Cost of Living in Cuenca

Summary about cost of living in Cuenca, Ecuador:

Restaurants
Edit Range
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 3.50 $ 2.50-5.00
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 32.00 $ 20.00-45.00
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 7.50 $ 7.00-8.00
Domestic Beer (1 pint draught) 2.50 $ 1.50-3.00
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle) 4.00 $ 3.00-5.00
Cappuccino (regular) 2.34 $ 1.50-4.00
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle) 0.94 $ 0.75-1.00
Water (12 oz small bottle) 0.81 $ 0.50-1.00
Markets
Edit
Milk (regular), (1 gallon) 3.97 $ 3.03-4.88
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb) 1.79 $ 0.45-2.72
Rice (white), (1 lb) 0.66 $ 0.23-0.91
Eggs (regular) (12) 2.02 $ 1.20-3.00
Local Cheese (1 lb) 2.56 $ 1.81-4.00
Chicken Fillets (1 lb) 2.57 $ 1.36-3.18
Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 2.88 $ 1.36-3.63
Apples (1 lb) 1.06 $ 0.45-2.00
Banana (1 lb) 0.55 $ 0.23-1.36
Oranges (1 lb) 0.56 $ 0.23-1.81
Tomato (1 lb) 0.58 $ 0.45-0.91
Potato (1 lb) 0.55 $ 0.23-0.68
Onion (1 lb) 0.49 $ 0.45-0.55
Lettuce (1 head) 0.75 $ 0.50-1.00
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 1.14 $ 0.75-1.50
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 8.00 $ 7.00-12.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 1.64 $ 1.00-2.27
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle) 2.79 $ 2.00-3.15
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) 6.00 $ 5.00-6.00
Transportation
Edit
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.35 $ 0.30-0.35
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 22.50 $ 10.00-27.00
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 1.50 $ 1.50-1.75
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff) 2.66 $ 2.41-2.90
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 12.00 $ 8.00-15.00
Gasoline (1 gallon) 2.70 $ 1.89-3.79
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 30,000.00 $ 28,000.00-30,000.00
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) 29,800.00 $ 30,000.00-32,000.00
Utilities (Monthly)
Edit
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment 32.43 $ 21.00-42.00
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.11 $ 0.05-0.12
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 38.12 $ 30.00-60.00
Sports And Leisure
Edit
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 36.12 $ 20.00-40.00
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 10.38 $ 9.50-12.00
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 6.25 $ 5.00-7.00
Childcare
Edit
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child 255.83 $ 180.00-320.00
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child 6,480.00 $ 4,800.00-9,600.00
Clothing And Shoes
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1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 58.57 $ 25.00-80.00
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...) 41.11 $ 15.00-60.00
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) 95.14 $ 50.00-120.00
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes 66.11 $ 30.00-90.00
Rent Per Month
Edit
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 415.45 $ 300.00-600.00
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 317.86 $ 200.00-375.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 633.33 $ 450.00-775.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 480.00 $ 350.00-625.00
Buy Apartment Price
Edit
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment in City Centre 112.41 $ 46.45-148.64
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 96.83 $ 83.61-139.35
Salaries And Financing
Edit
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 460.00 $
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate 11.82 11.00-12.00

Prices in Cuenca

This city had 500 entries in the past 12 months by 29 different contributors.
Last update: October 2022
Sources and References
Distribution of Expenses Using Our Statistical Model:
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6 Comments so far
Gail on Sep 11, 2021:
After reading some of the demographic information provided by Numbeo.com 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.
Warren Light on Mar 05, 2019:
Several of the questions asked in the comments below might be better answered by the internet resources listed in my portal web page. If you are considering Cuenca as a place to live, I recommend you read "Cuenca High Life" and "Gringo Post". Both are published daily. Go to portal.light.ec in your browser and look for the Cuenca links and the Ecuador links. My email is on my home page, and I will answer questions. I have lived in Cuenca for six years and enjoy the city. I am not stuck here, but could have moved away long ago if the city did not please me.
Warren Light on Mar 05, 2019:
(1) I have my clothing made here in Cuenca by a tailor. It fits well and wears well, and is about one third what I would pay in Macys in Houston.
(2) Heath care has been affordable in Cuenca - including medicine - about 1/4 that in Houston. Hospital costs are about 1/10 that in Houston. But health insurance here is very problematic. Some companies never pay clams. Others go out of business leaving you hanging. Ecuador has been struggling to improve their public health insurance, but that is very expensive for expats living on SSI. The public health insurance, IESS, charges 17% of the SSI to those who legally report their correct income. Many expats have resorted to fraudulently claiming that their income is only $600/month.
Anonymous on Feb 01, 2019:
plus Ecuador is beautiful and why not live there even if just for the fun of it all - I say if Trump in US is your thing, then yes the cultural diversity and architectural riches of Latin America are not...
Anonymous on Feb 01, 2019:
well, the person from the last post should note that the prices listed here are well below your average 1st world prices, so dont talk badly abouth something you are not even sure about...
Anonymous on Jan 07, 2019:
Why would anyone want to move to a 3rd world country like Ecuador? The government is corrupt as hell but the government likes to chisel every penny from expats.Ecuador can't even manage it's own currency so they copped out and changed to the dollar instead.All the while expats living in Ecuador think they've got it made funny.I'd never live in Ecuador pay u s prices and let the government rip me off.