[Pre-Africa About Budget Traveler] Two budget conscious retirees move (temporarily) to Cuenca, Ecuador in February, 2009. Spending as little as possible, we moved into a couple $350/mo. apartments, at almuerzos as our main meal each day (90 cents to $3.80) and cooked soup for dinner.
We traveled a bit but currently estimate that $1500/month for two people could do ya. Whether you would want to move to Ecuador depends upon many things. One of which, I’d say, would be a small, but passable ability in Spanish. Another would be an openess to new experiences.
We spent our first couple weeks just hanging around, after spending the first 3 days looking for something, anything to live in. We finally hired an Ecuadorian for half a day and $25 or so to take us around to various apartments.
That worked as would just wandering the streets in a neighborhood where you might want to live. Another would be to ask your hotel to recommend someone who’d like to beat the bushes for you to find a place. There’s no central clearing house for real estate. Finaly recommendation would be to get a copy of El Mercurio and check out the deparamentos amoblados (assuming you want furnished). I told you passable Spanish would be a benefit b/c you’ll then have to call someone by phone and try to get info.
Most flats are not. The last choice, if you’ve got tons of money (and why be reading this) would be to go to one of the few web rental places like Cuenca Real Estate and pay through the nose.
Speaking of phones: a cell phone is really handy if you’re looking for a place or just trying to get established. My recommendation there would be to go to eBay and buy for $25 or so an 850/1900 Megaherz phone and bring it with you. They’re considerably more here. You’re US cell won’t work here unless it’s some kind of snazzy multi-band unit. I saw one at Gringo night at Zoe’s and was properly impressed but budget expater’s won’t be into Blackberry level phones.
Our PC was/is one of the most useful pieces of equipment we’ve brought with us and finding a place with high-speed internet is not that difficult. Getting internet after you’ve rented a place w/o may be more of a challenge.
I’m happy to answer questions and if you’re industrious, you can send me and email at firstname.lastname@example.org