Modern infrastructure, good culture, inexpensive health care attract foreigners to Cuenca; sense of optimism is also a draw

By David Kaufman In recent years Cuenca, Ecuador’s third-largest city, has quietly emerged as one of the most popular expatriate communities in the world. Set on the banks of the Tomebamba River in Ecuador’s southern highlands, the city is a 45-minute flight from the capital, Quito. Cuenca’s moderate costs and mild temperatures have made it […]

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Spanish population study predicts Cuenca, Quito and Manta will be the most popular destinations in Ecuador for future expats

A demographic study of global migration patterns by the University of Barcelona predicts that Cuenca, Quito and Manta will rank one, two and three as the most popular Ecuadorian destinations for foreigners over the next 25 years. The report, released in February, says that smaller communities expected to attract foreign residents in Ecuador are Vilcabamba, […]

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Claims for centenarians may be ‘grossly exaggerated’ but Vilcabamba retains its charm

By Angela Rhodes I’ve barely stepped off the plane when the stories about the Valle de la Longevidad — Valley of Longevity — start. My cabdriver asks what I’m doing in this small town in southern Ecuador, and I tell him I’m in search of the legendary old people of Vilcabamba. The cabbie brightens. “My […]

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Growers in Uruguay get go-head for marijuana mass production

The Uruguayan government announced on Thursday, August 20, that local companies looking to begin mass producing cannabis in the country will finally be given the greenlight on September 3. Eleven companies are still in the race to secure a state license to produce marijuana and supply it to pharmacies, which will then sell the drug […]

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The guitar makers of San Bartolomé, east of Cuenca, maintain a generations-old musical tradition in the high Andes

By David Morrill No one knows exactly when the guitar-making tradition began in San Bartolomé, a picturesque village 20 miles east of Cuenca. Everyone agrees, however, that it dates to the Spanish colonial era at least 200 years ago, and many of the area’s guitar makers can trace their own family businesses back 100 years […]

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At 70, Ecuador’s last ‘ice man’ continues to ply his trade on Mount Chimborazo; Some say the ice has healing powers

At an age when many in the West are enjoying retirement, a 70-year-old in Ecuador spends hours trekking up a mountain in the Andes to cut away ice to sell. He is the last practitioner of a dying trade. It takes Baltazar Ushca five hours to walk to the ice mine on Mount Chimborazo, the […]

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In a city of many bakeries, Maria’s Alemania builds a reputation by introducing Cuencanos to German tastes

On a recent morning, a dozen customers crowded the counter at Maria’s Alemania Bakery and Restaurant on the corner of Hermano Miguel and Mariscal Sucre in Cuenca, waiting to place their orders. Among the group, which included Cuencanos, North American expats and two Argentinian backpackers, were a German couple, Karl and Heidi Holtz. “We just […]

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RAW IN CUENCALooking for raw, organic products in Cuenca? Tienda Nectar on Benigno Malo offers a wide selection

By Susan Schenck A full sized store with products that are about 90% organic and 93% raw in Cuenca? In the three years I’ve been here, I never thought I’d see it! No longer does one have to travel to the Juice Factory in VilcaBamba now that Cuenca now has Tienda Nectar, located at Benigno Malo […]

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Cuenca and Azuay Province popular with Ecuadorians returning from the U.S. to build their dream homes

By Gerard Alvarez Patricio Matute is building his dream house in the Ecuadorian Andean mountains near Cuenca, thanks in part to the 10 years he spent working at a boat canvas factory in Ronkonkoma, New York. The two-story, Swiss-chalet-style house will have a swimming pool, a soccer field and an outdoor kitchen sheltered by a […]

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