What to Bring That You Can’t Get in Cuenca, Ecuador

by | Feb 15, 2022 | Ecuador | 1 comment

When moving abroad it is important to address downsizing and deciding what major belongings we consider bringing with us and those we leave behind. A daunting task.

This article is about some smaller items you often use and may not get here in Cuenca. I will start with the assumption that you can just order it on Amazon and have it delivered. You will have a problem even accessing Amazon online from here. In addition, it is very difficult to receive items here in Cuenca either by mail or by delivery. 

Delivery Challenges in Ecuador

But will it arrive? by Brandable Box
But will it arrive? by Brandable Box

There are FedEx and DHL drop-offs in town, but it will take a long time (no estimate because it always varies).

Receiving mail is even more difficult as many of the places here do not have a physical address. Keep in mind this city has been here for hundreds of years.

The real clincher is that Ecuador charges high tariffs on imports. Your package will be reviewed, and the tariff may be as much or more than you paid for the items as they may assess a value more in line with prices here.

Here are a few suggestions.

I will list some smaller items I brought and those of some of my friends just to give you an idea of what you may not find here:

  • Any clothing or shoes in larger sizes. Men’s shoe size 10 and up and women’s shoe size 8 and up. Socks and undergarments.
  • Your favorite sweats, jeans, and t-shirts.
  • ALL tech items are expensive so bring whatever is allowable by law.
  • I brought a few of my favorite kitchen items with me- a small jar opener, garlic press, some special spice blends.
  • Most of the OTC medicines we get in the States can be bought here. Translate the ingredients from English to Spanish and ask the pharmacist for them.  Benadryl is not available at all.


As an Expat, You Got To Have Friends

Thanks, buddy by Tommaso Pecchioli
Thanks, buddy by Tommaso Pecchioli

The practice here seems to be to ask friends who will visit in the States to let you order items from Amazon, have them delivered to wherever they are staying, and bring them when they return to Ecuador.

It is called “muling” and often expats will offer to mule for friends or family here.

Be considerate in understanding they have weight and size limits with their baggage, so keep the items small and light.

This is a life experience like no other, but if you jump in — it can also be one of the most exhilarating.

It is not, however, one of the most convenient.


Let me know what you are thinking of bringing and… Bienvenidos!

by: Eileen Brill-Wagner

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