02 March 2009

Cuenca Ecuador apartment prices

Thank you for visiting our upscale
apartments for rent!
Last update  October 2013

And a hearty "Welcome" (bienvenidos!) to our beloved Cuenca
from your future landlord: Susana Castro (who speaks excellent English)

The two apartments are located in a vertical brick duplex located inside a safe secure gated private 12 family community, each apartment in our duplex has a private entrance and intercoms with their respective and separate front doors. The top floor of the duplex is 2000 sq. ft., the ground floor is 1,600 square feet for the apartment itself, with additional backyard patio and laundry room. The upper apartment will be ready to rent starting December 1, 2013, is rented in an unfurnished state only, The lower apartment is furnished but is rented for an indefinite time, we were told years by the present tenant, a retired quiet English speaking expat professional.

We'd like to add you to our waiting/prospect list if you are not interested right now.   Email susi1971 at yahoo dot com
We write the email address this way to avoid spam by foiling robot email sniffer programs that detect then sell email addresses to spammers.
We seek long term tenants of 6 month minimum, preferably 1 year or more.
Please respond to the contact data below:
susi1971 at yahoo dot com
Phone: country code 593
area code 07  number: 421-3179 or 321-3178, both work.  78 is for Susi's husband, 79 is for Susi, your future landlady.

If you call from any location other than Azuay province (Cuenca's province) or from a cell phone anywhere IN COUNTRY dial 7 4213178 or 7 4213179.  It won't work on cell phones without a 7 or 07 prefix.  Some cell providers require 7, some 07 so if one doesn't work, use the other prefix.

Rent is $400 USD/month with a yearly increase equal to the published national inflation statistic that is published in the newspapers here or on TV news programs.  In the past it's been between 5% and 7% annually.  The yearly increase is not for us to make more money, it's to maintain income value since this is what we live off of, primarily in return for an investment of lot plus over 3,600  sq. ft of construction.  Frankly, by investing in a local bank's CDs, we could derive more income from the investment than from rent however the banking sector here is NOT guaranteed in full by the central bank, hence investments in real  estate are much preferred by most Ecuadorians including us, to banking the capital.

Lest one thinks rent is high, it is roughly 1/3 the investment "rule" of recuperating investment in seven years, say in Europe or USA/Canada.  In developed countries it's  rule of thumb to recuperate the investment of a property with rent in seven years or less. Here it's over 20 years if you do the math.  One might think rental properties are a lousey investment and they are compared to a more profitable bank CD in a local bank, but the CDs are not guaranteed nor is banking, property however is real.

Most pensions also provide for a cost of living increase so ideally in a perfect world Ecuador's modest inflation rate will be partially or totally covered by increased cost of living allowances for pensions.

DEPO$ITS: There are two deposits.

1. There is a cleaning and damage deposit of $200. If the apartment is left in the same state as in CLEAN and surfaces/accessories in good condition as it was originally rented from the first day, including without any holes put by the tenant in the walls which have to be patched and painted, the $200 deposit in full will be returned. A complete clorox/detergent cleaning of all floors and cabinets must have been done also. A maid we know well and is honest, neat and has a great attitude, can at your option, clean the apartment if you want, paid for by the tenant. She charges about $15/cleaning which takes a half day.  You provide breakfast and lunch for her or an equivalent monetary amount. Breakages in excess of $100 value will be paid by the tenant. All lighting and water heater, light bulbs and batteries have to be functional upon the tenant's departure.

2. There is a first month's rent deposit of $400 and a last month's rent deposit of, likewise, $400 for the first year renting.  After that year the last month's rent will be applied to the last of twelve payments (monthly rent). 

