What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador ( Part 6 )

It’s now a year since I wrote Part 5 and my wife and I have lived in Ecuador for 3.5 years.  This post is largely subjective based on my usage and mistakes in Cuenca.

This advice is meant for those on a limited budget and not bringing a container to Ecuador. I am going to start with the most important device and work by way down to the small items that you can’t find or that are expensive in Ecuador.

Smartphone: Invest in an unlocked Nexus 6 or iPhone 6+. These are relatively large phones sometimes called Phablets but they will be your best techonology friend in Ecuador. I also suggest you buy a data plan. In Cuneca I pay $32 a month for minutes and data and never run out of either one.  Below are some uses other than voice and texting.

  • Maps and directions
  • Photo and video ( I haven’t used my expensive Canon in 4 months)
  • Easy Taxi – requesting taxis at night and in bad weather
  • Learning Spanish (Translate, SpanishDict, Duolingo)
  • Music listening ( Amazon complete music library)
  • Netflix (watching movies)
  • Playing Bridge

Tablet: I have the iPad Mini w/ retina screen but I can highly recommend the Nexus 7. I recommend the larger tablets ( The iPad Air is an excellent choice) if you are not going to bring your computer.  I’m sticking to my recommendation of not bringing a computer if you don’t need it for business or serious photo/video editing. A large tablet with a bluetooth keyboard will be powerful and very portable.

Streaming Boxes: These hockey puck  devices will be your night time companions if you enjoy watching movies and TV series. You can’t go wrong with the ones below:

  • Apple TV
  • Roku 3
  • Amazon Fire TV

Basically you can watch TV series and movies with these devices connected to your TV. They also have the added advantage of wirelessly connecting some of your devices ( computer, iphone tablet ) wirellessly to your TV. Important note ***. To fully utilize these services you need to purchase a VPN (virtual private network) Router. I use the Sabai Cisco router because of the excellent technical support. I go to great lengths to describe the challenges of watching TV/Movies in Ecuador. I recommend using the search facility on this blog and typing in “VPN” and you will see several posts with recommendations.

Google just came out with their own streaming box called Nexus Player but I haven’t seen enough reviews to recommend buying that device.

Miscellaneous recommendations:

  • Netflix subscription- $9 per month – Invaluable
  • Amazon Prime subscription $8.25 per month – (Music, Movies, Books, Unlimited Photo Storage(
  • Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet or smarthone
  • Thumb drives (32 gb) for transferring information or bring data to be printed
  • VPN subscription  – I use Strong VPN and it’s about $8 a month
  • Skype subscription – Free Video Calls to other Skype users.
  • MagicJack – Practically free phone calls to any cell or landline in the U.S.

Some of the subscribers of this blog have great success with Ooma. It’s  worth a look for cheap and dependable calls back to the U.S.

Again this are my recommendations based on my experience. I haven’t used my DVD player in 2 months and my camera in 4 months.  Save the room in your suitcases for good sheets and towels  🙂


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13 thoughts on “What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador ( Part 6 )

  1. Great info. I too have a VPN router. I can recommend http://www.flashrouters.com/ if you need to buy a router in the US and have it muled to EC. I also prefer Private Internet Access https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/network/ as my VPN. That is basically because of price (about $3/month with a yearly contract) but Strong VPN and Hide My Ass are good if more $$$$$. BTW, if you buy your router from Flashrouters, they support all the services (PIA, Strong, HMA) mentioned above, so if you want to change services (I went from HMA to PIA) they will check and tell you how to reset your router. And … no, I have no relationship with any of the companies I mentioned (not a shill). Feel free to pick my brain.

  2. What’s your take on true VPNs that provide encryption and the services that are specific to making you look like you’re in another location so you can watch Netflix like Unlocator? If you can set the primary DNS for your router then Unlocator will work with no other special requirements.

    Thanks for continuing to provide practical information!

  3. Hello Lenny, I was thinking that I might want to install a webcam off my new balcony so I might have one of the only webcams in Cuenca (available on Ecuadorgeorge.com). If you help me I would link your sight to the cam (something like, cam sponsored by Cuenca Tech Life) so it might help increase your traffic too and maybe get you more business. Just thinking out loud but trying to do this for a reasonable cost and you were the first guy I thought of who might be able to help me. What do you think?


  4. Pingback: 3 Year Anniversary | Cuenca Tech Life

  5. I’m moving to Cuenca from the US later this summer with my whole family (5 in total) so I was thinking about buying some additional tech equipment to possibly resell when I arrive to recoup some of my travel expenses. Do you recommend this strategy and if so what equipment is in highest demand in Cuenca? I am considering buying a couple of Macbook Airs, iPads, iPhones and maybe even a few Apple Watches since they will be in short supply through the summer. Should I also consider Andriod phones or Microsoft Surface tablets? Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • You are limited by customs to one new and one used of each individual item. Lots of extra electronics will warrant a complete search and result in paying
      the tariff on most of the items.

      • To clarify if we are 5 people are we allowed to bring in 10 laptop, 10 tablets, 10 smartphones, 10 smartwatches, etc.(all 5 new and 5 used)? If so that would be plenty to carry. What items are in most demand? Thank you for this wonderful blog!

      • Well Papa Bear – I see we have a lot in common. I too was born in Brooklyn (East New York) and both have a love for technology. I’m not an expert on the Aduana (Customs Agent) in Ecuador but my guess is that they would see the 20+ items as a selling venture and hit you for the tariffs and that would negate the advantage of selling items. But, it’s my guess and nothing more. Buena Suerte!

  6. Pingback: What Electronics Should You Bring To Ecuador (Part 7 ) | Cuenca Tech Life

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