Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Living: You’ll Be Shocked!

We’re constantly surprised by the Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Living because it’s so much more affordable than the USA. We often have reverse sticker shock!

Olón Ecuador Condo Tour & Cost + Drama on the Beach w/ Mini (our new drone)

Amelia and JP VLOG 189: The monthly rent for a 12 month lease for our condo in Olón Ecuador is $700. That includes tap water and Internet access. We’re saving about $200/month compared to our house in Cuenca, which was $800/month but didn’t include water ($20/mo) or Internet ($56/mo).

This is also our first video featuring Mini, my new drone. We’re very happy with her so far, despite the attention she garnered from a friendly beach dog who wanted to use her as a chew toy!

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Cuenca vs the Ecuador Coast Comparison: Cost of Living, Conveniences, Climate, Culture & Critters

Amelia and JP VLOG 174: We just got back to Cuenca after spending another 2 weeks on the coast, this time in the Montañita/Olón/La Entrada area. A month ago, we spent a couple weeks in Salinas and we’ve been living in Cuenca for over 2 years so we have a pretty good feel for the differences between these 3 popular expat destinations in Ecuador.

In this video, we compare the cost of living, conveniences, climate, critters and culture between Cuenca, Salinas and the Montañita area.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Cuenca Ecuador Rental House + Monthly Living Expenses 2019 (Episode 63)

Here’s our Cuenca Ecuador Rental House Tour. Plus, we share our cost of living and monthly living expenses in spring of 2019 as two American expats.

For our 2019 updated cost of living, visit Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Living 2019: Updated with Real Prices (Episode 118).

Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Mercado Produce

When we lived back in Denver, Colorado, food was one of our largest monthly expenses. Here in Cuenca Ecuador, we spend far less on food, for far higher quality. The fruits and veggies may be ugly, but they taste like they’re supposed to; like when I was a kid growing up in a small Kansas farmtown. They’re sweet, juicy and flavorful. And cheap!

This organic produce haul from Mercado 27 de Febrero cost us $15. Here’s what we bought: bananas, payapas, red cabbage, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, yukka, yellow sweet potatoes, onions, green beans, limes, apples, peaches and beets.

Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Living Food

This haul would have easily cost us over $100 in the states. The papayas alone probably cost more than $15 back in Denver. We never bought them because they were so expensive.

We eat a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet, so we buy LOTS of produce at the mercado on Thursdays. Then we fill in the gaps with our local neighborhood fruit lady. We also chop up veggies and freeze them for quick oil-free stir fries on busy nights.

Cuenca Ecuador Cost of Living – Monthly Living Expenses

Here are our Cuenca Ecuador cost of living expenses. This does not include medical expenses, travel costs or recreational activities. Those vary a lot so we opted to leave them out. We’ll do a video about our medical/dental experiences and costs in the future.

See More: The Best Dentist in Cuenca Ecuador – Dr. Grace Ordoñez (Episode 73)

Itemized Expenses


Per Month


$          800


$            80


$            10


$          120


$          200

Health Insurance

$          156


$            56


$            17


$            20


$       1,459


Per Month


$          150


$            11

Massage ($30/massage)

$          150

Physical Therapy

$            80

Amelia’s Hair (Cut – $5; Cut & Color – $40)

$            50


$            40

Belly Dancing

$            40


$            90


$            40


$          651

Grand Total

$       2,110

Startup Costs

In addition to these monthly expenses, we spent about $700 on startup costs for the house. Even though it was fully furnished, it lacked a few essential things such as sheets, blankets, a nicer set of pots, a pressure cooker, coat rack, knives, heaters, etc.

Reasonable Housing Costs

Olesya rents a room in an Ecuadorian family’s house for $110/month. You can find fully furnished apartments and houses for rent in the $350+ range depending on the size. Unfurnished apartments and houses start as low as $250/month. We looked at a really nice, fully furnished 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment that was $450/mo and included all utilities.

IESS Public Health Insurance

IESS is Ecuador’s single-payer social security and healthcare system. Once you have your temporary or permanent residency visa and your cedula, you can sign up for this health insurance. It’s much cheaper than private insurance (for now), but you have to go to the IESS hospital and doctors. Since it’s their version of social security, it also means you’ll get some of it back when you retire if you’re still living here.

The IESS health insurance is currently $77/month for our married friends who are in their 60’s. We opted for a more expensive private insurance plan through Confiamed because of my health issues and because we wanted to be able to go to the doctors and hospitals we choose. Quality and convenience cost more, but that’s important to us.

If you would like us to connect you with our insurance agent, please drop us a note and we’ll send an email introduction.

Cuenca Ecuador Quality of Life

We live a very comfortable middle class, low-stress life here in Cuenca Ecuador. As you can see, it’s very easy for a couple to live on less than $2,000 per month here. A single person could easily live here on less than $1,200 per month. It really depends on the type of home you want and the discretionary expenses that are important to you.

See More: Cuenca Pharmacy Tour + Paying Bills

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!