Thanks to the author Terri Drake for her first contribution to YapaTree. A big thanks to Rick Snyder too for editing.
At one time or another, most of us expats in Cuenca run into local situations that confound us. These occur before we arrive and through our tenure in Cuenca. Some result simply from the language barrier: How do you communicate to the taxi driver where you need to go? Others are more complex: How do you navigate the healthcare system and talk with medical personnel?
Finding products, services, a place to live or even medical care can be full of frustrations, misdirection and false starts without adequate guidance.
Some good sources include Yapatree Expat Information and Expat living articles. You may also get useful information from fellow expats. But sometimes specific gringo advice can be based on narrow or anecdotal experience. And Facebook groups can be consistently inconsistent as sources of specific, reliable information and frequently more work than they are worth to sift through.
Enter, Your Local Facilitators
On the other hand, some of us find the best advice from another gringo is a referral to a local facilitator who will communicate in both languages, has experience with different sources of assistance and knows how to cut through the red tape in their areas of specialization. Examples include those who know the ins and outs of setting up bank accounts, utilities and internet; can resolve visa and cedula issues, create apartment leases, and coordinate medical appointments and/or emergencies.
Expert help from facilitators is readily available and reasonably priced – and can be far less expensive than the cost in time, money and aggravation to unsnarl the mess you can make by following your intuition or the well-meaning but uninformed suggestions of friends and acquaintances.
List of Cuenca Facilitators to Start Your Search
So, we have assembled a non-comprehensive list of local facilitator profiles. It is not a directory of providers but a cross section of facilitators that are available to help you and descriptions of the services they provide. We strongly recommend that you do your research by asking for references from these folks and referrals from other expats. And as always, please feel free to add your comments and additional recommendations in the Comments Section!
Here we go in alphabetical order by last name…..
Diego Jadan Aviles
Diego has been a facilitator for over five years. He considers himself more as a general facilitator and helps with shopping assistance and city orientation. Diego tailors his services to the needs of his clients such as grocery shopping, internet, cellular or other services and other questions. He offers translation services for doctor appointments IESS health service navigation. He works hard to respect his clients’ time which he says is a hallmark of a good facilitator which is missing in some instances.
Diego stated that he enjoys helping expats move around Cuenca so as to avoid some danger spots and counsels them on how to stay alert for queues that may indicate trouble.
Shopping, transportation, medical appointments, IESS, city orientation.
$6/hour and if transportation is provided $10/hour
Patty has been working as a facilitator for over three years and is an Ecuadorian native. Ms. Chuchuca learned to speak English in university classes and by practicing with expats. Her clients often become friends such as the one who she helped get a problematic vehicle registration renewal. In this example and with others, she enjoyed helping making expats’ lives simpler and more enjoyable. And as a result they come to her for additional help and services.
Spanish tutoring, house cleaning, dog walking, doctor’s appointments (IESS), IESS and SRI paperwork (refunding IVA, RUC), tourist guide, obtaining driver’s license, car registration and inspection, banking, shopping assistance, English/Spanish translation, paperwork for Cedula and Visas.
Facilitator services $10/hr; Spanish Tutoring $12/hr; house cleaning $5/hr
She is only available after 1 p.m.
Cuenca Friends is a relatively new expat facilitation service being offered in Cuenca by Cheryl Smith and her partner, Ray Gil. They are available during daytime and/or evening hours only. Cheryl is also a Spanish teacher for expats and Ray is a University Professor. Cheryl has spoken English since early childhood and they are both native Spanish speakers. They are especially focused on those who may require physical assistance to make the transition to living in a new country easier. Cuenca Friends helps with extending tourist visas from 3 to 6 months, purchasing and setting up SIM cards, dog walking and internet setup to name a few.
Extending tourist visas from 3 to 6 months, purchase and set up of SIM cards, internet, IESS, obtaining trivia and bus cards, dog walking, buying groceries, medical facilitator, Spanish translator and helping those with physical needs.
$16 per hour, depending on what is needed, price can vary.
Carolina Carrion Maldonado
Carolina is a relatively new facilitator who teaches Spanish to expats. Ms. Maldonado assists expats with: shopping, medical procedures in the public and private sector, support and accompaniment to any procedures required, housekeeping, if needed and that includes pet care. Her clients have told her that they appreciate her confidentiality, honesty, discretion and her attention to detail in answering questions.
