Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Learning Spanish

I wanted to let you know about a course that we highly recommend. It’s a Spanish course from Visual Link Spanish(TM) that helps you feel comfortable when talking to native Spanish speakers.
I really love this program! It is far superior to other courses because of the learning model that they use.  The methods that they use make the words just stick!

Their software is fun, interactive and has you speaking in complete Spanish sentences after just the first lesson. Their program is designed to enable anyone to feel confident speaking Spanish naturally. By the end of the first 5 lessons, you’ll feel comfortable carrying on entire conversations in Spanish.

Free Spanish Lessons

…It’s so easy, you just sit back, relax and watch their interactive movies and learn Spanish.

Try their free demo lessons below and you’ll see just how easy learning Spanish can be:

Free Spanish Lessons

Because we’re so impressed with their course, we’ve taken the time to work out a deal for you with Visual Link.

The course gives you the satisfaction you’ve always wanted in learning Spanish. Your goals are finally within reach!

Knowing Spanish is also a great resume builder, and we all know that having another important skill gives you more job security in today’s economy.

We hope you enjoy the course as much as we have. Be sure and go through their demo lessons so you can try before you buy:
Enjoy the free lessons!

Free Spanish Lessons

Hasta luego!

P.S. – Their course also comes with a full 6-month money-back guarantee so there’s no risk!

P.P.S. – I urge you to take a look at the demo lessons now while you’re still thinking about them:


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cuenca - What's happening in Cuenca this week.

Cuenca is a wonderful city for foreigners and in the next few years it has been suggested that there will be an influx of up to 20,000 expats from the US alone.  When we first arrived three years ago there were hardly any expats around where we lived.  At that time there was only one couple and a single guy across the road in another building.

Down the road there is a very large new apartment complex going up and it is said that over half of the occupants are going to be foreigners, mostly from North America.   It certainly is good for Cuenca as far as boosting their economy with foreign investments. As long as people respect the new country they have adopted to relocate to, and more importantly it’s people and its cultural heritage, it should be fine. 

A local Realtor friend of mine in Cuenca has asked that I explain in my Newsletter that some of you are expecting to be able to buy large properties or apartments from $28,000.  He said that a few foreigners lately have accused him of trying to sell to them at “Gringo” prices.  He felt insulted.
Such low prices such as $28,000 and there being a price differential between locals and Gringos is not the case he said.  In the good areas, you are most likely to have to pay $750 - $850 per square meter for condominiums. Prices are generally the same for both locals and foreigners.  He also said that the property they may think they can find for $30,000 will probably either be very small, in a crime area, in need of a lot of repair, ready for demolishing or even worse - a corrupt local trying to sell someone else’s land.

Cuenca Chamber of Commerce
Recently the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce finally launched their website.  It has been in the making for the last 12 months.  You can visit them at BUT it will cost you $150 to become a member.  For the membership you will be able to access the many business’s who have advertised with the chamber and who offer bi-lingual advisors.   I don’t know who is in the registry as I am not a member.  If you are in Cuenca on Tuesday 1st March you may want to go along to the official opening of the website.  All expats are welcome.



Gringo Bingo has a certain ring to it doesn’t it?   I guess some of you would have preferred the poster in English, but really I am sure you can make out what they are saying.

Hostería Uzhupud

This is such a beautiful place to visit and it is always a surprise to those of you who don’t know about it.  For those that have been following my Newsletters you would have read a previous article I have written about Uzhupud.  You can CLICK HERE
to read that pervious article.

On Wednesday March 2nd Hostería Uzhupud are hosting a “Tour de Las Rosas”.  This is truly well worth going to as you will be taken to the Rose Farm where you will see firsthand how these wonderful roses are grown and packaged for export all around the world. 

After the tour of the Rose Farm you will be taken to Hostería Uzhupud for a delightful lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the Hostería and gardens.  Take time to walk around smell the roses.

This tour begins at 8.30 a.m. and will take you back into Cuenca by 4 p.m.  Your pick up point will be at the corner of Remigio Crespo and Federico Proano in front of Pizza Hut.  The price including transport and lunch is $32 per person.  Make sure you book now as only 30 seats are available.  To make your reservation email

Until next I write.

Chao for now

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cuenca Real Estate - Retire in Cuenca

It is estimated that over the next five years Cuenca, Ecuador will see an influx of 20,000 or more expats from the US alone.

Who would have thought that when I first visited 3 years ago that this would be the case. At first you could walk down the street and hardly see another expat. Now there are more expats arriving every day.

It was even named as one of the best retirement places in the world in 2009. 

One of the reasons I think Cuenca has become so popular is that it has a wonderful feel about it.  The city of Cuenca is a UNESCO city and the small narrow cobblestone streets and the beautiful architecture of the old buildings reminds me a lot of places I have visited in Europe.

Retiring overseas and especially to a country where English is not the native tongue can be quite daunting.  At the time of researching Ecuador there were not many blogs or websites where I could find out very much information.  Now there are new ones being started everyday.

One website I can highly recommend is  Not only does it have wonderful information I also found that any inquiries to the site were always answered fairly quickly.  I have met the owner of the site in Cuenca and also did a tour that is recommended on the site.  It was wonderful.


I would suggest that you get to know the areas in and around the city.  Find out where you feel that you would be comfortable living.  Take your time.  You can usually stay in a cheap hostal until you find suitable accommodation.

I really would suggest that you rent before you buy?  Purchasing is quite final and it will mean that your funds will be tied up.  But then on the other hand you wont be throwing away your dollars at a rental and you will have the choice to renovate without asking permission.  That of course if it needs any renovations.  Also you have the security of not having to move.

Sometimes the owners of a rental will decide that they want to sell so they will ask you to leave.   There are lots of questions to ask and have answered.  The best way is to be here in Cuenca and ask around.  Now much more than when I arrived three years ago there are many great expat hangouts.  If you dont know any just ask another expat in the street.

If you read a bad write up dont let it discourage you.  There are far more good stories than bad. Find an honest reliable realtor and get to know the rules and regulations of Ecuadorian law in regards to a purchase or rental agreement.  Ecuadorian law is far different to what you and I are used to. 


There are quite a few good realtors in Cuenca who are honest and trustworthy.  There are only a handful that I am happy to refer people to.  

Our own experience made me realize that what you expect back home is vastly different in Ecuador.  I found it strange that we were not told that the stove top and oven were not included in the purchase price.  The Realtor we were dealing with also works with an expat and you would think that from their knowledge in selling only to foreigners that this is something that would be pointed out.

They also forgot to point out that if you buy an apartment that is currently rented you cannot take possession until the tenants leave.  Fine you may think but it can be up to 3-6 months before the tenant vacates.  This is a law in Ecuador.  A tenant who has an agreement with the owner is given up to 6 months to vacate and find new lodgings.

Currently it appears that every new expat who walks into town thinks that they can corner the real estate market.  Well think again.  This is still a third world city and even though on the outside it does not quite seem that way, rules and regulations are vastly different to what you are used to back home.  If you are one of those then I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.

Learn some Spanish

Before even making a move try and get some sort of understanding if you can of the Spanish language.  Coming into a country where you dont understand a word that is being said can be very very difficult indeed.

Free Spanish Lessons