were lacking the normal accessories one would expect to find installed such as mirrors, toilet paper holders, towel hooks, and toothbrush holders. These are details that are often overlooked by many landlords.

If you like to take a nice warm bath in a tub you may be disappointed because only two out of the 5 houses we have rented here have been equipped with a tub.  Most houses only have showers.  The lack of a tub is not the end of the world, but sometimes it is nice to soak aching muscles in a warm bath, especially if you have just endured a 5 day move into a new house.

Another feature that is sometimes missing in houses here is a range hood.  Two houses we have rented mysteriously were missing vent hoods that would normally be standard equipment in a house in the States.  It was not a deal breaker for us, but it was unhandy not to have a light over the stove.

Also, we have found that upper kitchen cabinets are sometimes viewed as optional and we have even seen some houses and apartments that did not have any kitchen cabinets at all; just an open space under the counter to place pots and pans.  That was a deal breaker for us and we turned down those houses.

Do you really need paint on the walls?

We once considered renting a huge 6 bedroom, three story house with a nice yard.  I really liked the house and it was being offered for a very reasonable price.

The deal breaker was the new paint that the owner had just applied:  dark blue and red throughout the entire house.  The landlord was finishing up the painting when we arrived to look at the house and proudly pointed out the new paint as a selling point.  I did not have the heart to tell him that his dazzling taste in colors was making me dizzy and depressed. We passed on that rental.

When shopping for rentals we have often found some interior decorating that did not exactly match our style or tastes, but when you are renting you can often overlook such issues.

This current house we are renting has been painted light yellow throughout and is not too bad as colors go.  But since the wall in the stairwell is rather tall and the painters apparently did not have a ladder on hand, a large part of that wall was left unpainted.

Our new landlord dropped by with some yellow paint the other day and has left the rest of the painting up to us.  In 4 of the 5 houses we have rented we have had to do some painting.  That seems to be the norm here, at least in our experience.

Dangling light bulbs, missing keys and windows that don’t seal too well:

Hanging-light-bulbPractically every house we have entered here in Ecuador has one thing in common: there are no light fixtures, only bare light bulbs dangling from the ceiling.

The lack of light fixtures seems somewhat paradoxical to us since in many houses you will find intricate tile work and decorative ceiling tiles.  We have grown accustomed to the hanging bulbs and don’t give them a second thought, but at first it did strike us as odd.

Also be prepared to visit the local locksmith when you move in to a rental here.  Some landlords apparently don’t keep a duplicate set of keys, especially to the keyed bedroom doors.   I have had to replace or have re-keyed a number of locks due to the missing key issue or broken doorknobs.

As a general rule, houses in Ecuador are not what you would call air tight.  We often feel wind enter through the windows and eaves of the house and there is a space under the exterior doors of a half inch or more which also allows cool air to enter.

Despite the cool mountain climate, houses here do not have any sort of built in heating system, so if you decide to live in Cuenca or in another part of the sierra, a small electric or gas heater comes in handy at times because it does get quite chilly at night.

I’m not complaining, just explaining….

Please keep in mind that I am not at all complaining about landlords or trying to imply that housing in Ecuador is substandard as compared with the U.S. or other so called “developed” countries.  I’m merely pointing out a few of the differences that we have noted in the houses and apartments we have rented.  It is good to be aware of those differences before moving to Ecuador so as not to be disappointed.

We love living in Ecuador and are quite comfortable with our current house and really appreciate the landlord and his willingness to negotiate with us.  Every Ecuadorian landlord we have had has treated us fairly and has made us feel very welcome.  Our first landlord took us furniture shopping and helped us to get over the first few months of transition to our new life in Ecuador.

The above mentioned issues such as missing bathroom accessories and paint issues are things that many landlords will fix if you ask them to. Whenever we have encountered problems with plumbing or leaky roofs the landlords have always taken care of those matters.

I personally enjoy getting my hands dirty and don’t mind doing a little manual labor to replace a door knob, paint a wall or fix a broken latch when necessary. Being willing to take care of such minor issues creates good will with the landlord and will certainly make it easier to renegotiate a  more favorable rental contract down the road.

When shopping for rentals it is good to keep an open mind and not judge everything by standards in other countries.  I recently accompanied a newly arrived Canadian expat couple on a house hunting expedition and they found an almost new house for rent that they liked.

However, the tile in the kitchen was, to be honest, a little on the hideous side.  Other than that, the house had everything else they wanted. It had plenty of space, a large yard, was in a good neighborhood and was being offered for $280.00 per month, which is a great price considering the size of the house.

I pointed out to them that when renting you have to weigh the pros and cons and realize that there is no perfect house.  The big issues such as size, security and convenience always trump minor interior decorating quirks when deciding whether or not to rent a particular house or apartment.

The bottom line is that there are some very nice houses and apartments here for rent and with a little effort you can find a comfortable place for a reasonable price. We have always rented nice houses and have never paid over $300.00 per month.

With a little help you can deal directly with the owners and negotiate a price within your budget.  You don’t have to fall into the trap of inflated rental prices just because you are a foreigner.  Not every expat can afford a $700.00 luxury apartment.  So, if you are contemplating renting in Ecuador, don’t forget to pack your tool bag and be sure to bring along a positive attitude and an open mind.  It will make renting here much more enjoyable.