Carolina is building her facilitator business while she continues her Spanish classes so she is primarily available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
Spanish lessons, shopping, helping with medical procedures in the public and private sector, housekeeping and pet care.
Are billed hourly and depend on the task.
- WhatsApp +593984468128
Emilio is a respected service provider who has over 10 plus years of experience as a facilitator for medical appointments, hospitals, shopping and wherever else translation services may be needed as well as a handyman and provider of Cuenca Car Share. He studied English in high school and lived in the U.S. for seven years which provides an excellent grasp of the English language. Mr. Morocho provides transportation, facilitator services, touring about the area at $12/hour in town and $13/hour outside of Cuenca. Fees for handyman services depends on what it is you need.
While driving, he loves to converse about Ecuador’s history. He helps obtain funds for children through the Cuenca English Lions Club by showing English movies. He also provides cars for rent daily, weekly or monthly through Cuenca Car Share. He is well regarded by his clients and goes out of his way to provide the best, professional services in all that he does. For example, in his duties as a handyman, if he does not feel he can help you with your problem, he will find an expert for you who can. Mr. Morocho stated that it is easier to contact him via WhatsApp and that he is available 24/7 for emergencies and this includes holidays and weekends.
Driver, facilitator, tour guide, handyman and provider of clean, dependable cars for daily, weekly or monthly rental.
Available 24/7 for emergencies, includes holidays and weekends
- Driver/Facilitator/Transportation $12/hr in town; $13/hr outside of Cuenca
- Handyman – rates depend on what services you need.
- Car Share – available daily/weekly/monthly, contact for rates and vehicle availability
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/emilio.morocho.3
- Facebook (Cuenca Car Share): www.facebook.com/CuencaCarShare
- Website (Cuenca Car Share): Cuencacarshare.com
- Email: [email protected]
- WhatsApp – +593 986995694
Mr. O’Dea has been a facilitator for a little over two years and has over 25 years in real estate. He loves the feeling of security he is able to provide to people when everything is taken care of. He is a Chicago native and his wife, Sayira, is from Latin America and works with him.
He specializes in finding housing. While most real estate agents will not share their listings as they do not wish to split commissions, many share their information with him as they know he provides excellent expat renters/buyers. He is known to go the extra mile for clients. One posted that she needed a place to live in 29 days. Mr. O’Dea responded and took her around Cuenca to show her various places. She said he listened to what she wanted and found it. Between Kevin and his wife, they helped her with everything from getting utilities, banking, shopping and medical to anything else that she needed. Unlike a lot of expats that make several moves before finding the home of their dreams, she said Kevin found it for her and she has been in the same location for a number of years.
English/Spanish translation; shopping needs (with or without you), Cedula/visa assistance, setting up cellular, internet and utilities; medical insurance; transportation; city or neighborhood tours; assistance with driver’s license, car registration and inspection, banking documents, recommendations for group activities and other services as needed.
Available 24/7, lives close to downtown so can respond in short period of time
For 1 or 2 services such as shopping/banking, $12/hour. For new expats he offers package deals.
Victor is very familiar with the North Americans and the expat community and has 12 years of experience in helping them. He lived in New York from 2000 until the middle of 2011 when he returned to Cuenca. He purchased a taxi and an expat couple he drove one day gave him the idea to expand his services into facilitating which he has been doing since 2011.
Mr. Ojeda is creating a website that will show all the ways he is able to help expats. During the past 5 years, Mr. Ojeda has been helping expats with purchasing vehicles, notary and medical appointments, obtaining an Ecuadorian driver’s license, Cedulas and visas. And he provides transportation including door to door service, which means he will pick you up and, when your time with him is complete, he will deliver you back home. He has been instrumental in assisting a member of the Yapatree editorial team with vehicle, medical and licensing requirements.
His transportation-specific services include day trips to places like Gualaceo, Chordeleg, and Ingapirca as well as comfortable rides to and from the airports.
This English speaking facilitator can help with cell phone, Direct TV, internet and utilities set up; appliance, furniture and Mercado shopping; medical appointments and interpretation; car registration and license needs, help with Cedula and property management, private transportation, door to door service which includes pickup and drop off; spoken and written translations, Cuenca airport pick up and drop off, day trips to Gualaceo, Chordeleg, Ingapirca, Cajas, Yunguilla Valley and more; transportation to Guayaquil airport. He is available 24/7 for emergencies.
$10 per hour for inner city of Cuenca; assistance with license, registration, Cedulas and visas, or transportation to Guayaquil, Salinas, Manta, etc. fees will be worked out with the clients.