Location: Av. Primera de Mayo in S.W. Cuenca, Ecuador (see Google map image below in the image section) located in a small cozy gated secure private community named "Urbanizacion Playa de Yanuncay" close to the Mall del Rio, the bypass, other stores/shops, beauty parlors/barbers, office supplies/copies, hardware stores, convenience stores & well stocked fruit/veggie stand, various types of grocery outlets, 4 BBQ/brazier restaurants, sandwich shop, petrol station, gym and aerobic exercise studios, fast foods, movie CD sales, pharmacy, 2 vets,  auto repair shops/mechanics/body shops, Cuenca's best seafood shop, Bocatti and Ital Deli butcher shops, the soccer/event stadium (18 min walk) which has more restaurants/"watering holes". In addition there is a few blocks away an excellent Italian restaurant (Bertucci's). By the way the very best charcoaled hamburgers in Cuenca are available a couple blocks away.

The apartments are 18 minutes walk from the University of Cuenca and it's recreational and spa facility consisting of heated olympic pool, workout room, raquet ball courts, really nice steam bath, sauna and jacuzzi at a reasonable membership fee or paid by the day.

Features and things included:
3 carpeted bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, (carpet is a relaxing neutral light oyster/beige-gray tweed) which the landlord shampoos each six months. The master bedroom has a spacious attached fully tiled bath for easy cleaning. All 3 bedrooms have lots of built in closets/drawers.

A "great room" with a table/chairs dining room and living room (ceramic beige marble motif tile) with book case that can be used as a CD/DVD wall case that goes from almost to the ceiling to the floor, it's spacious. The neighborhood remote controlled (like a garage door opener) electric security gate is visible from living and dining rooms to watch for arrivals of guests and you can open the electric gate from that window without opening the window. The front and back windows have screens, one of the few in Cuenca, so breezes can waft through the apartments without the bother of insects.

An enclosed well lit ceramic floored and partially ceramic walled easy to clean kitchen with 4 place dinette, lots of cabinetry and counter space, electrical outlets, ceramic (beige marble motif) tiled floor (easy cleaning), natural light window.

Enclosed (with door) laundry room with a hand wash or pre-wash facility.  The laundry room is plumbed for a washer.  A drier isn't normally needed for clothes dry on lines provided in the laundry room fast enough, however if a drier is needed, it must be a stackable washer/drier combo, otherwise there's no room for a stand alone drier.  The drier can be vented at landlady's expense to the outside just as is the gas water heater.  There is not enough amperage for an electric drier.

USE AND VISITOR RESTRICTIONS, a partial list of "don'ts":
Per neighborhood bylaws the general public without invitation from an occupant can not access the interior of the neighborhood compound such as salespeople, visitors promoting religious material or attempts to convert you from your present religious convictions, walkabouts, charity workers asking for money and people looking for a handout, drunks asking for money to buy booze, riff raff and random public.  Were this a private gated community in which you would be inundated with the presence of all the above, constantly.  Restrictions include but are not limited to operating a business where the public visits or calls on you.  Restrictions include the offering of services, sales and also any use of the apartment which involves paid guests, bed and breakfast, and the trafficing or storage of humans, no pets of any kind except fish aquariums, trafficing or storage of any and all contraband, prostitution, rent sharing without the express written permission of the landlord, use as a halfway house for alcohol and/or substance abusers or any other medical/health recovery use other than private living space for the tennant's family. Private guests such as visitors and parties, overnight stays and relatives are of course permitted as in any apartment.

Large storage loft and attached attic. The loft is being renovated to be an additional "great room" for additional living space at no extra charge to you. This large loft with flooring made in Switzerland no less in an oak pattern, could serve as an office, music and arts appreciation room, yoga or meditation studio or just a nice large space like an additional living room for parties or a kid's play room and "hideaway".  The loft offers a well lit warm environment, warmer than the rest of the apartment in fact. Hot air rises...simple physics.

The well lit apartments have sky lights to provide light and passive solar heat..including a bathroom skylight, kitchen sun light for both apartments.

