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—blanketing the night sky—while I cozy up in front of a crackling fireplace.
This serene country paradise is only 20 minutes from Cuenca—a bustling colonial city with a population of 630,000 and home to roughly 8,000 expats. Cuenca’s cobblestone streets, eclectic mix of international restaurants, and majestic churches combine to make it one of the most popular expat destinations in the world. With average temperatures in the low 50s F and high 70s F all year long, it’s become known as the land of “eternal springtime.”
You’ll find so much good-value real estate in Cuenca that it’s not unusual for families to own two homes (one in the city and one in the country). What if I told you that you could have a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home for as little as $180,000? This country home also comes with a covered terrace, fireplace, and outdoor barbecue area for entertaining guests.
You’ll bask in the splendor of your own “green acres” outside the city with a pond, bougainvillea-laced trellises, and a fruit orchard. This luxurious quinta (country house) is in the Jacarin Solano sector—12 miles from Cuenca. You’re close enough to the city for a night out on the town, while enjoying the simple pleasures of country living.
If you’re leaning more toward luxury with a country feel, then San Joaquin is worth your consideration. It’s the up and coming “Beverly Hills” of Cuenca and one of the best residential areas outside of the city. For a casa rustica (rustic house) with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage, the negotiable price tag is $193,000.
Don’t let the word “rustic” fool you, though. This modern two-story home comes with vaulted ceilings with exposed wooden beams, and expansive windows with panoramic views of the Cajas Mountains.
Living the country life in San Joaquin with its solitude and tranquility has some added perks as well. The Cuenca Golf and Tennis Club nearby boasts a nine-hole golf course, aquatic center, clay tennis courts, racquetball courts, and a variety of restaurants. Plots of land in this area sell for as little as $80,000 up to a million dollars for a “mansion” in the woods.
Those who bought land twenty years ago in San Joaquin are now reaping the benefits—but it’s still not too late for you. If you’re seeking an investment opportunity, fully furnished one-bedroom suites rent for $300…up to $1,200 a month for a five-bedroom house. Investors and retired expats are flocking to this area for its high resale value and amazingly low property taxes (roughly $126 to $200 per year—depending on the municipal value of the property).
Like the theme song from the beloved TV sitcom Green Acres says: “Land spreading out, so far and wide…keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.” Cuenca has a little bit of everything within its large radius to make country living affordable, allowing you the opportunity to savor the benefits of this unique colonial treasure.
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