- Website (under construction): greysnomadsexperience.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/victor.ojeda.104
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone (US number): +1 347-606-4595
- Phone/Whatsapp (Ecuador): +593987313565
Angel has over 15 years providing various facilitator services including medical and translator, transportation, acting as tour guide, trips to Guayaquil and Quito, Amazonia, shopping. He is well known in Cuenca and loved by all his clients. Angel also assists with medical appointments, buying appliances, furniture, shopping, going to the mercado’s, opening bank accounts, speaking with lawyers, plumbing, carpentry and electrical needs. He lived in the U.S. for over eight years and learned English in a private school.
Transportation to and from airports, trips to Guayaquil, Quito, Spondylus route, Amazonia, trips to airport, transportation in and outside the city, tour guide, opening bank accounts, buying appliances, furniture, groceries or other shopping, medical facilitator, facilitator for lawyers, notaries.
$10/hour in city, outside city/tours – $12/hour; other cities depend on day and time as tour guide and fees discussed.
Orlando has over 11 years’ experience as an English-speaking facilitator who spent over 16 years on the East Coast of the U.S. Orlando has had his Ecuadorian tour guide license for over 9 years. He is dedicated to helping travelers experience the best of Ecuador. He will organize tours around Cuenca and throughout Ecuador both for first time visitors and for those wanting more focused travel advice.
He helps clients with banking, translations, shopping, and doctor visits. Door to door airport pickups and private transportation is available. Orlando will also arrange other facilitators for those who are applying for Visas and help clients find the home or apartment they desire. If he is booked during the time that a client wants his services, he will find someone else who can help them. One of our Yapatree contributors thoroughly enjoyed his Christmas tour around Cuenca.
Include airport drop off and pick up, transportation in and around Cuenca, day trips, transportation to immigration offices, etc. Organized tours, private transportation, shopping, medical visits, banking needs, finding apartments and/or homes.
- $13/hour for errands in and around Cuenca.
- Day trips and tours around Cuenca – between $90 and $130 depending on destination and number of people.
Ms. Vera is highly recognized in the community for the services she provides, not only as a personal assistant but as a medical facilitator. She has over nine year experience in helping expats with their needs. As a medical facilitator, Diana keeps medical records for her clients in order to be able to help answer questions with either doctors or emergency room staff. This information can sometimes be the difference between life and death. For instance, if a client becomes incapacitated and unable to speak, the information can flaglife threatfening allergies to medications, foods or even anesthesia. When an appointment is over, Ms. Vera follows up with the client to see how they are feeling or doing, especially after a procedure. These follow ups can be informative, especially if one has a reaction to a new anethesia. Her clients say that her confidence and attention to detail puts them at ease and that she is compassionate and caring. We hear she has provided a tremendous amount of support and expertise to fellow expats in complex healthcare cases.
Ms. Vera speaks excellent English thanks to having lived in the U.S. for 10 years. Her clients appreciate her warm personality and her willingness to be contacted in an emergency or if there is just about a medication. According to some of her clients, her ability to translate medical information into layman’s terms is helpful. So they don’t leave an office, hospital or clinic feeling confused. She communicates the client’s concerns, problems or reactions and makes sure that both the client and the doctor understand what the other is saying.
Diana has been helpful to yapatree contributors in understanding and researching ecuadorian healthcare options and has been recommended to us by expat clients.
Medical facilitator, doctor appointments; IESS/Private hospital/clinic appointments, services; emergency room assistance, shopping, SRI(IVA) refunds and setting up account, Visa/Cedula assistance, end of life planning, errands in and around Cuenca. Ms. Vera is available 24/7 for emergencies.
$15 per hour
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/diana81vera
- Email: [email protected]
- WhatsApp: +593 991744740 (preferred contact method)
We routinely help customers ease into their new lives in Cuenca. Especially those that have rented or purchased property from us. All customers that rent or purchase through us receive a complimentary 1 hr consultation in our office at idiomART. The outcome of this session is to ensure you have all of your needs covered for your new life here. This includes matching you with facilitators that suit your preferences.
We also have our own in-house facilitation service at a rate of $20/hr. Contact us for more details.
We know finding quality help can be tough when you arrive in a new country. We hope you find this list of Cuenca-based faciliatators helpful. Just be sure to do you due diligence on the service provider before contracting them.
Got tips for working with facilitators? We’d love to hear them below or in our Cuenca Facebook Group.