Imagine a mid-sized city set in the midst of protective Andean peaks. Within the city itself, centuries-old structures from the Republican era still play home to religious ceremonies, banks, restaurants, and families.
"I love walking along the Tomebamba River," says Janda Grove. "I think it's one of the nicest things about Cuenca." Boasting romantic 18th-century architecture, and a rich artistic and cultural tradition, the colonial city of Cuenca is set high in Ecuador's Andes Mountains.
Recent years have seen the small South American country of Ecuador attract many foreigners to its borders. The low cost of living, diverse geography, and ease of immigration are just a few factors that make this equatorial nation appealing.
By now it’s no secret that Ecuador is a very affordable place to live. In fact, my life in the little mountain town of Cotacachi is so inexpensive that I can support my family of four as a part-time freelancer.
Cuenca, Ecuador has caught the eye of many retirees. Thanks to coverage by outlets like NBC, Forbes, and USA Today, the city is gaining more international attention. And here at International Living, Cuenca gets frequent exposure due to our belief that it’s one of the world’s best destinations for living abroad.
As I write this from my home in Cotacachi, Ecuador, I’m sipping a smoothie made from locally grown pineapple, banana, and strawberries. The sun is making its way over the top of Imbabura Volcano, promising another beautiful day.
My husband and I own a spacious three-bedroom home just outside of a pretty mountain town. We also have a 75-acre farm with a small house and five horses. We don’t owe anyone a penny and I support all of our family’s needs by working just part-time.
Ecuador’s coast draws people from around the world who are looking to enjoy sun-drenched beaches, crystal-blue waters, and wildlife—including humpback whales during their seasonal migration.
Summer is such a great time of year. The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and the barbecue grills are working overtime. It’s one of the most anticipated seasons for most folks, and who can blame them?
''You could hike every day here and see something different,'' says Kristin Simmon-Lowman of her new home in the highlands of Ecuador. ''My friends and I just hiked Fuya Fuya (an inactive volcano), which was wonderful. ''Now we're working up to doing Mount Imbabura (one of Ecuador's most iconic mountains), so we've been getting a training system going to get in shape for that. There are waterfalls all around and a lot of lower foothills.''