What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador (Part 5)

My wife and I have lived in Cuenca for 2.5 years and my thoughts have changed considerably since I first suggested what Electronics to bring to Ecuador when you permanently make the move.  Feel free to check the past posts. The most recent (Part 4) being here

I’m going to assume that the majority of readers will not be bringing a container and will use their available suitcases. In the next couple of paragraphs I’m going to surprise some readers and friends with my new recommendations.

You Don’t Need A Computer

It’s not a typo. if you are not doing proprietary work (i.e. video editing, accounting, database work, programming) then the latest tablet with a bluetooth keyboard will suit you fine.  Although my preference because of my Apple background and equipment would be an iPad Air or an iPad Mini, I don’t think you can go wrong with a Nexus 7 or Samsung Galaxy and they are considerably cheaper than the iPad.  The iPad does have the advantage with the 1 Billion strong app store but I know several people in Ecuador that are very happy with their Nexus 7.


You Don’t Need A Printer

Most expats are retired. they are not working for a living anymore. Printers are bulky to bring and they are more expensive to buy in Ecuador. Initially we brought our Laser Printer with us when we first moved.  The paper jammed and I can’t find anybody that knows laser printers to repair the machine. For the past 6 months I have put anything I needed to print on a thumb drive and walk two blocks to a local copy shop and they print my documents in color or black and white.


You Need A Smarthphone

The<$100 cell phones that you buy in Ecuador have inferior reception and transmission. I can always tell when I’m not speaking to someone on a Smartphone when there voice cuts out 3-5 times during a minute conversation. The benefits of a smartphone are numerous.

  • email availabiliy
  • Skype/MagicJack  ready
  • Spanish/English Translation
  • Web Access
  • GPS Map Apps
  • Great Camera

If you can afford an iPhone then you can’t go wrong. However, for what you would pay for 1 unlocked iPhone 5S you can buy 2 Nexus 5 phones. Data plans are about $35 per month. Half of what they are in the U.S. and you don’t get charged for incoming calls.


You Need A VPN Router

For those people who want to have a seamless experience with their computer, tablets , Apple TV, Smartphone, or Roku Box then this is the easiest way to go. Yes, you can individually connect your devices via software to a VPN service (i.e. Strong, Witopia, HMA etc) but you can’t connect an Apple TV or Roku box any other way but through a VPN router. A Roku Box won’t work at all unless the device sees you with a U.S. IP address. I  extensively cover the benefits of a VPN router in this post

You Don’t Need A Point And Shoot Camera

Although I do own a Canon DSLR camera most of my shots are snapped on my iPhone. I have my iPhone all the time. I never miss a shot and I don’t have to lug a bulky camera kit with lenses around with me. I initially brought a Samsung point and shoot and now I don’t use it all. The iphone shots are great and you can also shoot video. The same can be said for the Samsung Galaxy and new Nexus 5 smartphones.

You May Need A Wifi Extender

We live in a 40 year old 2 story adobe house and need a wifi extender for the signal to reach from my office(router and modem location) to the second floor bedroom 40 ft away.  Wifi signals cap out at about 30 ft and don’t do well going through concrete floors or walls.

You Need A Roku Box

The Roku 3 Media Box is a little larger than a hockey puck. There are over 300 channels you can receive (with a VPN router). Netflix, Amazon Prime, NBC News, PBS, CBS News are just a few of the channels we can receive. If you have an investment in Apple equipment I also suggest you purchase and Apple TV for the Airplay facility as well as having access to the Itunes Store.

I look forward to your comments, and suggestions. There is no strict list of what you should bring. These items work well for my family. Your mileage may vary.  I’m available via Skype (at $20 per hour) to anyone who is considering moving down to Ecuador. During that hour I can suggest brands, vendors and installers that will save you hundreds of dollars and share with you mistakes that I made choosing the wrong equipment and ISP.




15 thoughts on “What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador (Part 5)

  1. I’m so happy to have been able to follow your tech posts the last few months. We leave for Ecuador in less than two weeks and I’ve just received my Sabai/Strong/NetGear VPN router. Setup was relatively painless with the online help of Strong VPN via their website chat.

    On what is probably our last trip to Costco we noticed and bought a Roku 3 “hockey puck” and have it up and running. It does produce a nicer looking picture and the remote is much easier to use than the Apple TV remote. As far as USTV, won’t I need a to avoid VPN as to use this service you need to be outside the U.S.?

    While it is probably true most do not need a computer or printer I (and my wife) will use our various Macs for some of the things you mention they would be needed for.

    I use a (previous version) Apple Airport Extreme. It does well in my two story traditional U.S. home. What would you recommend for a WiFi extender?

    Also, any thoughts on Google Voice through Gmail as a no cost alternative to Magic Jack or Ooma?


  2. Great post, Len. We’ve been here over more than 14 months now and I agree 100% with your recommendations. One thing about a VPN router: if anyone has a kindle and needs to download books from Amazon, I believe (I’m not sure) that you need a VPN router to do that. (With an iPad, or a Mac or PC you can get around the lack of a VPN router, but even then, it’s a bigger hassle and, in general a greater pain in the a$$ than using a VPN router, or so I hear.)

  3. I am a Windows user, but I can follow what you are saying. My move is not for another six months, and I will continue to follow these particular updates. I love the pointer that I do not need to bring my printer, but, at this time, I will bring my laptop. It is my comfort zone.

    Any info that reduces items is gratefully appreciated. Every time, that I read the recommendations of another who has been there a suitable length of time, I find that I adjust what I must bring versus what I want to bring. For those of us, who are still getting ready, this is a huge assistance system to cut out what we do not need to bring. And, I thank you.

  4. After sending my previous message, I wondered: are you aware of another blogger who recommends Windows ‘must haves’? Not knocking your Mac info, just trying to get info for the Windows user.


  5. Pingback: DSLR Cameras Losing Market Share | Cuenca Tech Life

  6. Lenny, I have a little Canon PowerShot SX230HS with a 14x optical zoom. It is real small and fits in a little fanny pack that attaches to my belt. I use it whenever I need a closeup or a better photo or at night. My iPhone is good for most shots, but not all of them. I like have both at my fingertips… No giant camera for me. Good article. We will be buying a VPN Router and a Roku box… We use our phones as a copy machine. You just take a picture of the document and email it to wherever it needs to go….. Thanks Lenny… See you in a few months. George

  7. Pingback: What Software Should You Have In Ecuador (Part One) | Cuenca Tech Life

  8. Pingback: What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador ( Part 6 ) | Cuenca Tech Life

  9. coming to Ecuador in mid jan for a month. Sounds like you might be a great contact on what to get set up with tech wise before I get there and how to deal with it once I’m there. Don’t have extreme needs, mainly just communicating voice at best rate.

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