Published on March 5th, 2014


A Peek at Casa de TravelnLass in Cuenca, Ecuador

A Peek at Casa de TravelnLass in Cuenca, Ecuador -

I have throw pillows, people – THROW PILLOWS on my COUCH!!! (note the covers – snagged at the last minute on my way out of Thailand)

Just 3 weeks since I left that “g-forsaken rice paddy” in Asia to perch myself here on this “g-forsaken mountain top in the Andes” and…

I must say, Latin America couldn’t be more different than Asia. In most every way.

The climate of course (verily like a spring day year round here in Cuenca), the language (my Spanish is expanding daily, by leaps ‘n bounds – yay!), the cuisine (bye-bye phad thai and steaming bowls of phủ, why hello there cute little cuy – guinea pig – on a stick!), the currency (Ecuador uses U.S. dollars, for heaven’s sake – no more US$1 = 20,000 dong, 31 baht, 1,300 kyat, 3 ringgits, 98 rupees, 8,000 kip, 1,700 tugrik, etc. – whew!)

Indeed, though Cuenca surely ain’t no Seattle, I dare say that compared to the culture, food, climate, language, et al of Southeast Asia – Ecuador is ever so much more “easy” for we ‘Merican folk from the north (I mean, we do share “America” in our continental names, after all) to navigate and settle into.  And especially the Latin American culture -while clearly most unique, much more akin to Western vs. Eastern cultures.

No doubt gross generalizations (especially presumptuous coming from one who landed here but 22 days ago!)  And furthermore, if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to annoy me, it’s travelers flippantly comparing one country against another.  Apples and Vollyballs to be sure.

So I’m not saying one land is somehow better/worse than another, but rather – simply DIFFERENT.  And I dare say “different” is precisely why I wander the globe seeking out ever new countries to explore.  That said, coming from more than 2 years of immersion in all-things-Asian, these are but my first impressions of Ecuador.   g-knows I can’t WAIT to delve deeper, and I hope you’ll follow along as I share my experiences in this new corner of the Planet.

Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy a peek at my super-duper new apartment here in Cuenca – fully furnished,  just $450 including all utilities, on a 3 month lease.

Casa de TravelnLass

First, the jewel in the crown – finally, after more than 2 years, I.HAVE.A.FULL.KITCHEN!

(well o.k. save for an oven, but then I’m not about to start baking pies and cookies anyway – there’s plenty of wee mom ‘n pop bakeries tucked amid the cobbled streets outside my door, churning out all manner of freshly baked treats daily)

And in any case – looks like my previous impassioned  “Nomad Cuisine” dabblings will now happily take a backseat to more advanced culinary experiments.


Oh yeah – and did I mention… a SEPARATE bedroom?

(note the pink elephant spread – a rare souvenir tucked into my backpack from Nepal)



Fully furnished with a majorly comfy wrap-around couch, and the cutest little granite table and high-backed chairs.  There’s also a flat-screen TV, with cable (o.k. most stations in Spanish, but leastwise I can tune into old CSI episodes and an English movie or three).  Besides, the Spanish stations help me learn the language that much faster.




Then there’s my view.  Nope, not as spectacular as my initial temporary digs verily ON TOP of those sapphire domes of the Catedral Nueva —>


But just a few blocks away and much quieter, with a peek of the mountains and all those sweet rosy-tiled roofs to remind me that I’m now in… honestly?  What with the cobbled streets, the colonial cathedrals, and those ubiquitous terracotta rooftops – I feel like I might well be in Italy or Spain!

More importantly (to me), is that I live in a “tipico” Ecuadorian neighborhood (as opposed to some gated expat highrise in “Gringolandia”), right in the heart of “El Centro” (a UNESCO World Heritage site) where the locals live and work.



Speaking of “Gringolandia”, much more to tell in future posts – about how Cuenca (which, prior to my arrival I was 85% sure I wouldn’t like) compares to Chiang Mai (favorably – a much lower farang infestation, though far more UScentric) and the many other differences/unique qualities of life on the Equator on this side of the globe.

So stay tuned.  And meanwhile – would love to hear from others who’ve dipped toes in either Asia and/or Ecuador – how did/does your experience as an expat compare?


About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

23 Responses to A Peek at Casa de TravelnLass in Cuenca, Ecuador

  1. Stacey says:

    I’m finally getting the chance to catch up on some of your posts from South America! Love the place, it must be great to have a proper kitchen and those pillow cases sure look awesome 🙂
    Stacey kindly contributed to world literature by posting…5 Things I miss about Living in Chiang MaiMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Yes Stacey, life is good here in my new adopted corner of the globe (Ecuador), and ’tis verily HEAVEN to have a full kitchen.