This is a guest post by an American expat living in Cuenca since 2007. 

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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 Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

102 comments… add one
  • Michael Sep 11, 2018, 10:40 pm

    Looking for rentals that allow pets in ibarra, loja, or cotacotchi. flying
    to quito in a few weeks to scout the areas i previously mentioned. It would be awesome to have some assistance. Thanks

    • Fernando carrera Jul 2, 2019, 12:38 pm

      I love what I read. 100% truth as Ecuadorean living in Canada for long time I can see the difference .
      Ecuador is missing a lot of what we have here service. Renting,attention transportation they back 1960 years is not to bad if we have everything clime is good fodd is excellent political not bad stable .

    • Johnny Joseph Nov 15, 2019, 11:56 am

      I did read your paper but I need more guidance. I need a rented house there; that is for one or two months, please give me good direction.

  • Sarah Apr 27, 2018, 7:52 pm

    My family and I are renting in Loja for the moment, but will be moving to Cuenca within the next month or two. Is there anyone that can connect with us and help us do some searching for a great place to rent? As we’re not there to walk around and ask people we need some help. We’re looking for a 4 bedroom, 2 bath with enough space for garden and chickens at least!

  • Bill Thompson Feb 10, 2018, 4:33 am

    Considering a move to Equador in the next few months as a retirement home. Your information has been most helpful as I have never lived outside the US. My biggest concern is the language barrier while looking for a place to live and more importantly, what the medical facilities are when living in the country full time. If you can shed some light on these two issues it would be much appreciated

    • Sharon Sep 2, 2018, 1:56 pm

      You need an experienced Facilitor that handles spanish. All leases have to in Spanish so
      you will need her. Do no rent a house where there is no place to put an oven da? Also
      when some landlords say they have hot water check to see if that is true. Some only have
      it in bathrooms da? one friend was told they internet and he pointed to the boxes so
      we figured (don’t use figured in Ecuador check) When she moved in she opened the
      box and there was no wiring hahahah she moved immediately da. Another friend
      rent an apartment and ask if children are allowed in building and any upstairs.
      Some places have mold so look for it. I ask when it was built i prefer new or two to 5.
      Here is my broker for health Ins and she handles all kinds. I am me in private ins. i picked Private Ins so no big lines 2 hospitals in town. I am 72 so you need good insurance its
      cheaper then America everything is.
      i am not waiting in lines i have my choice of two big hospitals remember Del Rio is great
      but way out by bus or cab $4.oo or $5.00 each way humm.
      Mady Gonzdles 0986304185 she will come to you. l love her.
      Its very important to know what you doing here, the systems are totally different
      then America. You can’t argue you do it their way. We have been here 7 yrs and
      we laugh and laugh they send us to 3 buildings and each window is doing it different.
      We find it very funny. We are retired so we have time for all this nonsence. Always carry
      toilet paper with you many people steal it because they none at home. So if you have it in your purse no problem. You don’t want to hire a cab driver for a lease he can help with
      spanish to. I have an idea i have a tailer i use he comes to my home very reasonable.
      I has a son Jack of all trades nice family but i have never used him yet. Daniel Mocha > has transportation Buying Assist. 593981767735 Real Estate people
      here don’t need licenses warning. They don’t need licenses da. But look at Gringo Post, olx cuenca ecuador, craigslist Cuenca Ecuador. Homes to rent are over price so you
      must negioate . Its a different sometimes friends get house paint free and them hire
      a painter. There is so much i could you i learned everything the hard way. now we
      are all settled i love it smart plan.

  • Sandi Lafferty Feb 3, 2017, 10:14 pm

    Brian, thank you for your time and energies in your blog. It is the best I’ve found. My sister and I are going to visit Ecuador next year so I am doing as much research as I can. We are looking for weather around 70 degrees. I have difficulty with very humid areas and sis has difficulty with extreme altitudes. We live in Oregon now and are fine except for the snow and cold. Which towns would you recommend for us to start looking? Both of us are retired RNs and in good health. We want new adventures in our lives. Also, is there a possibility of renting both sides of a 3 + bedrm duplex? Thank you, Sandi

  • Karen W. Jan 15, 2017, 5:51 am

    I a 62 yr. old American gal, retired English professor (Vancouver, CA), and adventure lover, who has lived in beautiful Bodrum, Turkey for the last 4 years. It is so comforting to read and see you and your readers’ posts and see so many similarities found with my experience moving here. Now, I am even more freed-up than when I first retired here and am considering new adventures, like Ecuador part-time and Turkey part-time. As I am single, I would like to connect with other single adventurers who might be interested in sharing a rented place or who have already found desirable part-time accommodations and could recommend the same for me. I want to be in a city center to start with — most desirable would be Cuenca or Quito, but can remain open. I am guessing that my time most likely to want to visit ( Jan–March or July –Sept ) would be compatible with many other part-timers’ schedules so this just might be possible. I would love to hear from you or others here if you know of such already existing or would be interested in helping to set up such a “matching” forum.
    Thanks a million!!!! Karen (
    (PS– could also do a house swap between one of these cities and my house in Bodrum, Turkey)

  • Scott Jan 10, 2017, 9:20 pm

    Hello, Is there a way to screen tenants in Ecuador? Does one have access to databases like court cases, police reports, credit reports etc.?


