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Ecuador and Cuenca again named world’s top retirement destinations; some say the ‘live cheap’ distinction attracts the wrong kind of expats

Ecuador finds itself in a familiar position in International Living’s 2015 Global Retirement Index, released on Friday. The index rates it the world’s number one retirement country for the fourth time in seven years. International Living’s index rates countries based on eight categories including cost of living, real estate and rental  prices, climate, infrastructure, health […]

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Government to tighten rules for senior VAT tax refunds, says refunds are intended for necessities, not luxuries

Saying that the system that provides tax refunds to residents over the age of 65 has been abused, the government said Wednesday it plans to reduce the number of  deductible items. The new rules will only affect value added tax (VAT) refunds, not those for real estate, utilities and transportation. Ximena Amoroso, director of Ecuador’s […]

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Expats could benefit from proposed driver’s license changes; bill would also eliminate mandatory jail time for some speeders

National Assemblyman Gabriel Rivera has introduced legislation that would streamline the process for obtaining an Ecuadorian driver’s license, a move that could save expats time and money. Current rules require all applicants applying for a license to take 33 hours of driving lessons. The lessons are administered by private companies that provide the cars. Rivera’s […]

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The Special Foods of Cuenca Table of Contents

The Special Foods of Cuenca  10 Alfajores  11 Aguardiente  11 Ají  12 Almuerzo  12   Babaco  14   Café  14 Canelazo  15 Ceviche  15 Chaulafán  16 Chicha  16 Chifles  17 Chirimoya  17 Choclo  18 Churrasco  18 Cuy  19   Encebollado  20 Empanada  21 Espumilla  21   Fanesca  22   Granadilla  22 Granizado  23 Guanábana  23 […]

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Life In Cuenca First Edition Table of Contents

Introduction  1 Who Are We to Write This Book? 3   PART ONE: ATTRACTIONS AND DOWNSIDES CHAPTER ONE: Why Expatriate To Cuenca? Why Expatriate?  6 Why Cuenca?  6 The Rush to Cuenca  8 The Nature of Duality  11   CHAPTER TWO: Climate Why Can’t I Get a Reliable Weather Forecast?  14 Here Comes the Sun?  […]

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Learning Spanish Table of Contents

Introduction  1 A Note About Cuenca  2 How This Book Is Organized  3 Why We Wrote This Book  4 Similarities and Differences with English  8   Part One: Learning at Home Chapter One: What To Expect from the Spanish Adventure Acquiring a First Language: How We Learn  10 Learning a Second Language at an Older Age […]

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Cuenca’s Top Ten Attractions Table of Contents

Introduction  7 People Watching in Parque Calderón 9 Abdón Calderón, Revolutionary Hero  9 The Park Scene 10 Around the Park 11 Shopping at the Mercados  15 The Mercados of El Centro 15 Feria Libre 17 The Coopera 19 Dining Out  21 Almuerzos  21 North American  23 Chinese  24 Ecuadorian  24 Gourmet  25 Indian  25 Italian […]

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Banking in Ecuador just got more difficult for U.S. expats as FATCA regulations kick in with local banks; banks say ‘don’t blame us’

Ecuador banks are scrambling to establish rules for U.S. citizen account holders to comply with new IRS reporting requirements. The new rules will affect existing accounts as well as new accounts belonging to U.S. citizens. According to spokespersons at Banco Pinchincha and Banco Internacional, the rules are the result of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax […]

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The Survey of Current Expats on Spanish

This survey was completed by 352 people. Of the 318 who answered the first question, 55% took Spanish in school, with 42% taking French, and a surprising 23% studying Latin, while 20% took German. From the comments, respondents also studied Russian, Portuguese, Swahili, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Javanese, Afrikaans, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, Greek, […]

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2013 cost of living survey for Cuenca expats

By Deke Castleman This survey, conducted in January 2013, received 282 responses: 240 from Cuenca and 42 from miscellaneous places around the country (Vilcabamba, the coast, Quito, Loja, Cotacachi/Otavalo, etc.). Just over 200 respondents rented (73%); the rest (27%) owned. Just under half of the renters paid $300-$499 per month. Another 15% shelled out $500-$599; […]

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Expats are affected by new banking rules that make it harder for immigrants to transfer money out of the U.S.

By Michael Corkery As government regulators crack down on the financing of terrorists and drug traffickers, many big banks are abandoning the business of transferring money from the United States to other countries, moves that are expected to reverse years of declines in the cost of immigrants sending money home to their families. Some financial […]

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