      And yes too, my (first) Casa de TravelnLass was most lovely, but… I’ve since (recently) moved to an even better place (with TWO bedrooms and $100 LESS!) So now I have a guest room should stray nomads like you drop in to Cuenca – stay tuned for pics of the new place…

  2. Ching-Hua says:

    What lovely digs! An upgrade for sure from what you had in Chiang Mai and the rooftop view does look lovely. Enjoy it for the next 3 months, at least!

    • Dyanne says:

      Yes, decidedly an upgrade from a single room with a wee fridge and an electric tea kettle in Thailand (though who could argue with the breathtaking price of $137/month in Chiang Mai?) And yes too, more than 3 months now and I never tire of the view. Even better, walkable to the river and most every place here in El Centro.

      Quite the change from Asia, but am loving it here, and especially being able to spit out more than a dozen words in the local language!

  3. I’ll be going to Cuenca for a long weekend this month and I’m so excited. After reading so many blog posts that unanimously say it was their favorite part of Ecuador.
    Anna @ The Blonde Banana kindly contributed to world literature by posting…24 Hours in Bergen, NorwayMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Admittedly (after 3 months here now) I’ve not seen a smidge of the rest of Ecuador (which no doubt has TONS to offer). But I’ve done a LOT of international travel, plus lived in more than 5 foreign countries now and… I must say, Cuenca continues to enchant me.

      Give me a holler when you get to town Anna – would love to meet for coffee or a bit of “almuerzo”.

  4. Dave K. says:

    Hi Dyanne,

    It was great to meet you on FB earlier today. Nice blog site too. Wait until you get to explore the rest of Ecuador: The orient, the rain forest, the Andes, the coast, the
    Amazon river, the Galapagos. Then you have the rest of South America to explore. I’m just getting started exploring.

    I am looking forward to exploring Cuenca. Climbing Cotopaxi and all of the items I listed above. I will look you up when I’m in town.

    Dave K.

    • Dyanne says:

      Yup Dave, I pretty much exhausted all of Asia the past few years, now I’m poised to explore all of S.A (not to mention, plenty of geocaches scattered about to find).

      Yes, do give a holler when you make it to Cuenca – by then I may well have one or two of my own “globalgirl” hides.

  5. Graefyl says:

    What a nice place Dyanne – and a good price too.

    Your kettle is gonna feel very left out with that kitchen. It might even go on strike or organize a demo with other ‘on the road’ cooking items. Then you’ll have to call out the small appliance police to quell any possible riots 😉
    Graefyl kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Do you remember your first flight?My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      I KNOW Graefyl – all that doctoral tea kettle late-night study – now out the window! Maybe I’ll boil an egg in the carafe of my spiffy drip coffeemaker just to keep my “Nomadic Culinary Chef” certification current.

      Besides, knowing me, (though I’m loving it here) – sooner or later I’ll get the itch to roam again, so that tea kettle won’t be on the picket line for too very long. 😉

  6. Marty says:

    Beautiful photos, as ever. Glad you’ve found such comfy digs!

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks Marty. Yes, I’m loving my new digs – about the same size/configuration of my sweet place there w/ you in West Seattle (“the mouse under the stairs). But alas, would be even nicer if I had my luscious Moroccan rugs and many art quilts here to hang on the walls.

      Hoping all is well with you, my dear!

  7. $450 per month for all that and located in a World Heritage site? Wow. I want to start researching Ecuador right now, but that time would be better spent on the 3 week trip that begins next week.
    Four Letter Nerd kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Photo Project #6 – How Slow Can I Go?My Profile

  8. Mary Moss says:

    Wow – that kitchen looks look a scene from “House Hunters International”! A whole lot different from the Asian kitchen I experience:-)

    • Dyanne says:

      Yay! Mary – I just received notice that you successfully subscribed to TravelnLass!!! Hopefully now you’ll get notice of all my posts.

      And yep, my new kitchen truly ROCKS! I’m likin’ Ecuador more and more each day.

  9. joy says:

    hi, we have been in Cuenca 5 days and will be here another week, really enjoying our time here, and will definitely return and spend more time.

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks for dropping by Joy – Cuenca truly is a most picturesque and enjoyable place. Perhaps we could meet for coffee or lunch while you’re here – just shoot me a private note via the Contact page.

  10. Gail Kuger says:

    Looks divine, and apt. is very glam!
    Gail Kuger kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Deli Cole Slaw for a CrowdMy Profile

  11. Talon says:

    I think we used to walk down your street when we there almost 2 years ago. Yep, it sure is a great city. I didn’t think I’d like it because I knew expats flocked there, but we both ended up loving it and staying a LOT longer than we had originally planned.
    Talon kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Do you want to live forever?My Profile

  12. Paul says:

    That looks wonderful!
    Paul kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Dash Out The DoorMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Indeed, Paul – though I honestly don’t need much, I must admit, it’s mighty nice to have a full kitchen and more than a single room to call “home”.

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