  • dhadwal Dec 2, 2016, 8:31 pm

    This is great information for a biginer to work with. I want to try living there for a month or few months before taking the plunge.
    I guess the right way to do would be to go there and find a place to rent. Or rent an appartment on
    line ??

    Thanks a lot for taking time to explain it all.

    • Bryan Haines Dec 3, 2016, 7:14 am

      I recommend renting a short-term place – either a furnished apartment or a hotel – for a few weeks or a few months. If you are in the country and can go view the different options, you’ll get a better place and a better price.

  • Juan Dávila Nov 1, 2016, 9:08 pm

    BYRAN, thanks for the remarks. Very accurate and no denigrating of the country or its people. Now, here is a question: If we moved back to Ecuador (My wife is Irish) how would you receive real time TV from Xfinity, or any other service provider. I have used in Quito the Apple TV and I can get most programming, but not live programming. Someone suggested using Sling, do you have any ideas, o could you refer me to someone who does? Much appreciated. (By the way: I googled you and found you living in Nova Scotia, Canadá?)

  • Melissa Fondren Jun 14, 2015, 11:25 pm

    Thanks for the very helpful information! My husband recently retired and we live in Stockbridge, GA. We are in the beginning stages of researching a possible move to Cuenca and are planning a visit soon. I am looking forward to following you on Facebook and receiving your newsletter!
    Thanks so much!

    • William Calle Feb 18, 2016, 4:12 pm

      Small world. I live with friends at Lake Spivey in Stockbridge and we have been researching to live in Cuenca part of the year. I have some retired fellow Air Force friends that have lived there and suggest to at at least try one season before moving permanently.

    • Don eiland Aug 25, 2016, 8:11 pm

      Hello Melissa, we live in Covington Ga. We are going to visit my wifes sister who lives in Cuenca. We are considering a move in the next year or so. I know that her sister has lived there for 5 years and they love it.
      God bless.

    • Don eiland Nov 5, 2016, 10:18 am

      Dear Melissa,

      We are going to cuenca in May or June of 2017. We live in Covington Ga. Hope you folks have a great trip.

  • Stephanie Jun 14, 2015, 6:18 pm

    I could be wrong, but that house looks a lot like my house when I was a child!

  • Sucy Oct 21, 2014, 2:27 am

    HI there , I’m looking to move to Ecuador , maybe for 2 years depending on my employer, I have a few questions . it is the internet fast ? I will need to have a good speed so i can keep working . it is expensive to have a 1800 number ? or that option does exist there ? I’m an american citizen and also my kids , do we need Visa ? how long can we stay can you reply to the email and let me know pretty much everything you thing I should know. I can’t find a good rental listing website either. How much you guys paid for utilities monthly , water , electricity , gas , internet ? Thank you all

  • Robyn Jumer Jul 28, 2014, 8:12 am

    We are looking to rent a house for a month in Jan or Feb in 2015. We would be interested in a smaller seaside village close to the beach. Can you recommend a way we can get information on availability?

    • Beatriz Fernandez Nov 16, 2015, 4:57 pm

      I was doing a bit of a research and found you on this website (your comments)
      for my home to put up for rental and on a website (cannot recall which) I found your note or feedback to the person posting there.

      Ironically my home is ready for rent. I just started and put it up on a site (to start safely).
      We are both (my husband and myself) American Citizens living here in Denver.
      My husband is from Ecuador (still has family and property there) and I am originally from Uruguay but lived most my life here in the states.

      We want to rent our home until we retire and since that is years from now, we want to make sure our home is well taken care of but thought of this option also to make a profit in the meantime.

      Please check us out online and let us know what you think. I am still adding pictures online to upgrade our website.
      It is a beautiful home in a real nice neighborhood. Has total 5 rooms (nanny’s room included with full bath) and 5 full bathrooms including nanny’s
      Is a Beach front home, two level and beautifully maintained and upgrades. Our contact info is there.
      Should you know of anyone interested in spending a wonderful beach vacation worry free let us know or give them this info.
      We may also consider long term rental and may even negotiate that as well.

      My name is Beatriz Fernandez (Garcia) and my husband is Juan D Garcia.

      Hope you can take advantage of this great home, or someone you know.
      We are owners and this is a legitimage website. Should you have further questions please let me know.
      The home is listed as #4070207 in the city of Bahia de Caraquez Ecuador.

      Looking forward to connect with you or others you may know may be interested in this beautiful vacation property.
      our email
      Have a blessed day.
      Best regards,
      Beatriz Fernandez (Garcia)

  • Glenn Apr 14, 2014, 5:36 pm

    Hello Bryan, I am a U.S. Citizen (father was Canadian/Toronto) living in Asia. Have lived overseas now for awhile in different parts of Asia and in London, England. Was wondering if you live in the capital and how is rent there now? In 2014? If you are still there. How do you get a permanent resident visa? How long for just a visitor visa? Thanks. Stay well. Glenn

  • suan Benguerels Jan 21, 2014, 11:33 pm

    can we bring our 4 year old well behaved little dog with us to move there. Can you please get back to one of us or both mt email, It would be very helpfull we will be retireing , and want the dog with us thank you hope to hear from you.

    • Chantal Lambrix Jun 15, 2014, 2:54 pm

      Yes, it is very easy to bring a dog to Ecuador if you are not moving in the summer when the US has a heat embargo. I think the only vaccination you need that some vets don’t give is leptospirosis. Otherwise, you just need an international health certificate. Can your dog fit under the seat in front of you?