PRIVATE ENTRANCES and PRIVATE COMMUNITY: Each of the two apartments has it's own private  locked secure entrance with separate intercom systems: for each apartment there is a intercom portal outside that is "always on" so you can just pick up your wall mounted handset inside to monitor neighborhood sounds or talk with a visitor to qualify them as to the intention of visit. Wall mounted hand sets" are in the Master Bedroom and Kitchen, just pick them up and that trips an internal switch which then puts them "on the air".  Since it's always on, there is no need to physically answer the door buzzer for guests with this intercom system. Although the community is private, gated, secure, thanks to the intercom system, it is comforting to know you don't have to answer the door in your pajamas or dripping wet from a shower or in the midst of cooking, just use the intercom to ascertain who's at the door. The visitor merely presses a button to buzz you, and talks hands free, it's NOT like a walkie talkie where one has to key each sentence such as "push to talk".

You will have unlimited  WIFI access absolutely FREE to ETAPA's ADSL wireless (WIFI) Internet which is a gift apart from the apartment rental agreement.  We are not responsible for service issues if any arise.  Users must share expense of maintenance but we cover the bill for the monthly service.  Essentially it's a gift to tenants from the landlady.

1. Our rental rate is the same for everyone, no surprises. It is common in Ecuador to charge foreigners more than nationals. We don't do that, it's unfair and an insult. Our tennants have included those from Ecuador (our longest term tennant in fact), Europe and various venues of USA and Canada.  The lease contract after tenant and landlady sign is registered with the Municipio of Cuenca so there are no misunderstandings or hidden anything.  This protects landlady's and tenants' rights.

2. We selectively choose tenants and priority is given to: "straight" normal couples, retired couples, pensioners, teachers and professors, professionals or semi-professionals, non smoking (mandatory), light (or no) drinking, within reason conservative in appearance, and we prefer but certainly not mandatory, tennants with prior experience in: military, fire department, emergency services, medical and law enforcement and the reason for this is they are usually more adaptive and seem to be more willing to join with the community, and able to offer something in case of emergency. As you may gather, we are community minded and it's a conservative community here. The community has 1 lawyer, a top eschelon municipial manager, 2 medical doctors, 1 dentist, 1 finance company supervisor, a psychologist, 1 retired business man who still owns businesses, 1 beautician and several business owners.

You get a sanitized apartment. The apartment is clorox sanitized, walls unmarred, spotless throughout and carpets/rugs which have been freshly shampooed.

Location: Southwest Cuenca (see Google Earth image below) next to a trout brook Rio de Yanuncay, with a forrested jogging trail/greenspace/park network stretching miles. Open your bedroom window at night and hear the soothing sounds of the brook to lull you to sleep.

We remind you that this is NOT a jail like condo building, it is a neighborhood with common neighborhood sounds such as kids playing, occasional music and pets, roosters from close by neighborhoods. It is common to have a pet rooster and a hen or two in back yards of many upscale Cuenca homes. Although there are no chickens in the compound  homes itself.  One neighbor has a rooster and several have dogs  If you want to immerse yourself into Cuenca's society, then you shall live in a real neighborhood with real people and a real life and real sounds.

The apartment is extremely well lit/bright during the day, lots of window space, a full view of the neighborhood and front compound entrance, two skylights, and the apartment has more than adequate lighting plus the neighborhood has street lights for night time and each apartment has a porch light. Both apartments have covered entrances (porch areas) and since it rains frequently, that's important. Neither apartment has cable or satellite TV, you must contract privately for these services.

About our free unlimited use broadband WIFI Internet system. 
We offer this for free.  Other providers are available.  If the tenant does not like the free service we offer, the tenant may select another provider, paying for the same, which is not included in the rent. Computers have varying signal receiving ability. Our router is a good router and new as of October 2013. For computers that are older or machines with -low-to-medium reception ability, for some tenants, good WIFI reception of 4 to 5 bars has been limited to the living room, dining room, and kitchen area, other rooms have from one to three bars and actually that's sufficient for most usage. However for other tennants with computers having better reception ability, it's even better in all rooms.

