Cost of Living in Cuenca

Summary of cost of living in Cuenca, Ecuador:

Edit Range
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 3.25 $ 2.50-5.00
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 30.00 $ 20.00-45.00
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 7.50 $ 6.00-10.00
Domestic Beer (1 pint draught) 3.00 $ 1.50-4.00
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle) 4.50 $ 3.00-5.50
Cappuccino (regular) 2.38 $ 1.25-3.50
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle) 1.06 $ 0.69-2.00
Water (12 oz small bottle) 0.67 $ 0.50-1.50
Milk (regular), (1 gallon) 4.25 $ 3.41-5.68
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb) 1.37 $ 0.45-2.27
Rice (white), (1 lb) 0.63 $ 0.45-1.00
Eggs (regular) (12) 1.93 $ 1.25-3.00
Local Cheese (1 lb) 2.36 $ 1.36-4.54
Chicken Fillets (1 lb) 3.05 $ 1.36-4.00
Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 2.54 $ 1.59-3.18
Apples (1 lb) 0.84 $ 0.45-2.00
Banana (1 lb) 0.51 $ 0.34-1.36
Oranges (1 lb) 0.66 $ 0.23-1.81
Tomato (1 lb) 0.51 $ 0.34-0.91
Potato (1 lb) 0.53 $ 0.23-1.36
Onion (1 lb) 0.49 $ 0.45-0.55
Lettuce (1 head) 0.50 $ 0.25-0.75
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 1.05 $ 0.60-1.50
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 9.50 $ 5.00-15.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 1.79 $ 1.50-2.50
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle) 3.14 $ 2.00-4.00
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) 6.00 $ 5.25-6.00
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.35 $ 0.30-0.35
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 26.00 $ 25.00-30.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 0.65 $ 0.65-1.50
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 1.80 $ 1.21-3.22
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 15.00 $ 10.00-15.00
Gasoline (1 gallon) 2.39 $ 2.38-3.00
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 30,000.00 $ 30,000.00-30,000.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) 29,000.00 $ 25,000.00-30,000.00
Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment 37.76 $ 25.00-55.00
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data 13.45 $ 10.00-20.00
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 32.00 $ 25.00-48.00
Sports And Leisure
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 28.62 $ 20.00-40.00
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 9.33 $ 4.50-12.00
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 6.00 $ 5.00-8.00
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child 234.17 $ 180.00-310.00
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child 5,650.00 $ 3,000.00-7,700.00
Clothing And Shoes
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 59.29 $ 25.00-80.00
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...) 54.17 $ 45.00-60.00
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) 111.67 $ 70.00-150.00
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes 70.00 $ 60.00-80.00
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 357.69 $ 250.00-500.00
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 309.44 $ 200.00-450.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 662.50 $ 500.00-800.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 540.00 $ 350.00-725.00
Buy Apartment Price
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment in City Centre 120.77 $ 92.90-144.00
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 122.32 $ 106.84-139.35
Salaries And Financing
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 486.43 $
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate 11.32 10.00-12.00

Prices in Cuenca

This city had 474 entries in the past 12 months by 42 different contributors.
Last update: July 2024
Sources and References
Distribution of Expenses Using Our Statistical Model:
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5 Comments so far
Denise on Jan 12, 2024:
A lot of prices for Cuenca here are outdated. A nice apartment in Centro I would say is $600 on average for a nice modern 1 bedroom furnished. You can get a place for $350, but that’s pretty basic and the low end. 3br penthouses with huge terraces will go for $1200. Taxis in Cuenca start at $1.50 (that’s the minimum cost). Within city limits you rarely pay over $3.00.
John Greenhalg on Sep 03, 2023:
Armedrobberies of individuals are relatively rare, although there are ocassional break-ins of more remote/isolated houses. Recently, there has been an increase in extortion/protection rackets aimed at stores. But the biggest hazard for individuals is pickpockets on crowded busses, especially cell phone theft. This has not changed much over time. Except for cantonal prison and perhaps increased extortion of shopkeepers, Cuenca is very little affected by violence on the coast.
John Greenhalgh on Sep 03, 2023:
The taxi start tariff for Cuenca Ecuador is nowhere near correct. The official rate is $0.55, per my five years living here. The one km rate is also way too high - it's typically around $0.75 to $1.00
Kam on Feb 21, 2023:
How is the safety in Cuenca these days? I am here more about armed robberies.
Gail on Sep 11, 2021:
After reading some of the demographic information provided by for Cuenca, I believe some updates are necessary to reflect changes caused by the pandemic and by recent changes in government policies and laws. One such change is: The cost for a gallon of gasoline has increased from about $1.05 per gallon to approximately $1.35 per gallon, since the Ecuadorian government discontinued its subsidy for gasoline.