  • Sarah Oct 31, 2013, 9:37 pm

    We just visited family in Cuenca/Ricaurte for a month and we got to see our home that was built last two years for the 1st time. We just have the kitchen & finish furnishing it. I agree on alot of what you said on here. I made sure all the lights had fixtures. I didn’t want our beautiful ceilings having dangling lights.

  • Larry Haines Oct 23, 2013, 3:19 pm


  • Sandra Oct 23, 2013, 11:46 am

    I notice the date on this blog post was in 2011. I am assuming the price of housing has changed significantly in the past couple of years. Is this correct?

    • Bryan Haines Oct 23, 2013, 12:39 pm

      No, the pricing hasn’t changed very much. Unless you are using an English speaking agent. Then it will probably be a lot higher.

      • Sandra Oct 23, 2013, 1:34 pm

        Thanks for your comment, Bryan. I’m arriving in Cuenca on Friday this week. How do you recommend finding an apartment? I speak Spanish.

      • Frances Zarnock May 21, 2016, 1:48 pm

        2016 May have home rentals gone up?
        Also, you say using “English-speaking agent the price will be higher”. I don’t speak fluent Spanish so can I expect to pay more?

  • Nan Nason Jun 17, 2013, 11:47 am

    I want to know about bringing my 3 cats from the states to Ecuador. Also, is there a service there, for people who are wanting to retire there, to have guides that will go to different cities? I do want to be away from heat.

  • Peggy Jun 4, 2013, 12:11 pm

    Thanks for your great blog. Have you found you became healthier living there?
    Do you have chemtrails? How much is a maid?

    Thank you,


  • Holly Iiams May 25, 2013, 7:35 pm

    My husband and I plan to visit Ecuador in the near future with the thought in mind to eventually move there if it seems feasible. We are in our early 70’s in good health but, have LOTS of questions and concern. Our #1 concern is our 3 cats and 1 dog. We want to have them move with us should we decide, Is that really, truly a possibility. We currently live in Oregon and are very concerned about the length of the flights. Another thought we have, what of your personal belonging can you take? Is shipping furniture and other household items even an option or would it be way to expensive?
    Sure enjoyed all the information you have put together, very helpful and insightful.
    Thank You for all your efforts,
    Holly Iiams

    • Bryan Haines May 31, 2013, 5:22 pm

      Yes, some expats ship their belongings including furniture. With a permanent residency visa there is an option to receive household goods without duties. Most of the expats we know just brought some luggage and bought most things new here. It isn’t hard to find most things and it means you are spending money on new stuff instead of shipping old stuff.

      I don’t know about the number of pets. You could check with an immigration lawyer about this.

  • Tammy May 22, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Awesome! so informational. the best blog I have come across as of yet. I love how you talk about the place and renting more than yourselves. You don’t find this very often in blogs.
    Anyways I am contemplating spending part of the year in Ecuador and part in Canada. Was hoping you could help answer some questions I have in a bit more detail.
    I am looking for something furnished but walking distance to a nice town with markets on a very limited budget. Where would be the best area ie. safest for a single 40 year old woman. Probably a 2 bedroom would be suffice. I would need internet of course and an area that is friendly hopefully with some expats as I speak only English. willing to learn…lol
    Also are utilities included if not what would I expect to pay for rent and are there any local websites I can check for rentals I find a lot of higher priced rentals geared to foreigners.
    Are people against foreigners or accepting? How is the crime rate? Is there any use for people teaching English there without a degree?
    thanks ahead of time for any extra information you can help me with.

  • Lizzy May 16, 2013, 2:46 pm

    I rent a comfortable, clean and secure room with use of Kitchen, living room, garage, etc., at the North of Guayaquil, to people preferably from North America or Europe, who wish to learn or practice Spanish, I speak English, and I can also provide you of food, and be your guide around of my precious city or around of this wonderful country called Ecuador!

    In addition, with each room, guests enjoy details that make their stay more enjoyable. Discounts on long periods of staying.

    I invite you to enjoy together in family of wonderful days in this blessed land, mi lindo Ecuador! 🙂

    Welcome to my sweet home,


    • chuck gray Jul 28, 2014, 8:10 am

      Lizzy, i will be arriving in November 2014. Would you please email me details about the pricing, location and other details of your home. Do you have any pictures that you can send me via email? thx

    • Tammy Cole Aug 31, 2014, 6:36 pm

      Would you pleasemail me the cost of renting with you? I’m looking at staying a month or2 possiblymid November. There will be 2 adults

    • Flora Oct 22, 2017, 8:45 pm

      Litzy, we plan on going to Equador in March, 2018. I would like to know prices
      Of staying at your place. Could you email me some info?


  • Phil wilcox May 15, 2013, 8:17 pm

    Cost of shipping my Toyota sequoia any idea. From let’s say Florida. What about gas and repairs, any difficulty. Do I need a car or should I buy one there?

    Great newsletter

    • Bryan Haines May 16, 2013, 9:53 am

      I don’t know about shipping a vehicle. There are specific rules about bringing in used vehicles. Here is our cost of owning a vehicle in Ecuador.

      Many expats use taxis and public transit. We did for two years and now love the freedom of a car. There are lots of options here – the used vehicles are surprisingly well maintained, when compared to Canada.