Scroll down to view images of the apartment

Upscale Fully Furnished Apartment for Rent

Now let's take a picture tour of the apartments.
This is a photo of the front top apartment and part of the bottom apartment. The front door (private entrance not shown here) has an intercom connected to the kitchen and master bed room.

Add $15/month for each additional person more than 4, of any age to a maximum of six people. This is not "profit" but only to pay for extra utilities/wear used by each extra person.

CONVENIENT LOCATIONGood Bus and school bus Service in Cuenca.  Public busses cost 25 cents per trip, half price for seniors.

Bus line #12 stops in front of the apartment, goes to/from the natural hot springs called Banos and to/from U of Cuenca among many other destinations in Cuenca. Line #7 stops one block away, goes to/from: the U of Cuenca, the big flea/food market, and Avenue Huayna Capac which is a very accessible street for "el centro" and many other points of interest.

City busses now in use are generally clean, generally secure, lurch a lot because of all the stops and jerky drivers but are a viable transportation option much cheaper than a taxi. Taxis cost from $1.50 to about $3.00 USD depending on the destination.


Literally, Cuenca has some of the world's best low mineral quality potable water (chlorinated and produced by municipal ETAPA), however a "Pure Water ®" dealer delivers large jugs of purified, not distilled,  water by truck in the neighborhood if you contract with them for X quantity of water per month. City water is almost neutral PH trending PH 7.2 to PH 7.3. We personally see no use for "purified water" since Cuenca's water originates from springs in the Cajas National Reserve close to town and there is no mining, no big agriculture and no manufacturing in that watershed, no pollution anywhere near those sources. If you remove the lid from the pot during and after it boils to let it sit overnight, the any latent chlorine is eliminated.

The apartment's water heater is a propane gas "on demand" hot water heater (no water heater tank to run cold), If you like long hot showers, you'll be happy.  Gas tanks are exchanged empty for full, approximately 15 kg of liquefied gas delivered to your door for $2.30 each tank.  Gas is subsidized by the national government but in 2016 it's said the subsidy will quit and the price of gas will increase to about $16/tank.  That is still relatively cheap compared to Europe and USA for the same amount of gas.

Cell Phones: Cuenca does have Blackberry service and there are many hotspot WIFIs for phones that access Internet. There are two main providers, Movistar and Claro. Movi is cheaper but has a little less towers nationwide so there are more "dead" spots than with Claro which costs more. Personally we use Movistar but also have Claro phones "just in case".  ETAPA, Cuenca's municipality, has its own cell phone service but it uses a regular "house" land line number and costs no extra to call to any land line in Ecuador. It is like a portable land line you talk over most places in the Cuenca area. The sound quality is usually better than the cell phone providers. We use and prefer this service and rarely use our Movi and Claro phones if ever.

Garbage Pickup is each Monday, Wednesday, Friday in the afternoons after 3PM. Mondays and Fridays are ordinary garbage days, Wednesdays are recycle garbage days.

How many people will the apartments accomodate? Rent is calculated for a family of four or less. Six permanent inhabitants however is the legal limit (health code) of these apartments.

Please, NO:
No pets with the exception of water aquarium aquatic species.
No businesses where the public can access the interior of the neighborhood compound.
No (with exception to visitors) children under the age of 6
No smokers. That means/includes smokers: "trying to quit" or "I'll smoke outside". The past has proven we must adhere to this policy for tobacco smell is unacceptable. We do not tolerate drugs or cannabis products in the apartment. We must be strict on the later for our tenants are going to be of high moral standards as are neighbors in our compound.  As to tobacco usage indoors by tenants or guests thereof, the smell of smoke is repugnant and unacceptable for non smokers won't rent stinky apartments.

No perpetual "fiesta party animals". This is a quiet suburban conservative community which can be appreciated by other quiet conservative neighbors.  Normal reasonably quiet and not late night parties are of course welcomed and accepted.

