The Climate in Cuenca, Ecuador


Our daughter in Hoboken, New Jersey recently endured Hurricane Sandy along with her husband and newborn baby. Our son in North Carolina has been busy raking leaves and getting out the overcoats in preparation for the frigid weather ahead.

My wife Cynthia and I, we’re weather junkies, who, like Baby Bear in the Goldilocks story, want our weather “just right”…not too hot and not too cold…

The thermometer was already getting close to 100 degrees when we left Las Vegas for Cuenca, Ecuador two-and-a-half years ago. We’d had enough of that scorching heat—as well as the humidity and chilly winters in the southeast where we previously lived…

Besides the attractive cost of living, the mild climate of Cuenca was one of our major reasons for moving here. We wake up every day with no threat of natural disasters or thoughts about wildly fluctuating temperatures. The temperatures in Cuenca range from average highs of 70 F to lows of 50 F. Relative humidity is usually around 75%. Rainfall amounts to 2 ½ inches per month.  Please remember these are averages. Within any given period of time a lot of something can be happening—clouds and coolness or sun and warmth.

When you’re home in front of your computer dreaming of escaping to an ideal climate you don’t conjure up images of shoveling snow or sweating bullets. No, you picture “perfection.” You tune out getting soaked in a downpour and getting bit by mosquitoes.

In truth the spring season from beginning to end often manifests all sorts of volatile, unpredictable weather patterns. And so does Cuenca. On a daily basis. A joke among locals is, “If you don’t like Cuenca’s weather, just wait an hour.”

What’s a “typical” day like? You may wake up to overcast skies and chilly temps. By mid-morning the sky is partly cloudy and sunny.

Out of nowhere a storm blows in. An hour later it’s sunny again. In late afternoon you’re cold.  At night the air is noticeably warmer and you stroll around downtown in a light sweater.

Homes in Cuenca have no heating or air conditioning. This is great news regarding your utility bills. But when, as sometimes happens, the skies remain overcast for days, your residence never gets a chance to warm up. A couple of months ago the temperature inside our apartment ranged from 64 F to 58 F for two weeks. That’s pretty darned chilly.

We were uncomfortable, to say the least, as we moved a portable heater from room to room and cranked up our heated mattress pad each night before retiring. By donning extra layers we got through it, and yesterday I was sunbathing in a lounge chair outside.

I met an expat couple last week who were scouting Cuenca as a possible retirement destination. It was a somewhat chilly evening and the guy said, “I don’t think this place is right for me. I need somewhere that’s warmer.”

I replied, “You can be warmer living an hour from here. But you’ll have to contend with humidity and bugs. I prefer living in Cuenca and putting on a sweater when I need to.”

“Huh, I hadn’t thought of that,” he admitted.

So, yes, Cuenca does in fact enjoy year-round spring-like weather. And, no, every day is not “perfect.” But if you move here you won’t find yourself dripping with perspiration, and you can leave the snowshoes at home.

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