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

Non-Discretionary

Per Month

Rent

$          800

Utilities

$            80

Propane

$            10

Mercado

$          120

Supermaxi

$          200

Health Insurance

$          156

Internet

$            56

Claro

$            17

Transportation

$            20

Total

$       1,459

Discretionary

Per Month

Restaurants

$          150

Netflix

$            11

Massage ($30/massage)

$          150

Physical Therapy

$            80

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

$            50

Yoga

$            40

Belly Dancing

$            40

Baños

$            90

Housekeeper

$            40

Total

$          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!

6 replies
  1. Mick
    Mick says:

    You guys are lovely! You seem so kind and warm.
    My wife and I are considering a move to Cuenca (we have 2 young kids) and wanted to trial for 5-7 months from this september. Not sure what area to move to (our oldest boy is just in pre-school, but 6 months away from it at 4 years old is no big deal). Any recommendations on neighbourhoods or rental agencies? budget is probably similar to yours 7/800. We’d need good internet too.

    Keep up the good work. You guys have a real charm

    Mick

    Reply
    • JP
      JP says:

      Be sure to check the Ecuador visa rules. They used to only offer a 3 month tourist visa with a 3 month extension that required an application, but they may have changed that to a 6 month tourist visa. You won’t be able to stay longer than 6 months without either being illegal or getting your 21 month temporary resident visa. One of our next videos is about Ecuador’s visas.

      Reply
  2. Hector
    Hector says:

    Hello Guys!

    I have been watching your videos for a while and am setting up a plan to move to Cuenca in 12-18 months time. I am a single 32 year old male and want to know how you think one would fare off solo-being a younger expat. Any advise would be great that you could provide.

    Reply
    • JP
      JP says:

      Hola Hector! Glad you’re enjoying our videos!

      We know a few solo single younger expats here in Cuenca and they seem to be really enjoying life. You do need to be careful on the dating scene, however. We’ve heard that some women try to take advantage of male expats financially. That’s an offline conversation, though. I don’t want to share all the details from the stories I’ve heard online 😬

      Reply

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