New Cathedral (Catedral de la Immaculada) - called "New" although it was built in 1885!
One major reason is Cost of Living! I know some acquaintances who express bitterness because they feel as though their retirement dreams have been shattered, financially. Others are here because they see the outcome of the USA politically, economically, and spiritually. Then, there are those who have never had an attachment to their lives in the states, they have no clue what is truly going on in America, they are financially comfortable, they are adventurous and already have traveled the world, and they are now ready to settle in Cuenca, Ecuador because it's another country and area to experience. Some come here because of their health issues. They can no longer afford medical insurance for their retirement years and after much research, they have come to an area of the world that has excellent and affordable medical care. One of our major reasons was the weather! After 40 years living in the Willamette Valley rains, we wanted to retire in an area that was sunny and warm (not humid and hot) year round, and Cuenca weather was it for us. Some come here and find it is too rainy and cold for them, but it all depends on what you're used to from the area you are leaving. Then there are some who are running away - from their debts, from their past, from something - and they come here to escape and hide and start all over. I'm sure I've missed other reasons why some have or will flee from the USA, but remember - wherever you go, THERE YOU ARE!
Once here, and because many ex-pats are new to retirement, some find it difficult to fill their time and to feel like they have a life here. En Serio!! Especially some men. Bo never imagined he would be living in another country (though ex-patting was his idea way back in 2009 when I was perfectly content with my princess lifestyle in the USA). Then to step away from any chance of returning to Corporate America and to no longer have his fabulous income and career identity as a Financial Advisor - well, that's been a big adjustment and change in his life. He was nowhere near what he thought would be his retirement age when we arrive here in early December 2012. As for me, work has never been my passion nor my identity. I've had a wonderful life of being home more than working thanks to my husband (which is why I didn't qualify for a pensioner's visa, by a mere $2 - though now my Social Security has been increased!), and because I'm an artistic, creative, and somewhat adventuresome woman, I've never been bored or unfulfilled by not working or having a career.
All this to say, my days are full here in Cuenca now that I'm truly retired. Life is so full here that some days I want to turn off my phone, hibernate in my office, and not go anywhere or talk to anyone just to have some alone and down time - that's how rich my days are. I've made WONDERFUL friends here, some ex-pats and many Cuencanos, and we both know how blessed we are in this area of our "Cuenca" life. For us, the word FRIEND means more than for others. I don't do Facebook (please don't hate me) and so I have no friends there (thank God). Some people think that being "friended" is having friends (but watch out, because you can get "unfriended" just as quickly). I find the Facebook "friend" thing beyond funny. Many of them are cyber friends and people you'll never meet. Others are people who are mostly curious about your life and accomplishments. No real intimacy there! Hey, if it works for you, great. But not for me. FRIEND - if you can count your true friends on the fingers of one hand, you are blessed. Because of the true friendships Bo and I have made here, we are truly blessed. It's a big part of why our days are filled.