We were young retirees, aged 55, when my husband, Mark, and I retired to Ecuador in 2010. At the time, there were just a handful of expats roaming the cobblestone streets of Cuenca. Gringo sightings were rare and we’d point and whisper, “look, there’s an expat.”
Cuenca is known as the land of “eternal springtime” with moderate temperatures year-round (highs in the 70s F and lows in the 50s F), but for my husband, Mark, and me it’s the land of “eternal vacation.” When you go on vacation, you leave your stress and the daily grind behind for a place where you don’t have to be reminded of those things.
I don’t wear a watch. I have one (of course), but I don’t need it. In fact, I haven’t worn a watch in six years because our retirement in the Ecuadorian mountain city of Cuenca has given me back the gift of time. My husband, Mark, and I are so much more laidback; we’ve forgotten what stress feels like. The only time we feel it is when we go back to the States to visit family and friends.
It's not unusual for expats to describe living in the Andes of Ecuador as "Little Switzerland," with its verdant mountains, deep river valleys, and charming towns with church spires dotting the countryside.
One of the greatest things about life in Cuenca, Ecuador is that my husband Mark and I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses anymore. You know…that imaginary couple that you thought you had to keep pace with in terms of jobs, houses, cars, and stuff.
Imagine waking up in your mountaintop paradise to the fog rolling in from the ocean, watching the sun rise and set with all the vibrant colors of the rainbow, and eagles circling the cobalt blue sky above you, while you enjoy the serenity of your new home.
I admit it. I'm a country girl at heart and sometimes the call of the green acres of the countryside draws me to the outskirts of Cuenca, Ecuador. I can enjoy the scent of pine trees; the sapphire-blue skies that melt into darkness with the sun setting over the Andes Mountains, and gaze up at the stars.
After six years of living in Cuenca, Ecuador, I’ve realized that I’m starting to take the “little” things here for granted. But each time my husband, Mark, and I return from the States after visiting our kids, it’s a crash course in never taking for granted what we have in Ecuador.
When Steve and Stacey Fenton told their family and friends that they were retiring to Cuenca, Ecuador, the reaction was almost unanimously positive. “They want us to have a fun-filled retirement while we’re still young and in good health,” Steve says.
Recently, we had some friends visit us in our home in Cuenca, Ecuador. They only had one day before leaving for Lima, Peru, so we did our best to show them around our beautiful hometown in less than 24 hours.