No hippies nor radical looking people including "alternate lifestyle" types. Ecuadorian neighborhoods including this community are extremely conservative so it is best that our tenants are like everyone else and have lifestyles that are moral and; legal in nature.

The tenant(s) of course may have guests/visitors for days or weeks at a time at no additional rental charge. But in excess of four people over one month please pay $15 additional per month if the total of occupants exceeds a total of four, and that is only to cover the cost of any extra utilities used.

We prefer:
Tenants who have sensible social events, moderate (no loud music or other loud noise) parties terminating around 12:00 midnight to 1:00 AM at the latest. The people in this neighborhood are quiet and work in professions and have children, so they want quiet nights during normal sleeping hours.

We prefer married couples or couples who plan marriage only, unless tenants are single religious missionaries or female low profile retirees.

Especially, our apartment is attractive to internet based distance workers and traders of equities, ECFs, commodities, precious metals, and FX (foreign currency exchange). Heavy and constant uploads and downloads involving 1/4 GB to full gigabytes may become slower in daylight hours on Cuenca's system. Our WIFI was designed for "medium-family use" such as chat, email, normal searches, video conference, trading stocks, commodities and currencies, blogs and occasional music downloads. It is not intended for entire movie downloads.

We include a free transfer to our apartment from Cuenca's airport, or from your hotel, or from the Cuenca bus terminal, arriving and leaving Cuenca for initial arrival and final departure directly to and from the apartment. The land lord is Susana Castro who is an Ecuadorian but speaks good English.

The images below are with a tenant's furnishings. This apartment is rented only as an unfurnished apartment.

Living Room, bright light through 2 huge bay windows, designed custom draperies.

End of the corridor near the bedrooms

Inside the front bay window is a rock garden. Presently it's planted but you must water and maintain it. This photo was taken before it had plants but the tenant may plant plants if desired. Tenant maintains the garden in any case.

View from a bedroom doorway in view of the corridor including the "loft". The storage areas are accessed from the loft and have doors. There are three storage areas. The glass window in the foreground is one of two secondary bedrooms. You can see there are an abundance of windows for natural lighting. The wall and ceiling color is stark white. We are not willing to change the color nor have tenants change the color without express permission from the landlady. We chose stark white because it's reflective and easy to spot paint...cutting costs which cuts rent.

All 3 bedrooms do not face a street, reducing outside noise.  The apartments are in the extreme back of the compound, the most quiet location in the compound.

Note the wrot iron railed staircase painted a "natural patinized copper" color going up to the attic and storage area.

One of two skylights is directly above this photo's position, the other is in the laundry room to the right of this photo's origin.

Community garden in the front of the apartment. Stone masonry and a beige colored wall and well maintained garden.

Master Bedroom 1st view, well lit through a large window.
Telephone aparatus is included in this bedroom and also an intercom telephone to the outside entrance door as is the kitchen. The telephone connection has a desk phone but tenant can supply for example an "air phone" extension system if they wish. The phone jack works for all phones so you may disconnect and store the phone we provide in preference to yours.

The telephone is a wireless "air" citywide system (not cell) and works with any standard telephone set. A telephone set is provided which has caller identification and message/recorder. The phone set we do include is ready to talk, but you may substitute it with yours as stated above.

This is another view of the master bedroom including the doorway and the bathroom door, the entrance door to your private bath.

The bathrooms are ceramic tiled, easy to sanitize.  The showers are tiled with ceramic and they are not bath tubs and don't serve as bath tubs because the ceramic chills the bath water resulting in a less than hot bath.  The shower enclosure has a shower curtain that is included.

ABOVE: Front electric gate, entrance to community of 12 families on Av. Primera de Mayo. Not shown is a newly added community sign: "Playa de Yanuncay", the actual name of our community, so delivery services and guests find it easily. A handheld remote control for this gate is provided that will work from your living room window as well, so you don't have to leave the apartment to permit entrance of vehicles, deliveries (pizza, DHL etc.) and other vehicular traffic.

