Cuenca, Ecuador is a place of old world beauty and tops the list of 2009 World’s Top Retirement Havens listed by International Living. Cuenca is one of most beautiful and best-preserved colonial cities yet the price to live there is wallet-friendly: rent a beautiful condo for $300 a month or buy a large apartment for $43,000.
Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador by population, which totals 467,000. It is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 8200 feet above sea level. The center of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its historical buildings.
Cuenca has a mild climate year-round. The average daily temperature is around 58 degrees Fahrenheit. The dry season falls between June and December. The rainy season, which is characterized by bright sunny mornings and afternoon showers, falls between January and May.
Health care is a big concern for people who are retiring. Relocating to Cuenca, Ecuador will not make health care a retirement worry. According to an article in International Living, a reader who lives in Cuenca relayed an experience a visiting friend had when in Cuenca. The friend had flu-like symptoms and waiting only 15 minutes to see an English-speaking doctor. The visit cost just $25 and the medication $8. That evening, the doctor called to check if she was doing alright. Great service that is unheard of in the United States.
Cuenca is a center for some of Ecuador’s most beautiful crafts. The area is known for jewelry making, weaving, leather goods, furniture, ceramics, Panama hat making, and more.
Retiring to beautiful Cuenca, Ecuador won't break your budget. Here is a sample monthly budget created by International Living:
Housing (rental of a luxury two-bedroom apartment): $500
Utilities (including, phone, Internet, and cable television): $150
Maid (twice a week): $60
Maintenance and fuel for one car: $140
Entertainment (two people dining out eight times a month at top restaurants or other entertainment): $200
Health care (four $30 visits to a doctor per year for two people, divided by 12 months): $20
Total per month: $1,415
Total per year: $16,980
Cuenca, Ecuador is an affordable place to live and a beautiful place to retire. Retiring to Cuenca would be like a five star vacation that fits an often tight retirement budget.
source: Wikipedia, International Living