Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Price of Paradise!

I don’t know what it is, but every time we go to the States and return, the prices go up when we arrive back to paradise!

As if “sticker shock” wasn’t bad enough in the States, we had to return to sticker shock in Cuenca. But it was all offset by the fact that our medical insurance kicked in and the cost of my hubby’s medications were paid for (90 percent). The total came to $77.14 and he paid $15.76. This is great news for us. Our medical insurance premiums are $81 per month, so you can see that for medication alone it's worthwhile for us.

Humana (Nova) is our carrier and we have a a prescription card that we present at the pharmacy. It’s that simple. Lately, I’ve had a lot of blogger questions about medical insurance coverage, so I wanted to clarify that “yes” indeed it's worthwhile for some folks. Our physician, Dr. Pablo Parra (at Monte Sinai Hospital) simply fills out a form for the pharmacy and we present our card. By the way, if you want a great physician in Cuenca, you'll want to see Dr. Parra (he speaks English as well as four other languages!).

Now on to the real sticker shock—Baños! Those of you who have followed my blog know that I enjoy going to the thermal baths at least twice a week (usually by myself), but this time Mark accompanied me. I told him that for $2.00 you could stay all day and enjoy the healing waters.

As soon as we got off the bus, we witnessed a long line meandering half-way down the street. The reason: Only one of the three pools was open and the price went up from $2.00 per person to $2.70 per person!

For those of you still living in the States, you may laugh at this, but once you’ve lived in Ecuador for a while, you get used to "cheap" prices. Seventy “centavos” may not seem like much, but that’s a lot—at least an ice cream cone's worth. The last time we returned from the States, cappuccino went up from $1.00 to $1.50. We have been here exactly seven months and we have seen the most changes taking place in food, restaurant prices and rent.

And speaking of rent, we just had a condo next to us go up for rent and in ONE day it was “sold.” Yes, there are some great finds out there, but the “early bird gets the worm."

This condo is right next to us (2 bedrooms, 2 baths) and it rented for $200 plus security guard fee for a total of $300. I peeked inside and I have to admit, I was a “little” envious! It had beautiful tile floors and ceramic tile throughout (floor to ceiling), three balconies (two of which overlook the river) and one looks toward the Oro Verde Hotel. It has a large furnished dining room, two large bedrooms, and two large bathrooms. Oh, and it comes with a stove, refrigerator, and a new washer and dryer. Not to mention that the living room has a working fireplace, built-in cabinets and some classy add ons that make this place truly unique. I didn’t even have time to get the word out on this one; I woke up too late (literally!). So this is my point, “yes” there are inexpensive condos for rent with beautiful views, but you have to be quick!

If we had seen that place before we rented our condo, we definitely would have taken it. But as Mark explained to me: It wasn’t for rent when we chose our place and we’re locked into a contract. And to make me feel oh so much better, he said, “Remember, you can only enjoy one balcony at a time!” Smile.

Right now I’m working on the book “101 Questions Answered on Cuenca, Ecuador” which will be available on Kindle in February 2011. I hope it will be of benefit to those who are planning a move to Ecuador. I'm sure the price of paradise will continue to rise, but Cuenca is still number one in my book!

Until next time...hasta luego!


Paul said...

We just arrived in Cuenca and are apartment hunting. Do you have any advice for finding a nice, inexpensive place like the one you describe here? -- Paul & Denice

Connie Pombo said...

Paul and Denice,
There's a one-bedroom, one-bath in our condo complex, but I think they want $400 for it, which I think is too much. Give us a call and we would love to have lunch/dinner with you! E-mail me at "Bienvenido a Cuenca!"

Judy said...

can you tell me more about the you have to be without preexisting conditions...

Connie Pombo said...

Hi Judy,

Wow, I haven't been answer my questions. We have our insurance with Shoot me an e-mail and I will talk with you some more. My e-mail is Blessings to you!

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