  • P Apr 4, 2013, 8:22 pm

    Hi, I was wondering. You wrote this in 2011 how is it like now in 2013? Have prices change much?

    • Bryan Haines Apr 8, 2013, 7:20 am

      Not much, if at all. Of course some landlords have increased prices some. And there seems to be more people marketing properties to English speakers. But if you are looking for a listing in Spanish then you’ll still find a good place for $200-250 per month.

  • Larry & Faye Mar 18, 2013, 9:35 am

    Another great article full of useful information. Thanks!!!

  • Dennis A Mar 18, 2013, 7:24 am

    Also, a foregone conclusion probably, but I assume there are lighting shops/stores where one can get actual lighting fixtures as well? For a few dollars more?

  • Dennis A Mar 18, 2013, 7:22 am

    This is most appreciated. I plan on teaching trumpet lessons two days a week. I am inferring that I should think about a house vis an apartment due to noise constraints lest I be run out of town. Does this sound like a reasonable approach, Bryan?

  • William (Bill) Evans Feb 27, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Great remarks.

  • William (Bill) EvANS Feb 26, 2013, 9:47 pm


  • Constantin Feb 21, 2013, 9:24 am

    Hi Doug,

    Nice and useful information you provided for people who are hunting for a retirement spot.

    I have a bunch of questions if it doesn’t bother you.
    Would we find short term rentals, 4 months for example?
    Is theer a web site where we can search for rentals at a low rate? I know that there are many which advertise for a lot of money.
    Are utilities extra and how much we’d expect to spend?
    What is the budget one expects for food (family of 2-3 people) per month?
    Do the electronics feet in their sockets or we need adaptors?

    Thanks a lot for everything

  • Hal Dec 28, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Thanks Doug, your info was very informative, unbiased, and plain spoken. Thanks. It helped a lot. Hal

  • michael Dec 10, 2012, 9:09 pm

    God bless you Doug! That was a fantastic piece of honest advice. Must stay intouch with you mate. Keep me on your mailing lists. Will you lists the cheaper areas outside quenca too? Thanks.

  • Ronnie Nov 12, 2012, 12:30 pm


    I have studied Ecuador a fair amount and what additional information you give is very helpful. Planning a trip down there within the next year. Keep up the good work.

  • Howard Nov 3, 2012, 8:54 am

    If you think that bare light bulbs are strange, try moving to Switzerland or France. There you could be confronted by bare wires coming out of the ceiling. However, in Switzerland I have had fully fitted kitchens, whereas I needed to buy stove, oven, fridge in France. Different countries, different customs.

    There’s probably a good case for developing a guide to renting and buying a house/apartment in Ecuador including what to expect before and when you move in and things you will/may need to purchase separately. It would also be good to know what the landlord is required by law to provide.

    What I read is that one is expected to be flexible. This is fine, provided that the flexibility cuts both ways.


  • Kim Davis Oct 30, 2012, 8:10 pm

    I’d like any information on houses w/lots of gardening and yard space for my 6 small dogs. Anything you can tell me would be helpful

  • Peggy Daniels Jul 16, 2012, 1:31 pm

    I am starting an internet business, secretarial services, this will be a paperless business. I am looking at Ecuador about Jan. 2013. How hard is it to start a business there? Thx Peggy

  • Alanna May 31, 2012, 3:33 am

    Thank you so much for this article! I am looking to rent a fully furnished apartment or house with all utilities included. What is a reasonable price for this?

    I have seen places on the internet for rent in the $450-500 range, which is affordable to me (Since I pay 800 for an unfurnished place with another 800-900 in utility/etc bills), but it still seems a bit high for Cuenca.

    Could I do better than this price for a fully furnished place? I only need a 3/2 with appliances and furniture. A terrace to do my art on would be nice too. 🙂

    Thank you!

    • Doug May 31, 2012, 12:59 pm


      The lowest price I have seen for a furnished apartment in Cuenca is $300.00. That was for a 2 bed/1ba in an older building with no parking lot, elevator,guard or laundry facilities. The furniture in that particular apt. was sparce and it had a certain old, grungy feel to it. The apt. was clean and would do in a pinch, but most expats I deal with want something a little more comfortable. If you are looking for a comfortable, fully furnished apt. in a modern building with security, elevator, parking, etc. you are probably going to have to pay in the $450 and up range in Cuenca. That is based on my recent apartment hunting trips I have taken with new arrivals. I hope that this info. helps.

      Take care,

    • Ileen Feb 19, 2013, 11:34 am

      Hi there Alanna, my mom has a house for rent in the perimeter of Cuenca, a nice warm area called; “El Descanso” close to Challuabamba, it might take you 15 to 20 minutes driving to get there, from the center of Cuenca, she is only asking $450 dollars and it is a complete house with lots of room a few friendly neighbors and very helpful children that live there, that some times if you wish, they can help you with the amazing garden my mom has, this is such a cozy rustic and modern brand new house and my mom loves nature and plants has excellent setting to view landscapes, in the middle of small elevation where it makes the house semi private with lots of eucalyptus around and plenty of flat space to walk, run, set up a volleyball court, or soccer court, my mom and dad are already retired and very friendly, this is her number just in case you will like to talk to her, her name is Maria Louisa and this is her home number 883550 or 998335872 cell, she is interviewing at the moment to rent this marvelous house, I can also send you some pictures, if you send me your email, for me it is just breath taking place.
      6479327726 Clarington, Ontario.

