Wander along the cobblestone streets and through the manicured parks in Cuenca, Ecuador and it’s easy to imagine yourself thriving in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A sea of red-tiled roofs pops against the blue sky. Ornate wrought-iron balconies cling to the colorful flat facades. Cuenca is one of the prettiest and liveliest cities in South America, known for its architecture, vibrant markets, and high-spirited festivals.
The weather is comfortable all year with an average high temperature of 69 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 49. Fruits and vegetables grow year-round, and so the food is fresh and you eat well in the many restaurants. Cuenca is a vibrant place with a young, cultured, and highly educated population.
But the best part about this walk-able city is that you can own a home for less than $100,000. For example…
Near the city’s colonial heart, you can buy a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,100-square-foot apartment for $55,000.
Less than two miles away, a modern red-bricked, three-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium on the hillside, below the iconic church of Turi, lists for $97,000. This includes 1,600 square feet of land overlooking the city, where you can see the spires of Cuenca’s 52 historical churches.
The new developments on the city’s west side, located minutes from the walkways of the Tomebamba River, offer large (multistory) condominium living. Options here range from a 900-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment on the 14th floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows and jaw-dropping views of the mountains, for $56,000…to a 3,300-square-foot, two-level luxury penthouse, with 360-degree views, hardwood flooring, impressive tile work, three bedrooms, and four bathrooms for $210,000. Also included is a maid’s suite, 24-hour security, underground parking, and 110 square feet of secure storage.
If country living is more your thing, there are 2- to 6-acre “quintas” available for $45,000 to $65,000 in the valleys surrounding Cuenca. Heading east a few miles, you will drop into the lower altitudes of neighboring Gualaceo.