To conserve the gate's electric motor (and very expensive to replace), we recommend you walk out to the gate (20 seconds) to admit visitors on foot and do not use the car entrance motorized gate to pass on foot; instead please use the small key lock door to conserve the gate motor. For this we have a key locked pedestrian door at the gate beside the electric gate for pedestrian use.

This is a view of the nice open grassy park and jogging trail directly across the street from our community gate. The park has children's playground equipment. The brook Rio de Yanuncay is directly on the other side of the Eucalyptus trees seen in the background of this photo. There is a grassy shaded level area good for picnics, wine and cheese, meditation or reading beside the brook. This park is secure and expect to see joggers and fast walkers especially early morning. Unlimited rainbow trout are caught also in this brook, and NO LICENSE IS REQUIRED in any part of Ecuador, including here. This is a free country.

The images below are Google Earth images of Cuenca with the apartment's approximate location in the yellow circle labeled "Apartment" in the first image below. The Green lines delineate the "city proper" of Cuenca. We're on the Southwest part, North is up. Computers with small screens won't view this as well as larger screens.

In the middle image above, you can see a more magnified image with neighborhood features and the proximity to a concrete bridge connecting Primira de Mayo to 10 de Agusto.

In the image above, the green lines denote the 12 family compound itself and the apartment with three white cars parked out front, and the park across the street with jogging trail etc.
The Google Earth coordinates for the exact front porch for our circled apartment above are:

2 deg 54' 33.50" S by 79 deg 01' 14.23"

03 January 2009

Weather updated about every hour.

Aside from our apartments for rent, here is a
small orientation to Cuenca, Ecuador

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Approximate Quito and Cuenca Ecuador's

Time & Temperatures
Right Click, select Open Link in New Window for Quito, Ecuador Forecast


Approximate Guayaquil & Southern

Coastal Time & Temperatures
Right Click, select Open Link in New Window for Guayaquil, Ecuador Forecast


For comparison, here's Long Island NY USA Time & Temperature

Click for Stony Brook, New York Forecast

Because Ecuador is on the equator, Cuenca Ecuador's days and nights are both about 12 hours long, all year.

Year's average times of sunlight in Ecuador:
First light: 5:40AM (05hr40)
Sunrise: 6:30AM (06hr30)
Twilight: 6:30PM (18hr30)
Dark: 7:15PM (19hr15)

Also because Ecuador is an equatorial region, there are no significant temperature "seasons", no Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring here, although we have a "rain" season from about November to March. All days have about the same range of temperature.

If it's a clear and sunny morning especially during rainy season it's usually cloudy by noon and raining by 3PM. Often it clears by 8PM or 10PM until the next mid day. A few times a year Cuenca and Quito receive small (1/8"-1/2") hail and enough to turn the ground white at times.
How has climate change affected Cuenca? Due to climate change, since 2007 Cuenca has been cooler, more overcast than years past. This year however it seemed to return to normal and a sunny dry season appeared "right on time". Other blog posts or articles posted older than that won't reflect this change. Cuenca has, many days after November almost what you'd call "damp dank London weather".  If you are sensitive to temperatures below 60deg. F in the daytime and 40deg.F at night, living 1,500 (4700ft) meters lower in altitude than here is better such as Santa Isabel, Loja or Vilcabamba, all of which are south to southwest of Cuenca. Santa Isabel, with ample goods and services, is about two sensible hours drive time from Cuenca. At that altitude of 1,500 meters (4,700ft), 1000 meters less than Cuenca, temperatures trend about 10degF to 15degF higher than Cuenca's temperatures but by no means as hot, muggy and miserable as Guayaquil or the rest of the coast.