  • Doug May 1, 2012, 4:15 am

    Great blog, Doug. I appreciate all of the good info. We are hoping to move there within the next few years, if all goes well. I would like to know what type of electricity the country uses as far as voltage and frequency, etc. Whether our electronics and household items will operate there.

    • Doug May 31, 2012, 1:12 pm

      Doug,(you have a really great name, by the way)

      U.S. appliances/electronics work fine here, although the cost of shipping large appliances from the U.S. is rather high and most expats just purchase new here. (I have heard that the cost of shipping a container from the U.S. can be as high as $10,000)
      Computers/radios/TVs all work on the same voltage as in the U.S. We have found the electricity to be very reliable and power outages are rare in Cuenca. A few years ago there was a drought in Ecuador and that affected the electric supply since all power in Ecuador is hydroelectric. Other than that, we have not had any problems with electricity.

      Take care,

  • Hughie Mar 30, 2012, 10:41 pm

    Hey Doug,Nice blog,Hey I was wondering. I am a Artist and would like to know if a 3-4 bedroom house is 300 U.S. or so. what the cost of a 1 or 2 bedroom or a more lets say downtown loft or industrial. colonial apartment. also what part of town is the art district.

    • Doug Mar 31, 2012, 6:51 am

      Hello Hughie,

      To answer your question about a 3-4 bedroom for $300, YES you can find houses in that price range. We are in the middle of moving again (the current land lord wants to raise our rent too much) and have found a brand new 5 bedroom, 4 bath with a huge yard for $250.00. We turned down a 5 bedroom closer into town for $350.00. Reasonable rentals are available if you do some shopping around.

      • Hughie Mar 31, 2012, 10:50 am

        Doug thanks for your quick responce,but I would really
        need a large 1 room loft or large 2 bed room downtown
        or in close near art district if there is one.I have been using google map to get the lay out of the city
        where is 00 center? Is Gran Colombia the main street?

        • Doug Mar 31, 2012, 2:10 pm


          Grand Columbia is one of the main, more famous streets in Cuenca. The center of Cuenca is fairly compact, so regardless of where you live you will not be far from the Parque Calderon which is the heart of Cuenca. I´m not sure that there is an official art district in Cuenca because there is art and artists to be found all over the down town area. There is an arts and crafts market in the Plaza San Francisco that has two floors of nothing but artists and art for sale.

          • Hughie Mar 31, 2012, 3:10 pm

            Doug I hope these question are not stupid jajaj
            In the states we say about every city that there is the Beverly Hills area and there is a area you should not be in after dark.Do you know where these areas are hahaha.I am just more curious I guess then most. Entonces, Hermano Miguel is differant than El Batan or San Joaquin or in the south out towards Valle

  • Rolf Mar 30, 2012, 9:50 pm

    Hi! Rolf here in Miami. Thanks much for your helpby posting somuch detailed and well explained information..
    I have two quetions now:

    1) When you start the description of your house which yo show in the photo, y begin with “”We wer frtunate to find” etc..Does that mean that you consider findind a similar house and price to be difficult and yours a stroke of very good luck??

    2) What about free standing houses outside of Cuenca, say as far as 30 minutes by car and surrounded by at least 2 acres. Would that be a possibility?? And at what aprox. rental price??

    • Doug Mar 31, 2012, 7:04 am


      Thanks for your question and for being a reader. By saying that we felt fortunate to find the house mentioned in the article I did not mean to imply that finding houses in that price range is impossible,but it does take some investigation to find them. If you look on some of the popular “gringo” realty sites you rarely find rentals in the $300 range. I have seen some “free standing” houses in the country and the price of those rentals all depends on who the owner is. They are often not advertised, so it is a matter of knowing someone who knows someone who knows the owner…in other words you have to find out about them via the grape vine. I have found that if you can get a local, native speaker to help you when looking for rental you can often find out about those hidden “gems”. I have Ecuadorian friends who help us and that has proven to be an effective way of finding rentals. On our current move (we are moving again) we found a number of potential rentals via our Ecuadorian grape vine. As a general rule, the farther out of Cuenca you go the less the rent will be. We have Expat friends who are renting in a little town about 40 minutes out of Cuenca and they are paying in the $150.00 range for a very nice, brand new house. But, you need a car for those rentals.

    • Ileen Feb 19, 2013, 11:37 am

      Hello Rolf: my mom has a house for rent in the perimeter of Cuenca, a nice warm area called; “El Descanso” close to Challuabamba, it might take you 15 to 20 minutes driving to get there, from the center of Cuenca, she is only asking $450 dollars and it is a complete house with lots of room a few friendly neighbors and very helpful children that live there, that some times if you wish, they can help you with the amazing garden my mom has, this is such a cozy rustic and modern brand new house and my mom loves nature and plants has excellent setting to view landscapes, in the middle of small elevation where it makes the house semi private with lots of eucalyptus around and plenty of flat space to walk, run, set up a volleyball court, or soccer court, my mom and dad are already retired and very friendly, this is her number just in case you will like to talk to her, her name is Maria Louisa and this is her home number 883550 or 998335872 cell, she is interviewing at the moment to rent this marvelous house, I can also send you some pictures, if you send me your email, for me it is just breath taking place.
      6479327726 Clarington, Ontario.

