Packing Tips for Cuenca
Although we arrived in Cuenca on Jan. 12, and it is now Mar. 17, we feel as though we have been here longer than that. We are settling in and slowly getting our legal work taken care of. Each day I get dressed I think of something else I should have brought in those four suitcases and two backpacks; however, there are certain things I am thankful I did bring.
Scarves – I brought 20 colorful scarves. Even if you have to wear the same blouse, using different scarves add color to your outfit. Keep in mind, that in Cuenca, since it is so cool, and you are wearing jackets a lot, people will remember the scarves, not the blouses! Wide scarves can double as shawls on those cool evenings and add a different touch. If you decide to move to Cuenca and can not quite fit in all those pictures you wanted to bring, hand painted pareos make beautiful wall hangings and add a softness to the room.
Belts – Unfortunately, I only brought five belts this time. They take up such a small amount of space and can change a simple outfit into something more stylish; try to bring more.
Jackets/Sweaters – I consider these the most important items in Cuenca (along with umbrellas). Surprisingly enough, I was able to bring eight of these, including a leather jacket, which I know I will be using from June through August. Although I thought I understood how important a variety of jackets/sweaters were, I truly did not have any idea until we lived down here. You live in jackets and sweaters, so diverse colors and styles make a difference and will keep you from getting bored with your wardrobe. Even sweatshirt hoodies come in handy and pack well.
Jewelry – Most important thing to remember – no gold, no diamonds. You can never go wrong with silver. Anything from small to dangling earrings are very popular. Turquiois and coral are also popular. Just like the states, your jewelry will change your outfit, even if you wore the same blouse the day before. I have noticed the Ecuadorians like colorful jewelry, so any of your colorful costume jewelry will be fine – nothing very fancy, though. You really do not see too much more than earrings during the day.
One thing you need to remember is that casual dressing in Cuenca is a part of life. Jeans, casual slacks, jogging pants, etc. are worn day and night and are acceptable for both men and women. I have seen very few skirts, although I brought a couple. You never know when you might need one.
Ponchos – These are easy to roll and pack and come in so many colors. I brought 3 of these and have thoroughly enjoyed them. They have given me a bit more versatility. In this same area, do not forget rain ponchos, jackets, and rain boots. Since they do not pack well, I wore my one pair on the plane, but now they have come out in so many colors, two more pairs would be good. Rain becomes a part of your life, so make the best of it!
Shoes – One more idea! If you have a favorite pair of low heals (1-1/2-2in) that you think you might wear, bring them. The majority of heels in Cuenca are 3 in. and higher, which are very difficult to walk in on cobblestone streets.
The shops here are full of all the items I mentioned above (although they cost more here than in the states), but if you pack these items, you will not need to shop immediately. We are not going back to the states until August, so I am planning a shopping trip soon, since my wardrobe right now is limited, and I am getting quite bored wearing the same thing. I will let you know some of the enjoyable and inexpensive places to go after I make that trip!!
Ending Happy Note in Cuenca: As we were leaving Percal’s last week, a small restaurant in Cuenca, the owner of the restaurant chased us down a block to return the $10 which had fallen out of my pocket. I am not sure about your city, but in Houston, that would never occur. It would just be your loss, but their gain.