Every Day is a Vacation Day in Ecuador

Every morning, my husband, Mark, and I wake up to a view of Cuenca’s Old-World charm…majestic cathedral spires rising before us. Then we take our morning walk along the Yununcay River where cultured gardens line the bike and walking trails.

Ecuador reminds me of Italy. We spent time in Europe as a young couple and planned to retire to Italy…until we discovered Ecuador. We fell in love with the cobblestone streets, terracotta-roofed brick buildings, colonial churches, plazas, outdoor cafés, and wrought-iron balconies draped in bougainvillea.

Mark and I retired to Cuenca, Ecuador, four years ago on a pensioner’s visa which we live on. Our monthly budget is $1,317 a month—my husband’s pension from UPS—but we earn that much or more on our new incomes.

Mark teaches English as a Second Language and I’m a writer. My little e-book on Cuenca that I wrote four years ago—makes up a sizable portion of my income.

It’s how we were able to go to the Galapagos (which is the subject of my next e-book), take yearly trips back to the States to see our kids, and tour the Ecuadorian coastline, including strolling along the white sands of Los Frailes—one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador.

In fact, we just returned from a trip to celebrate our 39th anniversary at Hosteria Santa Barbara in the charming town of Gualaceo.

For the cost of a candy bar (60 cents), we traveled by bus to our favorite getaway and stepped into another world…palm-tree lined entrances, enchanting gardens, magnificent pools, and a luxurious spa area to pamper us.
We dined on the rooftop terrace by candlelight and enjoyed the twinkling lights of the city with a three-course meal and complimentary dessert—tiramisu!

Without a doubt, though, our favorite spot is Cuenca—our hometown. I love taking a bike ride down the Tomebamba River…having a cappuccino at a sidewalk café…or listening to the Symphony Orchestra of Cuenca (for free!).

We purchased a condo here last year. Its views are spectacular and every room has a different vista…the Andes Mountains, Cuenca’s historic district, El Turi (the white “chapel” on the hill overlooking the city), and the Yununcay River.

But our most treasured views are the dazzling sunsets over the Cajas Mountains and the pink-lined sunrises from our bedroom window. Even when we go away on vacation, we can’t wait to return to our favorite spot—home!

As soon as we arrive home, I open the door to our condo and Cuenca’s graceful skyline greets me with its shining church domes and billowy white clouds.

And Mark sometimes says, “Welcome home from your vacation.”

It’s a joke we have with one another because in Ecuador, for us, every day is a vacation day!

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