Caution! Realestate parasites! There's a growing amount of USA citizens who live here permanently with appropriate visas who are opportunists, mostly they are realtors. Vilcabamba and Loja are worst for this but Cuenca is certainly third. While there is a growing number of legitimate ethical expats who have started much needed businesses here in the form of restaurants and services, unfortunately the realestate business is contaminated with annoyingly aggressive and outright unethical people from the United States. Be careful.

The Expat Cliques. Some of the large growing number of expats (over 4,000 now in Azuay Province)  have divided into groups ("cliques"), each with a self proposed "leader" poo-bah. The rest of us who have lived here for years usually avoid the Friday night "gringo night" "gringo parties" "gringo groupies" "business card exchangers" found at several restaurants and bars. Avoiding these groups are people who have lived here 10 to 40 years as well as avoiding the expat forums etc., which are populated by prospective expats, newbies and yes some parasitic types who will sell anything to anyone at any price, the higher the better and some forum poobahs are unlicensed "realtors".

Why don't people hear about bad things about Cuenca?
Many posts, some blogs and web sites, forums etc. are done by promotors...Realtors, service providers etc. Seldom if ever do the promotor parasites say anything bad about Cuenca, it's awful rising crime rate or snarled discourteous and mostly DANGEROUS to pedestrians smokey downtown traffic.  Bus service is cheap, prompt and reliable but the drivers lurch and weave horribly and brake abominably. They start off when you are still standing, often causing passenger injuries or in some cases, start off before someone is actually inside the bus, casting them into the gutter. A recent death due to a fractured skull as a passenger hit his head on a concrete curb, was caused by this.  There is no "quality control" imposed by bus owners or the municipial authorities, UNFORTUNATELY.


There is, with good reason, an intense growing resentment among Ecuadorians and expats alike of new expats paying too much for everything. It's done either out of ignorance or "charity". As "nice" as it seems,THIS IS NOT WELCOME because it is causing inflation and the feeling of "rich gringos can pay more". Please ask expats who lived here for years or at least research accurate sampling of prices before you buy food (in open air markets and fruit stands etc.), goods & pay for services. Over payment spreads like cancer and makes the market think it can charge inflated prices to any foreigner and even native citizens. .

Examples of prices you should not to exceed

Daily maid service = $10-$15/day including meals NO MORE. The maid who works in our apartments charges in that range....comes at 8AM, leaves at 2PM unless you contract with her differently. She cleans, sweeps and washes the floors, dusts. It is customary to allow the maid to eat as you do for the time she's there..i.e. a free breakfast and lunch which she does not cook. That is the custom in this country.  Maids who do cook and even "live in" also can be contracted.

Christmas bonus to a maid is about $35 in groceries/gifts housed in a basket or an electric appliance she can used in a box that gift wrapped. There is an erroneous rumor amongst the expats here for some reason that 2 month's salary is the bonus which it is way too much.

Taxis in Cuenca $1.50-$3.00 max. Taxis from in front in airport's taxi area charge $1-$5 more which is absurd.. Walk a few meters to get a taxi across the street from the parasitic taxi group in the front of the airport.

Man's standard haircut, no "styling" etc. $1.50 to $3.00 Woman's hair-do about $6-$15 Close to the apartment is a barber shop which charges less than $2 for a man's haircut.

Good "standard" daily lunches cooked ahead of time ready for the lunch crowd come with juice or cola, vegetables, rice or potatos, a meat/seafood and small desert at medium restaurants are $2.50-$4.00/person. Everyone eats the same thing prepared en mass, or menu items and alacarte items are a bit more.

Alterations to clothes, $1 per trouser/pants hemming.

And thanks to consumers' money ill spent, Cuenca specifically now is the most expensive city in Ecuador, chiefly due to the inflation caused by this ill spent money.
Spanish/English classes $7/hour, 2nd person free per couple, $8/hr for family of 3 or more. Contact: my e-mail cuencaecuador@ymail.com