“Cuenca’s much different from what people think,” says Stefani Owen, “They think you’re in the Amazon jungle in a little hut. It’s actually a modern city with a lot to offer.” Stefani, 64, and her husband Bob, 77, moved to Cuenca five-and-a-half years ago.
Nearly four years ago, my husband, Brian, and I decided to pull the pin and move from Ontario, Canada to Cotacachi, Ecuador. This is not all that uncommon…except that we were 45 and 33 years old respectively. The main question that people asked me was “What are you going to do with yourself; you’re too young to retire?”
When you live in another country, every once in a while something happens that makes you stop for a moment and realize how much you have been changed by the experience. My wife, Rita, and I have been living in Salinas on the sunny southern coast of Ecuador for three years now, so this has happened to us a few times before.
My wife, Heidi, and I moved to Ecuador from Utah just over a year ago. We wanted to swap the regular routine back home for a more stimulating, affordable lifestyle. We first lived in the beach community of Bahia de Caraquez but moved to the temperate mountain city of Cuenca last April.
Back in the day, my wife, Suzan, and I enjoyed scuba diving. It’s one of those sports that can take you to some extraordinary places, and we spent some idyllic days and nights under water in quite a few of them. We were mainly recreational divers.
Ever since I retired and moved to Cuenca nearly three years ago, the low cost of food and groceries continues to be a favorite topic in the expat community here. But, this lazy cook wanted to know for sure—can a shopper really get fresh foods and also save dough?
When I talk to my friends in the U.S. about my life in the Orosi Valley, they say I live a perpetual vacation. That’s pretty much true. My life here couldn’t be more perfect. This area offers me all the things I was looking for in an overseas retirement—a laidback lifestyle, a low cost of living, and an abundance of things to do and places to explore.
The city of Loja (also known as “The Music and Cultural Capital of Ecuador”), in the southern Andes of Ecuador has long been overlooked as an overseas retirement destination. Slowly that is changing, as more people are discovering this interesting and friendly town.
Five years ago, I was at a crossroads. My parental caregiving came to a natural conclusion, I was in my early 50s and, by this time in life, I knew the importance of “living while you are living.” Back then I was working long hours as a healthcare executive. It was meaningful work, but another life was calling to me.
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.