It's difficult to imagine having a better life than the one I am enjoying now. I'm living in the colonial city of Cuenca, high in Ecuador's breathtaking Andes, and earning an income as a freelance photographer.
In the last four years, I've traveled to many parts of this beautiful country and taken some amazing photos. I've photographed mighty whales, off the shore of the seaside village of Puerto Lopez, breaching the water.
When it comes to enjoying life, nothing beats living in Cuenca, Ecuador, pursuing my lifetime passion, photography. I first visited Cuenca on vacation six years ago and quickly decided that it would be the perfect place to live. A year later I returned to live here full time and have been loving it ever since. The cool, mountain weather, the food, and the cost of living are all great—but the thing I love the most about Cuenca is the people. Cuencanos are the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met.
“What’s a typical day in Cuenca like for you, now that you’ve retired?” It’s a question I often get asked. All I can say is that just about every respect of retired life in Cuenca is better than I could have imagined. Needless to say, I get up when I feel like it. Morning always begins with a cup of coffee on my terrace, enjoying the view of Cuenca’s el centro and the array of colors of all my plants. I have no idea what kind most of them are, with the exception of my orange and lemon trees, but they look great. I know absolutely nothing about horticulture, but have managed to keep all of them alive with a little water and occasional fertilizer. And I’ve found that my favorite plant nursery in Cuenca is up the mountain in the Racar area, where plants can be bought for $1 or $1.50 each.
The tourist board promotional slogan “All You Need is Ecuador” could not be more appropriate. Although my life in Cuenca is wonderful, it is always nice to be able to take a trip to other areas of this diverse country. One place that should not be missed is Mindo. About two hours north of Quito, it hosts an amazing assortment of birds, butterflies, waterfalls, and activities like zip-lining.
Although living in Cuenca, Ecuador, seems like a year-round vacation for me, it’s still nice to get away for a few days to explore other parts of this beautiful country. And one spot that’s well worth a visit is the small coastal village of Puerto López.
I love my life in Cuenca, Ecuador. I start the morning with a coffee on my terrace, watching the hummingbirds flit around the feeders that I put up and just enjoying the view. A walk to el centro takes me to the little tienda (store) that sells a pound of Loja coffee (really delicious) for only $3.50, then lunch with friends, and maybe a walk along the Rio Tomebamba or an ice cream cone in the picturesque Parque Calderon.