      • maria Aug 20, 2013, 8:54 pm

        Hi Ileen,
        I’m interested in getting more details and photos about your mom’s home. I would like to have a detailed description such as : the number of rooms, size…etc. Also, if the utilities are included in rent, if not, what is the range price for these. Thank you.,

  • Becky Gore Mar 8, 2012, 2:51 pm

    Thank you Doug, for a very informative blog. Hope you will get this post as I don’t see any recent ones above. My husband and I are looking forward to checking Cuenca out in about 8 months in hopes of finding a retirement haven to enjoy a new adventure. I currently work for a non-profit and am wondering if there are many volunteer opportunities in Cuenca and if so what would they be? thanks again for any info you can pass along.

    • Doug Mar 31, 2012, 7:09 am


      For volunteer opportunities you can start by checking with schools and churches. I am sure that any school would welcome a native English speaker. Also, there are a number of government organizations that offer help to abused women and children. There are a number of private recovery centers for substance abusers. Also, I believe that there are U.S. aid organizations functioning here. You can to go to the U.S. consulate web site to check out other volunteer opportunities.

  • gregg Feb 4, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I have to say you are one “silver tongued devil” as the saying goes up here. Your reply to the man about the roach infested house was a classic reply. I guess that is the difference in you and I. I would tell him what i think about his roaches and perhaps his personal hygiene that may have caused the bugs and so on. But then again i was never very diplomatic. I lived in sierra leone for 14 years and we had very few roaches and bugs but now and then a centipede would wander inside from who knows where. we kept the house clean and did not toss food out the door and all of that type of thing. we lived in houses over the 14 years that cost $2500 a year to $6500 a year and brand new ones. some people are never happy and that man above is one of them. but what can you say? we all have different views of life and how to live it.
    I am planning a trip there this year and i want to deal with gold and silver and other minerals. that is all i have done for the last many years so it is about all i can do anyway. i will be 65 this year so a visa should be no real problem. I will let you know when i head down your way from here and have a good day

  • James Dec 13, 2011, 3:20 am

    I’ve read almost every blog on Ecuador and yours is the best, by far. I really like your honesty and sincerity! Everyone needs to have the same attitude and behavior when dealing with others; it’s the “Golden Rule.” Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Doug! If we ever get down your way, I’ll make sure to check in w/you.


  • Alex Oct 7, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I am coming to Ecuador with my wife on October 20 from Canada. Will be staying in Cuenca for a week and next in Salinas for a week.
    I will retire in 15 months, so we are looking for a place to hide from Canadian winters. Will be nice to meet you in Cuenca.

  • tim and marna Sep 28, 2011, 11:23 pm

    Doug —

    Your info on living/renting/housing in Cuenca is most helpful. We are considering a “scoping out” visit to Ecuador sometime in the period of January through March. We’d love to chat with you or communicate with you before we make the trip. Would that be possible?

    Let us know.

    Thank you!

    Tim & Marna

  • cilia Engelhardt Sep 24, 2011, 1:29 pm

    It was very interesting to read all your good information about rentals in Cuenca. I have been reading about Cuenca for many years. Your information is very honest and very helpfull. Keep the good work.
    I will contact you again when I decide to go to Cuenca.

  • Malcolm Reding Sep 6, 2011, 9:53 am

    Hello Doug;
    I found your house observations interesting in that we usually take things for granted, except here in the states, as a former landlord I have had tenants take the toilet paper off the roll and take all the light bulbs. I have a question: What has been your experience with ecuadorian toilets and their ability to accept toilet paper? I know in Costa Rica it’s a big problem.
    If it is a problem, there are several companies that make toilet seats with bidet functions event to extent of heated water.
    Have a great day
    Buenos Noches

  • Henry M Campora Jul 28, 2011, 9:19 pm

    Hi Doug i would like to ask you iam retired and has a disabilitie pension and my wife and i decided to relocate to ecquador. My questions for you is can i have 2 citizenships with out losing my disabilitie pension.I also would like to rent a house with 4 bedrooms and if possiable has furinture/Bath tub/Dishwasher/gargrage/HW and paymemt close to 300.00 a month is this possiable?

  • Paul Jul 5, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Great article. Important info for renters, having lived in various places in the world, this is the stuff that is important. In some places people only use wardrobes no built in closets, or what does the sound of the water or gas truck make when they drive around your neighborhood in Mexico. Thank you for sharing. Paul

  • Jeff Stern Jun 13, 2011, 6:29 pm

    Great post…you can find very decent houses here for decent prices with reasonable landlords as the owners. We are only in our 2nd house in 4 years here in Quito, and we only moved to lower our rent payments. Both of our landlords have been generally very reasonable and decent people. Also, tenant law here highly favors the renter over the landlord.

  • Pat and Alina Mar 25, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Doug, you are doing a wonderful job! The most informative blog I've found so far. Facts and true experience, that's what we really need, with some good advices and positive attitude. Thank you, and please keep posting!