Armed robberies were nearly unheard of in Cuenca before (1) Venezuelan economic refugees started to arrive in Cuenca; (2) Colombian refugees started to arrive in Cuenca when the drug cartels started to terrorize people in rural areas of Colombia; and (3) the pandemic hit Ecuador in March 2020. Recently, though, there has been a marked increase in armed robberies, some by men wielding steel rebar rods, some at knife-point and some at gun-point, with only one fatality reported at this time (thought to be due to a drug deal gone bad).

Currently, as Ecuador's government struggles to strengthen its economy and attract foreign investment to create more jobs; and the pandemic continues to subside in Cuenca (currently "a model for the world" for pandemic recovery, per Paul Elliot of Imperial College, London, on 9 September 2021); and the number of Cuenca's police officers continue to increase as the city grows, it is optimistically expected that the high safety rating for Cuenca will return to its pre-pandemic levels.

By the way, do not let the comment below by "Anonymous" (January 7, 2019) dissuade you from visiting or moving to Cuenca. There are some perennially disgruntled people who have moved to Cuenca, perhaps thinking they will be happier in Cuenca than in their country of birth, but, finding they are not, they make negative comments about Cuenca and Ecuador that are not necessarily founded in their personal experiences or fact or reality. I moved to Cuenca from the U.S. in 2018, and, personally, I love living in Cuenca. The only thing I regret about my move to this beautiful city is that I didn't do it sooner!

Regarding the cost of living in Cuenca, although it is possible for a person to live in Cuenca for less than $800 per month, do not expect to find a house to rent for less than approximately $1,000 per month (and the house may not have a yard). I know of 2 one-bedroom apartments located in arguable the two best neighborhoods of Cuenca that currently rent for $600/mo and $325/mo, respectively. The difference in rental rates, as in any city in any country, is based on the age, size and location of each property and their individual amenities, as well as the amenities provided in the buildings in which these 2 rental apartments are located.

Paying the bare minimum for utilities (electricity, gas, water, satellite TV, and Internet) runs about a total of $129/mo. Groceries from a US-style supermarket for one person will cost about $400/mo, although there are less expensive alternatives for purchase foods and other products at one of the several large "mercados" in the city.

Transportation by taxi, bus or the Tranvia (Cuenca's electric rail that runs east/west through the city) is a bargain, with a minimum taxi fare of $1.50 (soon to be $2.00) and the Tranvia or bus minimum fares of $.35 per ride for passengers under the age of 65 and $.175 (that's 17-1/2 cents) per ride for passengers older than 65.

Health care insurance is purchased differently in Ecuador than in the States. At this time, there is only 1 "US-style" insurance company in Cuenca (that I'm aware of) that requires monthly payments and pays for health care expenses up to $1 million once the selected deductible amount has been paid by the insured. This is somewhat more expensive than the traditional "Ecuadorian-style" insurance plans.

With a traditional, stable Ecuadorian health care insurance company, health care insurance is purchased at a level that the purchaser anticipates may be needed in the event of a catastrophic health event or if the purchaser has a pre-existing condition that requires frequent check-ups, dialysis, expensive medications, etc. If the selected price level of insurance is exceeded in the insurance coverage year, the costs in excess of the insurance amount selected must be paid out of the insured's own pocket. Also, if pre-existing conditions exist, there is a 1 to 6 month waiting period, depending on the insurance provider chosen, before the insurance coverage to come into force.

For example, buying insurance from Confiamed, a reputable and stable insurance company based in Quito, a healthy person of 65 years of age or older with no pre-existing conditions may purchase a policy for a $35,000 limit, a cost that this person does not expect to be exceed for health care during the 1-year term of the insurance policy. The insurance premium for this amount of health insurance, which covers most costs for health care and provides a discount for medications, is $211.07 per month.

At the $35,000 level, the monthly payment will not go up until the purchaser turns 80 years of age. However, a higher monthly premium will be required if a higher insurance limit (such as $50,000 or higher) is chosen in a subsequent year. Fortunately, health care costs in Ecuador are generally much lower for operations, tests, X-rays, preventive procedures (such as colonoscopies), and medications here in Ecuador.

I hope whoever is reading this text finds some of this information helpful. Although others may find their experiences and observations to be different, these are some of mine.