At the top of the hill are panoramic views.
Cuenca, Ecuador has expanded as far north and south as you can see, stopped only by the Cajas National Reserve on one end and more mountains on the other. Red tile roofs and reddish bricks look like a bloody battlefield but there are no wars here.
Andres, our guide, gives a history lesson.
” There are half a million people in Cuenca. The major industries are tourism, building construction and fabrication, and selling homes. Cuenca makes most of the building materials used in Ecuador. ”
You can see a few landmarks, if you know them. You can see the twin blue striped domes of the New Church in Parque Calderone. You can see the soccer stadium and the goldish planet shaped planatarium that locates Gringoland. There are wide avenues, little neighborhoods carved into industrial areas and businesses operating out of people’s homes.
” Ecuadorians are a clean people. We are taught to pick things up and be polite.” Andres says.
The funniest thing is when I tell him I am from New Mexico. His ears perk up.
” What city? ”
” Albuquerque. ”
He smiles and says ” Breaking Bad. ” We both laugh.
” The best thing, ” he advises, ” is to buy land. ” You buy the land for ten thousand, build a house, sell the house for $150,000. ”
There are plenty of Ex-Pats into real estate in Ecuador, buying up farms in the Andes, old homes in Cuenca, beach bungalows in Salinas.
Riding real estate waves is a popular financial sport for people who have money but want more, and making money without working sparkles like your girl’s best diamond ring.
All these places with good real estate deals that market to foreigners had even better deals before they were discovered.
In Ecuador, as elsewhere, it is best to hire a lawyer to represent you because ownership of properties is convoluted and price is always negotiable.
Andres gives good advice but Cuenca is still a place where speaking Spanish translates into better opportunities and better deals.
Riding real estate waves is not always without wipe outs.