  • Carrie Feb 24, 2011, 9:41 pm

    Thanks for all the useful information and practical advise. I was wondering, can you do anything about creaky wood floors in Cuenca? Are you allowed to improve the home by nailing those suckers down? How about roosters? Are there roosters near the home you are currently renting? And, if so, can you do anything about it like perhaps offering to buy the bird and having people over for fried chicken? Would that be wrong? Lastly, do they have loud music where you are currently renting? Barking dogs? Stray cats that yowl in the middle of the night?
    Because we are “sound sensitive” we want to be sure of all things before we make our big move to Cuenca.

    • Doug Feb 28, 2011, 10:50 pm

      If I did not know better I´d say that you have stayed in our house. We have all of the sound issues you mention in your comment….I do think that someone did fry that rooster because he is not crowing at 3 am anymore. If you are sound sensitive, you may want to find a nice place by the beach where there are few other people. May be one of those places where the residents only come on the weekend. The only noise you will hear is the sound of the waves at night. If you find such a place may be you can invite us over for a couple of days…we love the beach. We´ll bring the sweet tea. We just have to remember the sun screen. The Ecuadorian sun burns gringos quite rapidly!

  • Will C. Feb 10, 2011, 4:39 pm

    Doug, your blog is the ONLY truly informative one i've found on Ecuador. Most people just talk about
    themselves. Thank you very much. I plan to visit Loja in March for one week. If i end up moving there
    I certainly will keep your services in mind, since i know it's close to Cuenca. George, the guy who
    wrote you complaining, didnt read your blog very well. Nowhere are you putting down Ecuador, but
    simply trying to inform Americans so they dont get disappointed. My parents were Hispanics, though
    not Ecuadorian, and i love Ecuador. Loved your info-packed blog too!

    • Doug Feb 12, 2011, 12:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment. The goal of the blog articles you see on this site is to provide useful and factual information based on our experiences. We love living in Ecuador and will tell any one that there are defininte advantages for foreigners who choose to live here as compared to other countries. However, there a few aspects of life here that some expats find unacceptable and it is good to know about those issues before moving here. We are not "know it alls". Even after four years of living here, we are still learning and adjusting to life in Ecuador. We appreciate any positive (and not so positive) feed back.


  • The Tillman's Feb 9, 2011, 8:09 am

    This was great information. It does sort of prepare us a little.
    The Tillman's

  • George Feb 5, 2011, 9:54 pm

    do not try to fool us with your coments about renting in ecuador. wath about those terrible houses full of termites, roaches an rats for rent in the U.S for USD.1.600 per month.

    • Doug Feb 7, 2011, 8:30 am

      Hola Jorge (George),
      I am not trying to fool anyone with this article, only stating what we have experienced after having rented 5 different houses here. I´m sorry that you misunderstood the article. Sometimes when we read information in a language that is not our native tongue, it is difficult to capture the exact intent of the author. The purpose of the article is to simply point out that there are some obvious differences between housing here and in other countries. Expats need to be aware of those differences so as not to be surprised when house shopping and so they can calculate the true cost of housing. Please re read the article George and you will note that I clearly state that we love living in Ecuador and have rented some very nice houses for a reasonable price. Regarding your comment concerning houses in the U.S. that are infested with rodents and bugs, whether a house or apartment has rats and roaches often depends on the cleanliness of the occupants or neighbors and has little to do with how much one pays for rent. I do believe that rats and roaches inhabit most all countries and are not confined to the U.S.

      • David Akins Jul 10, 2011, 4:37 pm

        From one Georgia boy to another, you are quite the diplomat. By the way, we moved to Cuenca about 5 weeks ago. So far, so good.

  • Jennifer & Rob Feb 5, 2011, 7:57 pm

    Thanks, this is VERY useful info!

  • Mike Wallace Feb 5, 2011, 11:21 am

    Doug, Thanks for the great post. My wife and I are considering relocating to Cuenca and appreciate your "heads up" on what we will encounter when searching for a rental.

  • Mike Feb 4, 2011, 12:44 pm

    That was our experience. there were a lot of things to do. We also painted the house and had built a linen closet and pantry. But the rent is good and the community very friendly. Since we don't plan on moving it was worth the expense. But there was a range hood.

  • Ross Feb 4, 2011, 11:32 am

    Very interesting Doug. Just because something is familiar does not necessarily mean it's better. As I have contemplated regularly spending part of the year outside the states, I realized that I would need to deal with my expectations and my tendency to complain about things I do not like. To that end, I stumbled across A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen.

    It has been nothing short of life-changing for me and my family. Although I have a lot of progress to make on this front, I am proud to say that I now complain about 1/10 as much as I did before, which I believe will serve me well in a new culture and country.

    Are you available for a Skype call sometime to discuss logistics of a part-time move to Cuenca? I'd like to discuss a few things. I'm not asking for a freebie either. 😉

    • Doug Feb 4, 2011, 11:44 am

      I´d be glad to chat with you. Just fill out the contact form on my profile page and give me your email address. We can make contact and try to answer some of your questions. I am currently having problems with Skype, so e-mails are the best way for me to receive and send messages.

      • Francellia Feb 21, 2013, 1:09 am

        Hello Doug,

        With that said about your Skype…how is the internet there, price, ect? I am in the beginning stages of retirement and considering Ecuador. However, I will NEED internet access to continue my education online.

        Thanks in advance.

        • Bryan Haines Feb 21, 2013, 6:58 am

          The internet is fine in the cities. We work online and seldom have troubles. Once you get out of the cities, the internet can be less reliable.

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